Family & Personal Law

When Faith and Love Mix

Love is a powerful force and when the heart wants what it wants, it will go for it. This is what can be said of couples who profess different religions. The hurdles these kind of couples undergo are deeper and very complicated but that does not mean that they cannot be worked out.

Lack of support from friends and family: According to sociologist Lynette Clemetson, the relative lack support that inter-cultural couples might receive from friends and family in the initial period of their relationship, can give rise to trust issues between them later which makes the relationship difficult (Clemetson, 2000). The same is applicable to inter-religious couples also. I’d suggest you take time to understand each other fully, gain confidence in your commitment and only then introduce each other to your families, so as to earn more of their support.

Challenges understanding each other: As you know, a religion is a way of life. For example, I’m a Hindu – I’m used to seeing idols worshipped every day in my home. If you’re a Christian this might come across as blasphemous to you. Religion shapes everything from lifestyle (consider the strict vegetarianism practised by Jains), to philosophy of life (think Muslims having their own legal code). Two people coming from two different religious backgrounds, thus, need to make extra efforts to understand each other. Fun activities like picking up a children’s book on the history of each other’s religions, or participating in religious holidays can be powerful first steps in the lifelong journey of overcoming such barriers.

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Lack of family support can go as far as family doing all it can to ensure that the couple does not stay together. They will even interfere with the wedding plans.

Wealthy businessman Chabbadia Patel has filed an injunction at the Bungoma East DistrictCommissioner’s office to stop the wedding of his daughter Sarika to Timothy Khamala.

The move now halts plans for the two lovebirds to tie the knot in a civil marriage that had been slated for Tuesday 26 after the much publicised rare love affair in Nang’ina village of Webuye.

The government had opened a 21-day window for anyone with objection to the union to file a petitionbefore Monday.

Authorities kept contents of the objection from the media but insiders told The Nairobian that among other things, the father, in his petition, claimed Timothy had kidnapped Sarika and that his family is unaware of her whereabouts.

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The issue of two parents with different religions is usually a course of concern for many. As much the world has opened up and become multi-cultural couples who practice different faiths wonder how that will affect their children.

Parents are socializing agents. They teach their kids, mainly through modeling, how this world works and how to successfully navigate it. Beliefs, including religious beliefs, are a set of values and rules that give kids a sense of certainty and peace. If done well, parents can integrate their religious beliefs into the values they instil in their children. Kids become confused when one parent is dogmatic about their own values. They adopt a “my way or the highway” philosophy. This kind of attitude can apply to any set of beliefs , not just religion. Such parents try to use force to strengthen their position. They say things like, “I will tell you what you are going to study”, “You must do…”, “You have to…” in order to receive their love. Their affection is conditional on you meeting their expectations (including the religious ones). This is where confusion sets in.

If both parents are dogmatic in their attitudes and have different, or worse, conflicting beliefs, this can be super confusing for kids. Conflict over religious beliefs, or any other values for that matter, will prevent kids from developing the confidence they need to navigate the world and confusion will take over certainty and peace.

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