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Love But Different Religions


I like this girl. She is catholic and I am Muslim. What do I do I can’t take her off my mind?

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Your question is deeply important for yourself, this girl and many other people today. The reason it is important is that in the modern world it is more common than ever for people to meet and marry across ethnic, religious and racial lines. The decision to marry or not when there are very great differences in religion should not be made easily or lightly. The consequences for yourself and the girl you love can have reverberations that can impact the happiness of each of you.

The major issues for each of you to think about:

The old romantic idea that "love conquers all" does not hold true in the real world. If it did the world rate of divorce would be a lot lower. When you weigh the fact that most of the couples who divorce come from homogeneous religious and ethnic backgrounds the entire issue of marriage and religious differences take on a whole new meaning. If people who come from backgrounds with shared values cannot save their marriages is there any hope for those who come from different backgrounds?

Actually, people who come from different faiths, nationalities and races can have successful marriages if they completely explore the important issues before they make the final decision to wed. The process of exploring these important issues has to do with what each considers to be of such great importance that they cannot compromise. For example, if you marry this girl with the expectation that the children will be raised Muslim she must completely agree or there will be major conflicts between the two of you in the future.

Generally speaking, people from different faiths can marry and succeed in staying together if they each agree on the religion they will practice or if they agree that they are not religious and do not consider themselves to be of any religious persuasion. The key words are "if they each agree." In other words if you each want to be Muslim, practice that religion and raise your children Muslim there will be no difficulty.

It is much easier for couples to agree about religion if the one individual feels a lot less strongly committed to their religion of origin. For the individual who is not committed to a religion there is often a willingness to convert for two reasons: 1) A wish to convert due to interest in the new religion and a wish to be connected to a new type of thinking and, 2) A wish to please their partner by doing something that they feel willing and interested in doing out of a sense of real belief.

However, if two people each feel strongly committed to and identified with their religion of origin there is a good chance that there will be nothing but grief between them in the future if they attempt to ignore their differences. Strong commitment on the part of each complicates the questions of how to raise the children, what to do on important holy days, who will go to services and how often and, etc. This type of gap in thinking and believing complicates relationships with extended family members such as in laws, grand parents and parents. There are tragic cases in which deeply religious families refuse to accept a new member from a different faith.

There are those situations in which each person decides to keep their religion of origin but raise the children in both faiths. In these situations, children and family celebrate all the holy days, learn about each faith and attend all the services. The idea behind this solution is that partners will respect one another’s convictions and allow the children to make their choices upon reaching adulthood. I have seen many of these types of arrangements succeed quite well.

In answer to your question, you and this girl must decide what you each can and cannot live with. Each of you must understand that no one can be coerced into changing their religious affiliation and practice. Each of you must also decide whether or not you can tolerate your family member’s reaction to bringing a person from another faith into the family. Neither one of you must have any illusions about how difficult this process of inter faith marriage can be. However, I can report to you that if you are each clear headed about what you do and do not want then this can succeed. You must begin to talk to this girl and learn where each of you stands on the issue of religion.

Lastly, please remember that, besides the issues of faith and religious practice, you each need to learn about each other and discover whether or not the love you feel is something passing and temporary or is real and the basis of a life-long relationship.

Best of Luck

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  • Anonymous-1

    I am currently on a relationship with Muslim guy. I am a Buddhist. The problem here is, my family would definitely oppose my decision convert. Relationship with a different religion is tough.

  • JTG

    I loved reading the article. I am currently dating a Muslim..I am Christian. He has the characteristics i look for in a man. He's understanding, supportive, caring he's basically my best friend. The problem is my family..They would probably disown me if i do marry him. Both our families are conservative and both would have a problem with our union. I'm also not willing to let go of my religion, and as far as i know, he's not willing either (i havent asked me to convert). We've therefore ruled the idea out. It's just so hard to break up because of religion, especially when our personalities are so compatible

  • Dian

    I am a muslim woman. I congratulate those girls who find love with muslim men. I just want to give some comments about interfaith marriage in Islam.

    Although my knowledge is limited, it is stated in the Qur'an that muslim men may marry people of the book (christians & jews). So, don't be despair girls!

    What I don't understand is a muslim man who date a girl from other religion and insist that she revert before they getting married. He should think about this before he first asked her out.

  • Anonymous-2

    My boyfriend and I have ignored this situation until now, he's a Christian and I am a Catholic. He explained his religion since he is half Jew as well he can not marry me. He just called it off - I guess it was a temporary love. Thank you for this article

  • ann

    Now I'm still looking for the meaning of religion. My religion is Catholic, my boyfriend of Islam. We've been together for 3 years, but we were confused because the principles of our religion is different. He told me to learn about Islam by self-taught. I was trying to figure out what it is Islamic. When I spoke to him, he hoped it was not me alone who is expected to convert to Islam, but my parents also. I had told him, I was willing him to go because I did not get the meaning of Islam that can touch my heart as my friend had to say. I still love him because I already gave the greatest thing in my life to him. But on the one hand, I want to leave him. But I kept praying that he would change his thinking about religion so I believe that Islam is right there in his heart. If not, I'm so scared somehow related to the man again. Maybe because I do not have anything else.

    After all, why religion is still identified as one factor the difficulty of love united?

  • Gina

    Hi I am muslim girl I like someone who different religion and I relly love him who catolic, adn my family is not permission ofcourse!...

  • Rob

    Thank you for writing such as clear article, which i can relate to very well as a non-religous person who converted to Islam purely for the sake of satisfying my partner - in Islam a girl cant marrry a non-muslim, (interestingly a muslim man can marry a christian or jewish girl).

    I made the big move a year ago now and we are living together quite happily. We have agreed that i never go to a mosque and take a passive role in the religious upbringing. However i cant help but feel a level of anxiety for the future as i really dont connect with many believes of the religion and a level of resentment for having to convert.

    But i have also began to realise something else, if you come from a non religiously diverse area and decide to marry someone from another religion you are also agreeing to bring up your kids with a degree of an alien culture - eg if your partners parent are from another country.

    Think about it, you are a non practising catholic but would probably still like to marry in a church or get your kid baptised. This is the kind of thing you need to think about.

    Good luck to all, its a hard call to make.


  • Nadia

    Well i can relate with my situation too. I am a muslim girl and my boyfriend is a buddhist. Interfaith love is seriously tough. My boyfirned however not that kind who is really religious. But his family yes, especially his grandmother who is quite fussy about hinese traditional matter. In addition his family quite racist and they dont like malay girl. I know situation is surely though or him to face his family. I can accept why he is kinda hidding our relationship. But something happened on our 3rd anniversary when he told me last week that he is considering to break up with me. The situation wuite though for us because neither or us willing to let go each other. But he explained to me, he understand that if he wants to marry muslim girl, he have to convert, and it eventually not going to happen because he is not going to upset his parents. He is the eldest in family and he is going to be a doctor. But still until now neither of us can let go each other. We tried to break up and ussually we tend to make up.

    I dont know how long this is going to happen. Why cant e just give a chance for 'us' , well just follow the flow? Letting him go is such the hardest thing to do.


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