In my last entry, I discussed the non-Muslim woman who is considering marriage to a Muslim man. I explained the role of Islam in a man’s life and in his children’s. Now, let’s discuss the role of Islam in the life of the non-Muslim wife. Yes, I know that sounds contradictory, but it isn’t. Really.
First of all, Muslim men are free to marry “People of the Book.” This means that a Muslim man can marry a practicing Christian or Jew. If you are neither of these, run! Your marriage will not be accepted Islamically, and chances are good that he will come to regret the decision. Trust me when I say that would not be a pleasant situation for anyone.
If you are a person of the Book, your marriage would be acceptable from an Islamic standpoint. You would be free to practice your religion and celebrate your holidays. However, Islam would still play a huge role in your life.
While some people are able to compartmentalize their religion, most Muslims are not. Islam plays a part in every part of life. There are rules for eating, drinking, praying, dressing, and greeting guests, just to name a few. There are even rules for lovemaking! Even if your Muslim husband fully intends to keep religion separate, it just isn’t possible. His religion is likely ingrained in his very being, in ways that he doesn’t even realize.
Even if he accepts the fact that you do not plan to become Muslim, he will expect the household to be Islamic. Chances are good that he will expect you to dress more conservatively. Most Muslims are taught that a woman “saves her beauty” for her husband. Very few Muslim men will tolerate their wives wearing revealing clothing. Your Muslim husband will probably not allow pork or alcohol in the house. You will probably be expected to limit your interactions with non-family males.
In addition, there are often culture clashes in mixed marriages. Since the two of you will come from different cultural and religious backgrounds, clashes are inevitable. Without a common faith to unite you, it could be difficult to find common ground.
Again, I am not trying to convince you to cancel your wedding! I have known some couples who have successfully managed a mixed faith marriage. I simply want you to think of all angles before you make the decision. Use these blog entries as conversation starters. In another entry, I will give you specific questions to ask and topics to explore. Good luck!