I found love so wonderful and fulfilling I feel like shouting it from the rooftops... the only problem is the woman I am dating is a devout Muslim and I am a traditional Jew. We have both considered the option of conversion and this has caused a lot of tension between our respective family and friends. I am convinced they will be able to embrace her for who she really is when the time comes, but I appreciate the value of community and I am afraid of losing that and a lot of other things I hold in high regard if I continue with this relationship. Is there any way to salvage our interfaith relationship?
I am really happy to hear you have found such a beautiful relationship and I am confidant you have chosen the most wonderful woman for you, but I am sorry that not everybody around you feels the same. You must remember that each and every person is entitled to his or her opinion and feelings- including yourself and those around you. You can go a few routes here: You can agree to disagree on what shape and color and religion love presents itself. You can concede to the opinions of those around you; or wait until they concede to yours. I won't mislead you to believe any of those scenarios end up with everyone happy. The question is whose happiness you are willing to sacrifice? You don't need to answer this right now but I will leave you with a few introspective questions to guide you in your decision:
- What importance and role does religion play in your life?
- What do your respective religions and communities say about marriage and conversion?
- How have you always envisioned the milestones and holidays in your life? Are you willing to shift your vision?
- Is being surrounded by family and friends more important to you than romantic fulfillment?
- How will this change when and if you have children?
- Which implications will marrying a person of another faith have on you and on your future offspring?
- Do you embrace the values of her religion? Does she embrace the values of yours?
- How have you dealt with this conflict together as a couple up until now? How do you think you will resolve this conflict when it grows in size or presents other challenges to you?
This is a difficult situation. I wish you much success in resolving it and moving forward with a fulfilling relationship, whether it be this one or another. It is fortunate that you are experiencing this as a couple while you are dating, so that you may ponder it seriously before you commit to conversion or marriage.
*Margaux, the Jewish Matchmaker is happy to receive and answer all your dating and relationship questions. Send her an email directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org