Nigerians are religious bunch, rightly or wrongly, people seem to belief in varying things. From the Catholics, to Protestant Christians, Liberal Christians, Muslims, traditional worshippers and many more.The fact is that religion is a huge part of relationships in this country. The whole topic of whether interfaith unions work is still under debate.
In past generations, religious beliefs were very rigid. Most people believed that if you belong to one religion, then you have no business looking for a partner in other religions. We cannot ignore the aspect of religion and relationships because it shapes a lot of things in society. It outlines how you think about certain issues, what you do, and your outlook in general.
The fact remains that interfaith unions are happening and they come with their own set of benefits and challenges as well. If you have considered having an interfaith relationship, or you’re already in one, here are six things you need to know
1. You’ll need to have the conversation: These days, more social barriers are being broken than before. The world is becoming one global home where we learn to love one another and treat each other well regardless of religion, race and other differences we might have. Still, you’ll need to discuss the differing views you might have with your partner so that you know the way forward. This conversation will help you answer questions regarding sex, marriage and other areas that might potentially cause conflict in the relationship. This is the time to exercise open and honest communication before deciding to date.
2. Your perception on each other’s religion will change: It’s natural for loving partners to accommodate one another. The more you spend time with someone, the more you appreciate similarities and differences. The same applies to your differing religions in the sense that, you’ll learn to appreciate many things about their way of life. Your view of their whole religion will change so you shouldn’t be surprised if you decide to convert at one point.
3. There will be backlash: More often than not, interfaith couples face a lot of backlash. It can come from members of society or even worse, your own family members. There is still a huge part of society that thinks two people from different religions shouldn’t marry each other and this can strain the relationship. In some cases, family members might ostracize you and cut off all communication. This can be scary and you’ll need to be prepared mentally for this kind of backlash.4. Marriages are generally difficult: According to statistics, there is still a high rate of divorces and broken relationships with this type of arrangement. For many couples, the challenges that come with it are a lot to handle. Many couples clash because of biasness with their own religion, conflicting views on certain issues or even the issue of being forceful with beliefs. Although a lot of the challenges arise from religious issues, a big chunk also comes as a result of lack of proper communication while courting.
5. Your faith doesn’t have to be a barrier: As much as many interfaith couples struggle, there are quite a number that are in happy and healthy relationships. Many couples report that religion hasn’t brought any huge arguments and fights in the relationship and the fact that other aspects like trust, honesty and similar values were more vital for their relationship rather than issues to do with religion.
6. Your children’s faith is a big deal: Children in interfaith relationships or marriages are a huge factor. Many questions like, ‘which religion will they fall under,’ ‘which schools will they go to,’ or ‘which holidays will you celebrate as a family,’ need to be thought about and discussed beforehand. Another thing is, once they grow older and have their own say, how will you handle it?
7. Remember…If you marry a muslim be prepared to understand that your man has the right to take more wives, so be prepared and respect this before heading into any relationship.
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