Written by Oluwakemi Aremu
Friday, March 30, 2012
THE issue of religion in a relationship is a major one. In the African context, we see parents insisting on their children getting married to a man or woman who practises the same religion or have the same faith. We also see parents who are only concerned about the family background, occupation and sincerity of the heart of their children's life partners. These set of parents claim they are interested in their children's happiness and peace of mind in marriage. However today, when one xrays people's opinion about married partners sharing the same religion or different religion, the reasons are varied and so diverse that you begin to wonder if people ever consider love, trust, communication, honesty or even commitment above other things when choosing a life partner. The issue of religious differences has broken so many relationships and courtships of many years,thus, bringing sorrow and hatred into many lives.In exploring this issue of husband and wife practising different religions, Oluwakemi Aremu sought people's opinion . Excerpts:
Olatunji Owolabi, Chartered Accountant: Husband and wife in a perfect marriage are one. Thus, no religion should separate them.
Ibiwoye Olasunkanmi, lecturer: I believe that the success of any marital relationship is based on having similar value systems and not religious beliefs. If both partners are tolerant, supportive and understand each other's beliefs, it will be easy to practise a different faith from their spouse's and still live harmoniously. People who share the same religious beliefs or are practising the same religion still get divorced. Therefore, check your values and attitude to life.
Ayeni Oluwafemi, student: Religion is an act of worship. It includes the existence and total belief in a supernatural being.
Marriage on the other hand is instituted for a man and woman to become one by a supernatural being, be it God, god, or deities. This issue of practising the same religion by couples depends on mutual agreement between them. Culture is also respected here because the man is the head, he decides on what and how his family will look like. The religion the man chooses should be the woman's preference. Though it can create unity in cultural diversity, but in the real sense, the conflict and crises happening globally is caused by religious intolerance. I totally disagree that husband and wife should practise different religions.
Eseigbe Angela, businesswoman: The key issue which people seem to ignore is the fact that it is the woman who does most of the training and grooming of the children. She teaches them how to pray and instil value in them. How well will a woman play this role if she gets married to a man of a faith different from hers? People should know that marriage is not just about the man and woman. It is a marriage of two families and the foundation of several generations to come. The 'love birds' will eventually become parents and their home will become the first learning institution and agent of socialisation for each child. What kind of orientation do children in inter-faith marriages have? Whose faith should they be introduced to: mum's or dad's?
Tunde Adegboye, engineer: I can tell you categorically that it is not the best for couples to practise different religions. Personally, I cannot allow my wife to go to another church, let alone of practising another religion. Normally, children are named according to the religion their parents practise and in some cases, children will not even know the one they are to call their own probably, they attend both the Quranic School and at the same time church.
Faith Omeonu, National Youth Service Corps member: Let us face facts; the problems of inter faith marriage dates long before the marriage institution. The couple must consider several issues: How do we convince our families to accept the union? Under what faith should we conduct the marriage ceremony? Should we agree on one faith or do we continue in our separate faiths? What faith should we introduce to our children? The questions are endless. Personally, I don't think it is advisable. The home could be broken in the process. I can't marry a man who practises another religion from mine; Our union won't be successful.
Aderibigbe Yusuf, self-employed: Yes, husband and wife can practise different religions as long as the understanding and fate that brought them together are intact and the woman is performing her duties as a wife in the house while the husband is equally up to the task. Also, a Yoruba adage says O jise kan, ko gbodo di ojise kan lowo meaning you must not disturb your fellow human being. A very good example is Mr Babatunde Fashola, Governor of Lagos State who is a Muslim while the wife is a Christian and they are living happily. So also is a family friend whom I know very well, the husband is a Muslim while the wife happens to be a Christian. The children go to church with their mother and the father is in support of this. They are living together happily.
Omotosho Abisola, educationist: There is nothing good in practising different religions as couples.The way they will reason will be different and definitely crises in such a marriage cannot be ruled out. Moreover, what exactly are you impacting in your children? Where should they go? Is it to follow mummy or daddy? Before parents know it, the children will no longer share the love they used to share together because what they believe in is different. There is likely to be argument on some issues which could lead to hatred.
Femi Fatogun, National Youth Service Corps member: It depends on the background of the couple. Don't forget that couples are brought up in different backgrounds. The children also have the right at a certain stage/age of their lives to choose whatever religion they wish to practise; so it shouldn't affect the home.
Ayo Damilola, corps member: Marriage is all about sharing the same values, belief, religion and so on. If at all there is going to be a difference, it shouldn't be on the issue of religion because it can lead to separation.
Efedhoma Kate, counsellor: In my many years of practice as a relationship expert, I've come to realise that in most cases if not all, what drives couples apart are basically the basic differences on sex related issues, financial issues and how they deal with them. So also is the third party that is forever trying to come between the partners. The third party may be as far from them as friends and relatives and as close as the children in the union. Difference in religion shoudn't be a barrier, love supersedes all.
Aremu Damilola, student: I don't think so because when two people with different beliefs get married, they will have different orientations, thus bringing about dispute and it can eventually break their home.
Ebube Nwoko, self-employed: The basis for marrying my wife is that we have the same faith. I can't marry a woman who doesn't practise my religion.
Abdulrahman Elere, public administrator: Don't let us deceive ourselves, there would be problem on the long run, irrespective of how they try to cover-up. The best way to avoid this is for both partners to practise the same religion and have the same faith.
Adebayo Matthew, student: It is a matter of choice, whether couples are practising different or the same religion, love supersedes all.
Samsudeen Salawu: Yes, they can. Practising different religions should not be a big deal if there is true love between lovers.
Alhaji Jelili Lawal: God forbid! It is not right at all. I can't even imagine myself getting married to a woman who doesn't practise my religion. I will be going to mosque while my wife goes to the church. Definitely, our children's belief will be affected, it's never done. The answer is capital NO!