Getting Married and Keeping Our Religions


As a Catholic teen and young adult, I never imagined I would be planning an interfaith wedding. Even though I was preparing to leave for college in Washington, D.C., I imagined I would be married in my local parish church, by one of the priests I had worked with as a receptionist at our parish center. And here I am, nine years later, planning a life together with a man who completes me and compliments me in the most important ways—and, oh yeah, he’s Jewish.

I’m so happy with the path I have chosen, but it’s different than what I imagined for myself. The saying goes that humans plan and God laughs, but I also believe that God has an infinitely better plan.

My fiancé Zach and I met on the university shuttle on our first day at college. He was rooming with a guy I knew from high school. We went on a few dates, but were ultimately reluctant to jump into something immediately. Five years later, we started dating after attending Preakness (for the music, not the beer or the horses).

A few years in, we started to seriously think about our future. Could we get married and raise a family where he could still be Jewish and I could still be Catholic? Our spirituality, traditions, culture and history make us who we are and shape our families.

Being a planner, I did the only sensible thing to do: I researched. Other people must have had similar challenges or questions, right? We weren’t the first ones to consider doing this. In my research, I was amazed at the resources and communities available to interfaith families. (Side note: What did people do without the internet?) I found great references about what to expect on InterfaithFamily‘s website, including this post about a Catholic priest’s perspective on interfaith marriage. Following a couple’s story was incredibly powerful and made me feel less alone—I saved a few posts from A Practical Wedding (this one brought me to tears and made me realize that I could plan a beautiful and meaningful interfaith wedding). I connected with the challenges and vulnerability that authors shared in the stories I read. We started looking for examples of what we were looking for: a family where the beauty of what we each had experienced as children could be imparted to our kids; where both partners’ beliefs were treated equally; where no one felt excluded.

Reading Susan Katz Miller’s Being Both helped us make our decision. The book explores interfaith families who have chosen to educate their children in both traditions. Some kids choose to continue in both; others make an informed choice about which tradition is right for them. It made us realize that we didn’t have to choose between our traditions; we could share the beauty of both in an authentic way and that others had, in fact, already done it.

Fast forward a few years, and we’re less than six months away from our interfaith wedding in September. We are planning a beautiful outdoor ceremony with a priest and a rabbi both officiating. We have incorporated elements of both our faiths that are particularly meaningful to our family and us. While it has not been easy to plan, it’s been an experience that will stick with us as we begin our married life, and it’s been a good testing ground for our problem-solving and communication as a couple. So far, we’ve aced it.


About Laura Drescher

Laura is a practicing Catholic navigating life in Washington, DC with her Jewish husband. She is passionate about public service, environmental stewardship, and interfaith connections. Just married in September 2017, she is excited to jump into married life and form new faith traditions with her life partner.

6 thoughts on “Getting Married and Keeping Our Religions”

  • he question is whether you already know the Torah why marry someone who does not profess your faith. I criticize no one but in my case was a Protestant Christian. I was ordained minister and I was in the ministry for more than 18 years and after studying Judaism I made my conversion and my daughter who grew up in a Christian environment tells me daddy I do not think I’m dealing with a non-Jew because of the idea of believing in someone else Hashem She celebrated her bat mizbat a few weeks ago. But I am here to learn because in my experience as a Jewish convert I have found many Jews, Christian, Messianic, Buddhist

  • Hi Mary, thanks for the comment! I’m sure you’re finding some of the same challenges. I’ll be sharing our ceremony in my next blog post–should be up by mid June. We went with a great mix, and our rabbi has been a great resource in weaving the Catholic and Jewish elements together to make the ceremony truly interfaith. Definitely reach out if you have questions or want to chat after I post the ceremony info!

  • I love your story. I’m a Catholic and fiance is Jewish and we are getting married in September as well. We are having a mixed ceremony with both a priest and rabbi officiating, although the rabbi will be the primary officiant. I am struggling some with what and where to include certain parts of the Catholic elements among some of the Jewish rituals in our ceremony. If you could share your ceremony outline, and/or program that would be really great!

  • Thank you, Margie! It’s incredible to see both the differences and similarities in families who did this years ago versus those who are faced with that choice today. I agree, this relationship has given me the opportunity to learn more about my own religion as well as my finance’s.

  • We chose this path 42 years ago and are still on it today. It is possible and manageable, but not easy. I have been a practicing Protestant and come from a large very active Christian extended family. My husband had a Bar Mitzvah, but then has identified more of the social side of Judaism than the spiritual. I found myself learning about Jewish holidays and traditions to pass on to our three kids and developed our own sense of celebrating them. The Christian holidays are shared by all of us. In many ways, I have been pushed to research and define my own beliefs in order to explain them to my husband and family. It has given me strength and reverence for both religions. I agree that you are lucky to have a resource such as Interfaith Family to help you on your journey. We have realized that there are many more beliefs we share than those that divide us.

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