broken heart, life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

A halo in reverse

Once, I had a conversation with one of my colleagues I don’t usually speak to simply because we aren’t in the same unit. It was the day before Christmas, and the newsroom was deserted except two or three journalists present to assume the permanency of the newspaper in case of some hot news. He and I were the only journalists on that day. We talked about many things, and I learned that he was a Muslim. He converted to this religion because his wife was into it. But he also told me that she didn’t force him to do that. It was only his will because for him, it was an act of love.

Another friend of mine, who was Catholic, did the same thing for her man. In fact, she converted to Judaism. “I didn’t feel obliged to do it. In fact, he never asked me to do that. But I wanted to prove him my commitment for him, and I thought this was the best way to do that” she says.

But what if the one you love asks you to convert to his/her religion?

Many years ago, when I worked as a banker, I had this client who wore the hijab. She was the only one in the neighborhood where the bank was, and also the center of the conversation because she had converted to that religion. Nobody understood her decision, and rumors circulated about her forced conversion to Islam, because her husband wasn’t very tolerant about this. I didn’t know if those rumors were true, but all I know was that when we saw her in the bank, she always had a sadness in her eyes. I’m sure it had more to do with all the mean talks about her in the neighborhood, at least, I hoped so.

I dated for three years a Jew that wanted me to convert to his religion if we wanted to get married. But I was raised as a Catholic, and I couldn’t imagine changing my religion, even for someone I really love. He was so insistent about my conversion to his religion and never listened to what I wanted to say. We broke up because of that. I was convinced that if he didn’t listen to me for that, he wouldn’t listen to anything else” L., 35, said.

I accept to convert to his religion, mainly because he didn’t insist on this. I just knew I there was nothing else that will make him happy” M., 32, said.

And what if you don’t share the same religion with your companion?

I’ve met a lot of couples who believe in different religions. And they all coexist in peace, as long as they respect each other’s beliefs. Yet, it is quite challenging. It’s easier to believe in the same religion than your wife/husband, for a practical reason. “I’m married to a Muslim, but I am a Catholic. And there is always a period in the year where this is a little bit tricky: the Ramadan. His lack of food during the day makes him a little bit shaky and nervous, and it difficult not to fight with him during those days” joked G., 35. “We have each our religious rituals: I’m Buddhist and He’s Jew, and we try to assist each other’s religious events, but it’s not always easy” said H., 34.

Most of my family works on this dynamic. Jews, Catholics and atheists never argue about religion simply because we just respect each other’s beliefs. It’s a delicate subject, however. Sometimes, in conversation with the others, there will always be someone that will criticize other religions, openly, or just with allusions. That’s why it’s  never a good idea to bring that subject on the table, especially when you don’t know about the others’ religion.

So, is religion (a different one than yours) a turn off for you?


7 thoughts on “A halo in reverse

  1. whatigotsofar says:

    I guess it would depend on the religion itself. I’m quite cynical (and opposed) to certain religions. I am content with my religion and faith and see no reason to change it though.

  2. whoknowswhy says:

    No, it’s not a turnoff for me. Being the way that I am – non-practising, if not agnostic; and very liberal – I would hardly mind who it that I’m in love with. Me marrying someone from outside my religion may have extreme reactions among my close relatives and the society in general, so that could be a pain. But that’s the way I feel and I would expect a girl to be equally open to the issue. If she expects me to convert, that would be hard.

    Therein lies the problem. Some religions make it clear that you have to convert or you are ostracized. And what is a religious girl to do in such a case, given that she really likes me! This situation stumps me.

  3. Although I was religious all my life, for my 40th birthday I let myself not believe and became an Athiest, this after a Masters including much religious studies. Since then, I am not very interested in being around people of faith, particularly if it is directed my way. I think it would be a huge stumbling block in a relationship. For me, it is much easier to respect religion from afar if you don’t believe in it.

  4. wkw, the problem isn’t religion itself, but what the relatives and friends around you think about this union.

    Cricket, I do admit I take a distant stake with religion too, that’s why I respect it. But I can truly understand you on this stumbling block.

  5. dontdatethatdude says:

    Other’s people religions have been a turn off for me, but not in my personal relationships. 2 of my friends married jewish men and both weddings had jewish rituals, but both respect each others religions and neither couple really practice religion by going to services much etc. Very strong religious beliefs are a major turn off for me though. I truly believe religion is a way to control large populations so I always question it.

  6. DDTD, it depends also if you’re practicing or not your religion. Non practicing Jews, Catholics, Muslims,… are much more easy to deal with. But I agree with you on the way to control large populations.

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