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A person decides to become part of a religion due to some sort of romantic interest.

Happens quite often in Real Life, particularly with religions which do not allow their believers to marry outside their faith. It is somewhat more common for the woman to convert. Perhaps this is because so many cultures are patriarchal.

Of course, actual dedication to the new religion varies from convert to convert. Individuals who lack genuine religious fervor may stop practicing their new faith if they Did Not Get the Girl (or guy) they were interested in. On the other hand it is also common for the convert to become more fervent than their loved ones who grew up in the religion.

Examples of Converting for Love include:


Comic Books Edit

  • In Maus, the Author Avatar's wife converted to Judaism to please his father. Since the characters of Maus are represented by Funny Animals, this makes her turn from a frog (she's French) to a mouse.


Film Edit

  • Ian Miller (the main character's Love Interest) My Big Fat Greek Wedding converts to the Greek Orthodox Church.
  • Happens in Eat Drink Man Woman when the eldest daughter Jia-Jen (a Christian) marries the school volleyball coach. When one of her sisters points out that he's not Christian, she smiles and replies, "He will be."
  • In The Big Lebowski, Walter had converted to Judaism for his wife, and remains as such, despite being divorced.
  • In Keeping the Faith, Christian Anna Riley converts to Judaism so she can marry rabbi Jack Schram.
  • Implied to happen after the end of Kiss Me Guido, as the older brother and his love interest (the younger brother's landlady) are getting busy on the couch in the theater lobby; he (in muffled tones) asks "Will you convert [to Catholicism] for me?" and she says yes.
  • A particularly interesting instance in The Believer, where the girl appears to have converted to Judaism by the end of the movie. Thanks to her self-hating Jewish boyfriend. Who's a Neo-Nazi.
  • Les Misérables (the Jean-Paul Belmondo version) features an example of this.


Literature Edit

  • This is Older Than Print due to occurrences in mediaeval literature. Notably Parzival, where the half-Arab Muslim Feirefiz undergoes a rather unconvincing conversion for love of the Grail princess. (He doesn't even know what "baptism" is, but if it's what he has to do to marry her...)
  • Katya and Leisl both join the Church of Lathander in the Ravenloft novel Vampire of the Mists because they're in love with Sasha, the priest.
  • Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker series has Decker convert to Judaism in order to be with Rina Lazarus.
    • He didn't convert. He was born Jewish (had a Jewish mother) but was adopted and raised by Southern Baptists.
  • Averted in Harry Kemmelman's Conversations with Rabbi Small. Additional twists: the girl want's to pursue conversion despite insistence by both Small and her fiancee that they aren't interested. (Small is more concerned with reverting the non-servant man). But she turns out to be genetically Jewish anyway.
  • In The Godfather, Kay (a Protestant) converts to Catholicism after marrying Michael. In fact she turns out to be far more into her new faith than he ever was since Michael is actually annoyed at her insistence in raising their kids Catholic (he wanted them to be brought up Protestant and thus more assimilated into American culture.)
  • In The Alien Series, Serene attends catechism classes at a Catholic church, despite being her family's religion being so important to them they were willing to go into exile on Earth for it, because she's trying to get closer to her Catholic crush.
  • Ulrika in The Emigrants converts to Christianity's Baptist denomination in order to marry a Baptist priest.
  • In The Long Ships, Orm has to convert to Christianity to marry the beautiful Ylva. (From Islam, of all religions; he'd already converted from the Norse religion to serve under Caliph Almansur.)
  • In People of the Book, Reuben Ben Shoushan converts to Christianity to marry his Catholic sweetheart. This being Spain in 1492, it really doesn't end well.
  • Subverted in Swedish science fiction novel Iskriget (The Ice War), in which neither Catholic Linda nor Wesleyan (i.e. Methodist) Johnny convert -- they just have a Catholic wedding. Considering that in this alternate history the Wesleyans appear to be openly disliked by a lot of authoritarian governments for their stance on social justice, it was probably the most practical solution.


