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by Abigail Van Buren

Marrying Outside Her Religion May Cost Woman Her Family

DEAR ABBY: I am a 24-year-old Muslim woman who has fallen in love with an agnostic 35-year-old man, "William." The next step in our relationship is marriage, and my problem is our future kids.

My family expects me to marry a Muslim man and have Muslim children. William says that the kids may grow up not wanting to be Muslim, as I would like to raise them, and says he would support whatever they want to be.

I want my children to be Muslim, but I really love this man. My family and religion would not approve such a marriage. Do I walk away knowing I may never love a Muslim man the same way I love William, or marry William, risk the possibility of losing my family, and accept whatever else comes along on this difficult road? -- TORN ON THE WEST COAST

DEAR TORN: You appear to be a traditional, family-oriented young woman. I assume you are also involved in the Muslim community. If you marry William, the chances of losing all of that are great, and your likelihood of raising devout Muslim children in a household where both parents don't practice the religion will be less.

While you may not love someone else the way you love William, the chances that you will find someone else to love again are good. Because you had to ask me this question, I'm advising you to let William go. If you plan to go ahead with this, you need to have your eyes wide open about what the price will be -- because it will be high.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Family & Parenting