Love is very strong; stronger than we can even fathom.
(*Disclaimer: First and foremost, I wrote this post for myself. I must remind you that I am no teacher. I am simply a human with a soul, sharing my perspectives and experiences with you. We will all be accountable for our actions one day.)
I usually go to bed so late as my mind comes alive at night and I find it easier to write then. I thought I would be done writing for tonight but I guess I'm not.
I want to have sex with my husband right now, but I can't. As I said, he is about to begin his fast in 28 minutes, which doesn't leave us with enough time, annoyingly.
Sex, amongst other things, is something that one has to abstain from when fasting. Which is why I am now on my phone writing this, whilst he has just fallen asleep in my arms.
And no, I am not fasting. You see, the thing is, I am a Christian and my husband is a Muslim. Yep, you read that correctly, but just in case you didn't, I am a Christian and he is a Muslim.
Why did I marry a Muslim man? It is not a question I thought I would be asking myself, let alone answering only nine months into my marriage. But here I am, doing just that.
Unfortunately, my answer isn't as straightforward as, "I couldn't find a good Christian man so I married a Muslim man." If only that was the case. In fact, I wish my husband were Christian. Because truth be told, all I ever wanted was a husband who loved God like I did, maybe even more.
I pictured us going to church together, praying together, and singing gospel songs together (even though I can't sing). But I let that picture fade away over the years.
Writing about this decision is something I have been itching to write about for years. But I have never been itching to share it. I have often kept quiet on this topic because I don't feel the need to have to explain my choices in life. So rather than explain this choice, I will try to tell my story.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. The reason I am telling it now is because someone recently asked me if I was planning to convert to Islam for my husband and it caught me off-guard.
Not because this was the first or second time I have heard such a question but because it shocks me every time when people genuinely feel they have the right to ask such a question, especially people who don't even believe in God. In hindsight, I know people don't mean any harm but the next time someone asks, I'm going to politely tell them to piss off.
But for now, let me take you right back to the start. I have grown up as a Christian my entire life but I didn't start searching for God until I was 19 after I broke up with my ex-boyfriend and my self-worth was shattered.
On this search, I found that I knew not only that there was God, but that I was a child of God. When I understood and comprehended that — more than that, when I internalized that, — I became courageous. Very courageous.
People who knew me prior (and still know me now) could probably attest this. I stopped living to please people. I started to become honest with my feelings and myself. And in the vein of honesty, the true reason why I had wanted to marry a Christian guy was because it just sounded right. It sounded perfect. It looked "right."
People would look at us and think we have all our sh*t together. And that feeling of admiration from others? I wanted that. I needed that. I wanted to be the status quo, but the truth is that when you follow God, there is no such thing as being status quo.
When my husband came into my life, he not God had a divine plan in my life ans he understood and wanted to help me on this journey.
We met at college, where, career-wise for me, things didn't go according to plan. In my dismay, he was there for me. After all, that's what's expected from a boyfriend, right?
During this time I really found it hard to talk to God, to even go to church. He called me one Friday to see how I was doing. When I asked about his day, he responded, "I called to see how YOU are, and if I could come to church with you. I didn't call to talk about me and my day."
In that split second I realized he was special. It took one moment — one seemingly insignificant gesture — and I knew. After that, I let myself fall in love with him. My reservations about him being Muslim disappeared. I loved God and he respected that.
More than that, he loved that I loved God. For me, religion is more than going to church on a Friday and Sunday, I really want God to dwell in me and everything I do and since being with him my faith has grown from strength to strength. And for that, I can only be thankful.
As I have said countless times, I didn't look for this love. I really didn't. I didn't even think I wanted this love, let alone let alone deserved this love. But God knew I needed this love. I legitimately do not believe that he would have wanted me to turn it away.
Love is very strong, stronger than we can even fathom. Love isn't something you have to look for; it will find you. You don't have to run to what you think love is because when it's genuinely meant for you, it will catch you and never turn you loose. This is what happened to me.
It still humbles me that this force that makes leaves and fleas and stars and rivers and you, loves me. Me, Linda. It's amazing. I am really blessed to have what I have and who I have in my life. I have worked hard to get here. When I say "here," I mean arriving in and to my happiness.
The day I walked down the aisle to greet my husband, I saw God. I swear I did. And I knew I couldn't turn back. I didn't want to turn back. I wanted to run as fast as I could to the front to be with my maker.
It is actually quite remarkable that the picture I once had in my head at the start still manifested in some shape.
Having a love like ours is difficult. What I mean by this is that there are things that necessarily wouldn't need to be considered in a "same faith" marriage that has to be considered in an interfaith marriage. For example, when we used to go out to eat, we could really only eat in Halal restaurants.
I guess the other difficulty is the period of Ramadan, where he would fast a whole month. This is not just hard for him but for me as well, as he usually gets really grumpy when he doesn't eat.
Two years into our relationship I started fasting for a week during the Ramandan month so he would feel that he wasn't alone in this. These are just some of the "difficulties" that we experience. I'm sure there will be more, like any other relationship.
And I am not going to lie to you, I know it will be even more difficult when we have children. But I couldn't imagine doing life with anyone other than him and God.
One day, far from now, when the sands of time threaten to fall no more, I will read my words and I will remember why I married a Muslim man.
This article was originally published at Asklychee. Reprinted with permission from the author.