Mixed Faith: Interfaith Couples

Something & Nothing is preferred over Something & ‘Something Else’ (unless the something else is Buddhist)

When people of faith date interreligiously, they prefer to date someone NOT of faith (atheist or agnostic) as opposed to someone of any other possible faith (unless the other faith is Buddhist). When people NOT of faith date interreligiously, they prefer to date someone OF faith rather than being an Atheist-Agnostic couple or Agnostic-Atheist couple (from an actor-partner viewpoint), χ2 (1 , N = 355) = 49.73, p < .001.

Part of the reason why Buddhism is the preferred faith in ‘something-with-something else’ interfaith couples may have to do with Buddhism being enmeshed in religiously diverse contexts.

The historically peaceful coexistence of major religions in South Korea is an understated aspect of its unique cultural pluralism (Lee, 1999; Shin-Ho Choi, 2017). The major faith affiliations in South Korea are Buddhism, Christianity, and no affiliation. Moreover, Islam increased by 32% between 2002 & 2012 (Young-Dae Yoo, 2012).

Status Tradeoffs: Racial Status & Educational Status

Among multiracial participants’ parents, when mothers had higher racial status we found 55% of dads had higher edu status, but an edu-race status exchange was only found for 17.1% of moms when the father had higher racial status, χ2(1, N = 61) = 9.30, p = .002.

2.1 Update

“Interminority couples are more likely to form as a result of a panethnic dyadic identity borne out of shared experiences of marginalization than are interracial couples where at least one member has White heritage (Vasquez-Tokos, 2017).

Research finds that interracial couples who successfully form a multicultural dyadic identity report higher relationship satisfaction and that they may benefit from the potential enrichment afforded by embracing someone different from oneself (Reiter & Gee, 2008; Sasaki & Vorauer, 2013).

Interracial couples may develop/sharpen resilient characteristics, such as scouting intended destinations to ensure the current patrons/inhabitants don’t pose a threat (Hibbler & Shinew, 2002; Lehmiller & Konkel, 2012), are more likely to migrate than intraracial couples (Bohm & Shapley, 2013), expend more executive resources when navigating sensitive conversations consequential to relationship maintenance (Gaines & Agnew, 2003), & are more likely to live in racially diverse communities (Holloway, Ellis, Wright, & Hudson, 2005), as heterosexual interracial couples experience more macrocultural hostility (Bhugra & De Silva, 2000; Dalmage, 2000; Henriksen & Watts, 1999; Hibbler & Shinew, 2002; Killian, 2001; Klocker & Tindale, 2019; Leslie & Letiecq, 2004; McNamara, Tempenis, & Walton, 1999; Vaquera & Kao, 2005), face social network opposition and rejection at a far greater magnitude (Böhm & Shapley, 2013; Lehmiller & Agnew, 2006; Lehmiller & Konkel, 2012; Luke & Carrington, 2000; Miller, Olson, & Fazio, 2004; Root, 2001; Skinner & Rae, 2019), & may be at greater risk for dissolution due to external disapproval (Bratter & King, 2008; Brown, Williams, & Durtschi, 2018; Zhang & Van Hook, 2009).

Hispanic-White couples are about 50% more likely to divorce than Asian-Hispanic couples & Black-White couples are about 10% more likely to divorce than Asian-Black couples (Brown, Williams, & Durtschi, 2018).

Multiracial identity increases an appreciation and empathy for cultural diversity among others (Shih & Sanchez, 2009).”

Exchange via Marriage (Colonial Era America)

“During the first stages of contact and conquest, marriage to a Native American or a Mexican woman of a particular family or class had significant economic and political value. These marriages were often the vehicle by which Euro-American men gained access to land or other economic resources as well as to political and military alliances (Green, 2001). This was not the case with African American or Asian women in the 19th century West. As enslaved or contract workers, African American and Asian women had neither economic nor political value as marriage partners.” — Antonia Castenada, 1992

Religious Fluidity (Pew, 2009)

About half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Most people who change their religion leave their childhood faith before age 24, and many of those who change religion do so more than once.

Two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated and half of former Protestants who have become unaffiliated say they left their childhood faith because they stopped believing in its teachings, and roughly four-in-ten say they became unaffiliated because they do not believe in God or the teachings of most religions. Additionally, many people who left a religion to become unaffiliated say they did so in part because they think of religious people as hypocritical or judgmental, because religious organizations focus too much on rules or because religious leaders are too focused on power and money. Far fewer say they became unaffiliated because they believe that modern science proves that religion is just superstition



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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.