Unsure on incoming interracial and interfaith Marriage

posted 2 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 45
Member
115 posts
Blushing bee

2211anonbee1122 : If you feel that strongly about him then you need to start looking realistically at the situation. Honesty is important in any relationship. I understand how painful the thought of losing him is. You can just choose to prepare yourself mentally to conform to Islam, and that way you can be with him. But you cannot be with him while having no interest in religion, as you say. Because your husband is religious, and he’s the type of religious person who would like his wife to also appear religious. I hope this makes sense to you?

I think bringing it up scares you, because you want to believe that he won’t become too religious. But talking to him and asking him about all his beliefs will probably reveal what he is thinking. And you are probably scared of finding out what he’s thinking. However that information will help you make a wise and informed decision.

Your fiance is on a journey. He’s not just doing it for his family, maybe he is looking for more meaning in his life. And he believes that his religion will bring him that meaning and that clarity. It would be unfair to ask him to limit his religious practices – every person must be free to embark on their own journey. Whatever his reason for becoming serious is, you need to either be on board or you need to leave him. Because, there won’t be a peaceful middle ground. Remember you already have a decision to make: wear the backless dress you “dreamt” of, or wear what he prefers because of religion. This first decision will probably serve as the template for everything else you are going to do in your marriage.

knotyet gave one of the best answers in this whole thread. Right now you are really in love with him and you can’t bear to leave him. You are also more likely to compromise for him. But as knotyet rightly pointed out, the honeymoon period does wear off and the resentment is going to hit you hard. You need to think about what you would tolerate if this were someone you’d just started dating instead of your fiance.

Post # 46
Member
115 posts
Blushing bee

2211anonbee1122 : If you feel that strongly about him then you need to start looking realistically at the situation. Honesty is important in any relationship. I understand how painful the thought of losing him is. You can just choose to prepare yourself mentally to conform to Islam, and that way you can be with him. But you cannot be with him while having no interest in religion, as you say. Because your husband is religious, and he’s the type of religious person who would like his wife to also appear religious. I hope this makes sense to you?

I think bringing it up scares you, because you want to believe that he won’t become too religious. But talking to him and asking him about all his beliefs will probably reveal what he is thinking. And you are probably scared of finding out what he’s thinking. However that information will help you make a wise and informed decision.

Your fiance is on a journey. He’s not just doing it for his family, maybe he is looking for more meaning in his life. And he believes that his religion will bring him that meaning and that clarity. It would be unfair to ask him to limit his religious practices – every person must be free to embark on their own journey. Whatever his reason for becoming serious is, you need to either be on board or you need to leave him. Because, there won’t be a peaceful middle ground. Remember you already have a decision to make: wear the backless dress you “dreamt” of, or wear what he prefers because of religion. This first decision will probably serve as the template for everything else you are going to do in your marriage.

knotyet gave one of the best answers in this whole thread. Right now you are really in love with him and you can’t bear to leave him. You are also more likely to compromise for him. But as knotyet rightly pointed out, the honeymoon period does wear off and the resentment is going to hit you hard. You need to think about what you would tolerate if this were someone you’d just started dating instead of your fiance.

Post # 45
Member
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

2211anonbee1122 :  I’m going to say from the start that I’m not familiar with Muslim practices, especially when it comes to marriage. 

However, based on your response, I have a few thoughts:

Prenup- in my opinion, fine if you do, fine if you don’t. Many marriages have either and they are completely fine. My only issue with this is the fact that he said he was “testing” you. I had an ex who would “test” me by asking me something like he wanted me to do something, and then flip it on me to make sure I wasn’t a bad person or whatever. This would be a huge red flag to me. I don’t test my fiancé, and he doesn’t test me. We’re honest and open about what we want and what we want to do. 

Mahr- Im Chinese and Chinese brides typically have a bride price (normally to cover all living and child rearing costs, including college and whatever extra curriculars, etc.). Being Americanized and born here/my parents are super assimilated, we don’t expect a bride price, but his parents are giving $999 to my parents for the sake of tradition and respecting the culture (my parents aren’t gonna keep the money, they’re giving it to me and my fiancé). In China, bride prices are going for the tens/hundreds of thousands. There’s also this weird dynamic with relatives. My aunts and uncles will for sure ask if a dowry was given, and how much and etc. This is what families typically do, so I’d also wonder if his family will question why you agreed to marriage with no nominal gesture. 

It may seem strange in Western countries, but a lot of “Asian” countries put emphasis in saving face, and as much as we tell ourselves that it shouldn’t matter what others think, us kids from immigrant/more traditional families are constantly under scrutiny. 

 

Post # 46
Member
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

OP- it sounds like your Fiance was living a very Western way and now that he’s connecting to his own religious background and upbringing, that’s destabilizing for you and scary. It makes sense and would make sense no matter what religion he was raised in, but especially one where there’s so much misinformation and ignorance abounding about it. I would say, too, that his request for you to lie when around his family, implies that he might need to do more study and strengthen his faith as well. He might actually wish you would convert but doesn’t know how to have that conversation and, instead, figures it’s easier to just ask you to pretend.

