At the end of April we held our first BMB Perspectives Forum on the topic of marriage. This was the first event in a series on Family Life.
Chosen after consultation with friends and partners from the Paths of Life Network as well as the Hikma Partnership, we were excited to begin hearing from our Muslim-background believer brothers and sisters about their experience of marriage and the challenges they have faced.
A healthy marriage is the foundation of a healthy family, and healthy families are the bedrock of healthy communities, but the reality for marriages in communities of believers of Muslim background (BMBs) is some specific challenges. Some of these are external challenges, such as expectations of the wider Muslim family and culture with regards to the assumed roles and responsibilities for both men and women, or difficulties for BMB husbands in cherishing their wives ahead of their mothers. Others are the less immediately visible internal challenges, such as the internalisation of traditional patriarchal frameworks, interpretation of mutual submission in reference to Christ with a complementarity of roles and responsibilities, or the lack of positive healthy BMB role models for young BMB couples. An additional complication is the matrix of cross-cultural marriages in BMB and majority-Muslim contexts and how this affects relationships.
We are grateful for the contributors who shared both from academic research and their own experiences, and to everyone who came and shared their ideas in the small groups.
Our next step will be to gather some thinkers and researchers to talk about these issues more deeply, and begin to work out what tools and resources the church needs to address them. We hope this 'expert panel' will lead to both research papers and new discipleship course resources.
Hikma Partners will be able to read the report on the themes raised. To find out more about the Hikma Partnership, click here.
Our next form topic in this series will be Parenting, in autumn 2023.
(Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on pexels.com)