By OLUWATOYIN IDOWU
“People try to minimise the differences when they are in love”. Joel Crohn.
Last week, I published the story of two intending couples with serious religious complications on their hands, catalysed by the fact that they attend different assemblies of worship. While Christopher was ready to jettison his own assembly after marriage in order to please his wife to be, but for a major constraint, Ruth wasn’t ready to even shift an inch due to her loyalty to her long time assembly. I appreciate the comments that came in, both on this platform and other ones like Facebook inbox, emails and so on. As a result of this, I have decided to do a rejoinder so that we can have a very balanced perspective. Did you miss the story last week? Please read it up here before you go ahead: /2015/07/we-are-both-christians-yet-religion-is-stopping-our-marriage-realitywithtid/
Is anyone out there having the same or similar experience with Ruth and Christopher’s and you are at a seemingly cross-road? Please, admit with me that it’s not an issue that should be treated with levity. The first thing I need you to understand is that religious difference is a major issue that should not be overlooked especially when the knot has not been tied. Dismissing its seriousness with a “God will take control” cliché could be detrimental to your relationship in future and that is if you have not been denying some damages even as at now that you are dating. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not live in denial, admit there is a big issue to face with your partner so, pause and deal with it in the most objective way. This is because religious difference shouldn’t be seen as one of those minor issues you can drop till after you are married…No! Solve it before you proceed to the altar so that each of you will have a direction to work with. But if it cannot be resolved, then it will be better for the two of you to put an end to the relationship! I will be the last person to advice any intending couple to go ahead and get married while this problem boils within them. That is a big error because it’s like having a timed-bomb in your hands that can explode at any given time!
While trying to deal with this issue, you both need to understand that one of the greatest tools to use is effective communication. You cannot under-estimate its effectiveness. None of you should ever sit down and assume inaccurately about the other person’s point of view, rather, sit down and talk eyeball to eyeball about it in the most unambiguous way and the best time to do it is now. Everybody has a story behind his or her actions and proper communication can bring to open the deepest fear which your partner could have been nurturing for years. When this happens, that could be all you would need as a solution to the problem at hand.
However, before you get to this point, may I ask, how much of your partner’s religion do you know? Have you worshipped with him or her before and how often have you done that? Have you made your independent research to know what the religion stands for? What does the setup look like and what do they have to offer especially families? How much do you know about their leaders? From your observation, do you think his or her religious choice will have a positive impact on your future home? If you have mixed feelings about the setup, have you shared it with your partner in a way that will make him or her see your point objectively? All these and more are what you need to explore before you take your decision either for or against. The point is, it’s not just enough to be obsessed about your religion when in the actual fact you know little or nothing about your partner’s. You never can tell, your partner’s could even be more accommodating in terms of your family setting and goal. This doesn’t mean you are giving any green light of conversion yet, just trying to identify with what your partner holds in high esteem to enable you make a meaningful decision. So get adequately informed!
While at it, you need to understand that you are trying to resolve a major conflict so it’s not a period to lord over each other’s principles neither is it a time for gender superiority display but the objective is to basically establish the values with which you want to run your future home and confirm each other’s expectations which actually transcend any form of religious differences caused by our man made ideologies. Establishing the values and each other’s expectations will help a lot to give a clear and express direction on which religious preference to tilt towards. For example, if both of you plan to build your relationship on a value belief system that gives family priority over other things, then, in order to really have a strong base for this value to function, it will be expected that each one of you will value family time and consciously create ample time for every member of your immediate family. You will resolve not getting involved in activities and jobs that are too demanding and serve as a constant form of distraction from achieving this goal. This will now mean that the two of you must objectively embrace a religious group out of the two you have that supports this. It’s not about the gender thing, it’s not supposed to be a cultural thing neither the decision should be based on religious sentiments but purely on the good values you are setting up as a foundation for your home. Based on your values and what you are driving at, you may even find none of the religion adequate for you…yes, it happens.
In conclusion, any form of issue on religious difference will require lots of sacrifice and humility from both sides especially on the part of the person forfeiting his or hers. We need to see beyond “it’s my church” but plunge into the attitude that want to make things work based on the kind of life we want for ourselves and the offspring. It doesn’t make sense when the guy insists his babe must port to his church simply because that’s what the culture says even when the ideals of his church doesn’t support their intended family values. Neither will it do anyone of the parties any good if the lady insists on staying back with the hope of changing her man as time goes on when it is evident that her church has got little or nothing to offer. Let us go beyond all these sentiments and settle down to live our lives the way we should live it.
Keep a date with the author every Thursday on Reality with Toyin Idowu on ExpressNG Follow him on twitter @ThoyinIdowu Or visit HYPERLINK “http://www.toyinidowu.blogspot.com”