Back then when I was working for Siemens I was mainly around Germans. I once asked my Dad over blackberry messengers what was supposed to be a joke, turned into a lesson “Dad could I marry my German coworkers?”
And he told me a weird and mixed responses “No, you’re still young.” Followed by another message 5 minutes later when I did not reply to his saying “Unless he is muslim.”
So marrying someone of the same faith is the only way my Dad will allow me to get married.
I’ve got an Oom (uncle) that always understands me better than my parents. He is probably 5 years younger than my Dad but he sees things differently and we kinda got the same view of pretty much anything. I was really close to him, and still very close actually with everyone in his family.
I think I have mentioned a lot that my family is in the hotel business and so did my uncle. Whenever I came down with my friends he always greeted us with champagne or rosé and he would keep this shit between us. Because my core family don’t drink, like at all, I am not an alcoholic but I did occasionally.
One day Brandon and I decided to go to Singapore because we wanted to go to the universal studio. And then I remember Oom Adhi was recently relocated to Singapore so we decided to visit him and his family. And mainly because I was facing the same problem with him when he was younger. And no one understands me better than him.
Oom Adhi was living in Sweden for a looooong time, he studied and ended up living there. So that time, I met them couple years back when we went on holiday together in Bali. Fast forward, we visited them and had a nice dinner together at their apartment in the strait views area. My Oom was in the balcony and I came to him. And he was “So how long you guys have been together?”
“I think it’s been a little over two years now.”
And he asked “Are things getting serious and heading that way?”
“He seemed to be very serious about it, but we have a different faith and this is a big deal for Dad and the big family, you know that. Say I don’t mind getting an interfaith marriage but this will hurt them, and I don’t want it. Brandon was so eager to convert so that we could finally get married, but he never really wanted to learn about Islam or our culture. He even said that if we ever gonna have kids, they will be raised as a muslim like me, he has no issue about it. But I am the one with the issue here, for him to convert as a muslim because of me is the least thing I want in life.”
My Oom nodded and he started to tell me his marriage story. His wife was Swedish and she was a christian. When they got married both families were against it because of the faith differences. But my Oom go ahead with it telling everyone that “It’s written in our holy book that a muslim man could marry women from the people of the book.” And they got married anyway. But it’s an opposite case with mine, because I am the muslim woman and he was the christian, and religion wise, this is not allowed.
“You know I had three weddings with Elsa. I was living in Gothenburg when I met her, we were dating for just a little over a year, but I know I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her since the first day I met her. The first wedding we had was a church wedding so her family would be happy, the second wedding was the civil ceremony so it would be legal for us, and the third one was a muslim wedding when she decided to convert 7 years ago. It was a long process. I told Elsa the same, that she would never have to convert for me and I was alright with her being a christian, and if we were to have kids, they were gonna be muslim like me. We had Noah on the third year of our marriage and Savannah two years later. Little did I know that Elsa has been reading the Quran on her own since the day we were together, but never really told me, because we both believe that religion is a personal mattered. She learned about it on her own, and she would be visiting mosque or islamic centre in Stockholm without me knowing it. Your mom and dad was always the closest one to us so we shared a lot, until one day, remember when you guys came visit us on school holiday? Elsa told your parents and me that she wanted to convert and have a muslim nikkah.”
I laughed and said “Of course, I was 9 years old that time and I remember you guys told us to play in the attic and we ended up being locked up in there with Oma. I genuinely thought it was very odd.”
“Yeah we were having a muslim nikkah downstairs. And agreed that having kids around would be a distraction, and it’s not like we could kicked you guys out in the wild while we were doing it, so Oma had to deal with everyone of you in the attic. But my point is, religion is not something you have to push or force towards your partner. I asked Elsa why she wanted to convert and she said she felt so peaceful hearing the Quran recitation and adzan, and what muslim portrayed in the western world was a complete opposite experience she had with me and our family, furthermore she wants to be able to pray with us together.”
So I told him “I wish my case would be like this. But thanks Oom, nice sharing. I would keep this in mind, and if you don’t mind kicking this to Brandon’s head I would be very grateful haha, but nah I’m kidding.”
And Oom Adhi ended his speeches stating “What is meant to be, will be. You and Brandon are young and I’m sure you guys will figured things out.”
So me and Brandon figured things out and split was our best way to go.
But Brandon was my serious inter-faith relationship that actually made me think about everything all together. And it’s not like I could choose who and what religion I will fall in love with, you like them when you like them. Some of my mates telling me it’s better to be dating someone with the same religion to prevent a future heartbreak and stuff, but again, what can I say? the heart wants what it wants.