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Until recently, most people tended to marry someone from the same or a very similar background. This is not the case today. Research suggests that people are crossing-over ethnic, religious, racial and class boundaries with increased frequency. In order to describe these changes, a host of new terms have emerged. Those who visit this Web site will encounter some of these terms. As a result, this glossary provides definitions of these terms in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the information contained in this Web site.

Intermarriage. This is an inclusive term. It is used in this Web site to describe a marriage between a man and woman who have chosen to cross over one or more of the following social boundaries: (1) religious boundaries, (2) ethnic/cultural boundaries, (3) racial boundaries, and (4) class boundaries.

Mixed Marriage. Before offering a definition of this descriptor, I would like to share the following information. Several decades ago, this term tended to be used with regularity. However, contemporary experts who study this population of marriages generally view this descriptor as lacking precision. They also feel that there are more complimentary ways of referring to this population of marriages. As a result, this descriptor is no longer used with frequency among most writers and researches, nor will it be used in this Web site, except when quoting the observations of participants involved in the Interfaith Research Project. With that stated, when this descriptor was used with regularity, it was used to describe a marriage between a man and woman who had crossed over one or more of the following social boundaries: (1) religious boundaries, (2) ethnic/cultural boundaries, (3) racial boundaries, and (4) class boundaries.

Interfaith. This term is generally used to describe a marriage between a man and woman who belong to different faith groups. An example of an interfaith marriage is one between a Greek Orthodox Christian and a non-Christian.

Interreligious. This term is used interchangeably with the term interfaith. As such, please refer to the definition I've provided above.

Inter-Christian. This term is used to describe a marriage between a man and woman who are from different Christian faith groups. An example of an inter-Christian marriage may be a marriage between a Greek Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic Christian.

Intercultural. This term is used to describe a marriage between a man and woman who are from different cultural backgrounds. An example might be a marriage between a Greek American and a Cuban American.

Interracial. This term is used to describe a marriage between a man and woman who are from different racial backgrounds. An example might be a marriage between a Greek American and an African American.

Interclass. This term is used to describe a marriage between a man and woman who are from different classes. An example might include a marriage between someone from a lower socioeconomic group with someone from an upper socioeconomic group.

 

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