Couples with Religious Differences Find Love (Exclusive)

Four new couples are putting their love and commitment to the test in TLC’s newest relationship series, Forbidden Love.

The new series, set to premiere on July 21, will explore what happens when a Pentecostal preacher’s son dates a Muslim woman, an Orthodox Jew courts a Catholic woman, an Amish man enters the world of a non-Amish woman, and a Muslim man finds romance with a conservative Catholic.

“Hailing from different faiths, one partner from each couple is converting or has decided to relinquish their family-of-origin and culture entirely. Facing such intense traditional differences, can their relationships endure the trials of converting or will their love falter under the pressure?” reads a logline for the series.

In PEOPLE’s exclusive look at the show’s trailer, the challenges these couples face will be put on display as they struggle to overcome their different traditions, familial expectations and hopes for the future.

As each person opens up about their current lifestyles — Mohammad says he does not “drink” or “eat pork,” but will “pray five times a day” and Elmer says “growing up Amish is kinda like living in the 1800s” — the couples will soon experience growing pains in their relationships.

“Traditionally, Orthodox Jews won’t date women that aren’t Jewish, but sometimes in life, the Jewish boy falls in love with an Italian Catholic girl,” Eli says in the clip of his partner, Laurie.

Ashley, who is from Jefferson City, Missouri, admits of her upbringing, “It’s white, conservative and Catholic, so you can imagine the shock when I announced that I married a Muslim.”

Ashley and Mohammed.

TLC


Later, Lindsey opens up about having to teach Elmer “everything,” even intimacy in the bedroom. As Elmer puts it, “I didn’t know about sex until I was about 18.”

It’s far from smooth sailing for them, as she later tells him during an argument, “You expect me to be your your little Amish housewife, to clean up after you and cook and be a baby-maker for you… being married to an Amish man is quiet different than I expected. Maybe I took on a lot more than I can handle.”

At another point in the trailer, Lensa says “something has to go” as Kris asks, “Is it possible for a couple to have two different religions?” His family isn’t so sure and his mom tells him, “A house divided will not stand.”

Lensa ultimately says, “He’s crossed the line trying to convert me. This is witchcraft!”

Ultimatums will also be issued, with Eli admitting, “The only way the relationship’s going to work is if Laurie converts.” Ashley also asks, “So you think I can’t be a good wife unless I am a Muslim?” as Mohammad simply says, “Yes.”

Below, meet the couples whose faith will be tested in Forbidden Love.

Laurie (36) and Eli (32)

Eli and Laurie.

TLC


“Eli is an Orthodox Jew and Laurie was raised Catholic. Laurie was the opposite – she was raised a devout Catholic but abandoned her religion after the untimely death of her father. When they met, Eli was already devout, so Laurie decided to convert to solidify their future together. But converting is no small feat. She finds herself giving up her clothes, changing her hair, taking classes, studying for tests, and preparing to completely change her lifestyle, all the while questioning if she can do it and if she’s giving up too much to be with the love of her life.”

Lindsey (34) and Elmer (23) 

Lindsay and Elmer.

TLC


“Elmer recently left his Amish community to marry Lindsey but finds it difficult adapting to the “English” world and the fact that he has been disowned by his family. Lindsey is older than him and had many preconceived notions about who Elmer would be as a husband. She thought he would be wholesome and would never have a wandering eye – but she soon starts to realize that being with someone who was raised Amish is more complicated than she predicted. The stakes are very high with a baby on the way, but even with all the drama surrounding their relationship, their chemistry and sense of humor keep them going.”

Ashley (31) and Mohammad (31)

Ashley and Mohammed.

TLC


“Ashley was raised in a conservative Catholic family and is married to Mohammad, a Muslim man. When they fell in love, Mohammad’s twin brother was against their relationship because he would prefer his brother to be with a Muslim woman. And to complicate things further, the pair got married very quickly and have a 3-year-old daughter named Rozie. While Mohammad is passionate about Ashley converting so his daughter will be raised by a Muslim woman, Ashley is conflicted about living by strict Muslim laws, and her family doesn’t feel she needs to change a thing for Mohammad.”

Lensa (32) and Kris (37) 

Lensa and Kris.

TLC


“Kris is the son of a Pentecostal preacher. When Kris falls in love with a Muslim woman who had already been in two arranged marriages, his father is dismayed. Kris and Lensa want each other to convert to their respective religions which leaves them, and their families, at odds. Will one of them leave their religion entirely, even if it means never speaking to their family again? Or will the pressure be too much for the relationship to handle?”

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Forbidden Love premieres Sunday, July 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.

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