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Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:
Two spouses from different traditions of Christian faith have everything to gain by sharing their faith understanding and experience with one another. It’s about mutual enrichment. You have perhaps learned to pray and express your faith in different ways, but to the same Savior. Can you share those ways with one another and enrich each other’s ways of communicating with and relating to God?
The home life of two married Christians is meant to be an ecclesiola, a little church. To work for unity and peace within your marriage and family is a mission given by Jesus to all his followers: “As the Father sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). We are sent by Jesus to work for this unity between Christians not because we belong to one particular church but because we belong to Jesus. This is the mission of each of us individually and of our communities of faith as a whole. So I appreciate your question about how to realize more unity and harmony within your home around questions of faith. Here are Ten Compass Bearings for Effective Dialogue that will hopefully point the way forward in your sharing with one another around questions of faith.
* Know how to listen, and answer only when your spouse has finished speaking.
* Think before you speak.
* Speak the truth with love and avoid exaggeration.
* Explain the reasons for your hesitancies.
* Realize that it’s possible to have a different opinion without quarreling.
* Be kind and respectful in sharing your perceptions and convictions.
* Do not criticize one another but to try to encourage each other to live according to your beliefs.
* Avoid any deliberate annoying or harassment of one another
* Look for the common ground in your faith understanding.
* Try to understand before being understood, and your partner will likely then go the extra mile as well in making every effort to understand you.