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.
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?