Unequally Yoked: When a Spouse does not Practice the Catholic Faith.

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What do you get when you cross a Catholic and a Jehovah’s Witness? My folks!

Those who marry someone who is either not a Catholic, not a Baptized Christian, or a Catholic not living out the practices/teachings of the Church, face a special challenge. This can also be true for those Catholics who have had a strong conversion experience, while their spouse has not. This challenge can cause much distress, but can also be the cause of much sanctification, mortification, and, God-willing, conversion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 1633-1637) starts with a warning and ends with a promise on the topic of ‘mixed marriage’:

* “ In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

It is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this “consecration” should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith. Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion.”

The difficulties in these ‘mixed’ marriages seem to revolve around some specific areas:

  • Disharmony in not being able to worship in a similar way, which can even lead to disagreements about certain points of faith.
  • Loneliness for the spouses. When Faith is an important element of one’s life, not being able to share that with the person dearest to you can be incredibly separating and lonely.
  • Problems raising children. Our faith backgrounds affect our worldview and our family view. If the faiths of the parents are not the same, it can lead to disagreements in how children should be raised and what faith they should practice.
  • Sexual problems. Many people outside the Catholic Church have a much different take on sexuality than practicing Catholics. Issues such as contraception, abortion, even pornography and masturbation can be huge areas of conflict within these marriages.

These problems are not insurmountable, however. A Catholic spouse must believe that part of his/her vocation of marriage is to help the other spouse achieve holiness and ultimately heaven. When heaven is the goal, no sacrifice is too great. This perspective can help us move forward when faced with the challenges of this type of union.

It can help to focus on specific areas:

1. See everything as a chance for sanctification, mortification, conversion and reparation.

When we are looking toward Christ we remember that only His Will in His time is important. Praying, “Jesus, I trust in You,” or, “Thy Will be done,” in the difficult moments can help.

2. Respect each other’s points of view and faith.

My mother is married to a dear, God-fearing, Jehovah’s Witness. As much as a struggle as that can be, their ultimate respect for each other’s faith practices has sustained them. He doesn’t mind that she keeps EWTN (Catholic TV station) on all the time, and she supports him when he goes to his Kingdom Hall meetings. He lets her have a private altar for prayer in their home, but she respects his desire not to have religious objects in the yard (as it would be uncomfortable for him when the members of his congregation pass by his house). He even drives her to pilgrimage sites, but waits in the car while she visits them. She is constantly impressed by his strong pro-life values and they are able to build on that similarity.

3. Bringing up baby.

The Church, in Her wisdom, recognizes that children of such a union must have a definitive faith upbringing. That is why it is important (prior to marriage) for the non-Catholic spouse to understand that a Catholic must raise their child(ren) in the Faith. This can be difficult later in the marriage, when the children recognize that daddy or mommy doesn’t go to church with the family. Open and ongoing discussions on this subject can diminish a lot of these problems.

4. Don’t push.

Our hearts desire is to have our loved one enfolded in Christ’s Church, but we will only have the opposite effect if we come across too strong. Live the words of St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel, if necessary, use words.” My own husband is a convert who publicly expresses that my calm/joy inspired him to come to the Catholic Church. He states, “I wanted what you had.”

5. Study lives of Saints who were in the same position.

This helps provide guidance and inspiration. Consider St. Monica and St. Rita as examples.

Advice from spouses:

“Get involved in evangelization and/or ministry, try to make friends with Catholics who are faithful to Christ and the teachings of His Church.”

“You need Confession, because you experience anger, bitterness and frustration (at your spouse because he/she doesn’t want to hear about your love of Christ/ Church, at God because He’s not moving your spouse “fast enough” and at other Catholics around you because they don’t see your pain.)”

“You need frequent reception of the Eucharist, because Christ is your Heavenly Spouse. He will sustain you in your loneliness.”

“Pour your heart out to God!” Pray without ceasing.

“Make lots of secret sacrifices and pray your brains out!”

“Pray to St. Joseph.”

