Scenes From My Interfaith Marriage

Something that I think people wonder about but never ask about is what an interfaith marriage looks like on the ground.  I think it’s something people wonder about because it’s something I wondered about, before I had one.  So I vowed to start writing and talking about my own marriage, in a public forum. And then it turned out that interfaith marriage was a lot like, well, every other marriage. It’s hard, but not because of religion. We fight about laundry, not God. I stress over my own status as a Mormon way more than I worry about Robert’s status as non-Mormon. 

The difference between us is most clear in the morning, when we get up and one of us puts the kettle on the stove. He pours the boiling water slowly into a glass vessel over freshly ground coffee. I splash it quickly into a travel mug with herbal tea before I run out the door. Sometimes the difference rears its head again at night, when he’s heating up cider. He might spike his, but I’ll take mine without booze, thank you. Is that what the interfaith aspect of our marriage boils down to? Different taste in beverages?

Sometimes, though, it becomes radically clear that the person with whom I am the closest sees the world with eyes I can’t fathom.  Like this morning, when the dog was careening around the kitchen table after the spot of light at the end of the green laser pointer Robert waved around with one hand (a spoonful of oatmeal in the other).  When Robert turned the light off, the dog looked expectantly at him.  Robert commented that, over the last six months or so, the dog has clearly come to know that we control the light. He’s also figured out that even when we train it to one spot in the ground at let him paw at it for several minutes, there’s nothing of substance for him to grab. The dog knows he’ll never pin the light down, but he chases it anyway. Ha, I said. There’s an obvious metaphor there.

And then we spoke at the same time: You’re talking about God, said Robert. I’m talking about the almighty dollar, I said, my answer overlapping his.

Is it possible for two people to be further apart? Probably not, but we just laughed at the moment and went on eating our oatmeal, sipping different hot beverages from matching mugs, and watching the dog.

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