Can a Muslim man marry a Catholic woman?
I am a Roman Catholic woman who has been best friends with a Muslim man since we were children. Four years ago, we started dating. I moved abroad and the first year of our relationship was a long-distance one. After that first year, he moved abroad with me and we have been living together now for just over three years. He and I are both studying at University and do intend on getting married someday. We love each other very much and respect each other's beliefs. We intended on getting married purely in a legal sense once we had completed University because I do not wish to convert into Islam, and my partner does not expect me to. I personally do not believe that one can fully renounce their own beliefs by taking another, and I do not feel like I can do the religion justice if I adopt it as my own. Once we have children, we would like them to be raised with the Islamic faith, and we have discussed how we would go about raising them (this apsect is not an issue).
My partner's family appeared to accept us living together at first, yet after 3 years they have hysterically begun hounding us with rude emails and phone calls, accusing us of living in sin and claiming that they are living in sin because of us. I have reassurred them that I would consider converting, but I know that in my heart I would be extremely unhappy if I did so. My partner and I just want to live our own lives and not be forced into marriage by his parents- we wish to get married on our own terms when we are ready to do so, but we hate the fact that it is causing his parents so much grief.
Is there any way a compromise can be reached? Would we still be living in sin if we married purely in the legal sense? We've reached a crossroads in our lives now- if we get married in the legal sense we risk losing his parents, but if I convert and marry him, I know I will be unhappy because I will not be able to celebrate Christmas with my family and there would be pressure on me to fast and pray in a certain way.
I'm not sure if you will able to help me at all, but we are not quite sure what to do - we just want to live our lives and be happy.