Entering an interfaith relationship when you are a Muslim and the guy you're dating is not can be exciting as you learn about each other’s culture, but also challenging as you navigate the “unknown.” Once you take a step toward introducing your boyfriend to your family, you may find more challenges as you anticipate your family’s reaction to your new friend.
1. Establish a Connection
Breaking the news to your family may seem scary; however, it is important to do this early on, so that your parents, especially your father, can see your friend for who he is and not define him by his religion. Do not deceive your family, but encourage them to accompany you on activities or make a point to visit them when going out with your mate.
2. Establish a Dialogue
Take the time to establish a dialogue with your father on your potential relationship. Find out his views on topics like interfaith dating and marriage. Knowing your father's take on things will help you to know how to proceed with this relationship and possibly others. While his views may differ from yours, still share your views on the matter. If your father is apprehensive about your dating a non-Muslim, discuss with him how you plan to incorporate your faith into this budding relationship. Reassure him that your date's faith has no impact on yours.
Some parents may seek to undermine an interfaith relationship, warns Charles Joanides, an Orthodox Christian therapist. If you have children being raised to follow Islam, your father may wonder how his grandchildren will be affected. Make sure that you are clear and honest with your father. If he has suggestions, or even demands, tell him that you will consider his feelings, but that you have already decided how to address the matter within your relationship.
4. Seek an Expert
Your father may not fully agree with your decision to date outside of your faith. In fact, he may be upset by your decision. Seek out the advice of a respected religious leader within the Islamic faith for advice and counseling. Find an Imam or Muslim scholar whose beliefs on interfaith relationships align with yours. He may be able to help you come up with talking points to share with your father. In addition, he may agree to talk to your father with you. It may feel like you are taking a big risk dating outside your family's faith, but the results could be worth it.
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