Also, just as with Christianity, you are dealing with him working through his own religious perceptions and, it sounds like, cultural expectations as well. I was raised in a household with a Muslim stepfather. My mother officially converted to Islam after they had been together for some years. They attended prayer and practiced Ramadan and weddings and other community events and while my step-father had certain cultural perspectives about how we should do things, he never behaved in some of the horror story ways that are being listed here. This should be basic common sense but since people seem to lose their sense when discussing the boogie man- if your guy is an asshole, he’s going to be an asshole. If he was overbearing or obnoxious in the last 6 years of your relationship, that’s going to show up now that he’s more involved in his religious path. If he was a generally kind and considerate person, he likely will continue to be so. Just as no one here would like to have their Christian faith judged by the behaviors of the most extreme Christians, the same should go for Muslim people and their practices of Islam.

I think you need to speak with him about your needs and his and come to a meeting of the minds- if you have been pretending that he’s not Asian and Muslim for the last 6 years of your relationship and now you’re feeling jarred to recognize that he’s actually been someone you don’t know significant things about, now is the time to face that and make some changes. If he’s been trying to assimilate for the last several years and he’s now realizing that there are aspects of his own cultural and religious upbringing that he wants to make sure are passed on to his children, then he needs to face those things and acknowledge them.

Religion and children can be significant deal breakers for a couple but some of the things you’ve mentioned do sound like the two of you want to be together and you’re looking for ways for your relationship to succeed. Intercultural, interracial, interreligious marriages can be challenging but these things are not insurmountable as long as you speak openly with one another, keep the lines of communication open and are honest with yourselves and one another.

Post # 48
Member
369 posts
Helper bee

2211anonbee1122 :  A mahr is not a dowry and is not paid to the parents. A mahr is a value that is paid to the wife, and belongs to the wife (not joint property) and the husband has zero right to it in perpetuity (unless the marriage is annulled prior to consummation). So the mahr is a gift similar to an diamond engagement ring, it is given to the wife, and is the sole property of the wife. Husband doesn’t get it back in divorce.

Post # 51
Member
6306 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

You can deal with whatever requests or demands he makes on you and/or the relationship however you see fit, but you MUST deal with the issue of how you will raise any children now, before you are married. That’s not a joke, and it isn’t something that will magically sort itself out. He is telling you what he expects, and he’s probably not willing to compromise on that – many religious people will not compromise when it comes to raising children. So you have to find a solution now, before it becomes an issue and not after. 

Keep in mind that his “real life” is beginning now, and he likely sees a return to his faith as a large part of that. If you aren’t okay with your children being raised in his faith, there IS no compromise. He will likely even take huge issue with you telling the children that you believe something different (or don’t believe at all), even if he is allowed to take them to services. A dress or even the ceremony might not be the hill to die on, but the children you will have IS. Resolve this before you are married or plan for severe conflict and/or divorce down the line.

Post # 52
Member
1117 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Interfaith marriages can work as long as the faiths are compatible. 

But you disagree on how to raise children and should break up for that reason. 

I wouldn’t begrudge him a religious ceremony, lots of religious people wouldn’t feel like they were “really married” without one. I wouldn’t leave over the dress. 

But he strikes me as someone who either assumes that you’ll come around and he’ll get his way, OR someone who is just now realizing that in fact they do want to be religious. Whether this was a 6 year scam or a change on his part doesn’t matter. He is more religious now and you need to evaluate that on its own merits. 

Post # 53
Member
751 posts
Busy bee

2211anonbee1122 :  ” don’t want to raise my children Muslim whereas he does. “

Everything else aside, THIS is the core point I took away from your post. This is going to break you guys apart and also cause your children an incredible amount of unnecessary stress and guilt at a very young age. 

Maybe he is not the one for you.

My ex’s bro married someone outside his religion. He was adamant about having the kids be brought up in his faith and they were. The lady had a miserable life from start to finish. She ended up leaving him AND the kids once the younger one was a pre-teen. She just couldn’t stand to be in the toxic environment anymore. She wanted to get away from them SO BADLY that she left the country AND CONTINENT! I find it comical but it was a VERY difficult decision for her to make and she suffered for many years. I feel badly for her and I wish that I was still in touch with her.

Post # 54
Member
458 posts
Helper bee

I can’t speak too much about the first two issues as they are much bigger problems that you need to carefully consider, but for the dress issue, as a South Asian American, I’ve had this problem too with being told to “cover up”. What I’ve found is that if a Hindu or Muslim guy marries a White or Asian or Black (aka what family thinks are “American” people), they usually let the dress thing go because the bride “needs to celebrate her culture too.” If you have brown skin, however, no one is going to believe your desire for a backless dress. So assuming you are White/Black/East Asian, I think you should be able to fight on the dress for the Western ceremony as long as you wear whatever his family wants for the Muslim ceremony.

Post # 55
Member
9623 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

“I am worried about losing him over this and bringing it up scares me.”

You need to agree on these things–whether you will be expected to convert, how you will raise your children, before the wedding.

I know it would be very sad to lose him over these things–but as I see it if you don’t work this out now, then you may be forced to choose between staying with him and seeing your children raised in a way that is against your wishes, and potentially feel pressured/trapped in to converting yourself… or you may have to divorce him and hope for the best in a custody battle.

Much better to sort these things out while seperating, if it comes to that, would be relatively simple.  It will never be easier than it is right now, I’m afraid.

Post # 56
Member
458 posts
Helper bee

lolac :  THIS! Thank you for your post. As a child of immigrants myself (although not Muslim but a similar Asian culture), this resonated with me. Asian family dynamics and wedding traditions are very difficult to explain to anyone on the Bee or at work.

Leave a comment


Find Amazing Vendors