Live Action TV Edit

  • George converts to Latvian Orthodoxy briefly for a girlfriend in Seinfeld, only to lose the girlfriend anyway. (According to The Other Wiki, the writer of that episode had no idea that Latvian Orthodox was a real sect -- he was trying to make up a fictional one.)
  • Charlotte converts to Judaism for her eventual husband in Sex and the City.
  • Happened in I'm Alan Partridge with Lynn being baptised.
  • In the first season of Soap Corinne is in love with Father Tim, who leaves the priesthood for her. She isn't Catholic, but she converts.
  • Big Love has Margie leaving the main Mormon church and joining a polygamous offshoot. (Which, if the Mormon church learns of it, is grounds for immediate excommunication; hence a lot of the secrecy).
  • In Arrested Development, George Michael tries to ante-up the game with Bland Ann by attending her religious protests and family Christmas party.
  • In The OC Summer plans on converting to Judaism for Seth. Interestingly averted with Seth's mother Kirsten who is confirmed several times as not converting and is happily married anyway.
  • In a Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode called, Shandeh, the victim was a Catholic woman who converted to Judaism for her husband.
  • A storyline on the prime time soap Sisters had youngest sister Frankie converting to Judaism with her husband Mitch. Interestingly, she was not converting to join his religion--they were both Christian and decided to convert after Mitch attended some services that gave him an insight into Jewish life.
  • Janelle from Sister Wives says that she fell for Kody and the faith came later. With the later revelation that her mom married Kody's dad shortly before Janelle and Kody got married, it seems there was also some Converting for Love there.
  • In House, Cuddy's mother had converted to Judaism for her husband. While House is dating Cuddy, she asks whether he intends to convert to Judaism as well. As he claims being an atheist, she just says that so are most Jews and that it's more about community.


Theatre Edit

  • In the opera Madama Butterfly, Butterfly secretly converts on the night before her wedding so she can worship the God of her husband-to-be. For this, she is disowned by all her relatives.
  • In Fiddler On the Roof, youngest daughter Chava converts to Christianity so that she can marry a Christian. She is effectively dead to her father, and by extension the rest of her family, for most of the rest of the play.
  • Jessica does this in The Merchant of Venice, becoming a Christian after she elopes with Lorenzo.


Jokes Edit

  • There's an old Jewish joke about a father who gives his son one piece of advice as he leaves for college: whatever you do, don't marry a girl who isn't Jewish. Sure enough, he goes to college, meets a girl who isn't Jewish, falls in love, and gets married. To appease his father, she converts. In fact, while taking conversion classes, she gets so excited about the religion that she becomes a fervent believer. Fast forward a few months, and the father drops by the son's house and tries to get the son to come to the movies with him. The son refuses, saying that his wife tells him that it's not allowed for Jews to go to the movies (or do anything involving electricity) on Saturdays. Punchline: "I TOLD YOU NOT TO MARRY A GIRL WHO WASN'T JEWISH!"

Western Animation Edit

  • Babs Pewterschmidt, Lois's mother in Family Guy was originally Jewish, with her maiden name being Hebrewberg Moneygrabber, but Carter wanted her to convert when they got married so he could get into country clubs.
  • A mundane dark example, where one episode in Bob's Burgers, Where one of the main character's Tina successfully convinces the town's aquarium owner to start a Scam-based religion to avoid tax-exempts. Throughout the episode, when the IRS agent increasing becoming in love with the owner or "leader" of 'Church of Aquaticism' as resulted join they're made up religion out of love by jumping jellyfish tank over love and devotion.

