Can a relationship between a Christian and a Muslim really work?

Wedding rings
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Relationships get complicated where spouses have no clear understanding of their merger areas.
  • Since each of you values your religious convictions, it is important not to betray each other’s trust.

Hi Sir, 

I am a 25-year-old Christian and my girlfriend is a Muslim. We've been dating for the last two years, in the process, she got pregnant and had a miscarriage at two months.

My main issue is our religious difference, she swore never to convert to Christianity and I'm uncomfortable with being a Muslim. What should I do?

Hi,

I am a Catholic lady and he is a Muslim. We have been together for nine years now and we love each other. I have a lot of memories with him. He is employed and ready to settle down.

We had a lot of conversations concerning marriage, but he made me realise, that he wanted someone that will convert to his religion fully. I told him I agreed to be a Muslim, but it's going to be a mutual agreement that I will be going to church sometimes and this was where he disagreed.

I love him so much but am confused whether I will have a problem with him later in the future. I’m scared of losing him because we have come a long way and I don't want to marry him based on his financial stability too.

I’m confused about a lot of things like if he will marry another Muslim woman later in future because it's part of their religion in one way or the other. I will be anticipating your reply. Thanks.

Hi,

Your questions are related, so I will respond to them together. Let me start by stating that relationships get complicated where spouses have no clear understanding of their merger areas. These are areas of agreement that bring the two of them together.

It is clear from the onset that this is an area that was not given much attention at the inception of your relationship. Merger areas may involve core issues, where one is not willing to compromise; beliefs and practices that one feels strongly about, or core values that they are unwilling to change. These agreements form the foundation on which the whole house is built.

Therefore, your current fears and anxieties arise from the fact that these core foundational issues have been violated. Since each of you values your religious convictions, it is important not to betray each other’s trust.

The moment you understood the fact that your partner was not willing to change their religion, it brought certain fears within. You have to realise that, the union of two people is as strong as the agreements and convictions they have on these core areas that hold a marriage together. Cracks form from a poorly put together foundation.

When the foundation on which our marriage or relationship is tested, these cracks will show. Later in the marriage, these are the cracks that cause the foundation to cave in. 

Both of you are afraid of what the future might hold. Therefore, noticing cracks in the foundation of a relationship like yours is a sign that trouble is yet to come if the areas of concern are not attended to. Since religion is a personal choice, and that, it is important to a person’s spiritual connection and journey, you cannot force them to convert for the sake of a relationship.

When we discover and get convicted on how God desires us to walk with him, religion turns from just being a religious affair to being a personal conviction and choice.

If not cared for, it is, therefore, not uncommon that the weaknesses we may allow in the name of love, may later result in the crumbling of the relationship. To save the marriage foundation from danger, core relational issues of concern or weaknesses must be identified and given the necessary attention. 

Therefore, how a relationship is founded and grown, is important. This speaks into the perception and expectations we have concerning the values, beliefs, and practices we see in the people we relate to. How we perceive and think about the issues that concern us will define how we relate to them.

In general, your partner has a certain amount of power to influence the way you think and make decisions. Therefore, your concerns are based on an unspoken fear of how either partner’s religion could affect and influence your future walk together.

You may need to understand that: First, since relationships enable us to create bonds that edify us emotionally and spiritually, your religious convictions play an important part in determining how you relate.

For example, as a Christian, your role in marriage will be based on what the Bible says. As a result, your role as a husband/wife and that of parenting will be determined as you prioritise the place religion plays in your life.

Second, you may need to acknowledge that, every person has the right to their set of beliefs and practices. As such, your religious beliefs will inform and influence values and practices at home.

If you sense that such beliefs and practices will antagonise a peaceful coexistence, allowing each other to choose a relationship where you are free to practice your beliefs without fear or restriction, is important. It will be unproductive to continue without both of you determine what is important and then prioritise it.

In conclusion, to determine the way forward, I suggest that you: First, discover what makes the two of you different. If it is your religious differences, what will be the impact of the differences that exist between the two of you?

Determine if these differences are core enough to lead to a compromise on your beliefs and who you are. If you were to embrace your partner's way of worship, what will fundamentally change in your doctrine and practice?

Let these questions guide you in making an informed decision. If no agreement is in sight, the best thing is to do is, go your separate ways. Second, question yourself whether you respect their views on religion?

For example, if you force or compromise issues of religion, you are opening a door for your relationship to entertain arguments and fight on such differences. The best thing is to agree for each person to be free to chase after their convictions.

This would mean that you release each other into an environment where their beliefs and convictions are not hindered or challenged all the time. Core to relationships is the conviction that two only walk together because they agree.

I am a very insecure man. How do I fix this bad trait?

Hi Doctor Kitoto.

Thanks for always teaching us a lot. I am in a long-distance relationship. My girlfriend loves me and l love her too but am a very insecure man. Anytime she chats with a man, l feel irritated and lack trust in her and this always leads to a quarrel. What should l do to stop this?

Victor

Hi,

Although insecurities in relationships are common, its causes vary. First, our upbringing may cause insecurities when we relate with others. For example, children who were exposed to parental abuse or infidelity are most likely going to feel insecure in their relationships.

Just like trust, unfaithfulness in a relationship is a template that could be developed from childhood. Knowing more about the past and current information about your partner helps manage and navigate yourself when feelings of insecurity are triggered.

Second, jealous feelings can trigger insecurities. It is important to realise, the feeling that your partner could be taken by someone else can arouse and trigger feelings of jealousy and insecurity. A spirit of competition seems to be seen in relations between love partners and even sibling relationships.

One partner may feel like their partner finds another person more appealing. In relationships, individuals with low self-esteem often transfer their jealous driven insecurities from their parents to their relationship.

Dealing with your insecurities will depend on the level of trust in your relationship. When insecurity stems from your lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, it becomes important for you to address your lack of confidence and self-worth.

Take time to study if poor role models in your life—like the way you were parented has impacted your outlook. Your low self-confidence will spur a feeling of insecurity about your ability to make this relationship successful.

For example, in some instances, one may need to deal with the feeling of inadequacy arising from the impact of growing up in single parenthood or dysfunctional home. Don’t let your lack of skill to create a loving relationship, impose insecurity complex on the relationship. This could lead to mistrust.

A lack of self-confidence will facilitate the creation of an insecure relationship that seems to doubt that you can cultivate an environment where love and affection are realised. If not handled, over time, insecurity makes you see and treat your partner with suspicion. I guess that is why you are seeing the quarrels.

That said, since it takes two to tango, so your partner must take personal responsibility as well. She must choose to display actions that make it easier for you to trust. When you allow insecure feelings to reign, this will make you feel overly sensitive to such threats as seeing your partner always happy with this other mysterious friend on the other side of the line. 

To live victoriously, first, learn to love yourself unconditionally. Refuse to be afraid of failure or facing competition. Second, learn to communicate well with each other. Talk freely about your fears, worries and anxieties. Finally, stop being overly analytical or judgmental towards her. Wisdom demands that you depend more on faith and reason rather than the opinions and perceptions of others.

Send your relationship questions to DN2Parenting@ke.nationmedia.com 

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