Friday, April 29, 2016

Marriage 101: A Jew and Gentile Marriage

I've always been fascinated by how many of my Christian married friends are in 'Jew and Gentile marriages'...especially since I'm in one myself.  Let me explain...

Now, most of us aren't Jews (either ethnically or religiously).  Most of the people reading this will be Gentiles (non Jews).

What I mean is the challenges of a Christian marriage where one spouse has grown up in a Christian family and one has not.  Some Christians grow up hearing the gospel from their parents, going to church, saying grace at dinner time, knowing the latest Christian pop songs (or all of the old hymns)...they've been 'Christianised'.  Duncan falls into this category.  Like the Jews, they've grown up knowing of God's ways.

Then there are Christians, like me, who haven't grown up in a Christian home, have barely gone to church before becoming a Christian, have never heard of the Newsboys or Steven Curtis Chapman, don't really know any old hymns, but somehow heard about Jesus in their teens or adulthood and put their faith in Him.  Like the Gentiles, they've grown up knowing very little about Jesus until the gospel spread to them.

There are many different types of 'Jews' and 'Gentiles', so I don't wish to squash everyone into two boxes.  In our case, Duncan has grown up hearing hymns all the time in church and was kind of over a lot of them (although he does have his favourites).  Whereas I hadn't heard many of them and wanted to buy a CD of them....everything was new and fresh (Duncan said 'no').

I tend to question a lot of traditions and practices.  I find some things are just done because they've always been done that way and they aren't helpful in building up the body of Christ.  Sometimes Duncan finds my questioning of things a bit too much.  Other times, he said I challenge him and help him in his faith.

Duncan doesn't really have a lot of non-Christian friends.  Since marrying me, he's had to get used to having non-Christian in-laws.  Whereas I wish I'd had the blessing of Christian parents, and I enjoy being able to talk openly about Christian things with his family.

Our different upbringings have meant we've had to flesh out differences of opinion on many things (education being one example, although we're on the same page now).  Sometimes it does feel like a clash of cultures, like a Chinese person marrying a Pakistani.  Even though both spouses are Christian, a Jew-Gentile marriage does have its challenges.

But, personally, I love how our different upbringings lead us to challenge each other and think things through.  I see many Christian couples with identical upbringings (i.e. same church/denomination, both homeschooled etc.) doing the same things for their kids, and I'm glad we're not like that.

Do you have a Jew-Gentile marriage, or are you both 'Jews', or both 'Gentiles'?
How have you found it to impact your marriage?

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Ours is a little bit Jew-Gentile. I definitely had a more "Christian" upbringing than my husband, though he was taken to church and Sunday school. And became a Christian at youth group as a teen. I think I have more non-Christian friends than him, though, just because I have more friends :D. It's been interesting spending time with his family who know about Christianity, but don't go much further than that. I don't think it's had a huge impact on our marriage. David had been a Christian for about a decade when we got married and we have many mutual Christian friends from uni days. Attending two large presbyterian churches in my youth means that I have many contacts in those circles. That's been interesting as we go about different churches on deputation work as missionaries. It's rare that I don't know someone.