Morning friend,

Can you believe Christmas is only a few days away? I’d love to hear your take on my latest newsletter, Bad Girl or Brave Girl. There are times we’ve demonized or blamed strong resourceful women in the Bible (see Vashti’s story in Esther 1). It’s time we read old stories with fresh eyes.

Question: I have been reading your articles and blog since 2017 and I really like everything you write. I’m not sure if you are going to read this but I am desperate right now, I am a mother of two young children (6 and 9) I separated from their father when my son was 1 year old because he was unfaithful, after a few months my desire for restoring my marriage made me go back to him several times (he wasn’t even repentant). 

I was hoping he could change but that never happened, I ended up filing for divorce, to make the story short I remarried 2 years ago. I met my husband at the bank where I used to work. He was a Christian, but this year in April he decided to become Muslim.

I’m having a very hard time accepting his decision. He has severe PTSD because he was in the military years ago. He was in Iraq and Afghanistan. I understand that his life hasn’t been easy and he’s been struggling with his faith before he changed his religion.

He stopped going to church with me until one day he decided to visit a mosque I can’t just stand anymore the fact he’s attending a mosque, that he reads the Quran, and that he goes to pray to the temple 4 times a day and wears different clothes.

I feel we don’t have anything in common. I don’t like him anymore. I ask God to forgive me because I feel I can’t be around him. I’m mad because he made that decision without considering or listening to my opinion. Sometimes I feel like giving up and asking him to separate, I told him that would be totally different if I met him being Muslim and I decided to marry him anyway but it wasn’t the case. I feel trapped. I need advice, please.

Answer: This is a very hard moment in your life and it feels unfair. I’m glad you reached out because how you handle this moment will affect you, your husband, and your children for the rest of your life.

Your story reminded me of another woman who came to me for counseling years ago with her husband because he decided he no longer believed in God or Jesus. She was angry at him for this decision. She told me, “I married a Christian man and now he’s going back on his promise. I didn’t sign up for this. Had I known he would lose his faith, I wouldn’t have married him.” 

Mind you, he was still a faithful husband, still a good dad, still loved his wife, still provided for the family, but was tired of lying and pretending he had faith that he did not.

I think that kind of honesty takes a lot of courage.

Your husband was honest with you about his struggles in his Christian faith. Please understand when we marry someone, there are no guarantees that things don’t change.

[Tweet “Please understand when we marry someone, there are no guarantees that things don’t change.”]

We never sign up to marry someone who gets addicted to porn or becomes ill with cancer or depression. We don’t know ahead of time if our spouse will lose their faith or change their faith or become a religious zealot. We live in uncertainty, yet as Christians, we don’t have to live afraid or angry that life isn’t what we thought it would be or what we thought it should be. 

You say you have nothing in common, but I would challenge you to think of this change in a different way. Being a Christian is different than being a Muslim and does create some challenges in raising your children together. But are there shared values that you both embrace around how you live your life, raise your children, handle your money, treat one another and treat others? I believe so. I think both religions embrace honesty, love, compassion, mercy, respect, diligence, perseverance, faithfulness, and integrity even if you don’t believe the same theology. 

On the other hand, if your husband’s new faith also includes him becoming an extremist, controlling, cruel, disrespectful, or abusive, then that’s a completely different picture. But you don’t mention any of that. Just that he dresses differently and frequently prays and attends Mosque. 

So how might God use you to love your husband in his journey right now? What might God be teaching you in your journey on how to love someone of a different faith? Or how to learn to be content in all things (even when they’re hard, and you don’t like them). 

How can you honestly share with your husband and let him know his new faith has scared you? Because I think your anger is a mask covering your fear. Perhaps if you were to talk honestly with him about what this means for your family – that he’s converted to a different faith, then perhaps you can find some common ground again and shared values for going forward. And if not, then you know more clearly what your next steps might need to be or whether or not you want to have children together.

Friend, what advice would you share with this disappointed wife and mother?

 

12 Comments

  1. Sooshmita on December 23, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    I am a muslim woman who got divorced a year and half ago. I found this blog through a Christian friend. And I can understand that your husband converting to Muslim makes you feel uncomfortable but I agree with Leslie that perhaps if you had honest open communication with him you may find that the values and other things such as love, compassion, integrity, boundaries have not changed despite the change in faith. It could be a challenge for the children as they have two faiths but they can learn both and choose their own path as they get older. I personally feel that it comes down to love and respect regardless of religion difference.

    • R.D. on January 9, 2022 at 10:10 am

      Sooshmita,
      Jesus of Nazareth, born to the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit of God the Father IS the Christ and IS the only way to eternal life.
      Islam is not love, islam is a lie directly from Satan,
      Mohammed was a murderer, a liar, and a pedophile.
      There is NO COMMONALITY between Christianity and Islam.
      Please Read the BIBLE and seek Christ and the leading g of the Holy Spirit in your own life and repent and accept JESUS !

