I don’t know why last night (i.e. several hours ago) I found my mind stumbling with the mystery of interfaith marriage, an issue very personal to me (but that’s another story™). A building block had been established as early as [the end of 2009], possibly even earlier. At that time, however, my view was rather based on emotional observation, immature idealism, and narrow view. Those who know me personally know what happened next, but that’s also another story™. Nevertheless, considering how ideas actually evolve and how a man develops, it was somehow normal. Now, I have learnt more, and what I want to write here is a development of the previous idea.
Now I truly understand that interfaith relationships are a VERY HARD concept (pardon me for the capitalisation). Even regular relationships are already hard, considering how two persons under the same umbrella can actually have totally different world views. Never mind extremely conservative ideologies, never mind the fundamentalists, never mind social taboos. In liberal societies, judgments might be far and between, and more religious clerics may be willing to give blessings in interfaith wedding ceremonies, but interfaith relationships are still VERY HARD (again, pardon me). I observe the following things.
- A religion in itself is a system with a clear(er) boundary. You either profess or you do not. Although different religions can share the same golden rule, in details, one religion’s view can contradict another’s. This is as opposed to ethnic and cultural backgrounds, which can be blurry, to the point that a friend of mine could say that he was 25% Malay, 25% Chinese, 25% Sundanese, and 25% Batak, although he identifies himself more as a Malay. This is also different from how religions can adopt elements of local culture, like me bearing the labels “Javanese” and “Catholic” at the same time. And even “Indonesian”, for that matter. I cannot see how one can hold more than two religions at the same time without creating a new world view. If you know, please enlighten me.
- I now see marriage not only happen between two persons; it also ties the knots between their two families. In this situation, complexity raises by numerous folds, as an additional one person to consider rises the problem’s dimension, eventually creating an [explosion]. While you might be able to make common grounds with your partner, it might not be the case with your in-laws. You may not communicate with them regularly, but even one rare fundamental disagreement with them can spread to you and your partner.
- Some problems might be due to lack of preparations by the couples themselves. Love blinds. Add immature decision making, couples might not talk intensively about their differences, and a time bomb is on the make. Even after considering a lot of things, lots and lots of them, eventually in your marriage, you might face a situation which you never thought of before.
- Interfaith couples are more likely to divorce [link].
- (I might add more later on)
Therefore interfaith relationships in their nature are VERY HARD. I have to be honest: the way I see it, interfaith couples are very likely to be depressing. They are risky and relatively unstable.
But there is actually a chance for interfaith relationships to work, right?
For some couples, they do work. I have aunts and uncles who have such marriages. So, is there a formulation to increase global happiness for interfaith couples? Ethnic differences in the past might be obstacles to marriages, but it seems to me they are less so nowadays.
I think I see something from my Computer Science background which can help. The keyword is [Interoperability], which is a study on how different systems can work together and maximise their (united) performance.
The thing is, I am not really familiar with Interoperability. I don’t know advanced concepts, and I am not aware of their current status. I can only say, based on my experience on doing research making use of different libraries, three things.
- There are a lot of conflicts. On one occasion, I gave up using one very famous library (let’s call it L1), free but closed source, because the provided libraries were not built with the same configuration as another library (let’s call it L2) which is more fundamental to my code. L1 was built with Multithreaded option (/MT), L2 was with Multithreaded DLL (/MD). L1 doesn’t support L2’s configuration, and vice versa. L1 and L2 broke up and eventually I found an alternative library (L3) which has the same purpose as L1 and can be integrated to the system. Now, what can make a happy ending possible for the relationship between L1 and L2? Either 1) L1’s developers publish L1’s source code so that I can use L2’s configuration when building L1, or 2) I join the company who makes L1.
- There are also a lot of gives-and-takes. By a lot, I mean a lot. While a library can provide a very fast implementation of an algorithm, it might lack performance for other algorithms, or they might not exist at all, the solution of which you have to implement yourself. Also, while I aim for as strict abstraction as possible, such that I only allow library-specific code in a wrapper class, it can simply be beyond reach at times. For example, the interfaces to save a data structure in different formats are very different, and I am not sure how I could have a unified access to both formats. Since it lies well down below in my priority list, currently I had library-specific codes inside the main project, with a hope that the future me can move it to the wrapper.
- Solving differences and dependencies can be very tough, especially if solutions are obscure, not readily available, or beyond your knowledge and reach when the situation arises. Be mentally prepared, and do give a lot of time for it. Are you willing to dedicate your entire life just for your interfaith marriage, with the possibility of giving up some other dreams of yours?
I do not currently have any idea whether there is a good or bad conclusion for this, or even if it is conclusive at all, but I hope someday I can continue to develop this framework.