This began as a comment to a post on Virginia Gal's blog. But per usual, I rambled, and felt like it would be too much for a comment.
VirginiaGal, i know exactly what you mean about wanting to marry within your religion.
in my brief dating experience, i only ever really dated atheists, agnostics and generally areligious types. for the most part, all nice boys: good kissers, with whom i just did not ultimately click. marriage was far from my mind, but i assumed if i DID marry, i'd marry an atheist, agnostic, areligious type. when Honey and i started dating, the common religious faith was liberating. finally, i was with a guy who understood why i held dear the things i did. one of the things i miss most about going to church these days is holding his hand during the lord's prayer and resting my hand on his knee during communion. other boyfriends and paramours had attended church with me before, but i never felt connected to them during service. i'd feel like they were humoring me. with Honey beside me, worship feels more worshipful. had i married an areligious boy, i doubt we'd bless our meals the way Honey and i do at home. not everyone feels the need to do it, but it's a ritual that i feel keeps me daily contact with God, my sustenance and my family, for the moment we pray. so I'm glad Honey shares that value with me.
there is no doubt in my mind that many people's cultural lives and spiritual lives are immensely enhanced by marrying outside their religion. and who knows? if Honey and i hadn't met - at church, no less - maybe i would've been blessed by a great Jewish or Buddhist guy with whom i felt some spiritual bond. you really never know who God has in store for you. ... which is part of the reason why i think it's good to date without too much regard for religion. you don't have to marry every guy you date: that would be like feeling obligated to buy a car just because you test drove it, or a ball gown just because you tried it on. you need to see how other cars handle and how other gowns fit. you can still learn a lot about life and about yourself by dating people you'd not expect yourself to date. (you'll KNOW when it's right to marry someone. it'll be so mutually undeniable it'll catch you off guard.)
nonetheless, i do feel like if your religion is the guiding principle of your faith, marrying within your faith is critical. just a quick note here: i just realized i said "marrying within your faith." i could've said marrying within your religion. marrying within religion is easy. there are plenty of Christian guys i could've married; there are plenty of Muslim guys you can marry. people can share religions, but if they do not share a common faith, then religion is irrelevant. for instance: plenty of Christians i know are great people, but the focus of their faith is preparing for the second coming, let's say. my Christian faith is more focused on loving the heck out everyone i come in contact with, even when i don't want to; and social justice. we're still both Christians with common tradition and text, but our faiths are different. don't marry a Muslim guy just because he's Muslim. share a faith as well as a religion.
... now if you'll all turn to page 284 in your hymnals ...
sorry for the sermonizing. i guess it runs in the family. ;) all that is to say, VirginiaGal: i understand why you want to marry a Muslim. just never sell yourself short.
Okay, i GOTTA get ready for work.