Being that I am a marriage life coach, I often get asked if I subscribe to interfaith marriages. Well, being that I am also a Bible follower (not an evangelical by any stretch, but I do strive for discipleship—John 8:31-32), I have to take into account that the Bible has interfaith couples. One that immediately comes to mind is Boaz and Ruth. He was Hebrew, she was a Moabite—there you have it; an interfaith relationship. (By the way, if you read the story, you might change your tune about "I'm waiting on my Boaz." If you want to be pursued, you're not waiting on a Boaz kind of man. Ruth—and Naomi—did a significant amount of the work in that love story. Check the records.) So were Moses and Zipporah and King Xerses and Esther. I think you get the gist. So no, I can't say, right off the rip, that interfaith relationships or marriages are "bad" or wrong.
Apparently, I'm not the only one to think that either. While in the United States, around 69 percent of married people say that their spouse shares their faith, there is a remaining 31 percent whose spouse does not; that number continues to climb too. As I did some additional digging around, I also discovered that while about one-third of all evangelical marriages end in divorce, that number jumps up to 50 percent if the union is an interfaith one. Also, if an evangelical marries someone who isn't religious at all, that divorce rate jumps to 62 percent. So clearly, although a lot of people are dating and marrying someone who doesn't share their faith, there are some risks that come with making the decision to do so.
That's why, if you're currently seeing someone who has a different faith than you or you're single and considering getting into an interfaith relationship, while it's not something that you should automatically write off, there are some things that you should think long and hard about before moving forward.
Is Your Goal Dating or Courtship?
If you're someone who "dates to marry", then this first point doesn't really apply to you. But since I know that there are a ton of people who can totally relate to articles like "Single Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?", that's why I thought this was a good starting point. While a lot of religious people, of any faith, feel that there is no need to date if you're not looking for something long-term, I know that some individuals do it for other reasons than to find a serious partner. Some people date in order to meet new people and gain fresh perspectives. Some people date simply because they enjoy the company of others. Some people date in order to figure out what they ultimately do want for their future. This is why it's so important to know why you do the things that you do. Are you dating simply to create some memories and have a good time in the moment? Or are you hoping that dating will turn into courtship (because no, dating and courtship aren't one in the same)?
I personally know of some couples who ended up breaking up because they did not ask themselves this question before getting into an interfaith relationship. Six months to a year in, they ended up coming to the decision that their different faith perspectives were too much to try and make their relationship go the distance. Feelings were deeply hurt because of it. This happens more than a lil' bit, so definitely ask yourself if you would go into an interfaith dynamic for casual reasons or, if it is long-term, if you are prepared to make some serious compromises in order to keep the connection intact (see "Interfaith Marriages Can Require Big Compromises").
Are Your Core Values and Principles Going to Be Compromised in Any Way?
Speaking of compromise, since I know that there are a lot of Christian women who support our site, and since I'm also aware of the fact that there are literally dozens and dozens of different denominations within the Christian "umbrella" (several sources say that there are around 200; you can cite that info here and here), it's worth mentioning that you can date a Christian but if they aren't apart of the same denomination as you, there can still be conflict. I've dated a Muslim before and honestly, when it came down to our core values and principles, we got along pretty well. Oh, but when I dated someone who was a Christian but wasn't the same denomination as I was—back when I was a part of one—pardon the pun but all hell broke loose. While we're here, please don't believe that non-denominational or interdenominational don't have strong denominational influences. I attended a "non-denominational church" for years but the influence was clearly what the first lady was—COGIC.
My point is this—when it comes to our core values and principles, if you're looking for the kind of relationship that is going to be long-term, you need to be with someone who complements both of those. How do you prioritize your career? How important is family to you? What are your views on sex? Where do you stand when it comes to political and social justice issues? What qualities do you value most in a relationship? What place do you give to boundaries and self-care? And yes, how important is religion to you? Don't assume that if you're Baptist who is dating someone who is Church of Christ or even is also Baptist that the relationship will automatically be smooth sailing. At the same time, don't assume that someone who is Buddhist or Bahá'í won't align with you in some unexpected ways.
The key is to know where you stand and then not to compromise on those things if you feel like you will be sacrificing the core of who you are in order to do so. At the end of the day, one of the articles that I read stated something that I agree with—"80% of those who are in an interfaith marriage believe that having similar values is more important than having a similar faith." Values over faith. Definitely not something that needs to be underestimated.
Will You Both Respect Each Other’s Beliefs?
I won't lie. Some of my most heated discussions involve the topic of religion. Hmph. Don't even get me started on Kanye. See, I'm already triggered. It's cool to have people in my world who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahai, Catholic, agnostic, atheist—I've even had some interesting conversations with Satanists before (heads up—Satanists don't subscribe to worshipping Satan but self; a lot of people don't know that). The reason is they can provide insights and perspectives that 1) I've probably never considered before and 2) can help to either strengthen my own faith or compel me to do more studying and researching. Y'all, you can't end up coming to this conclusion if you don't respect the religious views of others—first.