  2. R.D. on December 23, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Separate from this man NOW.
    Possibly seek reconciliation with the father of your children.
    But do no there is NO commonality between Islam and Christianity. Leslie is lost in her comments about BOTH religions embracing love ect.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 29, 2021 at 4:59 pm

      How do you handle the passage in 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul instructs a believer married to an “unbeliever” – which could be an agnostic, or someone from a religion other than Jesus and Christianity. It says, if they are willing to stay married to you, then try that first before separating or leaving. I stand by my advice. And also agree this man is on journey. God can use his wife to show him God’s love for him. Rejecting him simply because his faith is different than her faith does not sound like the Jesus I know and serve.

      • R.D. on December 30, 2021 at 7:08 pm

        This woman has young children that he is not the father of.
        And sorry, you are absolutely wrong in your belief….

        “I believe so. I think both religions embrace honesty, love, compassion, mercy, respect, diligence, perseverance, faithfulness, and integrity even if you don’t believe the same theology.”

        Islam is a Satanic religion, she needs to keep her kids FAR away from him.
        She could separate and still work on addressing his issues with Christianity.
        If you truly believe your quote above you are a wolf on sheep’s clothing and extremely dangerous to Christians and Christianity,
        I will pray for you.

  3. Becky on December 23, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    I am concerned about the influence his Muslim faith will have on her 2 young children. She would have to tell the children that their step dad is wrong about the god he believes in. I’m sure he would be telling them that he is right & the mother is wrong. How would you address this?

  4. Sara on December 23, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    I LOVED reading Bad/Good girl. Thanks to your ministry & teachings, I’ve awakened to God’s grace & support of women as I had never been aware before. The day before I read your article I had just finished reading Esther & think Vashti should be sainted for her example of a woman of strength & dignity!!

  5. Gwen on December 23, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    I have a dear friend whose husband became an agnostic some fifteen years into their marriage. They had been active in church leadership together and she was devastated. He always has been a faithful, invested and loving husband, and still was. She grieved and grieved until she could hardly function. When she went to a healing retreat, she felt God tell her clearly that if her marriage ended it would be her fault, not his.

    A counselor there told her that fear for her husband’s salvation was far too heavy for her to carry, and not her responsibility.

    She came home determined to do her part to love and honor him, no matter what he believed about God.

    Now, fifteen years later, their home is a delight to visit. They have great times with their grown children, they travel a lot together and are running a successful business together.

    Good relationships are not a result of two people believing all the same things, but of two people honoring each other’s personhood, about honesty, and about commitment to the good of the other.

    All of us change in one way or another. Our vows were made to a person, not to his ideology.

    I am separated from my unfaithful “Christian” husband. He tells me he doesn’t know if we are united enough to ever be in a marriage again, even if he can stay faithful long enough for me to trust him, because our views of God are so different. He sees God as forgiving and taking back the repentant sinner immediately, and obviously I’m not doing that for him, so I am not understanding God as he does.

    To the lady who asked this, (and I do understand the disappointment) if my husband’s logic seems flawed, it is because it is. Believing alike is not what makes a relationship work.

  6. Colleen on December 24, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    I would divorce him. It’s going to be very confusing for her children. He sounds unstable. He probably will meet another Muslim woman at the Mosque and divorce her. He might already have a relationship with a Muslim woman and is mirroring her. Such a drastic change midlife is a red flag.

  7. Connie on December 24, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    I’m not sure if this is all that different from what many of us have experienced, where our husbands seemed like committed Christians and then after a while we discovered that they were just really good actors. It’s the shock of betrayal and confusion, and that’s why we are here.

    I guess in one way, becoming a Muslim is more obvious and more likely to get other people to understand and sympathize with you.

    Learning to be free in your heart while trapped in an unplanned situation is an interesting and long journey. It’s mostly a journey of learning to hear God’s voice and getting all our needs met in Him. It’s worth it.

  8. Mel on December 26, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    I have to say that I am struggling a bit with this advice. I do believe that there is cause for a concern if this man presented himself as a Christian and is now turning from his faith mid-marriage and embracing the Muslim religion. I do not believe that both religions embrace “honesty, love, compassion, mercy, respect, diligence, perseverance, faithfulness, and integrity.” I believe that one religion is true and one is false. One person in the marriage has the light of Christ inside; the other is in darkness. This is very difficult on the believing partner in the very best of circumstances. I am not saying that it is cause for automatic separation or divorce but I do believe that this is a precarious situation. I will be praying for the author of this letter ~ my heart goes out to her.

  9. Autumn on December 27, 2021 at 4:45 am

    Regarding the topic on today’s blog, my reply is to wait and see. I’ll take a non abusive Muslim any day over an abusive Christian. If he switched faiths that fast, he can easily switch back. Be patient and be glad you aren’t being abused. Love him in his struggle. Yet stand firm if he expects you to follow the corrupt teaching of the Koran.

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