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Question:

I am 25 yrs old girl and in love with a 27 yrs old boy. We both want to marry each other but the problem is our families.  I belong to Hindu community and he belongs to Muslim community. We know each other from the last 4 years. I have told my mother and brother about him but they refused because of his religion. These days my parents are searching for a boy to marry me. I don’t knw how to make them agree about my boyfriend. He does’nt want to change his religion at all and, for me, GOD is one and no religion can bind the Almighty. Can you please help me out as I don’t want to hurt anyone, neither my family as well as my boyfriend.” I love them all and want to be with them happily.

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Answer:

I cannot think of a more difficult and complex situation to be in than the one you describe. While you appear to be very open and idealistic in your thinking it is important that you be open to a number of realities.

Please understand that what you are dealing with is a lot more than conceptions of God. Apparently, your family is very traditional in its thinking and behavior. After all, they are looking for a good Hindu man for you to marry. Because their opposition to your marriage to this Muslim is based both on their religion and Hindu traditional life and values, they are going to be both hurt and very angry if you go ahead and marry him. It is just too naive of you to believe that will not happen.

You state that love both families and want to want to be with them happily. If you marry him that will not happen. If you convert to Islam his family will probably accept you. Your family will not accept him and might even disown you. He states clearly that he will not convert. In my opinion, your family will not accept your boyfriend even if he becomes Hindu. If my guess is right, there is more involved for them than religion alone. There is an entire set of customs, ways of living and deep seated beliefs that separate your family from his.

Its besides the point because he clearly states that he will not convert because he feels about Islam. Again your conundrum is that if you convert you hurt and anger your family who might cast you out and his family will not accept you unless you convert.

It is also important for you to have a long range vision of your relationship as a married couple. Interfaith marriages can work despite religious differences if the cultural background is the same. For instance, many people who are Jewish marry Catholics, Lutherans, Christian of all types. This happens in the United States and the western world where religious belief has weakened a lot and people see no gulf between people of various faiths. Even then, the couple has to cope with many complicated problems that ultimately lead to divorce for many such couples. How will the children be raised? What holidays will be celebrated? What type of school will the children go to? Is one of you willing to convert? Will they go to church or synagogue? What type of church? These are just a few of the many complex issues faced by interfaith couples.

Most often, these marriages can succeed if one or both do not feel strongly about religion.

For each of you, there is a huge gulf between your back ground and his. That means that your differences can come back and haunt you later on in your marriage. At the moment, when you are young, in love and very idealistic, marriage seems very romantic. A few years down the line, when the romance wears off and every day life sets in, one or both of you could become resentful about your decision. Regular marriage is difficult in the world today. That is why the divorce rate is very high. Differences in culture and religion add to the pressures faced by a young couple.

Please know that I am in no way opposed to both of you marrying. However, it is important for you to look beyond the romance and idealism into the face of harsh reality.

If one of you is willing to make major sacrifices, as in you giving up your family and Hinduism it might work. You must know that your family will be hurt and angry and could cast you out. Despite the fact that you just might make those sacrifices now, how will you really feel in a few years, after having been without your mother, father and brother? Think very carefully and realistically.

I want to wish you the very best of good luck whatever your decision might be. If only the world could be more accepting and a better place. But, we have to take the world as it is.

Good luck

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