What to Read Next

Tom Cruise’s divorce raises questions about interfaith marriages: Can they really work?

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
July 4, 2012

The high-profile split between actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes has tongues a-wagging about many different issues, including custodial rights, prenups, and even real estate. But no matter the topic, news stories and blogs keep coming back to one central theme: religion.

Tom Cruise is a Scientologist. Katie Holmes, it seems, is not. Last week, Holmes quit the marriage and will be seeking sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter Suri, as they build a new life in New York, reports People magazine. While there's been no public confirmation or denial from either party, Holmes supposedly made the move to save her daughter from a lifetime of Scientology, a controversial religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard that has been labelled a cult by at least one outspoken critic, reports the National Post.

The question remains, how can two people in an interfaith relationship find common ground, learn to respect each other, each other's religion, and raise children in a welcoming and accepting environment that celebrates both faiths?

Also see: Olympics committee angers anti-violence women's groups

It is possible, says Toronto-based relationship counsellor Bernie Golden. He points out that most interfaith relationships fare quite well, but depending on how much of a person's identity is wrapped up in their faith, problems may arise.

"Because some people are very identified with their religion, they feel personally attacked and misunderstood when their partner critiques their beliefs or advocates for their own beliefs," he says. "When this happens, it is important to understand that a person can understand another person's belief and not necessarily agree with it. Letting your partner know that you are trying to understand their religion goes a long way."

Golden says it's also important for couples to remember that their partner's faith doesn't threaten their own or who they are as a person.

But what happens when you factor kids into the equation? How do interfaith couples reconcile the issue of how to raise their children?

Also see: 1 in 3 singles would rather give up sex than their favourite food

Golden admits it's when interfaith couples have children that problems tend to flare up. In many cases, each partner will dig in their respective heels over where to send the child to school and which faith to teach in the home, he says.

"It is important that regardless of their differences, the parents work together in the best interest of the child," he says. "If the parents are going to war with each other over who is right, the child is the one that suffers and they have embarked on a war that no one can win. If the couple decides to divorce, the fundamental issue of the child having two parents working against each other is still there."

Golden offers a few tips for interfaith couples that may be struggling to overcome challenges in their relationship:

"Be honest, don't be defensive," he says. "Help your partner to explain to you their thoughts and feelings around the issue. Be respectful of your partner even if you do not agree with their faith. Engage in the conversation early in the relationship. And maintain the friendship."

Watch the video below about the news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce.

Consolidate your Student Loans by Refinancing

Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with SoFi. Find out how much you can save!

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Argosy University℠, Washington DC

Enjoy Flexible Learning Formats that Fit Your Busy Lifestyle. Learn More About the Master's and Doctorate Programs AU, Washington DC Offers. Apply Now

$200 Military Flashlight Surplus Dumped

Highly anticipated LumiTact G700 Tactical Flashlight Overrun - Now available to civilian population

Why You Should Pay Attention to Free Sample Sites

Sign up now for freebies so good you will feel guilty not paying for them! No credit card or purchase necessary.

New Townhomes in Frederickburg

Ready to buy your first home? THIS is the place for you–pool, clubhouse, affordability – all in a terrific location – Rappahannock Landing!

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Ever Googled Someone? Do A "Deep Search" Instead

Entering a Name and State on this site could reveal info you thought wasn't available. Have you searched yourself or someone you know yet?

Switch and save!

Switch to Progressive and you could save an average of $548.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!