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I adore her, but differences in religion are driving us apart

Monday May 21 2018

I’m in a relationship with a woman whom I really love. We’re both Christians, but I am Catholic while she is a Protestant. She believes that I am at the wrong place spiritually due to various doctrinal differences. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

I’m in a relationship with a woman whom I really love. We’re both Christians, but I am Catholic while she is a Protestant. She believes that I am at the wrong place spiritually due to various doctrinal differences. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

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I’m in a relationship with a woman whom I really love and would love to spend the rest of my life with. Unfortunately, many barriers exist to prevent this from happening, chief among them being religion. We’re both Christians, but I am Catholic while she is a Protestant. She believes that I am at the wrong place spiritually due to various doctrinal differences between the two denominations.

From what I can see, no matter how many qualities of a great husband I ever possess, I will always be incomplete in her eyes, which makes me really sad.

In addition, I have noticed that she tends to go for long periods without communicating at all but as soon as she senses that I seem to be losing interest in her or not caring, she runs back to me or cries, claiming that she doesn’t know me anymore.

This silent, uncaring attitude has dragged on to the point that she doesn’t involve, or even inform me, of her plans anymore. She claims to love and care about me, and that she desires to have a future with me. She says all she needs is time to deliberate on issues.

My questions are:

 1. Should I hang on and wait for her, since my love for her keeps me hoping but her actions and attitude towards me really hurt me?

 2. Can an inter-denominational union survive today? I do pray a lot and have always asked God to show us the way forward in our relationship.

I’d really appreciate your wise counsel.




One’s religion or faith is a personal matter, and each person will have to be accountable some day. I have also seen that in marriage, issues of faith play a key role that cannot be underrated. When you marry, you accept to live with all that defines the other person. And in both your case and hers, church will always be a part of your lives.

With time, it is those practices and beliefs that end up getting embedded in how a couple lives together. Our daily actions and practices, the discipline at home and worship style are all in one way or another influenced by one’s faith. Therefore, should this worry her or you that two people can serve the same God but end up being so different in their expression to the extent that it bothers the other?

Interfaith marriages do take place, but each spouse must count the cost. For example, what are they willing to lose? Knowing each other’s faith and how your partner expresses or practices their faith is a good starting point for engaging in discussions regarding what will work and what will not. Such discussions are highly emotive, so you should avoid castigating each other or causing unnecessary tension.

At times it is okay to agree to disagree without feeling judged by your partner.

I am not really sure why your girlfriend goes silent on you. It could be as a result of many issues she has to deal with. I cannot say that it is because of your faith. But if it is, then you need to talk about it, and where you can’t reconcile, free each other. If there are other issues that make her go silent on you, then you might need to deal with those issues.

It is clear that the two of you cannot walk together unless you are agreed. Agreeing on spirituality is as important as agreeing on other issues like finances. You have to talk about the things the two of you see as important. What are the areas in which you share views or are prepared to agree upon?  You have to agree on certain areas to have a foundation on which your relationship rests.

In addition, discuss what you see as the common pillars of a thriving relationship. What are the key components or pillars that you see as essential for you? Are communication, money, or spiritual matters among these pillars? This will help you know whether you will be able cope. 


I can’t stand my husband but don’t want him to leave

Hi Philip,

I am 28 years old.  I have been married for seven years but l don’t love my husband anymore. I don’t want him to leave but l can’t stand his presence. We’ve been through a lot in the past two years. He has a girlfriend while I am also seeing someone else. I believe we don’t have a chance since he confessed that he’s in love with her. I have read their chats and l can’t get them out of my mind. He also has some of my text messages from two years ago.

He says he doesn’t want to leave because of the kids, and I am also pregnant. He says he loves me because of the baby I am carrying, which is not logical. We don’t trust each other anymore. Do you really think we have a chance to be the way we were five years ago?

I really need your help.



It looks like what the two of you are doing now is putting on a show for your children, neighbours and extended family. However, marriage is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for both of you - an experience you seem to testify that you had for the first five years of your marriage.

The question one would ask is what you did together at that time that made you enjoy what you had.  Getting back to that point means getting rid of the mess that pushed you apart. For some couples, this is where the rubber meets the road. The homework is beyond what we bargained for. Anything good must cost us something.

A relationship cannot grow if you don’t occasionally inject moments of fun and excitement into it. What you invest in a relationship is what you reap in due time. Where a couple seems content with neglect, there are chances that the relationship will start going downhill. We cannot survive without daily encouragement and happiness.

A couple is supposed to be made up of two friends who are lovers. What I gather from your letter is that you want him for the sake of the children but not for the marriage. You have to change your attitude if you intend to change the narrative of your marriage.

The answer will be based on two factors: One is whether you are willing to pay the price of reconnection, and two is whether leaving and cleaving is a journey you are ready to revisit.

I read in the Chicago Tribune of May 2017 that “Couples who divorced six years after their marriage connected only 33 per cent of the time, and those who were still together after six years connected 87 per cent of the time.”

There is no way the marriage will heal unless the two of you are willing to leave your current lovers. A couple’s meaningful connection is key, not only to the daily intimacy they enjoy, but also to the duration of the marriage and how faithful they remain to each other.

It is also important to see each other through the eyes you did when you first met. The journey will be slow but necessary. Don’t do it just for the children, but for yourselves.

As you mentioned, you are pregnant now. How does this come in? If he is the father, then make an effort to provide a home where you can show your children that they are the product of a union of love.

I guess whether I think your marriage can heal does not really carry much weight, apart from simply being   a voice of encouragement. Any marriage can heal, but only if the two people involved are willing to make the necessary investments.

Overcoming challenges must be coupled with doing things that are new and exciting. This is what will create new synergy and positive feelings in the relationship. When a couple keeps doing the same old things in the same old ways, it does little to change the state of affairs.


Send your relationship questions to [email protected]


Tips on keeping your marriage healthy

1. Regularly break your routines. Routines can be boring and lead to monotony and staleness.

2. Improve your communication. Use a lot of positive language in the way you talk or make requests; avoid demeaning or vulgar language when addressing each other.

3. Use a level of emotional intelligence to help you read the other other’s emotions so that  you can leverage on them to create a conducive atmosphere for relating.

4. Be great friends, such that you look out for ways to surprise each other with out-of-the-ordinary small things.

5. Support and learn to empathise with each other.