Would You Convert Religions For Your Significant Other?

signing the ketubah
Photo Credit: Erin Johnson on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly

Israel-born actress Natalie Portman and French choreographer Benjamin Millepied tied the knot in a private Jewish ceremony back in 2012. Now, the parents to two-year-old Aleph are living in Israel while Portman works on her directorial debut, an adaptation of A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz. After "falling in love with the country," Millepied has reportedly decided to convert to Judaism. 

This made us wonder: How important is it for you and your spouse to follow the same religion? Nearly a decade ago, Portman was quoted as saying, "A priority for me is definitely that I'd like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner."

From personal experience, I definitely think one of the most important things to work out in advance is how you’re going to raise your kids, if you decide to have them. My husband is Jewish, and I was raised Catholic. In our day-to-day lives, it doesn’t really affect us. It’s actually great around the religious holidays because we don’t have to argue about whose family we’re going spend Christmas or Passover with. Years ago — long before we were engaged — we decided we’d raise our future kids Jewish, primarily because religion is far more important to him than it is to me. I don’t plan on converting (the topic has never even come up), but I’ll be supportive of our kids getting a religious education. There’s certainly a lot to learn — right now, we’re trying to figure out this whole baby naming ceremony for when our daughter is born in four months — but as long as you keep an open dialogue, and your partner is understanding about any discomfort you may have regarding religion, it doesn’t have to become a recipe for disaster.

Tell us: Does it matter if your spouse shares your religious beliefs? Would you ever consider converting for your significant other?

—Kristen Klein