1st Post - Married to Non-Catholic (Non Believer) and am trying to raise 5yr old daughter Catholic


#1

First I should say that I recently discovered this online Catholic community. I have been reading lots of posts and am very appreciative of this forum....now onto my issue.

As the title mentions, I am a married man who is married to a non-Catholic and overall non-Believer (been married 1 1/2 years). I have shared in great detail my Catholic Faith and she has attended mass with me quite a bit early on in our relationship. We currently are parents of a 5 year old daughter who has been in Catholic Pre-Schools for the past 3 years and whom I am doing my best to raise Catholic. She was baptized and my wife is respectful of me sharing my faith with my daughter. However, she wants me to be accepting of her unbelief as well, which overall I do.

My situation is a bit complicated for a number of reasons. First, my wife and I were not married in a Catholic church though I tried to be. The reason we weren't because of her. She was not willing to go through the classes and time it would take. Before I asked her to marry I realized there would be issues in our marriage as my Catholic faith is something very true and dear to me and her being absolutely unbending on her unbelief. However, I married her because there are aspects of her that I love and because I want to provide a stable home for my daughter who I (unfortunately) had before I was married.

Recently (the past year or so) my wife has become more unwilling to participate in my faith. I invite her to church with my daughter and I but she does not want to go. My daughter, graciously, enjoys going to church with me and prays with me nightly. My daughter is gaining a good sense of the faith her Daddy practices. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS TRICKY and scary for me. My daughter is beginning to ask me what mommy believes in. I do not lie, and tell her that she can talk to her mom about what she believes and also tell her that she does not believe (in simple terms). But I am worried that having a wife that thinks it is okay to non believe will influence the faith I am trying to share and portray for my daughter.

I remember how important it was for me at a young age to have great Catholic role models who embodied and were sincerely devoted to the Catholic Faith. I want to try and be that for my daughter but fear I have already failed by marrying her mom, a non Catholic. To complicate things further our marriage is not very good. She is going through difficult times with a transition to a new job, is having self image and eating difficulties. I am trying to be supportive and have talked to her about what I can do to help her but she says nothing. She is currently going to a counselor to help her. Our marriage is rough and I am grappling with negative thoughts of separating from her.

ANYONE out there go through a similar situation or have any advice?

THANK YOU.


#2

Please take some comfort in knowing that the FATHER'S influence is the most critical in faith formation. If the father is an unbeliever, it is far more likely that the children will have less faith if any. So the fact that you are a strong Catholic is a huge advantage for your little girl, and an excellent reason not to leave her mother. You will lose that influence if you are not with her as much as you are now. Keep up the prayer, keep taking her to Mass, even pray for Mommy as long as you can do it without any resentment or pity creeping in. Not being superior in any way, just doing it as a matter of course, as you would any other person who needs prayer.

Please, if you need to get marital counseling, do so. A divorce will only cause pain for all of you, and more destruction. Pray, pray, pray! God can do anything, even soften the heart of an unbeliever! "The Power of a Praying Husband" is a great book by Stormie Omartian - she's not Catholic but the prayers are very good. Or just say the rosary for your wife. It sounds like she is having problems, at least she is in counseling which is positive.

You just married recently, you are barely into your marriage. I hope you put thoughts of divorce far, far away from you, for the sake of your daughter.


#3

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:2, topic:240405"]
Please take some comfort in knowing that the FATHER'S influence is the most critical in faith formation. If the father is an unbeliever, it is far more likely that the children will have less faith if any.

[/quote]

I have witnessed this as an absolute fact too with hundreds of data-points, except in the cases where prayer has overcome the *un*belief of the Father... If the father is church-going, so too, the children. No father at church? No children when they gain their independence. It's so sad.

I wonder if any studies have been done...

Dad. Please don't leave it up to "mom" to explain her unbelief. You must take charge of your child's faith formation. Period. Yes. Your daughter will go to mom on her own when she's ready, but under no circumstance should you send your child to get directions from the directionless. Does this make sense?


