A kind reader sent along this fascinating link to an article by Naomi Schaeffer Riley about interfaith marriage in the Washington Post. In short, interfaith marriage is a high-minded, tolerant, multicultural, spiritual route to divorce.
Now I do know people who are the fruit of interfaith marriages (usually Catholic mother and Protestant dad), and their mums and dads are still together, alleluia. I also know people whose Protestant dads became Catholic dads eventually, much to the joy of their Catholic mums (and probably resigned indifference of their Protestant grandparents). However, I, Seraphic, had a miserable short marriage with an Anglican, got a divorce and got an annulment within a year of the divorce. That is quick in annulment land, let me tell you. And what did we fight about most, eh? We fought about religion. It was like Belfast on speed. By the end, I was calling the ex a Sassenach, and he was telling me the Irish were all murderers. Really, it was hell.
As for those of disparate cults, I dated a Muslim guy and Jewish guys from time to time in my tender youth, and post-Protestants quite often in my overly exciting twenties. It took me until the ripe old age of 32 or so to realize that I would only ever be happy with a Catholic guy. I felt a bit ashamed about that, as if it proved an embarrassing inner bigotry. But I grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood, and I understood that it was important to my neighbours that their kids marry other Jews. And it occured to me that the idea that marriage is at the heart of religion (or religion at the heart of marriage) was true and good.
(Interfaith dialogue note: The Jews and Muslims taught me the importance of preserving your sacred language, too.)
When I heard, as a college student, that if you married a Ukrainian Catholic guy, you'd have to become a Ukrainian Catholic, too, I decided that was okay. (No idea if you really do, by the way.) The important thing was being in communion with Rome. So it was not really hard to give up going to the Novus Ordo every week and just pin a black mantilla to my head and become a Triddie like Benedict Ambrose. I do draw the line at anything that carries a whiff of Anglicanism, though, except (huge concession) the Anglican version of the Psalms, sung loudly, often (by B.A.) in the shower.
Anyway, I think in general, and with the Catholic Church before 1963, that interfaith marriages are risky and to be avoided. However, if one party is not so enamoured of their childhood faith, it might work out okay.
And sometimes accepting that you can't (or shouldn't) marry into another faith is a way of RESPECTING that faith. I had a lot of respect for a very talented Jewish friend named Y--. (Ah, Y--! He was a cantor at a conservative synagogue. Last I heard, he was a successful opera singer.) And so I called it off before it became serious. He had a Slavic soul, and so he complained bitterly to our mutual Catholic friend. He too had a Slavic soul, and so upbraided me for my hard heart. But it all worked out. Well, it all worked out for me. I hope Y-- found someone nice, too.