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Now He Won’t Let Me Take Our Kids to Church, Despite His Promise

20 December, 2023
Q Prior to marriage I broke up with him because I said we can’t raise children in Islam and I’d rather separate. I didn’t ask him to raise future kids Christian because I knew it’s be unfair. So I walked away from our engagement. He came to me and begged me to marry him and that he has no problem raising kids Christian. I was still uncertain I was scared he would change his mind. So he promised he won’t and I said only if you are serious because I don’t want to have problems in the future. So we got married. 7 years later we had our first daughter. He still told me he has no problem with me taking her to church and raising her curtain. I was nervous but he kept saying I gave you my word as a man I will never change my mind. So for the last 3 years I’ve been taking her to church with me and teaching about Jesus and Christianity. He never complained. A year ago we had a second child. In the last six he changed his mind out of nowhere and said I am not allowed to take them to church anymore and they are only his to teach religion. I’m not allowed to teach them anything. After so many years and so many promises, supporting me taking kids to church for 3 years and now flips the switch. And what’s worse he acts like everything is my fault because I said I can’t stop teaching them Christianity. Our whole marriage is based on this promise. My life feels manipulated and a lie. He is treating me so badly because I won’t just agree with him to make this drastic change. Even though he made this huge mess of our family and is destroying us. Blaming me for his mistakes. He doesn’t see how dishonorable his behavior is. This is the biggest dishonor in my eyes. All online advice tells men to do everything in their power to stop their wife's influence and divorce her if needed. I think it’s not fair considering I did nothing wrong. I need real wise advice that will consider how I was led on for 10 years. Non biased advice that doesn’t take my husband’s side just because he is Muslim. How do I help him see the error of what he's done and how he is the one tearing apart the family. What is your advice for this situation? He is treating me like I’m the enemy. Should I not have rights to still teach my children about Christianity too since that’s what I’ve been doing under his approval for so many years.


In this counseling answer:

  • Although I haven’t heard the story from his point of view, I have the feeling that this change has occurred due to his better understanding of his own religion.
  • Our religion gives “freedom” to the wife to practice Christianity, and she enjoys the same rights as a Muslim wife. However, the kids have to be raised as Muslims.
  • This requires a mutual understanding and acceptance of this principle, ideally before marriage, in order to avoid clashes and conflict in the future.
  • Look at the positive side of the story and focus on the common ground. This is certainly not a threat to the spiritual well-being of your kids.

Salam alaikom, Peace be upon you, dear sister,

Thank you so much for turning to us for advice.

Dear sister, I completely understand why you are feeling this way.

Especially that it seems that you were considering this potential conflict in the future, but he assured you that he would fulfill his promise.

It would be great if I could address the two parties and listen to both sides.

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Although I haven’t heard the story from his point of view, I have the feeling that this change has occurred due to his better understanding of his own religion.

Let me explain to you briefly what our religion teaches about interfaith marriages.

A Non-Muslim Wife

Muslim men are allowed to marry the women of the two other Abrahamic faiths (the People of the Book), namely practicing Jews and Christians.

 “This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book,” (Quran 5:5)

The three religions have common roots and many similarities, both in religious teachings and in values. 

Certainly, there are some theological differences as well, for example, in relation to Jesus, who is one of the most respected prophets for us Muslims, along with his mother, Mary. You can read more about it here and here and here and here .

In these interfaith marriages, our religion gives “freedom” to the wife to practice her Christian beliefs:

“There shall be no compulsion in matters of faith.” (2:256)

She enjoys the same rights as a Muslim wife. There has to be a mutual respect for each other’s faith in marriage, always seeking compromise and understanding for the sake of God.

Kids Raised as Muslims

However, when it comes to the issue of kids, our religion says that the kids have to be raised as Muslims.

“O believers! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire” (Quran 66:6)

And in a narration:

 “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible.” Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 212

Parents have to do their best to teach Islam to their kids, even in an interfaith marriage.