#4

my husband is not Catholic and I converted. I am raising the children Catholic, of course.

First and foremost, never get lazy about your daughters faith and going to church, there might come a day when she says.. Mommie doesn't go, I shouldn't have to...these times will be trying, as I am in them now.

Divorce ... I don't know everything that is going on, but unless there is abuse of some sort, you really should accept that divorce is not an option, clear your mind of that and work on your marriage. Your wife needs you whether she believes in anything or not...you need each other,


#5

Ok. I can relate to you on sooooo many levels! My situations isnt exactly the same, yet so similiar. I'm married to a non-catholic as well. He was baptized for the sake of getting married, but doesn't believe in what the Church teaches. He is, however, very Protestant. This creates many problems, as well! He did agree to raise our kids Catholic, but since we now have 3 kids (the oldest is four) he's not so sure now. I continue to help my four year old pray and learn the Catholic faith, but he is now asking many questions about what his daddy believes. In a way I want to tell him that daddy doesn't agree, but he's only four. I don't want him to ask my husband what he believes, because I don't want him to tell our son that certain things I've taught him are wrong (i.e. The Blessed Mother, the Eucharist, etc...). It would make life much easier if my husband and I were united in what we believe. Today, for example, I was playing on the floor with my four year old while my husband sat watching us. My scapular fell out of my shirt and my son grabbed it and kissed it. I snatched my scapular back and put it back in my shirt in hopes that my husband didn't see our son kiss it. It's so hard to feel like you must walk on eggshells in order to keep the peace. The fact is that this cannot go on this way. We have to review what we talked about and agreed upon before we were married. I don't want to tell my son to pray for daddy's conversion, but that's exactly what I want.
I didnt mean to make this post about myself. I just wanted to explain my struggles that, I feel, are similar to yours. I think the most important thing to do is pray, of course, but to also be a good example of what a true-blue catholic is. My mother used to tell me that if I exude happiness and contentment, perhaps they will realize that that attitude stems from a solid Catholic faith in your life. I try to be a good example, but I do get discouraged. It's hard for me to visualize him ever attending Mass with me, but that is my wish.

I will pray very hard for your marriage, strength and perseverance in your faith and for your wife's heart to soften to the Catholic faith.


#6

[quote="antmantucan, post:1, topic:240405"]

My situation is a bit complicated for a number of reasons. First, my wife and I were not married in a Catholic church though I tried to be. The reason we weren't because of her.

[/quote]

I too am a Catholic married to a non-believer and I married outside of the Church. It was the worst decision I have ever made in regards to obedience to God's will, my own Catholic values, and interpersonal happiness between me and my spouse. I empathize with your situation.

I want to gently point out that your marriage might be invalid if you did not seek permission to enter into a mixed-marriage. If your wife was legitimately baptized in another Christian faith at the time of your marriage then I suggest that you speak with a priest right away.


#7

Thank you all for the replies. As I mentioned above, this was my first post and am really appreciative of the encouraging words.

I mentioned separation from my wife above, not divorce. I do not want to divorce her but do consider separating and distancing myself from her at times. Our relationship isn't necessarily abusive but it definitely is not good either. We are rarely intimate, she has become more hostile toward me, she is often negative when talking about me to people as well. It is weird because I talk to her about it and how it makes me feel, plus we've gone to marriage counseling twice already and each time we go she says it has nothing to do with me. She tells the counselor and me that I do the things she wants. I support her, I respect her and am a good father. By no means does this mean I am perfect, of course I am not. I do realize that sometimes I do not appreciate her the way she would like to be but it is something I continuously self evaluate and try and correct when I catch it. It is difficult to support someone who I cannot connect with or understand. I cannot connect with her in a faith viewed way because she has no faith. I cannot talk to her about her personal struggles because they are her own. She once told me before we were married that she was crazy and hoped she didn't scare me away. She also mentioned before we married that she is worried that I would leave her because of my Faith.