Real Life Edit

  • Isla Fisher, Ivanka Trump, and Elizabeth Banks all converted to Judaism to marry either for wealth archtypes for thier Rich husands.
  • Autumn Kelly had to convert from Catholicism to Anglicanism to marry Peter Phillips (Princess Anne's son), because if he married a Catholic he'd have to give up his place in the succession.
  • Bobby Jindal, the current Governor of Louisiana, converted to Catholicism in high school after falling in love with a Catholic girl. This is why he doesn't go by his real name (it's not Robert, but rather, a Hindu name that he wants nothing to do with). He didn't wind up marrying her, but he did remain a devout Catholic.
  • Marilyn Monroe converted to Judaism when she married Arthur Miller.
  • So did Elizabeth Taylor, when she married her third husband, Mike Todd.
  • Singer-songwriter Jim Croce also converted to Judaism upon marrying his wife Ingrid.
  • JRR Tolkien's wife Edith converted from Protestantism to Catholicism for their marriage. This experience is quite unambiguously the basis for the recurring motif of immortal women marrying mortal (or at least lesser-ranked) men in Tolkien's work, such as Arwen marrying Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, in the process irreversibly separating from her people or origin.[1]
  • A rare (for the time) male example: Sir Ernest Cassel, a famous British Jewish merchant banker of the Victorian era, converted to Catholicism because of a deathbed plea from his wife. Decades later, when his friend King Edward VIII made him a member of his Privy Council, everyone present was astonished that Cassel insisted on swearing his oath on a Catholic Bible.
  • Non-Muslim men marrying even moderately-serious Muslim women typically invert this: the traditional Sunni interpretations of Islamic law permit Muslim men to marry non-Muslim "believers" (usually considered to include Christians and Jews, occasionally expanded to include Zoroastrians and even Hindus and Buddhists), but do not permit Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. The reason that this is a Sunni regulation and not a Shia one is that the rule started with the Caliph Umar, whom the Shia regard as a usurper. Since most Muslims are Sunni, most mixed marriages involving a Muslim woman typically require the man converting. It should be noted that the basis in the Qur'an is kind of vague; it clearly bans marriage to kafirun (unbelievers) but who exactly is an unbeliever is a rather tricky subject.
    • In Malaysia, a non-Muslim marrying a Muslim must first convert to Islam, regardless of gender. It's the law. And unlike other nations, it is almost impossible for a Muslim to convert to another faith - meaning that even if you had converted merely for the sake of your spouse, you can't simply "jump ship" back to your old faith if your marriage crumbles.
      • In a lot of countries, converting from Islam for any reason can get you killed or otherwise result in punishment. How severe depends on the country: in Egypt, a private citizen has to get offended enough by it to bring it up with the prosecutor, who may or may not be willing to pursue the case, and the worst that can happen to someone convicted of apostasy (which includes both conversion away from Islam and what amounts to heresy) is having to pay a fine and, if married and male, having the marriage annulled.[2] On the other hand, in Saudi Arabia, a convert away from Islam should not expect to keep his or her head for very long once the Culture Police find out about it.
      • Yet other Muslims find the idea distasteful in that, love amongst persons may die when said person dies, and when conversion is done out of love to a person, that faith can die when the person (and hence the love) dies. Then again, there have been cases where a person converted out of love for the person, only to find him/herself genuinely attracted to the religion and started practicing with full conviction.
  • Speaking of this business, Omar Sharif (of Doctor Zhivago fame) converted from Catholicism to Islam at least in part to marry actress Faten Hamama; despite their divorce, Sharif decided that Islam suited him better anyways. He recently appeared in an Egyptian film (Hassan and Marcus) where he plays a Muslim sheikh who has to pretend to be Christian for his own safety, leading to a bit of irony for people who know his actual life story.
  • In the non-recent past, when a Jewish woman left the faith and married a non-Jew, it was seen as such a betrayal that her family would consider her dead. They might even sit Shiva for her, mourning just as if she really had died. Afterward, they would not speak to her even if she was standing in front of them, because logically they could not see or talk to a dead person. The attitude is more understandable if you take into account the way Jewish communities were frequently harassed by the people around them; besides betraying religion and culture, she had effectively defected to the enemy.
    • That explanation would apply everywhere that Culture Clash is potentially lethal.
  • Toshimitsu Deyama converted to a small "therapy and healing" sect called Home of Heart at the behest of his then-wife Kaori Moritani. It would take around 10 years for him to realize that this wasn't a good idea.
  • Very common when anyone who's not Mormon wants to marry someone who is. In Mormon theology, marriage is considered to be a necessary and eternal covenant, but this covenant can only be made between two active members of the church. For believing Mormons, therefore, marrying outside the church means makes a vital part of family life impossible.
  • Many Christians practice "missionary dating," with a Christian dating a non-Christian for the purpose of helping spread the word about Jesus. Most apologists condemn the practice, as the Christian risks either compromising their own faith for the sake of the other party or facing heartbreak when the other person doesn't convert.
  • Jay Roach converted to Judaism when he married Susanna Hoffs.

Notes

  1. Other examples are: Luthien and Beren, Idril and Tuor (from The Silmarillion); also Melian and Elwe and Galadriel and Celeborn, where the husbands are immortal but still descendants of a lower "class" than their wives.
  2. This happened in the mid-90s to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasr_Abu_Zayd (a noted Muslim theologian) whose attempt at a vaguely liberal reinterpretation of the Qur'an rubbed the establishment the wrong way. He ended up moving to Europe for a while until the whole thing just sort of blew over.