Blessings/Opportunities in a Mixed Marriage:

  • Obtain holiness through suffering.
  • Trust you are part of God’s plan for salvation for your spouse
  • Humility, as your spouse challenges you.
  • Knowledge, you will need to be sure of what the Church teaches and why..
  • Closeness with your children as you pray together for your spouse’s conversion.
  • Detachment, focusing on Christ to fill all your needs.

A Story of Hope

A woman spent her entire marriage praying for her husband’s conversion. She thought she may be running out of time as his health took a turn for the worst. However, in the months before he passed away, he received the Sacraments. He died peacefully, within the care of his wife, Holy Mother Church, and offering his sufferings up to Christ. His wife now looks forward to the day she will once again see him in heaven. (True story)

Copyright 2014 Mary Lou Rosien

 

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About Author

Mary Lou Rosien is a Catholic, wife, mother to seven plus a foster son, RCIA Coordinator and writer/speaker. She is a former columnist for OSV.com and a current contributor to AmazingCatechists.com. In between making Friday cookies and laundry, she has written two books: Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith (OSV), Catholic Family Boot Camp (Bezalel Books).

32 Comments

  1. I found your article posted about a year ago “When the spouse does not practice the Catholic faith and wanted to reach out to you. I had gone through almost all of my RCIA classes when the Sister informed me there was a problem, they reviewed my paperwork I filled out in the beginning and saw my husband and I we married Lutheran and prior to that my husband was married and divorced. I let them know this and that my husband did not want to convert and was told that he would have to get his first marriage annulled and then ours done again in the Catholic church. This is too much to ask of my husband who will allow me to raise our daughter and go to church even though he does not. He is strongly against the Catholic faith still because of all the molestation charges and cover up. Is there any way I can convert and take the eucharist?

    • Hi Christie,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’d agree with what Lisa & Mary Lou
      posted, in that it’s probably best to discuss the specifics of your
      situation with your parish priest. But I can give a few principles that
      are behind the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and divorce, and
      in that way perhaps I can provide some added context as to why Sister
      said what she said.

      First, marriage is something that the Church sees as possessing great
      dignity, even if it involves those who are not Catholic. After all,
      marriage existed well before there was ever a Christian Church! It’s an
      extremely important and dignified institution coming from God himself
      (see Genesis 2) and so the Catholic Church treats it with great care and
      seriousness.

      Second, Jesus taught in Mark 10.2-12 that marriage was intended by God
      to be indissoluble. That is, “what God has joined together, let no one
      separate.” So if someone was married and later divorced, the Catholic
      Church — taking its teaching from Jesus himself — would not see that
      divorce as dissolving the marriage.

      So, what do we do in that case? Well, a process (often called
      annulments) has been established to examine whether there was actually a
      valid marriage from the beginning. If, after careful examination, it was
      judged that something was defective in the marriage vows — and there’s
      a whole host of reasons why this may be — then that marriage is
      declared to be null and the person is therefore free to be married to
      someone else. It looks like this was the main concern that Sister was
      expressing regarding your husband’s situation, and, by extension, for
      your own situation.

      There is another level to this conversation that I’m also seeing,
      regarding your husband’s views re: the Catholic Church. Would your
      husband be interested at all in speaking with your priest or with
      Sister? There have certainly been shameful scandals in the Catholic
      Church for which we as Catholics and particularly myself as a member of
      the clergy need to make deep repentance. The scandals are a horrifying
      evil, but by the grace of God and through hearing the concerns and
      feelings of people like your husband we hopefully can take another
      important step toward healing. I’ve also found that sometimes meeting
      someone in a more relaxed way (maybe over coffee or a beer or something)
      can help him/her see the Church in a more personable light and may even
      begin to help that person work through the well-justified anger that
      exists.

      Above all else, can we pray for each other? Today’s the feast of the
      Triumph of the Cross, where we recall that our Lord defeated even death
      itself, so there’s no situation on this earth beyond his power to
      redeem!

      God bless you, Christie!

      Fr. Darryl

  2. Christie, I am going to have our priestly spiritual advisor reply to your question, but my recommendation would be that you make an appointment to discuss the specifics of your situation with your pastor. He should be able to provide the most informative pastoral help to you. I also just want you to know that you are in my prayers today!