With relation to my daughter. There are times when I also get discouraged. I have missed church because I do not feel supported at home. I often long to be connected to a faith community, in college I was really connected to the Newman group and Marists and that really helped my faith grow a lot. The longer I am with my wife, the more I feel my faith is weakened. Does that make sense? Is it wrong to put it on her? I know it is my own faith and my own responsibility to nurture it but it is hard when my partner/best friend does not want to have anything to do with it. She wants me home to help her support our home and child and work full time. I cannot go to faith formations or marriage formations. I took her to the Religious Education Congress in LA once in the hope that she would appreciate seeing so many diverse people in worship and sharing their faith and knowledge about the Catholic Faith but she got nothing out of it.

It is hard and discouraging when we have only been married for 1 1/2 years and have already gone through marriage counseling twice and are going through these tough times so early on.

**My wife was baptized in a number of religions at a younger age. I empathize with her and can see how she came not to believe. Her parents would drop her and her siblings off at a number of churches at a younger age but never attend. At times they were Mormon, then other times Christian, sometimes they attended Catholic masses. I think her parents wanted to have their children believe in something they simply didn't. They just tossed their kids where people wanted them to attend. Mormons would come by their house and support taking their kids to church so they would have their kids attend a Mormon Church and so on. I do know she was baptized Mormon but not sure anything else. Add this experience in that she was raised in a very liberal Bay Area and attended a very rigorous high school, attended an Ivy League school and has been taught for a long time to think critically about things and it makes for a very discouraging situation. Prayer, talking about faith, constantly listening to Christian Radio around her, watching "Catholic/Christian" approved movies (without her knowing beforehand that we were watching one), inviting her to Religious Ed Congress, to church and trying out different types of Catholic Churches (we have gone to Franciscan masses, Jesuit mass, and even a Catholic Mass with a Gospel Choir) and still nothing.


#8

Dear antmantucan,

I was raised by a practicing catholic mother and a non-practicing father. I am now all grown up and I am still catholic. I have two more siblings, one is still practicing catholic and one is not really living her faith, but she is making at least some attempts to raise her children as catholic (she is married to a non-catholic).

Here is what I think about your situation - first, do not obsess about your wife not being catholic. You have obviously tried very hard to convert her and it is not working. Stop pushing her. Accept her and love her the way she is - you knew who you were marrying, you knew she did not share your faith. I think that your eagerness to convert her and pushing her toward the faith by all the things you are doing (talking about faith, constantly listening to Christian Radio around her, watching "Catholic/Christian" approved movies, inviting her to Religious Ed Congress, to church and trying out different types of Catholic Churches) is annoying her - stop it. That being said, pray a lot for her, maybe once in a while invite her to join you for mass (just ask a simple question - would you like to go to mass with us? and if she says no, leave it at that - do NOT attempt to persuade her to go with you). It can take years for people to find their way to God. In my own family, my father was reconciled with the catholic church and went to confession after about 40 years, so he can receive the communion on my nuptial mass. The best wedding gift ever! God's schedule can be sometimes a very slow one - pray a lot for your wife and leave it in God's hands.

As for raising your daughter, focus on being a good example. Do not, under any circumstances, skip a Sunday mass or a day of obligation no matter how hard it is. When I was growing up, I have seen the disapproval my father had about my mom going to church every Sunday - it was not easy, but she never wavered. If you cannot make it on Sunday, go on Saturday evening. If you are on vacation, find a church to go to - I do not remember my mother ever skipping a Sunday mass no matter what and this has made a great impression on me. My father always found something else to do for an hour when we were traveling. When she could, she also attended daily mass (early in the morning or in the evening - she worked full time) and always invited us (the children) to go with her. She never insisted we go with her to mass during the weekdays though, she always invited, sometimes gently persuaded or motivated us with having some icecream after the mass (I will do a lot of things for icecream :) ).

Regarding your desire to go to faith formations or marriage formations - my feeling is that your first duty is to your wife and your family. If going to faith formation or marriage formations is putting a strain on your marriage, do not go to any. Live sacramental life in the Church, go to mass as often as you can (try finding an early morning mass you can go to before going to work or some churches will have a mass during a lunchtime), go to confession often (at least once a month), pray a lot and read good books. Confession is especially important. You do not need to be a member of a group to be a good catholic. What you absolutely need are sacraments (Eucharist and confession) and you need them as often as possible.

