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Interfaith Marriages: Is Success Possible?

15 March, 2017
Q I am Christian married to a Muslim. My husband seems to be very uncertain about how he should or could think about our marriage in the long term. He has started to talk about divorce because of my religion, and I am very sad about this. Then he says ok let's wait. I find the situation very stressful, and I am not able to keep a happy life. I always think that I do not know what will happen. What should I do to improve the situation? I do love my husband; otherwise I would not have married him. In my church, you can marry who you want as long as you take the consequences of marrying a non-member by not expecting him/her to become a member and to encourage the spouse's worship of religion. In my church, we believe that Muhammad was inspired by God to bring much light to the Arab nations and to improve their way of living and help them with their worship of God. We, on the other hand, think that there has been given further light from God, not belittling the great work of the earlier Men of God, but to prepare the second coming of Christ to "sort this world out for God". We believe there are prophets on the earth today that are sent by God in these last days to help the work in the last days and to gather all religions with all their truths at the time God, the Greatest, sees fit to decide. In this, we see the greatness of Muhammad and all the work he has done. Surely, his followers will be blessed for their good work and good belief. We do not think we are any better as persons, but we do believe that our church has been given the difficult task of some of the essential preparations before the coming of Jesus. I understand what my husband believes and respect this for the truth it undoubtedly is as well. My husband knows he can be married to a Christian, but the problem is that he is not sure if my faith is accepted by Islam as I belong to a not so famous Christian sect. I find this constant threat of divorce very destructive.



Peace be Upon You,

We thank you for writing to our counseling service. We hope that the advice we offer is beneficial to you.

First, we want to remind you that you should never let yourself become too complacent in a relationship where one party is constantly threatening with divorce. That sort of behavior is unhealthy for everyone concerned. The next time your husband threatens to divorce you, let him know how much it truly hurts you to hear him talk like that.

Second, you need to sit down with your husband without delay and discuss the future of your marriage. Throughout our experience, we have found that Muslim men marry Christian or Jewish women for various reasons. There are obviously many challenges to be dealt with in an interfaith relationship.

Your husband seems to be quite anxiety-ridden. Ask him to be honest with you as to whether he married you thinking that you would become a Muslim. It is quite possible that he is uncertain about being married to you because he has realized that you are quite content with your religion and have no immediate plans to become a Muslim. In case he is not aware of the Islamic outlook on interfaith marriages, remind him that the wife does not have to become a Muslim, and the only requirement is that the children should be raised as Muslims. Since you seem to have had children from your previous marriage, your children can be raised as Christians, but any children you have with your Muslim husband must be raised as Muslims.

Finally, we urge you to look out for your and your children’s best interests. If at all it seems that your husband is unwilling to resolve his uncertainty about being married to you, then you need to consider for the sake of your own future if it is constructive to remain married to him. The ideal situation would be for you to avoid divorce, but you also should not let yourself remain in a volatile situation where the threats of divorce are constant and divorce itself is imminent. We wish you the best.

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About Dr. Abdullah Abdur Rahman
Dr. Abdullah Abdur Rahman had obtained his Masters and PhD in Social Work and has worked in the US as a licensed social worker since then. His focus is on counseling Muslims in non-Muslim countries, with special emphasis on life in North America, counseling adolescents, pre-marital counseling, online counseling for married couples and da`wah (inviting people to Islam).