I remember on our first date, Henrik asked about my religious beliefs. I was shocked and hesitant to reply for a moment, in fact I avoided the question. The concept of religion is a very controversial one. Especially in Europe. But that is not the only reason why I hesitated to let him know where I stood, I was sensitive to the fact that people mistake immigrants to be radicalised by religion. Islam being the most prejudiced against, but I didn’t know anyone who supported Christianity either. Don’t get me wrong, Sweden is based on Christian beliefs. But until then, religious people were either from other countries or old, both of which was not necessarily considered to be a positive thing. Most people I met tried their best to de-associate themselves from religion like it is some bad thing. The normal statement being “I was born a Christian but I am not religious”.
I wanted to be like normal people, I wanted him to see me as a modern woman who knows better. With this in mind, I was petrified to let him know where I stood in regards to religion. I sincerely feel like a bad Christian saying this.
To the contrary, he didn’t hesitate letting me know where he stood and how important that was to him. That relieved me so much.
Long story short, we started going to different churches, trying to feel and decide on one that we were going to be part of. Nowadays, Sundays are our family day out tradition that I get excited about. We get to dress well just like I was brought up. Walking in high heels in Sweden on normal days is not normal. I mean people put on chunky heeled boots but not stilettos to walk in the streets on a normal day, but I get to do this on Sundays, feeling fabulous and untouchable. I am with the man that I love, spending time in the presence of the one that loves us the most – God. In addition, we get to take lovely pictures and share with you Henchels.
The idea of having something that you believe in personally and as a couple is powerful. But most importantly, being yourself from the beginning of a relationship is very important. We are trained to play games, act in a certain way or be this or that to please your partner. I have fallen for these countless times, and I can say for a fact it is absolute BS. It’s okay to want to improve an aspect of yourself but don’t pretend just to fit in. Be yourself from day one.