Finally, I wrote this post assuming that your marriage is recognized by the Church and you are capable to receive sacraments. Is that so?


#9

[quote="InspiritCarol, post:3, topic:240405"]
I have witnessed this as an absolute fact too with hundreds of data-points, except in the cases where prayer has overcome the un*belief of the Father... If the father is church-going, so too, the children. No father at church? No children when they gain their independence. It's so sad.
*

I wonder if any studies have been done...**

Dad. Please don't leave it up to "mom" to explain her unbelief. You must take charge of your child's faith formation. Period. Yes. Your daughter will go to mom on her own when she's ready, but under no circumstance should you send your child to get directions from the directionless. Does this make sense?

[/quote]

Yes, studies have been done. I don't have my textbook handy or I'd quote them. Very well-documented.


#10

Thanks again for the responses.

No, my marriage is not recognized by the Church. I tried to have my marriage recognized but my wife was not for it so we were married outside the Church.

I do not think I push my wife or have ever tried to convert her. I am confident that if asked she would say that she recognizes my faith as being very important to me but that I do not force her or have ever tried to convert her. The things I do with her to share my Catholic faith are subtle and thoughtful ways I thought I could inspire something out of her. They are not something done daily or enough to annoy her. I am pretty confident in that.

My marriage is difficult. It is very difficult and discouraging considering we just started. What does my marriage mean if we were not married in the Church and she does not believe? I have never spoke to a priest since being married about my specific marriage. I, like I'm sure so many others have my ups and downs but sometimes just wish I had that support to help encourage my faith when it is down. I do not get that from my wife, I do not get it from my community so I am forced to just pray, dig deep and recognize ways to motivate and inspire my faith on my own. Being a good role model to my daughter is great inspiration but it is hard without help.


#11

I really sympathise with your situation and I know it is very difficult. A friend of mine grew up in a marriage like that and another one married outside of the church and could not receive sacraments for the duration of her marriage. It was very hard for her.

I am not really capable to fully understand what you are going through or give you a good advice. I think that the fact you are not married in the Church greatly complicates your situation. How can you raise your daughter in the catholic faith successfully if you do not follow it yourself? What are you going to tell her when she goes to her first communion and confession but she will never see you receiving those sacraments? How will you teach her the importance of going to confession and receiving the Eucharist often if you do not do it yourself? The only way my mother was able to stay in her difficult marriage and raise us was because she frequented the sacraments as often as she could. She told me once that no matter what happened in her life and how terrible she felt, she could always go to mass and find comfort in the Eucharist. You really need to reconcile with Church. Please, find out when your parish has confessions and go talk to the priest in the confessional about your situation. The best thing you can do for yourself, your wife and your daughter at this point is to find your own way back to the Church - either by validating your marriage, separating, living with your wife as a brother and sister to raise your daughter or some other way that will allow you to frequent sacraments. I have a feeling that once you solve this problem, you will be in a much better place to take care of your wife and daughter (it will still not be easy). I will pray for you tonight that you find the help and strength to do what needs to be done to find your way back.


#12

Dear one,

Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. Please be assured of my prayers for you and your little one and your marriage.

Please know that separation and divorce may not solve your problems and may only bring on a set of new ones. Specifically I am speaking about your wife dating other men and possibly re-marrying or "living together" with another man. I know this is not the primary reason for trying to hold together your marriage but if you think things are bad now, picture if your wife has a boyfriend that your daughter has to live with as well (yikes.)

Do all that you can to focus on what you and your wife have in COMMON faith-wise and build from there. Does she beleive in God? If so that is wonderful and you can start from there!

Tell your wife how much you appreciate her for supporting you in your faith, when she does it. I know you said you do not feel supported often but you did mention that you do attend Mass sometimes. When you actually do attend Mass with your daughter, make sure to hug and kiss your wife and tell her how much you appreciate her for being open and loving!

