Muslim / Christian marriage – please repond via comments…..

by Rod Smith

I am Muslim and my husband (5 years) is Christian. Initially I was crying all the time – about why my family don’t they accept my husband –feeling guilty about how I made others feel and hurting my family in the process. Recently I planned a party for our child and wondered if my family would come. Days before I got messages from cousins declining. It really hurt us. My husband called the party off and in the tenth hour I managed to secure some family and friends to save the day. One cousin said I put the family in an awkward position by inviting them. My own mum won’t come to my house but is all nice when my husband gets to her home. Her not coming to my home annoys me. I cannot have that hard conversation with her because I’m afraid of where it will land up. Since last year I decided to make my own nuclear family work for me and I haven’t missed the extended family too much. Should I write them off? Should I invest more heartache or must I continue with my husband and two kids? (Letter shortened)

Jean Hatton

What a courageous couple you and your husband are to join your lives, coming from two totally different cultures, beliefs, and histories. You must love each other very much! You probably didn’t realize exactly what you were getting into when you married, did you? It sounds like your family is having so much difficulty adjusting to something they never thought they would have to deal with. Religion and culture are two powerful and influential foundations in our lives. Your family must feel that you have moved to another planet where they do not belong. That’s part of the cost of the choice you made to marry a Christian. I commend you for your choice of ‘making your own nuclear family work for you.

I would suggest that you not ‘write your extended family off’ but look at their struggle realistically and accept them in the battles that they are going through. Don’t stop inviting them to important family gatherings and celebrations, but always give them a choice about attending, and then accept their decisions…drop your expectations on their seeing and accepting you and your family like you want them to.

It is far from easy for them. Heartache and energy have to do with expectations which will set you up for more and more disappointments.

You won’t be able to change them.

It might be a good idea if you asked your family if you they would like to continue receiving invitations – perhaps they would welcome the response of you knowing how difficult it must be for them and be released from ‘having to attend’.

A Muslim man writes: When I read your letter, I felt great disheartenment, I have neither met you nor do I know you from a bar of soap, I felt the way I did simply because you are a Muslim and I am striving to be a Muslim. We have no other connection. From your family’s point of view they must feel a hundred times more sadness than me.

I don’t think you should ignore your family and “carry on”. There is a problem, you have sought help, follow through and resolve the issue. There is an ideological disagreement between Islam and Christianity, without going into great comparison between the 2 systems of belief…the 2 cannot co-exist in a single family unit. I think that you might not be “living” Islam, you might acknowledge it’s teachings but have not fully implemented it in your daily life…this is why you have been able to remain married for 5 years.

The solution is to engage your husband in what he believes, he must do the same with you, until the 2 of you come to an agreement on which is the best path. Ask questions of each other and if you do not know, seek out the answer from people who have knowledge. You haven’t said anything about your children, what do you want them to believe in? The path they choose is up to them, but certainly you want them to believe in 1 system of belief or the other. I must state that you should take my advise with a pinch of salt, as I want to be a Muslim, I am prejudiced in favour of Islam.

A Muslim woman writes: My sister who is a muslim has a Christian boyfriend. She wants to marry him, but not in a church. Islam will not recognise their union whether in a court of law or in the church, neither will it sanction a marriage between a christian man & the muslim lady. The Muslim lady who “married” the Christian man knows this. She was already ready to accept this when she married the man.Why does she want approval from her muslim mother who understands the law of Islam.She made a decision which had nothing to do with religion but a love for a man.Why does she frustrates herself in wanting to force her mother to go against her Islamic beliefs.

Religion is one of the biggest conntributors of quarrels. However for most of us who are staunch in our beliefs, we are not going to go against it. My advise to the Muslim lady, is live your life however you want with your set of values, but do not infringe your so called values on others and expect them to shun the teachings of the Quran for your happiness.You know better.