  3. Mary lou Rosien on

    Thank you both for your comments. I am praying for your situation and agree that some good spiritual direction and a conversation with your parish priest would be most helpful. Christie, you have a beautiful heart that longs for The Lord and I’m sure God will honor that in a special way. God bless.

  4. Thank you for your article. I am catholic trying to practice my faith married to a catholic in name only. We have 3 children together and try to attend mass weekly but it is very mentally and emotionally draining as it is hard to reach church and the lacklustre homilies bring out a scathing critic in my husband who criticises every statement made while we drive back. Moreover, he is playful with the kids during the holiest moments in mass and i dont feel he receives communion believing that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. This indifference really hurts me and most times I am silently weeping just after receiving communion and i feel very empty on the way back. We have a good relationship, there is no resentment and we put the kids needs over our own but after 8 years i feel extremely lonely spiritually and apart from my husband and Christ. I cannot attend mass as frequently as i want to because of our location and other responsibilities and this is a major source of depression in me. I wish so hard that he joins me in prayer or be the connected to me as couples united in Christ should be but right now our marriage feels like any ordinary marriage founded on equality and peace within the family but there is no Christ at the helm. I really need my husband to be the head of the family as God intends which is something he finds ludicrous. Im not as patient and calm as i ought to be and I am so weary of this seemingly meaningless existence. I really dont know how to pray or what to ask for anymore. I feel totally worthless and the funny thing is im the only one feeling this way. All i wanted as a young lady ws to share my life with a faith filled partner and witness a united faith to our children and to be denied that is really frustrating and wearing me out emotionally. I really do not understand the purpose of marriage anymore but im hanging in there all the same. I just wanted to write to someone who would understand because there isnt a single person around me that i could confide in. If you read this to the end, thank you for reading and God bless you.

    • Dear Nito, first and foremost I want you to know that you are in my prayers in a special way today, and that you are not alone. God knows your heart and your desire to have a strong faith life in your family. God also blessed your marriage and your desire for your husband to know and love God and the faith. I have to share that for a long time, I despaired because my husband was not Catholic. I prayed for many years for his conversion. Eventually, I followed a wise priest’s advice to continue praying for him, but also to focus on my own spiritual life with greater vigor and to trust that God had a perfect plan for our marriage (even if God’s plan didn’t always fit my plan!) I’ve tried since then to never stop praying for my husband, but also not to blame him in any way for being different in the way that he expresses his faith (he has since come into the Church) than I do. I know that for many years, our Knights of Columbus also prayed for him, and for our family. Have you spoken with him about your feelings? Perhaps if that is challenging, you might try writing him a letter. But I would also ask you to make a list for yourself of the many ways in which your husband (in his own ways) shows his love for God and your family. I would pray for the grace to love him as he is, and would then truly try to focus on being the best, most loving wife and mom I can be without feeling guilty or blaming yourself in any way. I know this is not a perfect answer in any way but I also want you to know that you’re not alone and that you are in my prayers today. I pray that you will find joy in your marriage, courage and strength in your mothering, and joy in your heart. HUGS!

    • Dear Nito, Though my situation is a little different than yours, I know what you are going through. My husband’s mom is Pentecostal, his father Catholic; he was baptized Lutheran, raised as a Church of God Evangelical and was not practicing anything when I met him. Nito, it took 21 years of marriage before we began praying together. He allowed and supported me raising the children Catholic and we always said grace and night prayers as a family. But like you I longed for more spiritually from my husband. I, too, wanted him to be the spiritual head of our family.
      First of all, let me say this, your prayer that your husband will one day lead your family spiritually is one that is heard and will be answered. Trust in that promise. And do not stop praying for that intention. As Mary Lou suggested, asked St. Joseph to join you in this prayer.
      Second, since your husband is Catholic, maybe you can suggest saying a family rosary on first ‘Fridays. All 5 decades may be too much as first, so start with simply one decade said as a family perhaps before or after dinner or at the kids’ bedtime. There is power in Our Lady’s rosary.
      Third, I totally get not being able to, as much as we may want to, go to daily Mass. You can, however, subscribe to the Magnificat. It has the daily readings and prayers, a little “Homily”/ meditation some great Catholics. Get up a little earlier to read these and make a spiritual Communion. It is not quite the same, but it will sustain you.
      Forth, know that your existence is not meaningless. Every wife and mother is needed. You have a definite purpose and beautiful vocation. Your husband and children need your prayers and example. And the need your unconditional love.
      Finally, as I often tell my children (and myself), do your best and let God do the rest. Days will come when you feel frustrated and alone. Let God know how you are feeling, then hand it over to him. He will make the dreams of your youth come true. He always dreams big!
      As for my husband, he is not yet Catholic. But he has taken the role of spiritual leader of our home. He leads us in Bible readings in the evening; he attends Mass with us, sitting, standing, kneeling and singing; he has been reading his Bible almost daily; and I see him kneeling in prayer often.
      There is hope. No matter how deep it may be buried, God can make it grow. Keep watering it with your tears and shine on it with your love. It will grow.

