I acknowledge the fact that being in an interfaith marriage is difficult. For someone like me who believe and live according to religious teachings, living with someone who doesn’t share my convictions and practices is extremely difficult. But why did I choose an interfaith marriage if that’s the case? Believe me, I have quite valid reasons.
I grew up in a family that prays together. I saw how my dad fulfilled one of his important duties as a head – to be the spiritual leader of his family. Every Sabbath, which is the seventh day of the week, my father wakes up early at dawn to prepare for breakfast and lunch. After he fixes breakfast, he serves it on the table and again cooks for lunch. This is because we spend almost the whole Sabbath day at church and there’s not enough time to prepare for lunch otherwise. No matter how tired my dad is from the entire week’s hard work, he never fails to do his routine every Sabbath while my mom still snuggles under the sheets. If everything is ready, he calls for everyone to get up and prepare.
I always wanted to sleep long on a Saturday morning, at least until six o’clock since we go early to church, but I always feel for my dad. While I hate to get up when the temperature is still freezing, I feel guilty to let my dad do the kitchen alone when he’s the most tired person in the house. Probably I’m a good daughter (wink), but I do push myself to get up early and assist him. These Sabbath morning scenarios made me think of how lucky is mom to have a husband who leads his home spiritually. I silently wished to marry a guy who’s like my dad. Not only does he lead his family to church, he also instills to his children the value of worship and faith.
And then I grew up. I started wishing and looking for my spiritual dream guy. I participated actively in our church activities and missionary works but I never met a potential guy. I continued to be active in church, studied and worked hard for my degree and wished that someday, I’d meet my dream guy. But he never came.
Then I graduated and started to work. I visited and attended other Seventh Day Adventist churches, and still, I did not meet my ideal guy.
I noticed one thing. There were few young males that were active in church. Some of them probably go to church but are also curious of worldly things that they experiment. On the other hand, those that I found potentials were already taken. So what was I to do?
I went abroad, got a good job and searched for a church to regularly attend where I’d feel at home. When I found one, I joined the choir and became an active member for three years. I met quite a lot of people; I did have some admirers, but none of them I fancied or at least have met a few of my standards. Again, I failed.
But I was not to accept defeat. I decided to turn to SDA online dating sites. I met a few good Seventh Day Adventist men but the one that I was really hoping to work out, with a Melashenko, eventually did not.
I came to the point when I felt tired of searching for a man from my own church. Would I rather stay a virgin until I grow old? Would I rather keep this so much love that I have for a husband and a family all to myself? Obviously, the answer was “No.”
So I started dating men from outside my fence. I’ve been involve to a few good non-Adventists, at least with no vices, and it made me contemplate about the possibility of me marrying someone from another faith.
And then I met the man who eventually became my husband. In most ways he’s the man of my dreams, except, that he does not share my faith. I prayed a lot and God knows how much I asked for His guidance. And the answer was “Yes.” I married him.
One thing that comforted me with the idea of an interfaith marriage is the story of my own parents. They started as an interfaith; my dad was a devoted Roman Catholic while my mom was a backslider Seventh Day Adventist. She did not convince my dad to convert to her religion for even herself needed to be reconverted. But it was through God’s calling that my father discovered this faith, became self-converted and urged my mom to join him.
I’m not naive. If my parents’ struggles as an interfaith couple did not last too long, it isn’t always the case. I’ve seen it from my friends who married unbelievers. They endured a lot, struggled hard, stayed hopeful and patient, trusted God to one day unite their family in prayer and faith and lucky them, God wasn’t deaf for so long. But there are also those who enjoy a blissful marriage but remained interfaith.
I’m glad my husband never smokes and does not drink (at least not anymore). Vices are the things that I really can’t stand. I don’t have to endure what my friends had to in order to make their man stop to smoke and drink. But that doesn’t mean that our interfaith marriage will be struggle-free. In fact, I ready myself for all the challenges that would come each day.
My husband has to endure his own share of sacrifices too just to make things work. For example, even if he loves pork, he accepts that he cannot have it at home given that I don’t eat pork (as well other biblically unclean foods). He voluntarily decided not to eat the meat whenever he’s with me but admits that he will do so whenever I’m not around. I’m happy that he respects and loves me enough to do such a sacrifice. Although I still wish that someday he’ll learn to entirely stop eating pork, I respect him enough not to push him.
I know that having the same religion, convictions and practices is vital for the success of married life because “they imply a philosophy that identifies our lifestyle.” Yet, I’m happy with the marriage that God has blessed me. Even if it’s not the ideal marriage that I dreamed of when I was young, I hold on to one Bible text that I believe will help me to do my part in making our marriage work.
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands, so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be worn over without words by the behavior of their wives.” (1 Peter 3: 1)
- Surviving Religious Differences in Marriage
- 4 reasons why open marriage doesn’t work
- Gleenn’s Interfaith and Intercultural Marriage, oh! And long distance too!
- Ghanaian-Chinese Intercultural Marriage – Challenges Are Easier Solved if You Find the Right Person
- Spanish-Chinese Intercultural Marriage – a doorway to a new world