A Journey In Black and Indian Love

A Peek inside the marriage of an African American woman and her East Indian spouse

Religion-How Can Something So Good Sometimes Turn So Bad? April 6, 2009

A couple of days ago I got an email from a friend who’s been involved with an Indian guy for a number of years. To keep the story short and any identifying aspects of her out of the blog, religion and race are tearing them apart.  Her guy is Muslim and his family is refusing to sign the paperwork to allow them to marry because she’s non Indian. To read her email broke my heart. I could only imagine the pain she felt after having put so many years into building a love she thought would sustain through time.

Her situation sadly is not unique. Not just because of the race issue but because of the religious difference as well. Even in India, marrying someone of another faith is often frowned upon. Religion is something so intensely personal yet so many of the world’s battles have been started when religions are not the same. How can something so spiritual designed to bring us peace, bring so much war and hatred?

I’ve seen people get involved with someone of another religion in the hopes they could change it. I know of someone now whose father is a pastor and the idea of her marrying a Hindu male isn’t sitting so well with him. Her hope is that once her guy gets here, he will embrace Christianity.

What we seem to forget sometimes is that the very same way that we chose our religion (whether it be by assimilation through having grown up in the religion all of our life or by embracing a new faith after studying its principles) other people have the same experience. In other words, how would you feel if someone suddenly told you that what you have been taught all of your life or what you have come to embrace is wrong and that you should replace it with something more along the lines of their own thinking?

When M and I met, I knew he was Hindu. I also knew he has grown up in an Italian boarding school where Catholicism was taught. He knew I was the granddaughter of a Methodist minister who grew up in a Church of God Church (long story but my grandmother wasn’t the typical preacher’s wife. She chose her own faith). He knew I went to church regularly and I consider myself to be strong in my faith.

I was fortunate. M embraced going to church with me. I never told him his religion was wrong. I simply told him that he could not serve two Gods. In other words, he could not in my opinion have a clean heart saying that he believed in the holy Trinity and still visit the temple and embrace that faith when he went home.  I never ask him to go to church. He chooses to go on his own. I feel this is important when you have two people of different faiths. He’s never asked me to attend temple or embrace the teachings of Hinduism. He tells me about the gods when I ask but there’s never been a push on either of our sides to convert the other.  

Being in an intercultural marriage comes with so many important discussions that should be had. Religion is one of them. To avoid the subject could mean serious issues between you and your mate later. What happens if one of you begins to have a stronger walk in their faith while the other appears to have no interest? Would you be okay with that?  If you plan on having children, what religion are the children expected to embrace?  How is your family going to react to having a non-believer of their faith in their family? In India there are some temples I could not step foot in even if I wanted to because they are for Hindus only.

At the end of the day, no one can make the choice as to whether or not you should enter into an interreligious relationship but you. Family pressure may be there but no one can take the walk in faith but you. Many a successful person has been raised in mixed relationships. Until the next blog…  

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3 Responses to “Religion-How Can Something So Good Sometimes Turn So Bad?”

  1. Immaldita Says:

    Hi there!!! I can so much relate with your friend. My fiance is a Hindu and I am a Methodist. I feel so devastated now since his family doesnt want us to push through with our marriage since they do believe in having the marriage arranged. So basically, they dont approve of having love marriage most esp I am of a different nationality. They said that it is part of their religion. Now, I am really on the lowest point of my life coz I have made myself believe that I will end up with him. I dont know how to start over since he is also confused and he might just agree with his parents because of fear.

    I envy you for u said that M is now your husband. I dont know what to do and how we can convince the parents of my Indian fiance to allow us to be together. Actually I am helpless as I cant even help him convince his parents. He has to do it alone.

    Please pray for me as I know only God can intervene. He is the only one who can touch the hearts of people and make them change their minds. thank you so much for taking time to read my comment.

    • blindianlove Says:

      When I read situations like yours, my heart breaks. I can’t imagine being separated from the one you love by something like race or religion. I’m not trying to minimize the importance of either for the families but they are such a small thing on the grand scale.

      One thing I will say is that your boyfriend has to want this as much as you do. Standing up to the parents is not as easy for some people as it is for others. In the Indian culture family ties are usually quite strong and kids are raised to respect the parents and go with what the parents feel is best is best for them. Your guy has to be ready to make his wishes known to his family and stand up for the relationship. Remember, this isn’t easy because he may equate going against his parents wishes with disrespecting them.

      Prayer changes things. I will keep you in my prayers and I hope you have the strength to make it through this situation no matter how it turns out. Good luck and if you need anything feel free to drop me an email.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    ADMINISTRATOR NOTE: AT THE REQUEST OF THE POSTER, PREVIOUS COMMENTS HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY THE FOLLOWING.We come from different worlds, within the same country, but still have so much in common. Our backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse. My family is liberal progressive hindu. His is conservative moderate muslims. We ourselves think we might be agnostics. But who can be sure, right? If we want more, it means damaging too many precious ties. I am rather content for now as things are, though every now and then it hurts that I don’t exist to his people, while everyone who knows me, knows and adores him. So I have no rights on this wonderful human being who I share my life with. It can be scary. But I think for now, I’d rather not rock the boat because I enjoy our peaceful existence at present. Can’t imagine the chaos when the news breaks. OUCH! But some deal will have to be struck soon. Can’t I apply for a partnership that has nothing to do with the Marriage word? Just a solemn partnership.

    By the way – this year – I’ve had 3 pairs of friends marry into different religions. It felt good to hear the news. One couple emerged unscathed. The other did not. The third were harrassed by BD.”

    .


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