Everyday I wake up next to the man that I married. He is a Muslim and I am a follower of Jesus. When we decided to get married, neither of us was practicing our faiths, so it was an easy decision. In fact, our faiths looked quite similar in many ways and he had convinced me that they were indeed very similar.
Married – cross-culturally
Even though I knew I had married a Muslim, his decision to start practicing (just one year after getting married) came as a huge surprise to me. It totally upset the balance that we had as two people, each living out our faiths in a very nominal way. Along with anger at him for changing (as we all do!!), I also felt a growing resentment towards this religion that was stealing my loving, caring husband and replacing him with someone who was so focused on rules, regulations and merciless rituals. Our romantic relationship took a serious turn for the worse.
The fact that he keeps the rules affects my life a lot. For example, if we have to be somewhere at a certain time (especially it is something for me, it seems), he’ll want to wait just a little longer before leaving so that he can get the next prayer in. During Ramadan it is especially challenging because he will basically not touch me all day – and definitely will not kiss me. This is hard for me, not because I want to kiss him all day (or maybe I do! :)), but because I see marriage as an open, living, breathing expression of love and commitment to each other. Sometimes, physical expression is needed to say what words cannot. I do think that he errs on the side of caution, especially during Ramadan, in hopes that he will make up for all the other days of the year that he is not following everything to the letter. I have to rely on God’s grace and wisdom to know how to respond to some of these things that my husband throws at me.
Lately, I’ve been grappling with how I will respond when he wants our daughter to start praying. This probably won’t happen for a while, but I fear the day that it does. I try to put things into perspective by weighing what is actually right and wrong. There is nothing wrong with washing, definitely nothing wrong with praying, or even praying at a certain time (this tradition, I believe, actually came from the Christian church a long, long time ago). The problem I will have is with our daughter having to state that Mohammed is a prophet and denying the divinity of Jesus. I keep praying that my husband will come to know Christ before this becomes an issue.
At the same time, there are many things that I can take from Islam and transfer to my own faith. Their view of God, His omnipotence, His omnipresence, and His sovereignty, is very core to how they see God. (If we could just throw in the knowledge of God’s love for us all, that would be great!!). I’ve learned to treat our Scriptures with more reverence. The goal I strive for is to find a balance between knowing God as a holy, pure and powerful God as well as knowing Him personally, as my Saviour, my friend and the One who loves me more than I could ever imagine!
Ironically, it was this sudden fervour of his that drove me back to my roots – my relationship with Jesus. Surprisingly, I am actually from a Christian family, grew up attending Sunday School , DVBS, Bible Camp, and even Bible College. I was a leader in my church and looked up to by many people, as a role model in the faith. What was the problem? In one short word … Pride. I never thought it could happen to me… I was firmly against marrying a non-believer but put in the right circumstances we are capable of anything.
Within a couple months of his awakened faith, I was invited to my friend’s church at Christmas. I went only because I thought it was the least I could do, being a nominal Christian and all. God had plans for me though. I don’t remember what the message was that day, but it made me want to return. So I did. The next Sunday, the message was about God’s all-encompassing love and His forgiveness, no matter how deep the sin. I sat in the front row with my dear friend. I wept. God had taken my heart of stone and softened it – miraculously; instantly. Words really cannot explain what happened in this short moment.
Here I am today, a follower of Jesus. There are many verses that encourage me, one that I think of almost every day is this one: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” (1 Peter 3:1-2, NIV). I am challenged to look at my marriage, not as a mistake, but as a sign of God’s forgiveness, grace and love.
Prayer Requests for (Christian) women married to Muslim men:
- - That our love for Jesus would grow daily, through time in the Word and on our knees.
- - That we would be led by Spirit in how we live and share Christ – choosing words carefully.
- - That we would be well connected to a church body – and sought to be understood and supported.
- - Unity, wisdom and discernment in child-rearing.
- - A deep steadfastness in the knowledge of God’s love, knowing that God loves our husbands even more than we do.
- - The courage to stand in prayer for our beloved husbands. God has allowed us to become married (whether by disobedience or subsequent conversion) and will give us what we need to live as an example of Jesus in our homes, so that our beloveds would meet Jesus.
- - Pray against fear – the future is unknown and that can be very scary for a woman married to a Muslim – pray for increased faith and trust that He who holds our lives has good plans for them.
Editors Note: we have the offer of a Christian women wanting to help other women married to Muslim men. Feel free to leave comments and questions below in the comment section for now. We can always start a Marriage forum if we get enough replies.
DVD: MAGDALENA: Released From Shame (Dec 2008)
One woman caught in adultery; another, rejected and ignored because of her promiscuous lifestyle … (by the ‘Jesus Film’ producers) DVD Length: 80 minutes.
Description: Watching with amazement, Mary learned from Jesus a new way to look at people. He also radically transformed her life by healing her from demon possession–releasing her from shame. Mary Magdalene acts as both narrator and participant in “Magdalena: Released From Shame,” as she traces through the story of lives that have come into contact with this man, Jesus, and have been powerfully released from shame. Order today. A must for all women!
Listen to the Podcast – DAY 04 – I Married a Muslim