(This post is written by my wife and I am here to share this story on how we cope by this difference. I know it is a very sensitive topic for every straight one faith holder but it is worth to share when you gain the same story in life with ups and down in our daily journey.)
For an Indonesian, having a religion is a very important matter since there is a religion column in everyone’s identity card. Having a religion means you become the “lineagal blood” in a exact family which means everyone knows which side are you and knows which community will accept you better. The last sentence does not mean that you will have discrimination in Indonesia when you do not have a certain religion, but the way people accept you and how long they will accept you there is only way you can find out is by living in the country for more than ten years.
In Indonesia, one family has to have the same religion. If your parents are muslim then you are automatically born as a muslim, if your parents are Catholic then you are indeed a Catholic. And, changing your religion will be a big problem. The most extreme family thought is that by changing a religion is a big disgrace for whole family. Thank God that there are so many modern families that think that choosing a religion is a democratic way to educate young generation even though letting one child to choose his or her own religion is so hard to do since the communal environment in Indonesia will minimize your choice of a religion.
When the community minimizes your scope of a religion then you have a little chance to fall in love with someone who belongs to a different religion. Lets say that you are a Hindu who was born in a Hindu family. You went to a public school where there is a religion study class. Before you join the class, the teacher will tell you that you should go to join a Hindu class rather than giving you the right to choose which religion class fits you better and let you study another religion. When you grow up and make friends who are from different religion, but they know that you are a Hindu so they will tell you to keep your Hindu faith.
Falling in love with someone who has a different religion is not a rare case but not abundant as well. And falling in love is different from marriage since marriage is a sacred knot witnessed by God and we give our promise not only to each other but to God also. This different concept of falling in love and marriage is being kept well in the heart of an Indonesian and makes many of them who fall in love with one with a different religion a failed attempt to succeed their way to marriage.
The law and rules in Indonesia also have bias in the interfaith-marriage. Even so many couple do interfaith marriage, they are old couples who got married before 1990 or they get married outside the country, including me.
For me, I was born in a open minded family who thinks that a child can choose the best if the parents bring the best for the children and giving them the best example in life. This is what I found in my family and my family is so much different from my other families, say it-my relatives. Receiving the best from my family, I had the best education so far inside and outside of the country. But, my religion is the same with my parents since I know it is the best religion for me. Being a muslim.
Since that day, I did not think that I would marry someone who has a different religion. I am the one who believe the one so my husband is the one for now and ever. Having a different religion husband who comes from a democratic country but with the communal society background like Indonesia is another story.
I accompany my husband to the church when needed and he never complaints of me having my prayer. I pray together with him and receiving God’s blessing. For him, I m not a straight muslim so I am not going to mosque so often. Even so, he will not disturb or ban me from doing my prayer time. I open my mind to Christianity since it is an old religion and after praying time in the church, I also join the counselling time. I am so happy to be in the counselling time because all the people have welcomed us and they answer all our questions so well.
There is no doubt that there will be a negative comment about us from the straight one faith holder, but we believe that every religion has the same foundation and the same vision. The same foundation and vision we, me and my husband, are holding to cope our religious daily life. This is the way I put my pledge to my husband’s hand and I believe that it is for the eternal life after life for both of us.
(This is the story which is written by my wife and she wants me to put this in my blog. She said she will write the second part. So, let’s see what she comes up with in her writing. I think her writing skills are good-my credit.)
The picture is taken from WP 23 July 2013.