Your wife probably knows that her lack of faith is a disappointment to you even if you try not to let it show. Try very hard to see what you have in common, even if it seems like very little...trust that God can build on it!

Naturally you may have many other issues that go beyond the scope of an internet forum but I hope this helps just a little. God bless and take care as best as you can.


#13

[quote="antmantucan, post:1, topic:240405"]
First I should say that I recently discovered this online Catholic community. I have been reading lots of posts and am very appreciative of this forum....now onto my issue.

As the title mentions, I am a married man who is married to a non-Catholic and overall non-Believer (been married 1 1/2 years). I have shared in great detail my Catholic Faith and she has attended mass with me quite a bit early on in our relationship. We currently are parents of a 5 year old daughter who has been in Catholic Pre-Schools for the past 3 years and whom I am doing my best to raise Catholic. She was baptized and my wife is respectful of me sharing my faith with my daughter. However, she wants me to be accepting of her unbelief as well, which overall I do.

My situation is a bit complicated for a number of reasons. First, my wife and I were not married in a Catholic church though I tried to be. The reason we weren't because of her. She was not willing to go through the classes and time it would take. Before I asked her to marry I realized there would be issues in our marriage as my Catholic faith is something very true and dear to me and her being absolutely unbending on her unbelief. However, I married her because there are aspects of her that I love and because I want to provide a stable home for my daughter who I (unfortunately) had before I was married.

Recently (the past year or so) my wife has become more unwilling to participate in my faith. I invite her to church with my daughter and I but she does not want to go. My daughter, graciously, enjoys going to church with me and prays with me nightly. My daughter is gaining a good sense of the faith her Daddy practices. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS TRICKY and scary for me. My daughter is beginning to ask me what mommy believes in. I do not lie, and tell her that she can talk to her mom about what she believes and also tell her that she does not believe (in simple terms). But I am worried that having a wife that thinks it is okay to non believe will influence the faith I am trying to share and portray for my daughter.

I remember how important it was for me at a young age to have great Catholic role models who embodied and were sincerely devoted to the Catholic Faith. I want to try and be that for my daughter but fear I have already failed by marrying her mom, a non Catholic. To complicate things further our marriage is not very good. She is going through difficult times with a transition to a new job, is having self image and eating difficulties. I am trying to be supportive and have talked to her about what I can do to help her but she says nothing. She is currently going to a counselor to help her. Our marriage is rough and I am grappling with negative thoughts of separating from her.

ANYONE out there go through a similar situation or have any advice?

THANK YOU.

[/quote]

First of all. My great respect to you for marrying the mother of your child. Some people think thats not a good enough reason to get married, but I think its the right thing to do (and so did most people in history, as far as I know).
When you married, you promised for better and for worse till death do you part. Right now you are going thru one of the worse periods, but if you are continually interested in what is best for your child, stay with her mother. There are few things as destructive in a child's life as the seperation of her parents. Its the world collapsing for a child. You can do any studies on divorce to see the horrible and longterm consequences on children, and society, when parents divorce.
Keep being the best husband and a Christian role model to your wife and daughter. And at church I think it would be good for you to get your child involved with childrens' groups that have a very sincere and joyfull faith. She needs peers and other adults in her life that share the faith. Children are naturally spiritual beings, so don't worry too much. Just keep praying with her, read Bible stories to her, speak to her about age appropriate things of faith and morals.. teach her to pray to Jesus as to her best Friend. Consecrate her and your wife to the sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate heart of Mary.
The CAF community is here to support you too.
I live in Europe in a very Catholic community. We had Protestants and non-believing spouses living here with us.. and it benefitted them I am sure. Sometimes when we are long time believers we forget what great power the faith has, and what rolemodels we are when we are in commuion with the Church and follow the laws of faith. The world is so screwed up that non-believers notice the difference between us and the rest of the world, I can assure you. I have experienced that many times.. talking to non-believers who came into comtact with the community of believers and longing to have what we have here, which of course isnt our power and love , but the Lords..
So, my best adice is to get acquainted with some really fantastic Christians who can come into your home and also meet you at church, so that your daughter can grow up with strong testimonies of faith, and see the peace and joy that comes from faith. You don't have to be alone in that task. I think your wife will eventually want what you and your daughter have.

