An interfaith marriage is one in which two people who follow different spiritual beliefs join in matrimony. People like Esther Nenadi and her husband Mr. Usman, for instance. Esther Nenadi Usman did not accept her husband’s beliefs, ideologies, or religious norms, nor he hers. And despite the fact that, in Nigeria, where they are from, interfaith marriages are almost unheard of. Nenadi Esther Usman and her husband have made it work.
In Southern Kaduna, the state where Nenadi, the former finance minister, is from, interfaith marriages have long been frowned upon. If they did happen, either the bride or the groom would usually convert to the faith of the other. But for Senator Nenadi Esther, breaking the norm is something she did. She was, after all, the first female minister from Kaduna, and the first female politician in an economic and financial field in the entire country.
For Esther Usman, religion is irrelevant to love. She and her husband felt that they were each other’s perfect life partner, and this was something to be celebrated. Nenadi Esther and her husband know how to communicate between each other, showing mutual understanding and patience at all times.
Esther Nenadi Usman has also developed a number of tips to help others plan their own interfaith ceremony:
- Understand both the religions that are of importance here. This can help the two partners decide on what they feel are the most important values they wish to bring into married life. This also means thinking about the ceremonial elements of the wedding ceremony. Both parties will have to compromise on different issues to bring unity about.
- Interfaith relationships should set time apart specifically for communication about spirituality and faith, particularly at the start of their relationship. This is when everything is new and both need to find their feet.
- Families should be involved. Parents are often far more traditional than their children, and they may therefore be the ones that have greater problems with the interfaith nature of the relationship than the two partners. If they get to know each other and each other’s customs and traditions, while at the same time seeing the genuine love their children have for each other, it will be far easier to accept this out of the norm relationship.
- Discuss the practicalities of the ceremony and how it can integrate both faiths. For instance, a lot of people would prefer to have two ceremonies, with an officiant from each religion there. Sometimes, this can be done from a single location. Other times, it will mean having two separate ceremonies in different locations.
- Give each other credit. Seeing true love beyond the boundaries of cultures and religions is a big thing and it is meaningful that both parties are so committed to each other. At the end of the day, there is just one love, and that is true love.
For Esther, marrying the love of her life was a match made in heaven, regardless of which god may rule over that heaven.