July 9 - I Dated a Muslim and I Liked It!
Well I did! And, yes, that’s an extremely offensive statement. Or at least I find it to be. But I’m curious whether you do too, and if so, why? I’m thinking people could find it troublesome for a couple of reasons. One being that it categorizes “those people” as abnormal dates. I remember a while back overhearing two white guys talking about dating black women, and one guy remarked, “I couldn’t do it. I don’t find them attractive.” The other guy knew a cute, black woman at work and thought he “could see himself giving it a try.” I, who was a few paces behind and unnoticed, found both statements racists, as though I’m a freak who could never be found attractive or I’m a freak and a guy wants to give me a try. But that’s another blog for another time.
Back to my Muslim. Another reason someone may find it offensive is the belief that a nice, Evangelical Christian girl shouldn’t be with a Muslim man. I can hear you shouting 2nd Corinthians 6:14 at me even over the internet lines. Christians aren’t supposed to date Muslims just like the Capulets don’t date the Montagues.
I will say that when I agreed to the date with Esau (not his real name), I didn’t know he was a Muslim. Within the religion category, he mentioned something about his faith in God being important to him. I, of course, being closed-minded, assumed he was talking about faith in Jesus. And it’s not as though you can tell right away. I mean, over the phone and even during the first half of his date he never shouted ‘Death to Americans’ nor did the word Jihad come up, or any of the other derogatory behaviors we unfortunately ascribe to people of the Islamic faith.
Instead, he was much like the non-Muslim men I date. He insisted I walk two paces behind him, handed me a burqa to wear, and told me if I played my cards right, I could be his 5th wife. Just kidding. He was attractive (actually, really cute), kind, a good conservationist, was passionate about his family, and loved his job. But the whole notion that I have to qualify his qualities just because the man is of a different faith is preposterous. But people are curious and the few friends I told, who have never dated a Muslim man, wanted to know what he was like.
In this instance, we were not a good match. He was just at a point in his career where it didn’t leave him much free time, which he described in detail. I’m a girl who doesn’t need all your attention, but I don’t want to be squeezed in between appointments either. So I threw the burqa back in his face and we parted amicably.
But what if things had been different? What if we clicked right away and the chemistry was strong? If halfway during the date when he mentioned he was a Muslim would I have been able to walk away from the beginnings of a good relationship? Would walking away been the right course of action?
I have said and continue to stand by the notion that because my faith is such an integral part of my life, I want to marry someone that will join me as I live it out. But if it came down to staying single or marrying someone who doesn’t share my religion, would I forego a committed, loving relationship? It’s a question I have struggled with every single week for the last 26 weeks. It’s true that if I were only a member of a Christian- dating website, then it wouldn’t be as much of an issue. However, I am with ChristianCafe.com and if I had to solely rely on them for my dating activity, I’d be sitting home every night. Plenty of people make the choice to stick with religion specific dating websites, like the above, or JDate.com or MuslimFriends.com, and they fare better. It’s just not my story.
Most of the Christian men I meet are from Match.com and Plenty of Fish, but these sites, as well as my own website, also bring in suitors who are Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Agnostics, Spiritual but Not Religious and men who are confused about what they are (I haven’t had any Buddhist men who have shown interest. I guess I’m not their type). One’s religion is an important distinction. But that religion drop-down box is one line of many that describes the man. I wish there were also a “respect” category where a man could indicate how much he would respect me and respect the things, people, and faith that is important to me. Once married, if I give substantial amounts of our money to the Church, and spent Sunday mornings with those church people, just how understanding and respectful will he be? How open would I be to a husband who prays 5 times a day, or observes Shabbat, which occupies every one of his Friday nights and Saturdays? And on the other hand, I could fall in love with a very nice Christian man who is a workaholic, or makes me his golf or NY Yankee widow? How about one who insists on going to church 5 nights a week and reads his Bible when we’re out on dates or dining with friends?
I believe it comes down to compatibility. And a part of this journey is my self-discovery of who I’m compatible with. My hope is… my prayer is that when I make that decision, I will make the right one—whatever that may be. So what would you do?