Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, December 15, 2014

Answering the Hard Questions Can Help You Make A Powerful Commitment

Susan Piver, Guest Author

For those of us contemplating marriage in the new millennium, a conscious effort is required to create a shared vision. Nothing can be taken for granted. There are no cultural models for us to look to. Often traditional religious values can’t support our relationship. For many of us, our divorced parents can’t offer a model to emulate. TV, movies, music; they’re all about easy solutions, romantic escapades, youthful passion. How, then, do we create an adult view of relationships, one that includes passion and commitment, the fullness of who each person is and can be?

HardQuestionsThere is no technique, no gimmick, no class, no easy answer. The solution, the only solution, is knowing and revealing yourself and receiving your pratner – relentlessly, and with great skill. My book, “The Hard Questions: 100 Questions to Ask Before You Say ‘I Do’” helps create a shared view of life and a deeper knowledge or your self and your beloved. It can be used throughout the life of a relationship; answering these questions ten years into a relationship is as valuable as answering them ten months into it. The hard questions can help lead to a deeper level of intimacy.

For many of us, religion is something that we observe when someone is born, marries or dies. Suddenly, as such moments, the religion you were raised with, the traditions your family may have followed, become vitally important.

Any impulse your beloved may have to devalue or ignore such traditions can become very, very hurtful. It’s important to examine what you will do, if anything, to mark the passages of life. If you are married, it is likely you encountered this curious arousal of attachment to tradition while planning the marriage ceremony.


For more info, click book cover!

Also, for many of us, spirituality has become increasingly important in our day-to-day lives. Many people have “practices”; yoga, meditation, communal gatherings, discussion groups, that are central to their lives. It is important to share such practices with your beloved! If so, why? If not, why not? And what happens when one partner holds childhood religious traditions dear while the other has created a unique spiritual practice, totally apart from the religion her or she grew up with? How are both belief systems honored and blended under one roof?

1. Do we share a religion? Do we belong to a church, synagogue, mosque or temple? More than one? If not, would our relationship benefit from such an affiliation?

2. Do we share a spiritual practice such as meditation, yoga or some other type of “non-traditional” observance? If not, would adding such a practice enrich our lives together?

3. Does one of us have an individual spiritual practice? If the practice and the time devoted to it acceptable to the other? Does each partner understand and respect the other’s choices?

4. What does each desire of the other in terms of support and/or participation in the other’s practice?

5. How do we mark births and deaths within our family?

6. What place do spiritual and/or religious beliefs play in our home and home life?

7. Do we observe any spiritual rituals? Celebrate any religious holidays? Together? Separately?

Larry’s NOTE: Getting married? You would be wise to purchase this helpful book, “The Hard Questions: 100 Questions to Ask Before You Say ‘I Do’!” The questions include topics like, money, work, sex, health & food, family, home and more. It is a simple, yet profound relationship tool that can forge and strengthen lasting, intimate bonds between engaged couples, newly-weds, and all those in long term relationships. I highly recommend it!

BONUS Articles: Religion vs. Spirituality
Spirituality ~ Take Two
The Benefits of Integrating Spirituality into Your Daily Life
Holy! Holy! Holy!
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Vows, Parents & Religion: Conundrum!

Susan_PiverCopyright © 2014 – Susan Piver. Adapted from Susan’s book. Susan Piver is the former President of Upaya Recordings, where she developed CD/Book packages with authors Andrew Weil, M.D., Deepak Chopra and Thomas Moore. She currently runs Padma Projects, a production company that creates CD/Books. To learn more about answering the Hard Questions, visit,



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Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Tips for Having a Successful Interfaith Marriage

Filed under: Interfaith Marriage,Religion,Spirituality — Larry James @ 7:30 am

Jacqui Barrie, Guest Author

With the divorce rate in America affecting around half of all marriages, it’s clear that building a successful, long-lasting union isn’t easy. When partners come from two different faiths, the challenges can be even more daunting. With love, respect and a healthy dose of compromise, however, interfaith marriages can be both successful and happy. If you’re in an interfaith marriage or relationship, here are some things to keep in mind:

Let Love Open the Lines of Communication

Cross-ChristianityInterfaith unions are most successful when both spouses remain committed to facing the unique challenges that dual-faith marriages present with honesty and integrity. Although open communication about differences in faith should begin before marriage, it’s never too late to start the conversation.

In “A Non-Judgmental Guide to Interfaith Marriage,” Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben encourages communication by reminding couples that “You won’t stop loving each other if you talk about your religion.” It’s important to remember that love is one human quality that practitioners of every religion value. If you’re nervous about talking to your spouse about faith, that’s OK. Tell him you’re nervous and that you’d like to talk about some serious matters, but you don’t know how or where to start. The more open you are, the better it will go for the both of you.

Learn About Each Other’s Faith

In the book “Interfaith Families: Personal Stories of Jewish-Christian Intermarriage,” Jane Kaplan stresses the importance about learning about your spouse’s religion as a way to develop mutual respect. Asking each other questions is not only a learning experience, but a way to determine the depth of commitment that each partner has to the faith. Bringing the extended family into the conversation may also be helpful, as long as everyone promises beforehand to treat each other with courtesy and respect. As always, open and honest questions are the best way to go.

Offer Education and Choices for Children

Any discussion about having and raising children should include a conversation about religion, particularly as it pertains to education. Couples need to decide how important it is to them that their children be educated in two religions, one faith, or none. Because the decision can influence the schools and childcare facilities that parents choose for their children, couples need to make clear choices early on in the marriage.

Whatever choices you make, it’s critical for the well-being of your children that you and your spouse present a united front. A show of mutual respect is a valuable life lesson that will serve your children well as they grow into adulthood. Answer your child’s questions, encourage him and help him learn how to make his own decisions.

Keep Holiday Traditions

When discussing how involved each spouse wants to be in his or her chosen faith, holiday observances should be included in the conversation. For some people, religious observances are so linked to holidays that celebrating without them is unimaginable. Even people who say that religion isn’t important to them, for example, may still find it difficult to enjoy the holiday season without a Christmas tree or a menorah. Couples may discover that it’s enjoyable to include traditions from both sides of the family. It’s likely that the in-laws will appreciate the inclusion of family traditions as well.

religionCelebrate Your Differences

Author Naomi Schaefer Riley conducted a national survey of couples in interfaith marriages for her book “Til Faith Do Us Part.” While findings from the survey did indicate a higher rate of conflict among interfaith couples — which isn’t surprising given the natural struggles such couples face — Riley also found that “marrying someone of another faith tended to improve one’s view of that faith.” A partner in an interfaith marriage herself, Riley encourages couples to take the challenges of a dual-faith partnership seriously, but also to celebrate the fact that they live in a country where they can marry anyone they wish despite their differences in faith.

When it comes to learning to navigate the pitfalls of an interfaith marriage, there are no hard and fast rules. Couples may feel less pressure and enjoy their marriage more by giving themselves permission to try a different approach if the situation warrants it. There’s nothing wrong with changing course midstream if a better solution shows up on the horizon.

When it comes to a happy marriage, compromise is much more about finding mutual success than it is about one side admitting defeat.

BONUS Article: Religion vs. Spirituality

Copyright © 2013 – Jacqui Barrie. Jacqui Barrie is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor for ““. She loves writing article on Healthy Relationship, Marriages, Love etc.


CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about Weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – and

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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