5 Comments to “Muslim / Christian marriage – please repond via comments…..”

  1. I’m sorry but the last person who commented gave you what I consider to be terrible advise . . . I just can’t keep quiet. I married a muslim man and converted to Islam . . . actually a sect of islam. We were married for 2 and a half years before we separated last august and I suspect we’ll be divorced this year at some point. So choosing a single path for your family is NOT the only solution . . . in face I think it’s probably a terrible idea if you feel that it’s going to save your relationship or you feel desperate or you’re doing it to please your family (or his!). Even if you or he were to convert to either Islam or Christianity there would still be a world of differences between you . . . you come from two different cultures and that will always be what it is . . . it will always create tension between yourselves and your family. It is a choice that every person makes for themselves when they choose a mate, and it can be difficult to live with . . . for me it was impossible. I hope for you, and your husband and children, it will be something you can make work. It can be done but only if you both really want it and make it a priority above the wishes of your families and even your own desires. It must be worked at constantly. I advise counselling for you and your husband (it’s something that might have saved my marriage had I done it earlier). It’s not something you do when you get into trouble, it’s something you can do to prevent trouble too! Believe me, these issues with your family will really start to affect your relationship over time. Secondly, I highly suggest cultivating friendships to take the place of your absent family . . . pursue activities with likeminded people and build a social network of supporting friends. Spend time with other couple of mixed faith or culture . . . they will help you feel you’re not alone!!! Good luck!

  2. I understand how difficult this is, especially when you were so close to your family and it hurts when they do not respond.
    I would try to have an open conversation with them. Tell them what you are hoping for and ask them what they are willing to do to keep your family bond. If they say: “We will never come to your house,” then you will have to accept it. But, you will know in advance where they will and won’t feel comfortable.
    Thinking about the party:
    maybe they were not sure about the events that would be occuring. Would you “thank God,” before you ate? And, if so, what would that involve?

    You need connections, also. You need to feel like a family with people. It is important to have others who will support you. Have you thought of finding a group of friends who support you and your husband. If you are in a large city, you can probably find other interfaith couples. I know that this is hard for me, also. But, it is important to find a community of similar people. Your husband can’t be everything (friend, sister, brother, mother, father, mentor) to you and you can’t be that for him, also. So, it is a good idea to find others to connect with on a regular basis.
    Have you checked out the:
    http://www.interfaithmarriage.co.uk
    web site?
    It is a good place to find support and information.

    Your family can’t make your choices for you. But, they should still extend the Love of God toward you. Even if they believe that you are doing something wrong and in opposition with Islam, they should still pray for you and try to accept things as they are. In actuality, they are not giving your husband a good picture of Islam.
    I would also be willing to talk privately.
    Just send me an email.

  3. Its a very difficult situation, I recently had to break up with my Christian boyfriend, as he doesn’t want to convert. I’m also trying to keep an open mind of interfaith marriages, trying all avenues, but I have a fear that it’s not going to work out, as I had many people around me that stayed muslim and christian and it didn’t work out. What to do, I still feel very strongly for this guy as we have so much in common and absolutely compliment each other and we still very much in love.

  4. Greetings to you all. I am so glad that there is a website like this. I am a muslim girl in a relationship of ~8 years with a christian boy, we both are 23 and hope to get married in a few years. however, religion is the only problem – he does not agree with becoming a muslim or me staying one – he believes I should follow his faith from the day we are married, for the time being he has lat me follow my faith and wishes me Eid Mubarak, etc, on Islamic days. Our families have not tried to break us up but my family insists on him becoming muslim and his family insists i become christian. I dont want to become a christian-i cant practise something i dont believe in and i dont expect that of him, i just love him and want to be with him! Just so you all know, neither of us are religious in terms of practising our religions, but the belief is still there. I could compromise and would in supporting his beliefs as they are somewhat similar to mine, but what troubles me is that when we have children, if we do, I dont know how I could sit back and watch them eat non-halaal (I dont) and reject the last Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) as well as the Quraan. As most people know, Islam is an extension of Judaism and Christianity, however, I dont believe certain things-things that divide our religions. But we are extremely commited to each other despite all of this – I don’t think I can live without him and I know he feels the same. I know what matters at the end of the day is to do good and be good and believe in ONE GOD and God alone! In that way, yes I can follow him (My boyfriend). But the major problem arises when his meddling staunch christian sister keeps bringing it up- how does it really affect her? Shes 29, married with 2 kids and knows her brother will always be a CHRISTIAN, and I have clearly showed them I have no intention of making him convert and he may only do so if its what he wishes to do-you cannot force someone to believe in what they judt dont! But it seems as if that this does not apply to women-women are told to obey the husband and inlaws in both islam and christianity. And wherever we go, people are amazed that he’s got a muslim gilrfriend and demand to know what his muslim name is going to be and if he doesnt change his name, religion and get circumcised that my family will kill him-how ridiculous I know, because we both know my family isn’t like that. But this affects my boyfriend-stranger’s words affect him and I dont know what to do. Can someone please kindly advise me and breaking up is not an option, because we both will never be with other people ever! Thank you

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