When I first met my husband, who's a Muslim from Morocco, I really didn't know much about his country, culture or his religion -- Islam. When I told my parents that I was going to marry a Muslim, the response I received was horrible! My father told me that I went ahead with our marriage that he had nothing more to say to me and my mother couldn't say anything because my dad was on the phone. Finally, a week later my mother called me back to say that the woman featured in the movie, "Not Without My Daughter," lived in our home town in Michigan and she was really afraid for me. I really anguished and cried many nights over what I should do. Meanwhile my husband had to tell his family 3 times that we changed the wedding date. My husband was crushed and imagining in his mind all the reasons for my delays. When I told him what my father and mother said -- he affirmed that it was my decision and he would accept whatever I thought best. I prayed many nights and felt assured that I should marry Samir. I told my mother, put yourself in my shoes -- I'm a single mother with 2 children from a previous marriage. Who would want an instant family? Most American men want to create a family, not get a ready made family. So, who did that leave -- not many!
For six months I did not speak to my father and my mother had to sneak to call me when my dad wasn't home. Finally, a ray of hope for me and my husband -- my family wanted to visit us. I sent up many prayers before their visit and the Lord answered my prayers. My father had a lot of time to talk with my new husband and my mother had met him once when we were dating. After spending 2 weeks with us, my father asked me to sit down with him and my mother to have a family meeting. This was when my father admitted that he had made a mistake about Samir and he understood why I married him. He had morals, loved me, and treated the children like they were his own. In fact, Samir encouraged me to go to church consistently or not go at all because it was sending a mixed message for the girls. My dad admitting he was wrong (which he had never done) was surely the work of the Lord! My parents fell in love with my husband because they sensed his gentle spirit and love for their daughter and her children.
Now I'll tell you about our first few years of marriage. It was very difficult to blend our differences in culture, religion and how we were raised during the first 2 years. I needed to know more, but I couldn't find anyone who could help me. My local church really wasn't that knowledgeable about Islam, but gave me what information they had. Finally, I went to the library and started checking out books on Islam and read other books about his country. That helped some, but there were still many unanswered questions.
Each week I would read the local newspaper which lists applications for marriages and divorce hearings and I would see many mixed marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims. As time went on, there were more divorces among Muslim and non-Muslim couples than I had previously seen. I've personally known about five couples who have divorced, but I was struggling myself and was unable to help them. I wondered if their outcome would have been different if they had somewhere to go for help and advice. As I look back on those days, I know that their lives definitely could have been different!
Well, after seven years of marriage and the grace of God my husband became a Christian. During our marriage my husband and I have never fought, argued or said harsh words to each other. There has never been any degrading remarks or verbal abuse. I am truly one of the lucky ones in this respect. I even started a ministry to American Women Married to Muslims in my home town which he encouraged. Things seemed to flourish and my husband was and still is very supportive.
Just when I thought things were wonderful, Satan started pulling out the stops. Satan knew he couldn't get at our relationship or his conversion to Christianity so he started in other areas -- my oldest daughter Shannon. Shannon got caught at school with an empty bag of marijuana and was suspended for 10 days while I was in Michigan with my father who was having open heart surgery. When I arrived home you can imagine the chaos that followed. Come to find out the father of daughters friend, who lives next door, offered and insisted that they smoke while coming home from Disney that day or he would drop them off at a desolate part of the road and leave them. Needless to say the smoking when on for months before I realized she had a problem. After months of drug counseling, one on one and group sessions, my daughter has finally kicked the habit.
During this intense counseling with Shannon my husband became restless and I knew something was up. He wanted to have children and it was tormenting him because when he married me he knew I couldn't have children. We went to counseling, talked about adoption and even surrogate mother -- I was desperate. Nothing seemed to satisfy him and he insisted that he has to have children in order to pass on his name. I wondered where did this come from and prayed against this spirit of discontent -- but nothing changed. In September of '97 he decided to move out and start looking for someone to give him children. As of today, we are still married, he calls me 3-4 times a day, we see each other at least 1-2 times a week and I know he still loves me. He is so confused that Satan plans to destroy what God has blessed by this issue of children. The reason I can't have children is because I had cancer and the doctors had to remove my uterus or I could have eventually faced losing my life. It's been a horrible ordeal, but Jesus asked me to trust him and He has given me peace beyond understanding to live through each day in a loving spirit towards my husband despite everything. My husband is now wanting a divorce but I have told him that I cannot be part of this and in no way will participate!
Little did I know that while I had started a support group to encourage other women, they would encourage and support me as well. God is sovereign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, thank you ladies of LAM! I won't give up and I'm planning my own Jihad against the powers of darkness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Muslim-Christian marriages: Women telling their story ...