If you're not hearing someone else out, you're being disrespectful. If you think you've got so much "truth" that you are condescending and patronizing (I am floored by how many people of one faith try and actually tell someone of another faith what that person's faith is all about instead of listening to them), you're being disrespectful. On the dating tip, if what you're actually doing is "missionary dating"—meaning, you claim it's dating but really what you're doing is trying to convert someone—you're being disrespectful. If all you seem to be able to do is see the good in your faith and the "bad" in someone else's, you're being disrespectful. If you're trying to invoke—or provoke—fear into someone in order for them to see things your way, you are being disrespectful. If you are flippant and dismissive about how someone else views God or a higher power, yep—you are being disrespectful.
I'll tell you what—if there is an irony that comes out of interfaith relationships, it's the fact that it has the ability to reveal to people if they are as "godly" and "loving" as they think that they are. Because if you are dating someone of a different faith and you are rude, offensive and intolerant—what kind of religion are you in? You might want to seek another one. Real talk.
If the Desire Is Marriage and Kids, How Will You Raise Them?
When it comes to this particular point, the person who immediately comes to my mind is Bill Maher. No matter what you think about him, if you're considering or are already in an interfaith relationship, I encourage you to watch (or re-watch) his documentary from back in the day entitledReligulous. Not only does it touch on some points that are definitely worth pondering, it also provides a great example for why I brought up this part of the article up. Bill? He had one parent who was Catholic and one who was Jewish. Geeze. I'm not sure if it gets more extreme than that, just on the Christ points alone. That's why I can see how he struggles with issues of faith, religion and spirituality; why he's always looking for contradictions. Just look at how his upbringing had its own set of 'em.
There are some people close to me who have two young children. The mother is a Christian and the father isn't; he doesn't really affiliate with any faith. That has caused some real challenges when it comes to how they see church-going, holiday observances and even how the home should function when it comes to gender roles, spirituality and a host of other things. When it was just the couple, while they were both a little irritated by a few differences in perspectives, it wasn't that big of a deal. Now that they are raising little humans, though, they are in counseling more than they've ever been.
Moral to the story. If you are already in an interfaith relationship and you are contemplating marriage, have some serious conversations about if you both desire to have children and, if so, how they should be raised. Don't be out here in la-la-land thinking that you'll just cross that bridge when you get to it. If you wait until then, you might end up with a child who is super confused (and perhaps also mad disinterested) when it comes to the issue of faith. Not because of faith itself but because of all of the contradictions they witnessed while growing up…in your household.
Do You Get That You Can Be “Unequally Yoked” Beyond One’s Faith?
The kind of Christians I know who think that an article like this is totally ridiculous, they tend to feel that way due to a Scripture in the Bible that says, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14—NKJV) It's in the Scriptures, no question.
To that, I just want to present something for you to consider. Is an "unbeliever" only someone who doesn't share your religious perspective? Could it quite possibly also speak to someone who doesn't complement your life, in general? Could it be someone who actually doesn't believe…in you?
Sharing the same religious or spiritual beliefs with someone is important; there is no debating that. But Christians actually divorce more than any other faith in the world. And that kind of actually proves the point that I'm trying to make here. Don't be out here thinking that if you share the same faith with someone that you are automatically in sync with them. In order to walk together in a true partnership, make sure you are on the same page about if you believe in one another too.
Can You Truly Agree to Disagree?
Ask any married couple who has any real time under their belt and they're going to tell you that if you want to have peace in your household, there are going to be some things that you will simply need to "agree to disagree" on. And boy, no greater words could be spoken than when it applies to an interfaith relationship. Take the holidays, for example. I once interviewed a wife on the topic of interfaith unions. Because she was Jewish and her husband was Christian, Christmas used to be a nightmare in her house because she thought that celebrating the birth of what her faith sees as a prophet vs. what her husband sees as the Savior of mankind couldn't be more blasphemous. She said that she finally got OK with some of the things that her husband wanted to do, simply because of the peace and joy that his attitude brought into their home that time of the year. "Christmas irks me, but it's only for a day. I can deal with all of the hoopla for 24 hours."
If you want to make your own interfaith marriage work and last, this is the kind of attitude that you need to be prepared to have about a lot of things. Again, even if you are both in the same faith but are a part of different denominations. I am a Sabbath observer. Tons of the people I've dated go to church on Sunday. We both are Bible believers, but that one thing alone can still cause conflict. See what I mean?
As I bring this to a close, this final point is a great reminder that, in the midst of your pondering, keep in mind that if you are controlling, intolerant or impatient, an interfaith relationship is absolutely not for you. Because in order to make that type of relationship work and last, you need to be the opposite of each of those traits. You need to have faith that two different faiths have enough mutual love and respect to work through the differences. If you don't honestly believe that, it's a big world out here. Opt for someone who shares your faith—so that hopefully joy, peace and harmony will be at you and yours' foundation. After all, that should be the ultimate goal. Whether two people share the same faith—or not.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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