Many times we focus on looks and even make our marriage choices based on looks or how rich a person is, but as we get into these relationships we begin to realise that beliefs also affect how we are going to run our relationships.

It is good to consider where your lover comes from and the culture he/she follows so that you can conclude if you can handle that culture or not.

My neighbour recently separated with her husband not because he was cheating on her or because he wasn’t taking care of her, but because she couldn’t handle what she called his – and mother-in-law’s – “strange beliefs”.

Being a Christian herself, she married someone whose religion she didn’t understand.

When they got married, her rich husband was honest with her by confessing that he didn’t believe in Christianity.

She didn’t have a problem with that but the problem came when she wanted to do her prayers at home.

The husband said he was being affected by the prayers.

So he asked her not to pray.

Sometimes he would come back home and confront her for praying in his absence. How he figured that out remains a mystery.

One day she was cleaning her bedroom and she saw a clay pot that had some blood in it and what looked like a dead animal inside.

To her this was abominable.

When the husband came back she didn’t tell him what she saw, but her husband was already knew.

He just told her not “to tell anyone about what you saw”.

Each time her mother-in-law visited, he would lock himself up with her and nobody knew what rituals they were doing.

To add insult to injury, the husband never wanted visitors, so she was often alone with the maid.

She also unsuccessfully tried to conceive.

She had so many miscarriages and was having strange dreams daily. Her husband started bringing some men whom he called “healers”.

One of them tried to force her to drink some blood so she could conceive but she refused.

Her husband finally gave her an ultimatum to drink or leave.

He told her that he was successful because of his religion and for them to be successful as a family, she had to follow his religion.

She refused.

Their marriage could not last because they abhorred each other’s religion.

The wife saw her husband’s religion as evil. The husband accused his wife’s religion as causing his problems.

So they started having problems.

She ended up leaving as she couldn’t live with the dead reptiles and animals that her husband was bringing to the house.

These people had different beliefs.

They could not stand each other’s religion and beliefs.

They had many things in common, except their religion.

Apostle Paul once wrote to Christians encouraging them not to “be unequally yoked to an unbeliever”.

And this is because when beliefs differ people will fight.

So there is need to really consider beliefs before people marry each other.

People must consider these questions: do you have the same religion? Do you come from similar cultures? This might not seem to be important as people are dating but it will become an issue when people get married because some decisions will only be made based on which religion is followed by one of the partners.

Brian Matsaira is a love and relationships coach and can be reached on [email protected]