An interfaith marriage means that two people who practice different religions are legally married. This is something Nenadi Usman did in Nigeria, a country where this is still very rare. However, Usman is nothing if not progressive. She is the former finance minister, a position that no other women from Southern Kaduna has ever held. Usman is a woman who believes in equality, regardless of gender, religion, color, or creed.
Globally, people of different religions live side by side. Inevitably, this means that some of them will fall in love, regardless of their differing beliefs. Thanks to women like Nenadi, it is now not just possible to legally marry someone of a different faith, it is also becoming much more acceptable. Esther believes that, if people can accept each other for who they are, then a marriage can survive any challenges.
Of course, Esther also acknowledges that there are pros and cons to having an interfaith marriage, and it is important to be realistic about this. Being an economic and financial minister, Senator Nenadi Esther added professional pressures to her marriage. However, she has lived happily with her husband in Kaduna for some time now, and she believes there are no problems in life, only solutions waiting to be found.
Challenges of Interfaith Marriages
The first difficulty in an interfaith marriage starts with choosing the ceremony. However, it is now increasingly possible to combine the two. This has stopped people from having to give up their own faith and embrace that of their partner. Nenadi Esther Usman believes that this is key, because respect for the other person’s beliefs and opinions is key to a successful marriage.
Other issues also exist. Nenadi believes it is important those are discussed openly before people do get married. Esther Usman does stress, however, that religion should not be debated. Rather, each person should be allowed to have and practice their own beliefs. At the same time, Nenadi Esther understands how difficult this can be, particularly if the two religions have opposing views on how certain situations should be handled.
However, Esther Nenadi Usman reminds people that all marriages are made in heaven. It does not matter whether this is heaven according to God, Yahweh, Allah, or any other deity. The state of marital bliss is that of love, and love endures all.
A final difficulty that must be realistically understood is that of children. In a same-faith marriage, children are automatically raised according to that faith, something that isn’t possible in an interfaith marriage. Each couple has to make their own decision in terms of how best to handle this. Some believe that children should be provided with explanations of each of the religions, and be left to make their own choice when they are old enough to do so. Others believe that one religion should take precedence over the other. There are no right or wrong answers in this, but this is something that should be discussed before the wedding, to avoid future conflicts.