      • Thank you Kelly for your encouraging words and prayers. I do use a Catholic app called Laudate that has been a real gem of spiritual support and helps me when things get a little too over-whelming. But most of all, I’m so happy He led me to this site and all the beautiful people replying to my posts. This is just what I needed. God bless you and have a wonderful faith-filled Christmas.

    • Dear Nito, you have received such love and support here that I hardly feel I have anything to add, except to say that I am praying for you and for your husband. I pray that God plants a seed of desire in his heart so that he may come to seek and know God. And I pray that God gives you peace and grace to continue your own spiritual growth and be the spiritual leader for your children. And that you find a Catholic friend, advisor or group to lean on for support in your community.

      A wise woman once told me that I should focus on the things that I love and admire and respect about my husband, rather than the things that I’d like to change. I made a conscious effort to show him how much I love and respect him – and I let God work on changing him.

      As your children grow in faith, they may also play a role in changing the way your husband view’s the church. If they are filled with a love for Christ, they will shine a light for all to see!

      God bless you, Nito.

  5. Mary Lou Rosien on

    Nito, I can feel the struggle in your words. Two thoughts come to mind; in this difficult situation, God is working to help you become even more holy. Second, your husband is blessed to have a wife who loves The Lord so much! Although it is hard to see God’s plan, I am sure that part of that plan is for you to aid in the plan for sanctification of your spouse. Please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone! I know so many women who share this burden. Offer up even your exhaustion and despair in this issue for your husband and family. I encourage you to share what your are going through, maybe with a priest or Mom’s group and I’m sure you will find understanding and fellowship. I am tucking you into all my prayers. Thank you for trusting us with your story! God bless.

  6. Thank you for reading and reaching out to me. I know I have to stay on this path and Im trying as hard as I can. I know he is a good person and in many respects much kinder and selfless than I am. And that is precisely why I am so perplexed at his inability to surrender himself to the Lord and accept the Lord into his heart. He prefers to see Jesus as a social reformer and leave it at that. I have tried to talk to him about my longing but i cant reach him and the novenas and rosaries i say (not that i say it perfectly but i try to all the same) somehow feel inadequate. I feel mostly at fault because I cant help being frustrated and not as strong as I ought to be. I especially worry for my kids who never get to see us pray together and talk about our faith as we should. I agree with what you have written and I am hanging in there and praying not to fall apart and I know that i wont because I am made of stronger stuff thanks to His grace. I just could really use a dose of heavenly joy, the true kind not as the world gives because i dont know how to be joyful anymore, i cant even recognise myself in the mirror after all this time and the masks I have to wear daily so as not to worry anyone is taking a huge toll. I thank you for your prayers and I am very thankful to the Lord for directing me to this website and have you reach out to me. God bless you

