Sabrina and James
Communication is key to any kind of relationship whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a familial one. That seems obvious but how often do we really practice this and why does it seem so hard for some people? This next story showed me that it might not be the easiest thing the world to communicate our feelings to others but when it is done right it can lead to healthier, happier relationships. Sabrina and James met during their college years often studying together and eventually going from study buddies, to friends, and then finally falling in love. They later ended up moving to the same city for their careers, got married, and now they have a beautiful daughter. While it may seem like the typical love story there is a little bit more to them than meets the eye.
Sabrina spent a part of her childhood growing up in Bangladesh being raised in a Muslim family. She later moved to Brooklyn and then eventually upstate New York for college to pursue her career as an engineer. She describes herself as someone who isn't strict with religious practices but is very firm about her actual religious beliefs.
James, on the other hand, grew up in the small town of Norwood, New York and also eventually moved to the same area as Sabrina to pursue his career goals. Although he grew up with the Christian faith (often going to church with his mother) he started to look into Islamic practices when he first met Sabrina. This was mostly due to the fact that Sabrina made her intentions about her religious identity very clear to James: She thought it is best for her to date someone who shares her faith because it influences her lifestyle so much. While she didn't pressure James into learning more about her practices, she made it clear that it was important to her. And because of James’ own curiosity and interests aligning with Sabrina’s this was a good start to their relationship.
Even though they both started aligning their beliefs and religion it wasn’t easy for them to get where they are today. One of the challenges they faced was communicating about their relationship with their parents. When Sabrina first told her parents about James it took them some time to come to terms with her relationship but because of their own background of being from a different culture than the one, Sabrina ended up spending most of her life in. But in the end, they wanted her happiness and after meeting James and teaching him more about their culture and religion they eventually grew to accept them as a couple.
When James told his mother about Sabrina, he went through a similar situation. His mother took some time to accept this because she identified with Christian faith heavily. But when James explained the similarities of the Christian and Islamic faith she warmed a little more to the idea of his relationship with Sabrina. And when she met Sabrina and her family he described it as water under the bridge.
I can’t imagine that it was easy for Sabrina and James to sit down and have all these conversations. I personally never really sat down with my parents to talk about the men I have dated. It was also always hard for me to talk about my religious beliefs and practices in my romantic relationships because of how deeply personal it is for me. I know everyone has different situations when it comes to these kinds of issues so comparing different ones might not always make sense. But talking to this couple has affirmed my belief that communication really is key. For me, it is one of the hardest things to do in any of my relationships but somehow I’m getting a little better at it. Thank you to this amazing couple for letting me write their story and giving me so much insight on what it was like to have these conversations with each other and their families. I hope my readers have gotten some insight too.