This certainly requires a mutual understanding and acceptance of this principle, ideally before marriage, in order to avoid clashes and conflict in the future.

Gaining More Knowledge

Sister, it seems to me that your husband had no awareness of this religious duty from his side.

God knows best, but I am not supposing, to be honest, that he intentionally disregarded this aspect, but rather that he had no idea about it, which is very common, unfortunately.

Many Muslims (and maybe many Christians) have no complete understanding of their faith and religious duties, but later, at some point in their lives, they start to gain more awareness and knowledge about them.

Maybe he read something online, or maybe their relationship with God started to gain more importance in his life.

So, when he clashes with you because you are not agreeing with this drastic change, it is probably because of his own conflict with his past because by now he has gained more God consciousness and he fears disobeying God.

So, with this being said, I do not think that this is about not keeping a promise and lying, although this is what it looks like on the surface.

What Would You Do?

But try to turn the table and imagine that after years of marriage you realize that you promised something, maybe with your best intentions, that is against the teachings of your religion. Would you stick to the promise or to your religion?

Could he have done this better without blaming you and treating you badly? Certainly, yes.

Should he have informed himself more and then you about his religious obligations regarding his kids before entering an interfaith marriage? Absolutely.

Sister, I know that this change is unexpected for you and therefore causes a lot of distress, but let me advise you the following:

Understand Him as a Believer

Try to understand him as a believer. If your faith is important, and you try to practice it as best as you can, I am sure that you can understand that he is trying to do the same.

Talk, Repent and Forgive

Sit down and talk to each other honestly in a calm and loving moment. Ask him, without getting too emotional or blaming, if this change is due to his increased knowledge of Islam.

If he did not know this when he got married to you, please try to forgive him. As a practicing Christian, I am sure you know that we all make mistakes and that, by the will of God, our spirituality and faith may increase with time. 

Hopefully, he will also repent for his error and be more understanding of the reasons for your distress.

Focus on the Love for Each Other

You do not go into detail, but if your marriage and family life are happy and fulfilling, and you love each other, this is a strong foundation, thanks to God.

You are husband and wife, and your faith should provide you with mutual respect, love, and mercy for each other and not enmity. 

Look at what Islam says about marriage:

 “And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell with them in tranquility, and He has put love and mercy between you…” (Quran 30:21)

There are many common things in our religion, and I am sure that if you look at it with an open heart, you will also realize that it is not as “scary” as it first appears. This is certainly not a threat to the spiritual well-being of your kids.

Try to reach a mutual agreement about how to compromise your tradition when you teach your kids.

Learning with Openness

Make a list of the most important issues.Diet with no pork? Attending a church or a mosque? Dealing with holidays like Christmas, for example?

Then I encourage you to learn more about these issues from an Islamic point of view to see the wisdom behind them and the benefits.

For this, your husband also needs to be more open.

He needs to learn more about your religion as well as his own, and understand that while he cannot compromise his basic religious duty of child rearing, he can be more flexible with you and your customs in certain areas.

And I think this applies to you too. You also need to accept the fact that you chose an interfaith marriage and that any stage of a marriage could bring certain challenges.

It does not mean that people who marry from the same faith do not face challenges in terms of spirituality and values when it comes to raising their children.

Look at the Common Things

So, look at the positive side of the story and focus on the common ground: you are both believers; you believe in the same God, the God of Prophet Abraham; you both love and respect Jesus and his mother; you share similar values about right and wrong and morality. 

That is a huge blessing, and if you also have a fulfilling, happy marital and family life, there is no need to be concerned about your children. 

I also advise you to check out the articles on our site, as there are plenty of good resources on this topic. Here are some: this, this, this.

There are many interfaith marriages that work very well, so I hope yours will be one of them.

Wishing you the best,

More from Orsolya Ilham O.:


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic Counseling and Islamic Marriage Counseling. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.