When Cultures Clash

Religion was important to her. She attended three services a week, prayed regularly and desired a Christian home. She was nearing thirty and getting worried. She didn’t have a boyfriend and no immediate prospects. The vision of a future alone troubled her. She worked hard, had a good job, drove a nice sports car, and had a little money saved. She was somewhat naïve, not a raving beauty but not bad looking. She probably could have made someone a good wife …IF she had remembered one word: compatibility.

He was nice looking and had an engaging personality. He was known in the rural community as a horse trainer which to her seemed romantic. His ideals were pretty good concerning things in general. Although his family background was Catholic he had not espoused a religion. He was from another country where the general view of marital life was that the husband was an autocrat, his word was law. In his country the wife’s position was a menial one and the husband was the supreme ruler.

Maybe partly from desperation, she began to pursue him and after a while he began to pay her some attention. In the courtship period she saw a lot of warning flags, but dismissed them thinking she could change him. He drank a little, but she could get him to stop. The “macho” spirit could be gentled, he could make a good husband and they could live happily ever after. So they were married.

For a few months everything was fine. He attended church with her on Sunday morning, but he said “You can’t go on Sunday night and Wednesday night.” He stayed away from home more and more, thinking little of it or of her, because he was the MAN and she had no right to disapprove. Conflicts developed. He began to drink more, not less. And she found he became very abusive physically when he drank.

Although neither of them was a member of the Church I serve, they both came to me separately and gave their side. Her arm was in a cast. In the heat of a fight her hand had gone through a window pane and the nerves were cut. The doctors are not sure she will gain the full use. She said he would not consent to counseling. She said, “It’s over!” He told her, “It doesn’t have to be, but if it is so be it.”

I do not know what the final result will be, but I thought of how many heartaches could be avoided if God’s instructions were heeded. “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what communion hath light with darkness?” II Cor. 6:14.

The time to discover this incompatibility is before marriage. Religion is one area where there must be compatibility for there to be true harmony. But the “unequal yoking” in marriage can involve many, many other areas as well. Ignoring God’s word always invites disaster.

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