People often ask us what are we going to do when we have children.
What a question.
How do I even begin to answer this without pretending like I have got all my shit together?
Because the truth is I don’t. We don’t.
It’s like asking me all those years ago what I would have done if I married a Muslim man.
I don’t know – love him, I guess.
You see I know this answer is sought out by people who are going through something similar, or people who aren’t but just want to be nosey.
So to put it simply and to answer ALL the emails and comments to this question; we will do what we always do – be patient and trust God’s plan for us as a family.
The key ingredient in the recipe to our relationship is that we had no idea how it was supposed to work.
No one to show us the ropes. No one to ask questions about such a marriage.
We had to muddle through the unanswered questions and deal with conflicting views found between these two religions, but better yet, we had to deal with the differences in our upbringing, something that everybody who is in a relationship faces.
I can count on one hand over the last 9 years how many arguments we have had in relation to religion.
I remember the first one we had, it was maybe three to four months into our relationship. Like every argument at the beginning of a relationship, it started by me giving a hypothetical example which I ended up taking way too personally. But what I loved about him is that he stood his ground in this argument. I couldn’t sway him and he couldn’t sway me when it came to the love we had for God.
I think one of the main conflicts often caused between people in interfaith relationships is that they lack understanding, and are not open to learning about the beliefs/faiths of their partners.
We had a bit of a head start in that my husband was born into a Christian home and my mum was a Muslim before she had her children. So when it came to planning the wedding we both knew we would have an Islamic ceremony (which was very intimate – just family) as well as a Christian ceremony. It was beautiful.
I fully embrace my husband and he fully embraces me too.
He goes to church with me. Albeit not every Sunday, heck he may not even go with me for months but I have never shied away from telling him and more importantly showing him how much God is an intricate part of my being. Learning about your spouse’s background also leads to a greater understanding of their feelings and why various things are important to them. It shows that you care.
I fast with him for a week during Ramadan (one day I will be able to do the whole month) and in doing that he doesn’t feel alone and it helps me feel a lot closer to him.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want our children to be Christian, of course, I do. And I know my husband would want our children to be Muslim. But we talk about this often. In fact, we talked about this before marriage and overall what’s important for us is that we want our children to know God.
For people who often ask me for advice here, I think it’s definitely imperative to ask your partner the following question, “what do you do differently in your life because of your faith?” and don’t just them ask them, observe them over the years. Keep asking this question because people might feel different down the road. Maybe one spouse has a life-changing moment that amps up faith before parenthood nears; maybe another’s religious fervour ebbs. Consistent communication is something that we do, maybe even a bit too much haha.
I think as humans we always want to overcome the challenge before the challenge is even presented but life doesn’t work that simply – if only it did!
Having a love like ours is difficult. What I mean by this is that there are things that necessarily wouldn’t need to be considered in a “same faith” marriage that has to be considered in an interfaith marriage. But we are trying and we can only let God guide us on this journey.
I know there isn’t a lot out there in way of advice for Interfaith marriages, so I hope this helps somewhat and I am open to receiving comments/emails. Will do my best to answer them. I don’t advocate inter-faith marriages because it is hard, very hard, but this is my story and I will not shy away from sharing my story. I do also share some answers and more of my story in my new collection, I Quit, so you can read more there :-)
Biggest hugs for the support so far in this journey.