    • Dear Nito,
      Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I and countless others have felt the same way as you do. Like the others who replied, I encourage you to go deeper into prayer –for God alone can fulfill us and is The Perfect Spouse. He alone will love, nurture, listen to and console you, heal and strengthen you — He alone will be the Perfect Father to your children. He knows best what we need and he is faithful and just to fulfill His Promises. I hope you will turn to Scripture when you begin to feel overwhelmed, for God is alive and living in His Word – I cannot tell you how many times He has spoken to me the perfect word that I needed to hear — but I had to take the step to read and quiet my mind and heart enough to hear His Voice.
      Know that God loves you, your husband and your kids beyond measure and has given us His Mother to be our own. When you enter ever deeper into prayer, He will give you the joy and peace that you seek, for He will constantly seek to fill you with Himself and you will be ever reminded how much He has done for you and continues to do for you. I have found gratitude and trust are the keys for not falling into despair.
      May you feel God with you as you take up your cross and follow after Him, so as to rise with Him to eternal glory one day — and so to unite all with Jesus’ Passion and Death to save souls. As Mary told us in Fatima, many souls are falling into hell because no one is praying and making sacrifices for them. When my cross seems too heavy for me to bear, it helps me when I keep this in mind — that my suffering is holy and sacred and redemptive.

      • Dear Janet,
        Thank you for praying for me and taking the time out to post a message to me. I think I will consciously surrender all the emotional strains and mental sufferings to Jesus through Mary everyday. I was aware of the redemptive value of suffering but I think I fell too deep into depression and was focusing on my fears and worries instead of dedicating that pain for my family’s salvation. Your post has reminded me of the value of the pain that I carry so I do not feel crushed anymore. Although I am nothing like Mama Mary (you have no idea how much I wish I had even an atom of her patience!) I understand she loves me just as I love my daughter unconditionally even though she is totally different from me! My rosary is my weapon of choice followed by my novenas and I know I am on the right path and I thank Jesus for that. God bless you have and have a beautiful Christ-filled Christmas.

    • Nito, I am married to a practicing Catholic, but what I will tell you is that marriage is hard. My married life is a constant challenge, mainly because of the cross we carry with two girls who have special needs. I think everyone’s marriage is challenged in different ways. I know you don’t have access to church, but this would be a great topic to cover in spiritual direction. I wonder if you could find a spiritual director that would work with you remotely? Mine is a coast away from me, and we do direction monthly by phone. Confiding in your pastor or other trusted clergy also helps. Really I hate giving advice, but essentially the best thing to do right now is continue your prayers – despite how difficult it may be – and pray especially for wisdom and peace. Your husband may never change, but even if he does, you must be able to accept where he is in his faith journey and grow where God is leading you and your children.

      • Dear Jeannie
        Thank you for replying to my post. I understand your comment about persevering in prayer and I am continuing to do so with more hope and faith now especially after the barrage of encouraging prayers and advice from all the lovely people who responded to me on this website, yourself included! I wish you and your family especially your two beautiful angels a holy and Christ-filled Christmas.

    • I’m in a very, very similar situation with my wife, Nito. I’ll say a prayer for you now. I know how heartbreakingly alone you feel. My spouse was baptized Catholic but was not raised in our faith, and we just glossed over that when we married. Our four children have only me to teach them and take them to Mass; my spouse never attends and does not consider herself a Christian. I identify with your feelings of guilt, regret and worry, as I too fear that I am going to fall apart any day, as my prayers seem to be answered with only enough grace to get me to one more morning and one more day of suffering. I’m often angry at myself and tempted to be angry with God, and my frustration finds its way out too often in the form of anger directed at others. I prayed just now that you be given Hope and be delivered from your situation. God bless you, your spouse and your children. It’s little consolation, but know that you are not alone.

