It is often said that birds of a feather flock together while opposites attract. Usually such conflicted sayings are applied to the dating scene. In terms of marriages, there seems to be some proof of opposites attracting at a more global, abstract level. For instance, Interracial marriages in the United States have risen to 4.8 million – which equates to 1 in 12 couples.-the highest number yet since these sorts of things have been tracked
Another apparently somewhat common type of spousal relationship (or one that seems to be rising in existence) that I don’t quite understand are those couples who get married and despite their vows of love and “in sickness and in health” (yadayadayada), maintain separate banking accounts. To me, being in such a relationship is akin to saying “I want to spend the rest of my life with you but my money won’t and come to think of it, I may not” (or in other words “hey hubby, To each his own”). Interestingly, many of those within my inner circles that keep separate bank accounts have eventually divorced or have suffered through some major financial meltdown that required them to band together financially after-all. Anyway, back to the larger topic at hand.
Again, they say birds of a feather flock together, opposites attract. The “opposites” part is more about skills sets while the “birds of a feather” part does oftentimes pertain to values, and subsequently religious beliefs. Different religious backgrounds or philosophies do not generally tend to attract. But, just as we are seeing more mixed race couples, blended-religion couples are on the rise as well. Although, such pairings are somewhat akin to holding separate bank accounts. If you believe non-Christians will not go to heaven upon death, do you want to spend your eternity on earth with someone you cannot meet in the afterlife?
Mixed religion couples do happen and the mixing can cause hilarity. What do you get when the father is of Jewish background, the mother is of catholic background, the aunt is Pentecostal and the nanny is Muslim? You get: a very confused teacher at a catholic school. Specifically, my son’s catholic teacher is very confused. My son is not confused. He has a few more years before his confusion sets in. Right at the moment, what he knows is that he gets to bake cookies for Santa Claus that he leaves under the menorah. He gets seven small gifts and some odd coins for his piggy banks and several large epic toys under an awesomely decorated Christmas tree that has a musical note sign as the tree top. Even our Muslim nanny celebrates Christmas. This is America folks! To add to the situational complexity, we believe our dog, a mixed Pekingese, is deep down really a Russian Buddhist who prays for cheese, apple pie and vodka for the holidays.
We will continue to send our son to catholic school while we expose him to other religions and philosophies. Although, hopefully his preschool report card will show signs of improvement in regards to his ability to make the sign of the cross. Yes, you read that correctly he gets graded not only on his ability to hop on one foot, name his colors and correctly remember his non-existent nickname, but he also gets graded on his reverence during school prayer and for his ability to make the sign of the cross. With such a blending of religious views, will my son be an agnostic or a true devout? What will the future of this country’s religious views look like? Our coins say “in god we trust” but which god and for what? My mom was a devout catholic but at times it seemed like her superstitions really were what guided her philosophically. She believed! She believed in a higher being but there were too many daily oddities that ended with some other type of explanation. At the end, I believe there is karma and what you put out there (action-wise, though-wise, luck-wise) comes back to you threefold. It’s just a different way at looking at the cycle of life. May these blended families continue to rise and may we continue to seek ever more for the meaning of it all.
In the spirit of my family, I wish you Feliz Rosh Hashana