Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Heres my side of the story of how a Mormon woman from Indiana stayed married to a Muslim man from Pakistan for 27 years, and raised a family that turned out okay. Dont use the comment box, I can't get into it, use the tag board. Thanks

Well, once, a long time ago, in a kingdom called Chicago, there was a young lady named Carol. Carol was a practicing Mormon, that means basic honesty, no tobacco, or alcohol and morally chaste. It sure sounds like a fairy tale doesn't it, but... it's true.

I was invited to a dinner party by a friend who had reciently married a Pakistani man. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and thought the dinner was for a small group of people, I wouldn't have gone if I had known it was a dinner party for 40 people.

Well, the host of the party was my future husband. He had done all the cooking and had invited lots of his friends and customers from the restaurant where he worked. There was a wonderful mix of people of all ages, races and religions at this party. I was impressed by the assortment and calaber of people, by the funny and energetic host and by the fact that the man had done all the cooking by himself. He was also a praying and practicing Muslim. Although I had known many Muslims, this was the first practicing Muslim I had met. Our mutual friends had decided to get together "the girl who didn't do anything", with "the boy who didn't do anything", thinking our simular values would attract us to each other. They were right.

He was a nice man, the nicest man I had ever known. He came to my work to ask me to marry him, it was at the water fountain at Marshall Field on State Street. I said I would marry him if we didn't have any children, (I knew a mixed faith marriage was a bad idea and hard on the kids) He said, no kids, no marriage, so I said, "I'll think about it." Pretty unromantic, huh?

We met in June and were married in October. (We had to wait for Ramadan to end before we could be married.) I was sure I would have him converted to my faith within 6 months and he thought the same about me.

Of course, we had kids, and then the trouble started. I was told straight out that if I tried to teach the kids my faith, that our marriage would be void. With that hanging over my head, I decided to put teach my kids to follow their fathers faith. I knew that hyprocacy doesn't serve anyone, what I didn't want was a bunch of godless heathens who would use me as an excuse to behave immorally or to allow them to pick and chose which of the tenets of Islam they would follow and which they would ignore. I hate hypocrits, I have no place for them in my life so I certainly didn't want hypocrites as my children.

I tried to teach my children to be true followers of their father's faith as he practiced. I didn't try to overtly or covertly convert my children. I did try to teach them tenets of their faith by quoting scripture stories from the Bible or Book of Mormon. When the kids were having a difficult time adapting to eating only halal meat, I read the story of Daniel in the court of Nebaccaneezer. How he and his friends wouldn't eat any of the king's meat or wine (why, because it wasn't halal for them). They only ate lentils and grains and God blessed them with health and they found favor with the king. I used the only scriptures I knew to teach them to follow their Islamic faith.

I would hire a babysitter to watch the kids while I went to Church. They only went with me 3 or 4 times a year when we were visiting my parents and there was no babysitter available and they were too young to stay alone. The tradition of Sunday hugs started because I would come home from Church, find the house wrecked with the Sunday paper thrown about, Donut mess everywhere, dishes and clothes everwhere. My first reaction was to get angry, but I realized, the kids were connecting anger with me returning from Chruch, so I started gathering them about me, huging them, talking to them, telling them how I miss them when I'm at Chruch and how going to Church helps me love my family, then we would grab the broom and start cleaning up.

It has been a difficult life. No one in our family ever advocates mixed faith marriage. We all strongly speak against it whenever asked. I tried to teach my children to be good followers to a faith I totally disbelieve. I tried to live in the hope that someday, my husband and children would convert through some miraculas converstion like Saul on the road to Demascas. It is so strange to believe something so important as my faith in Christ and not have those closest to me who don't believe. While we mix the tradtions and cultures, I try to not mix the faiths. Yes, we have a Christmas tree, yes, we go to Eid prayer as a family, yes, we keep a "halal" home. I tried to emphasise the shared values of the faith, belief in God, prayer, honesty, moral chastity, charity, abstanance from tobacco and alchocol.

I have tried to live as true to my faith as possible, knowing
a.) I am responsible for my own salvation,
b.) I can't lead them to the truth, if I'm not living the truth in my own life,
c.) the most powerful forms of teaching are love and example,
d.) with God all things are possible,
e.) even if they don't accept Christ in this life, they will have another chance to hear His gospel and accept (or reject) His gospel in the next life before the final judgment. (This is a Mormon doctrine not had by other Christians) As good and virutous people, my family will recieve the middle level of Heaven, even if they don't accept and follow Christ.

I'm still holding on to hope, I'm crazy like that, 'cause without hope, it is just too hard a burden to bear.

So, bloggers, that's my side of the story.