Inter-religious marriage counselling in South Africa : towards a counselling model for inter-religious couples : a Christian perspective.
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The research is on inter-religious marriage and counselling from a Christian perspective. Although religious intolerance and resistance to inter-religious and inter-faith marriages exist in society, it appears that inter-religious marriages are on the increase. Since couples in inter-religious marriage experience more challenges than couples from the same religion, it is necessary to develop an integrated counselling model that may be used to counsel such couples. In view of this, skilful counsellors and appropriate counselling are needed. The research will focus on the transformation process in South Africa; the dynamics of the family; religion and culture; the dynamics of marriage; the conceptualizing of inter-religious marriages and its challenges; the understanding of the influence of Christianity upon inter-religious marriages; the different counselling theories; and the nature of a relevant integrated counselling model for inter-religious marriages. The transformation process had caused a huge impact in South Africa religiously and culturally. The communication across religions an cultures have opened up, hence the increase in inter-religious relationships and marriages. The major religions of the world hold different views concerning inter-religious marriages. Christianity, Islam and Hinduism prohibit inter-religious marriages to various degrees. Despite the restrictions inter-religious, interfaith and inter-cultural marriages still do take place. Christianity allows inter-religious under certain conditions and also inter-cultural marriages if the partners are Christians. All inter-religious marriages pose new challenges, especially when it concerns the religious traditions and cultural issues. Most couples possess a limited ability to find solutions to these challenges. They are, therefore, often unable to cope in these situations – to reach compromises and amicably deal with their challenges. In view of this, a counsellor is required to assist. Appropriate counselling is needed in inter-religious marriages. The counsellor needs to be skilful in order to intervene in these marriages. Therefore, different counselling elements are examined in order to create a relevant integrated Psycho-spiritual counselling model for inter-religious marriages.