War & No Peace -Of Interfaith Marriages
I am in an interfaith marriage. I appear skeptical as I use this term and the very fact that interfaith is a single word! He had faith and I was faithless. I’m talking about religion here, the institution of religion that has defined boundaries by any given person defining it. Clever or otherwise.
Religion of love.
Religion of faith.
Way of life.
When we go married, unlike 2 individuals who had to adapt to a million things, we had to adapt to a million things and an elephant in the room. Wait, how did the elephant get there?
Before we got married, like any 2 civil individuals who respected each other and themselves, we drew out a treaty in words. You of yours and me of mine.
I loved waiting for him outside a mosque. I’d sit idle, doing nothing. Or I’d read a book. The wait never bothered me. In fact, I looked forward to it. I respected his belief in whatever he believed in, even and especially when I didn’t respect the belief. It wasn’t hard because I didn’t have to try. It just came to me, as easily as it came to him.
We had other things that interested us more. Movies, theatres, music, books, eating out and of course, all the hormones that decided we needed to do something about it several times a day.
When we got married, we invited a lot of people into our life because we were silly and kind. We invited them and they came bearing gifts of unsolicited opinion and criticism.
We were given a 5 year timeframe map where any route you take, always ended in us separating. Everyone was suddenly a prophet. (Damn, that word is now too sensitive!)
Here’s how we, very maturely, dealt with it.
He intensified his religious nature. And I discovered mine.
He would pray 5 and a half times a day. I would pray all day. It was quite tiring to be honest.
We fought, we made up, we fought some more, were severely apologetic or piously smug and had sex or not. We turned experts at ripping the other’s religion which we had no idea about, the internet a very handy tool. We were modern crusaders engaging in a civil war of 2 people.
Days went on. I received several pieces of literature from non-well-wishers. The pile grew and so did our anxiety.
Where have we landed? We looked at the partner we had carefully chosen (we both considered ourselves intelligent and that was a problem) and wondered if we had made a smart move.
Tired, he gave in. Tired, I gave up.
Our marriage of a few months seemed a failed experiment. And I was horrified this was going into my life’s resume.
I can’t quite exactly tell you how it changed. It could be when he decided to pack up and leave and my fear or abandonment was overcome by anger followed by defeat and detachment and when we were the worst people we could ever become. We disliked ourselves and each other intensely. We were exhausted. So we went to have breakfast and never talked about religion again.
He stopped praying five times a day. He stopped praying. I forgot the role of religious me, something I hammed at gloriously.
We’re still married. That was the first 5 year plan.
The elephant has not yet left the room. Its presence perhaps as reminder to who we don’t want become, ever again. Angry people over a pointless issue that insists on a cruel war.
We have a baby. I have no idea how to raise her. He seems to have no clue too.
Bottle or breast?
Diapers or cloth?
Talisman or not? No, don’t go there the elephant whispers.
We’re gonna be fine. That’s the next 5 year plan.