Take This Time to Learn About Yourselves Too

Six weeks is a very young relationship. Why don’t you give it the summer to see how your feelings unfold? As an emerging adult, you do not need to share every detail of your love life with your parents. Right now, you need private time and space to get to know each other, before you have to start defending your relationship to the outside world. If your love persists to Labor Day, it might be time to move ahead and include your families.

You may not be thinking about marriage right now, but I suggest using the summer to address, together, some of the hard questions your families are bound to ask. If you marry, who would officiate and where would the wedding be held? What would be your plan for religious practice, individually or together? And for the religious education of your children? The two of you need to come up with thoughtful responses, even if some of them are: “For us, that is a private discussion right now.”

I would also suggest that the two of you take this time to educate yourselves more deeply about both of your religions. With her Muslim family and friends, each of you will be called on to explain both Judaism and Zionism. And with your Jewish family and friends, you’ll be called on to explain Islam. For a primer on Islam, you could start with Reza Aslan’s very readable No god but God. And while in New York, spending time together at the Museum of Jewish Heritage will spark contemplation and discussion.

You are not the first Jewish and Muslim couple, even if it may feel that way sometimes. Check out the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies hashtag from last summer, when many Jewish and Muslim interfaith families were posting family photos on twitter. These couples live in a complex reality, rather than some utopian love bubble. The best tools for defending your relationship to the outside world are going to be religious and historical literacy, and the solidarity you develop as a couple.

Susan Katz Miller is both an adult interfaith child, and an interfaith parent. She is a former Newsweek reporter, and the author of “Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family” (Beacon Press).

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Take This Time to Learn About Yourselves Too

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