Keep being a good husband and father. And be good to yourself, so that you can be strengthened. Watch great movies, read great books, go on family trips out into nature.. surround yourself with the beauty God has given.

Hugs and blessings to you :)


#14

Thanks again for all the posts and encouragement. I plan on having a talk with my wife about the topic tonight.

I am proud I married my wife and for the little family we have. People do admire our family as we are the only young couple married within our friends circle. However, I feel exactly the way you do Codetta when you wrote:


I too am a Catholic married to a non-believer and I married outside of the Church. It was the worst decision I have ever made in regards to obedience to God's will, my own Catholic values, and interpersonal happiness between me and my spouse. 

I can't get past that bad feeling inside, that lonely place and that place of longing for the support and chance to talk to my partner my feelings about my faith. I desire the ability to grow from each other faithfully and imagine it how strong it would make my family. Instead, I am stuck defending my faith from her at times and her friends who simply believe that when you die, you die and that is it.

Does anyone have advice on how to approach this conversation with my wife? I want to gently let her know how I feel and that this is a huge aspect of who I am and need her support in some way. Thank you again for the all the kind words, wise advice, encouragement and prayers.


#15

I will be marrying a non-Catholic in the very near future, once I return to Hawaii. Respect of one anothers faith, Or lack of it, in your wifes case, comes into play. Perhaps call a truce, and Just do not discuss matters of faith. Just love and support her. I understand you want to discuss the deeper issues of faith and spirituality with her, but you opted for this when you said I do. That being said, you learn to live with the differences. I have no problem with my fiancees faith, and her Children are baptized. I will be attending with her, to show solidarity for the sake of her 10 year old son. That is my decision. She did not even ask me too. I can practice the unique aspects of Catholicsm privately. Its a matter of accepting and respecting the differences in your spouse. This would be true even if you were both of like mind. Your differences are just a lot more challenging. but you CAN have a succesful and Happy marriage if you both show respect. practice your faith, and respect her beliefs. And She should do the same. Peace an prayers for you. :signofcross: Oh one more thing. If she agreed to allow you to raise your Daughter Catholic, she needs to abide by her decision. Peace And prayers.


#16

[quote="benidict, post:15, topic:240405"]
I will be marrying a non-Catholic in the very near future, once I return to Hawaii. Respect of one anothers faith, Or lack of it, in your wifes case, comes into play. Perhaps call a truce, and Just do not discuss matters of faith. Just love and support her. I understand you want to discuss the deeper issues of faith and spirituality with her, but you opted for this when you said I do. That being said, you learn to live with the differences. I have no problem with my fiancees faith, and her Children are baptized. I will be attending with her, to show solidarity for the sake of her 10 year old son. That is my decision. She did not even ask me too. I can practice the unique aspects of Catholicsm privately. Its a matter of accepting and respecting the differences in your spouse. This would be true even if you were both of like mind. Your differences are just a lot more challenging. but you CAN have a succesful and Happy marriage if you both show respect. practice your faith, and respect her beliefs. And She should do the same. Peace an prayers for you. :signofcross: Oh one more thing. If she agreed to allow you to raise your Daughter Catholic, she needs to abide by her decision. Peace And prayers.

[/quote]

Spirituality can transcend an institutional authority. The beauty of Catholicism is its long tradition, but that is also its darkness. When you take it all in... from the great spiritual leaders, great popes and saints, awe inspiring revelations, going back 2,000 years, and balance that against the corrupt popes, the inquisition, the anti-semitism, the burning of heretics, the protection of child molesters, the persecution of minorities. It is a very mixed history. How could one expect otherwise, with the number of people and the scope of power and wealth? You and your wife will find your mutual spiritual and emotional connection together. This has little relevance to the institutional authority of the Church.


