I am twenty-five years old, a medical doctor, and from a Christian home. I met my current boyfriend three years ago. The problem is that he is a Muslim from Senegal. He is a wonderful guy, respectful, affectionate, and I know that he loves me. A month ago he asked me to marry him. When I met him, I was not going to church.
I don’t know what to do. I love him and would love to be his wife, but that means I would have to give up everything: my family and Jesus Christ. My feelings of fear mixed with guilt are blocking my ability to make a decision. Just thinking about ending the relationship and hurting him breaks my heart. Thank you for your answer. You have no idea how much I need it!
We are glad that you have consulted with us. Clearly you do not like the ramifications of either of your choices: marry this man and give up your family and religion, or reject him and break his heart (and yours). You do not “feel” good about either choice. So your emotions are in turmoil.
Sometimes it is a good thing when our emotions are all mixed up as you describe. The resulting feeling of being blocked has prevented you from making a decision that you might later regret.
When people make decisions based on emotions, those decisions are usually not wise or prudent. Emotions can change based on the weather or how well you slept the night before, so obviously emotions cannot be trusted. A life-changing decision such as whom to marry must be based on facts, evidence, and logic, rather than emotion.
You mention that you were not going to church when you met your boyfriend, but now you realize that marrying him means giving up your belief in Jesus Christ. This is a fact that is extremely significant. It leads to an important question: Do you believe in what the Bible teaches? The Apostle Paul taught that those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior should not be in partnership with those who do not believe in Him as Savior.1
You have not been attending church even though you believe in Jesus, and your boyfriend may not have been practicing his religion either during the time that you have known him. But just as your beliefs are still important to you, his beliefs are important to him. Why would you consider giving up your beliefs when he is obviously not willing to give up his?
Is your boyfriend willing to give up his family? You say that you would have to give up yours if you chose to marry him. Great marriages involve compromise and sacrifice, of course, but when only one of the partners makes all of the sacrifices, there is an imbalance that is neither healthy nor happy.
Because there have been many Christian women who have married Muslim men, it is easy to get factual information on the Internet regarding their experiences. There are books and even movies on the subject. Learning from the experience of others so as to avoid making the same mistakes is always wise.
You say that you feel guilty, but you are not specific as to what actions have led to those guilt feelings. Most likely it is your conscience reminding you that you have walked away from the love of God and the freedom from sin that Christ offers. To make wise decisions, you need God’s help. Don’t let your feelings of guilt keep you from accepting the forgiveness that Christ has for you and the help and strength that are waiting for you. Say yes to Christ, and say no to anything that will damage your relationship with Him.
We wish you well,
1 2Co 6:14