      • Dear Pat
        Thank you for your kind words. I have recently joined an online novena group at http://www.praymorenovenas.com since I cannot go to Church except on the weekend. This has helped me a lot since we get email reminders to pray just one novena a month and submit our petitions to the Lord and pray for one another. I believe through the prayers of all the people in the group and the people who have me advised me and prayed for me through this thread including yourself I do not feel the despair I used to. I believe our prayers are also helping my husband on some inner level because he no longer criticises me during the times I have lengthy discussions with our ever-inquisitive 8 year old who is desperately trying to grow closer to the Lord. It was also during a novena to the Holy Spirit that I felt an amazing awareness and peace during a particularly trying situation. I was able to pray from my soul and offer thanksgiving and gratitude to the Spirit for all His protection to my family especially my kids. I was able to clearly recall the specific moment where His grace kept my kids out of harms way and I felt an uncontrollable urge to praise Him from the bottom of my heart which I proceeded to do during my morning walk. Although the situation at home is more or less the same, I now believe that it will not end this way. I believe that our families will reap the spiritual benefits of what we have sown. I do believe that people like you and me are called to mortify ourselves and be living sacrifices for our families…and what’s a sacrifice without some pain?! This kind of anguish we endure for our loved ones is holy and pleasing to the Father and this is how he makes us useful tools to aid in the spiritual welfare of our families and ultimately glorify Himself. This kind of service to our family can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us and so I urge you to pray for yourself and your family for all the gifts of the Spirit as often as you can and especially when negative thoughts are playing havoc with your peace of mind. I will also pray for the Spirit to deliver you from your feelings of anger and its effects. As an extremely short-tempered person myself, I rely completely on the Holy Spirit to give me grace to keep my moods in check so I can offer a better prayer for the interior conversion of my family (and I am trying very hard too). I think I have to improve myself first because I feel like a hypocrite for asking the Lord to remove the flaws in my spouse when I know I have so much work to be done on myself first. You mentioned that you get enough grace for just one more day of suffering and I cannot begin to tell you just how much I understand that. But guess what, just that much grace is enough for people like us. This is so that when our spouse and kids do accept the Lord into their hearts (whenever that will be and it will) we will never be able to boast that it was us who converted them, but the Lord alone. We just have to keep fighting the good fight, one day at at time. God bless you and your family and pray without ceasing.

  7. Nito, my heart goes out to you. I wanted to address one specific point in your initial comment – about attending mass. I cannot attend daily mass but what I do is go to sleep at night listening to the daily mass from CatholicTV through their app on my phone. If you are into apps and that sort of thing, listening to the mass at night as you fall asleep places you into the heart of Jesus (I believe that). You can receive the Eucharist virtually by picturing yourself receiving and praying as you receive. The beauty of the CatholicTV app is that you can watch and listen to the mass at any time of the day or night. Even the beautiful Sunday mass at Notre Dame can be watched and listened to whenever you want. I find that so comforting. In this way you can go to mass without the distractions you describe. And perhaps when you then attend with your family, you will be filled with graces to make it better.

    I hope this helps!

    • Dear Susan
      Thank you for replying. I use a Catholic app called Laudate to catch up on my daily readings and spiritual podcasts. You are right about it being so comforting, really its what keeps my prayer-life going amidst the constant chaos. I use it even at the bus stop while waiting to pick up my kids from school for that extra dose of grace! Have a lovely Jesus-filled Christmas.

  8. Nito, I, too, was in a similar situation for many years with a husband who rarely attended Mass, and who didn’t pay attention when he was at Mass. I, too, longed for him to take the spiritual leadership role in our family and it was truly painful. He experienced a very beautiful conversion following a massive heart attack seven years ago, and he finally surrendered to God. He died a very holy death, totally ready for heaven. I learned through this that the key to peace is surrender: surrender him completely to God and keep your eyes on Jesus and your personal love relationship with him. God will take care of your husband. I’d love to send you a copy of my book, “Miracle Man.” I think it will give you much consolation about the fact that you are not alone in this struggle and about the power of prayer to change us and our lives–in God’s perfect time. Please send me your address at [email protected] and I’ll mail you the book as a gift. Many blessings and much grace to you as your journey forward in faith.

    • Dear Judy,
      Thank you for reaching out to me. I am consciously surrendering myself and my family to His will daily now. I always thought I did but I think I took even that act of surrender for granted after a while and got a little side-tracked spiritually. But thanks to all the good people on this post and above all His grace, I do not feel depressed anymore and I have a new found strength to soldier on this path. Thank you for your kind offer to mail me your book, but since I live on a different continent I feel it will be a little troublesome for you so I must decline. I am content with your prayers and kind words. God bless you and the wonderful work you are doing for Him and I wish you a lovely faith-filled Christmas.

      • Nito, Praise God that you are finding peace in the support you’ve received here and in surrendering to God. May the Lord bless you and your family abundantly this Christmas and in the coming year!

