Jan

My name is Jan and my husband is Palestinian, Sunni Muslim. We have been
married for 3 years and have one child between us. I also have a 7 year old
daughter from before meeting my husband. When we first met he was a very patient
and calm man and that's what I knew I wanted to have for my family and my daughter especially.

Shortly after getting married he had to go back home to the Gulf to renew
his papers and visit family. I stayed behind here in the States and we
communicated constantly, always being endearing to one another. When he
finally came back (he was stuck there for a while) I noticed a change in
him. He told me what my place was as a wife, snapped at both myself and my
girl often, wouldn't let me go to the store, check the mail, or do the
laundry alone, complained about everything I did, always held over my head
my past and the sinful things that I did (he couldn't watch tv talk shows
because the trash on there reminded him of me and the things that he knew
about my past). He couldn't accept my salvation because my repentence had
been through accepting Christ and asking His forgiveness. He used to say
that he couldn't consider me "cleaned" because I wasn't Muslim and received
forgiveness that way. Whenever something political happened and it had
something to do with the Middle East, esp. Palestine and the U.S.
involvement with Israel, I instantly became the enemy. Sometimes he would
look at me so hatefully and speak so hatefully because I was American.
I was still going to church at this time, and openly reading my Bible in our
apt, but then we had only been married for less than 6 months. About 4
months after marriage I quit going to church because of the pressure I felt
when I came home afterward. We had a terrible argument over my saying my
daughters bedtime prayers with her because of the mention of Jesus. He
wanted a divorce, called me and my daughter leeches, said he married me for
papers, told me that he would do anything to make me hate him. Meals with
him were horrible. My daughter was 4 at the time and whenever she made even
the slightest remark or expression at any of his food (which was all new to
her, aside from the fact that 4 yr. olds are accustomed to eating corny
dogs, fries and such, not hummus and falafel) he would yell at her and
threaten to smack her with his belt, which he placed on the floor right next
to her. He frightened me constantly, wanted all of my attention, would get
angry when I would spend 15 minutes with my daughter to read her a story in
her room because she's "just a kid" and "I'm your husband and everything you
do revolves around your daughter". Honestly, it was truly a nightmare. I
even considered faking my own death to get away from him....no joke. I
looked into getting an annulment but was told that past 3 months was too
late.

That Christmas, which was only a month or two away at this time I went
with my daughter to visit my family (the only vehicle we had was my
truck so there wasn't much he could do about me going) and I decided to let
my daughter stay with my sisters. I called and told him I wasn't coming
back until he let me go to church and practice my faith without putting
pressure on. After all, I encouraged him to go to the mosque because he was
usually nicer when he came back. He eventually agreed but I had to lie to
him about why I was letting my daughter stay with family.

About one month after Christmas I found out I was pregnant and I wasn't telling my husband
about it because we both agreed not to have any kids together. When I was
about 10 weeks along we had a fight and I left the apt. Upon returning and
seeing he was a fireball, I retreated to the bathroom, and discovered that I
was miscarrying....tissue and all. I had locked the bathrrom door and he put his
fist through it. I told him of the miscarriage and things were OK but the
following week I packed my things and left back to my family while he was at
work. It was while I was there that amazingly my husband spoke often with my
sister on the phone and he accepted Christ (that's another story). I will
never forget that, he walked up to the pastor on Valentine's Day. He was
baptized 2 weeks later on Feb. 28, 1999. He agreed to move to back to my
hometown to go to my church and be around my family (mind you this meant being away from
his brother and sister 4 hours drive away) and we prayed and studied our
Bibles together often.

He celebrated Easter with us as a Christian but come that
summer we went back home to the Gulf, where he then retook his shahada. He
had told me before that even though he was confused he wouldn't stand in the
way of raising our children together Christian. Suffice it to say that our
15 month old, my 7 year old, and I can no longer go to church, he cannot
even stand speaking of Jesus or seeing reference to Him in movies or
anywhere nor can I teach them about Christianity. He doesn't practice Islam
except fasting during Ramadan but the only reason is because he admits that
if he did he would have to allow me to practice Chrisitanity and he wouldn't
be able to watch me do that. So, we have no religion in our home.
Occasionally there is speak of God in general terms, but nothing specific,
except that he always refers to God as Allah. I later found out that he was
speaking of Islam to my daughter when they were together, and I found this out
because she wanted to pray to Allah (hands raised and everything)
before dinner one night. I have since given her my children's story Bible
and encourage her to read it when her father isn't home.

I will have to wrap this up as it has gotten entirely too long. Let me just
add though that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have yet to speak of
the verbal abuse, physical fights between us (myself included), abuse
towards my daughter, nasty remarks about my family and how his daughter is
not going to go over there, I never see my family although I live not more
than 15 miles from them, etc. He is definitely not the man I married, not
on the surface anyway. The only credit I must give him is that while away
from his family he does change and his attitude towards my daughter is
beginning to change but it's because I just could not hold my tongue anymore
and I am all too quick to tell him what I think these days. The damage done
to my oldest girl though is heartbreaking. He has beaten her down just as
he was beaten down as a child. So many of these men know nothing more than
this as it is such a vital part of their cultures. Well-behaved kids for
them happen because of control, fear, and guilt and it seems as though for
many well-behaved wives come about the same way. Please, draw close to
Christ as I didn't when I chose to marry. I like music personally.....many
songs speak to me. If you do too, try listening to one of Jaci Velasquez's
cds. The name of it is Heavenly Place. The song "I Promise" spoke to me,
just a little too late.

My gosh, I'm really sorry it's so long. I don't have it nearly as bad as
many women on here. Listen to them, I wish I had been on here earlier when
we first met.

Jan

Muslim-Christian marriages: Women telling their story ... 

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