#17

[quote="Rock_Happy, post:16, topic:240405"]
Spirituality can transcend an institutional authority. The beauty of Catholicism is its long tradition, but that is also its darkness. When you take it all in... from the great spiritual leaders, great popes and saints, awe inspiring revelations, going back 2,000 years, and balance that against the corrupt popes, the inquisition, the anti-semitism, the burning of heretics, the protection of child molesters, the persecution of minorities. It is a very mixed history. How could one expect otherwise, with the number of people and the scope of power and wealth? You and your wife will find your mutual spiritual and emotional connection together. This has little relevance to the institutional authority of the Church.

[/quote]

I whole heartedly agree. I used to be against such marriages. Now I can see that Who God puts in our lives, may not have been who we were looking for. Our ideal, does not override his decision. I truly believe that at 42 years, i have found my twin flame. :thumbsup:


#18

[quote="benidict, post:17, topic:240405"]
I whole heartedly agree. I used to be against such marriages. Now I can see that Who God puts in our lives, may not have been who we were looking for. Our ideal, does not override his decision. I truly believe that at 42 years, i have found my twin flame. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Congrats on that. What about the kids? Unless she is post menopausal, there is a possibility. I know that the Catholic Church demands that any child be brought up in Catholicism. Have you two decided what to do, if that choice must be made?


#19

[quote="antmantucan, post:1, topic:240405"]

As the title mentions, I am a married man who is married to a non-Catholic and overall non-Believer (been married 1 1/2 years). I have shared in great detail my Catholic Faith and she has attended mass with me quite a bit early on in our relationship. We currently are parents of a 5 year old daughter

[/quote]

I'm very sorry you find yourself in a difficult situation.

Were you living together or just dating when she got pregnant? When you were dating did you discuss religion, sex, children? What were your and her expectations concerning religion when you got married?

However, I married her because there are aspects of her that I love and because I want to provide a stable home for my daughter who I (unfortunately) had before I was married.

Have those aspects disappeared? Do you still love her? Do you feel her atheism/religious ambiguity is a resentment toward you?

Recently (the past year or so) my wife has become more unwilling to participate in my faith

.

Does she feel you are putting your faith before her? She may see it as a competition for attention.

I remember how important it was for me at a young age to have great Catholic role models who embodied and were sincerely devoted to the Catholic Faith. I want to try and be that for my daughter but fear I have already failed by marrying her mom, a non Catholic.

It does seem rather odd that you chose a non-Catholic if you had a deep Catholic faith.

She is currently going to a counselor to help her.

What type of counselor is she seeing? Perhaps it would be best to see a family therapist rather than a marriage counselor. Also sounds as though she is depressed.

Our marriage is rough and I am grappling with negative thoughts of separating from her.

And if you do separate, how will this benefit your daughter? At her age it is highly unlikely you would get custody so you would be visiting every other weekend. And there would be no way to force mommy to keep her in a Catholic school or attend other Catholic events not on your visitation days.

ANYONE out there go through a similar situation or have any advice?

I would definitely see a family counselor. It also quite possible your wife doesn't want to be married to you. At which point you two have to stop thinking about yourselves and decide what is best for your daughter. Are you sure she doesn't have any deep seated psychological problems?


#20

[quote="Rock_Happy, post:18, topic:240405"]
Congrats on that. What about the kids? Unless she is post menopausal, there is a possibility. I know that the Catholic Church demands that any child be brought up in Catholicism. Have you two decided what to do, if that choice must be made?

[/quote]

We are older.Her youngest is 10 and her oldest is 20. Why would I attempt to raise him in a Church that is going to attempt to put a huge guilt trip on him, for normal adolescent behavior. His mother has done a very good job of raising him so far, and why would I even dream of fixing something that is not broken. :D I am no longer going to be attending Catholic services myself. so Its not really an issue. Im done with the organizational aspect of my faith. ;) I will be attending services with her congregation. . :thumbsup:


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