  9. Please pray for my family.

    I am a Catholic but not practicing. My husband is a baptized Catholic and hasn’t been to Mass since his father passed away 30 years ago. When we met, he was a New Age-r, and I was going to Mass and taking Eucharist every week. Somehow, he convinced me that I didn’t need to do that. We had a civil wedding 13 years ago. He said that God had already blessed our marriage because we came together to get married – as God’s Will. We have five children.

    He likes talk radio, and I would leave the radio station in the car on the Christian Talk station. It was my only hope as we don’t have a Catholic radio station. My prayers were answered when he bought a Bible and started reading it! I want to be married in the Church. I want to take Eucharist again, every week… every day.

    Sometimes, he takes shots at Catholic teaching and people.
    “Maybe God put me on this earth to humble your dad,” [who is a deacon].
    “Our children don’t need to know a secret handshake” [referring to the Sign of the Cross].
    “It’s a religion of works.”
    “They worship relics.” [referring to the finger of a saint that gets kissed]
    “There is only ONE intercessor between me and the Father, and that’s Christ!”

    This hurts me so much because our children want to learn about Catholicism and have mentioned that they want to be baptized and receive Eucharist. I went to confession, after 15 years!, and mentioned that I want to be married in the Church. The priest told me to talk to my husband, but I am afraid of the argument that will ensue. He saw me looking at our neighborhood church’s website, and he became hostile, “What are you looking at the for?!” After explaining that our eldest child wanted to give to a food bank, he said to go to the Methodist church.

    We have never gone to church as a family. When my dad was being ordained, I brought our children with me, and my husband stayed home. That was the only time that our children have ever been to Mass.

    Please, Please pray for my family. There are amazingly awesome qualities about my husband: he’s loyal and witty and is a super dedicated dad! He doesn’t understand why the Catholic Church teaches what it does. I wish that there was some way to introduce him to the Catholic Church gently – as I found with the Christian talk radio.

    Thank you for your time. I hope that I did not paint a bad picture of our life nor of my husband. He’s wonderful and overwhelming, and I’d really, really love to have God bless our marriage in Church.

  10. Dear MYS
    I can identify with some of the spiritual anguish you are currently undergoing. My husband too is an awesome, kind and dedicated man but who doesnt really see the relevance of the teachings of the Church today and is severely critical of priests in our parish almost every time we attend mass and I really wish he could understand the Church for what it really is. I dont feel really qualified to advise you so I wont but I will include you and your family in my novena prayers this month for the Lord to grant you all the spiritual graces you need to assist your family on their path to salvation. God bless you

  11. Pingback: Marriage Rx: Married to a Catholic in Name Only | CatholicMom.com - Celebrating Catholic Motherhood

  12. Hi, I have the desire to join the catholic faith but I’m not sure I would be allowed to. My husband is atheist and while he would not mind if I became catholic he wants nothing to do with it. When we got married neither of us were of any faith or baptized. Would I be able to convert and receive communion if my husband does not? Or am I destined to just not be part of a faith ?

    • Linzi, you should definitely reach out to the local Catholic Church in your area. The process of RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) will help to answer all of these questions for you – but your faith journey is your own and your husband’s decisions do not impact in any way on your entry into the Church. The pastor or his staff will be able to help you!

  13. Mary Lou Rosien on

    Linzi, I agree with Lisa that a conversation with a priest would be a great first move. We are each on our own spiritual journey , pray for the Lord’s guidance and He will not abandon you in your quest. I have been an RCIA coordinator for six years and I have encountered many situations similar to yours. God has a plan for you and your husband. Be assured of my prayers for you both. God bless.

  14. Mary Lou Rosien on

    Forgive me for not responding to every comment on this post, dear readers. I too have been struggling as my sweet hubby comes to terms with some new physical limitations and disabilities. I just wanted to assure each of you who have reached out that I am praying for all of you and your situations. Tonight we have Mass and Adoration and I will be carrying each of you with me, tucked in my heart and intentions. For those who have given support, thank you! The best part of CatholicMom is the fellowship, support and friendship we find here! God bless!

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