Advice needed re anti-Catholic wife!


#1

Hello

I am currently going through RCIA and am in need of some advice from anybody who may have experienced, or am experiencing what I am going through at the moment.

Both my wife and I have been members of the Church of England for about 10 years, though in body only, as we were both Fundemental in our core beliefs.

For a peiod of time, I gave up on my faith due to lots of things that I was taught as a Fundementalist and Anglican not making sense to me. However, when I decided to ‘give it another go’ I was amazed to find myself drawn towards Catholicism and despite trying to pull away from it, I now find myself in RCIA and feeling like I really am ‘coming home’.

My problem is with my Wife who although claims not to be anti-Catholic, clearly is. She has told me on a number of occasions that what I am doing is ‘wrong’ and can barely look at me when I go to RCIA or Mass (Holy days of obligation bring about terrible scenes). She claims that she is worried about me, which I think is genuine and I understand because years ago I would’ve done all that I could to prevent someone from converting to Catholicism Last Sunday things came to a head when she came with me to a Mass that, due to a night away, was not in my usual parish. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. Holy water, making the signs of the cross, genuflecting etc. It was all too much for her.

Can anyone out there offer any advice on how to best deal with this. It has come to the point where I can’t talk about it with her through fear of causing more grief for her. There is also the potential problem in the future regarding my 2 un-baptised children aged 10 & 3 (neither of us believed in it at the time, thinking it to be un-biblical) which is more than I can cope with.

I know being a Catholic is not supposed to be easy and that submitting to God’s will is ultimately what is important but any advice that would help ease this situation would be very gratefully received.

Thank you


#2

may God bless you during this struggle. I had a non-Catholic husband who eventually joined the church and it was very difficult for many years. We have four children and I am a cradle Catholic, so I tried to raise them in the faith while he opposed it and it was very hard to know you are doing what needs to be done while your spouse is against it. All I could rely on was prayer, constant prayer. Say the Morning Offering and the rosary, Mary has done wonders for me. But most of all don’t give up! There are many people praying for you!:slight_smile:


#3

I know there are a few people who are on these board who will chime in with some great advice since they have been through it. Since i am not married i can’t give you any pratical advice except Pray and stick through it and if you can get get your hands on this book then read it.

Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

Scott Hahn had some what of the same situation when he converted. Kimberly took awhile and it talks from both their points about their feelings during those years.

My prayers are with you and Welcome Home!


#4

During a quiet time, ask her to write out what her biggest concerns are about Catholicism. Promise her that you won’t attempt to debate her on any of those items, but you will point her in the direction of resources to learn about them.

Tell her that in return, you will look at any resource she produces about those same topics. This will help keep the communication open, as well as provide you with a chance to learn how to defend your faith. As John Martignoni often says, “If someone can show me one thing the Church does that is unbiblical, I will go down to his church and be baptized that very day.” So far, he’s remained staunchly Catholic. :thumbsup:

Reassure her that you still love her, your children, and your family. You’d be shocked how much anger toward the Church is really fear of deep-seated family changes in disguise. Quite possibly she sees this as you “moving away” from her in some manner. You and I both know it isn’t, but it’s a fool what looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart. :wink: Go out of your way to set aside time for just the two of you, as well as family time. Make sure she understands that this decision isn’t about her, the children, or the family. This decision is about God.

Best of luck. You’re in my prayers.
FMS


#5

You’re in RCIA! Wonderful for you! Welcome to the Fulness of the Faith!

My husband is a convert, too. It’s true what they say “there’s no zealot like a convert.” And ***that ***might be a problem. You’re excited-- thrilled, really to becomming ever closer to receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. Who could remain silent about that!?! Even the stones would cry out!!

But offer it up for your family’s conversion. Stay as quiet as you can about it. Pray. Pray a lot. Pray unceasingly. Your wife went to Mass with you. Maybe she went to find fault. But maybe there was some other slight glimmer of her wanting to know what you’ve found…

But besides prayer, here’s my best, BEST advice for demonstrating Catholicism: Preach the gospel, but use words ONLY when you have to. Show your wife that approaching the Fullenss of the Faith, approaching the Source and Summit of EVERYTHING good, approaching ***Jesus ***makes you a better person. A better husband. A better father. A better friend.

It’s The Holy Spirit’s job to move her heart, like He moved yours. But it’s OUR job to be the best example of living grace as we can be. ( And that includes asking for forgiveness-- from Wife and kids and others, when we have failed them.) Let the grace of the Sacraments change you.

As for your children, the same is true. This is all really new. Stay in prayer. Remain as quiet as you can, don’t argue or press hot buttons for a long while. Remember, God Our Heavenly Father wants your children to be baptized more than you ever could want it for them. He wants for your Wife to adore His Son’s Most Sacred Heart in the Eucharist more than we can ever know. He knows how to get from this place to that place. Follow him one day at a time. TRUST Him.


#6

There is a book called “When Only One Converts”. I have not read it, but many people here recommend it.

Perhaps it will have some useful items for you in your struggle.

As for your children-- your 10 year old is over the age of reason. and can ask for baptism on his/her own. Your 3 year old could be baptized-- but of course your wife would have to agree. You can defer baptism until that child is also over 7 years and can ask for it.

Of course, should either child become seriously ill or in danger of death-- which is highly unlikely-- call a priest or baptize them yourself. All you need is water and the Trinitarian formula. Pour over their head 3 times while saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”


#7

Thank you ever so much for your responses and apologies for not saying so earlier.

My hope is that by attending Mass with me something inside her was stirred. Before Mass today I prayed that we would be a united family and I long for the day that we well attend Mass as a family.

Feedmysheep; you are so right about her thinking I’m ‘moving away’ The other day she told me that she felt God had taken part of me away from her. Infact I have never felt closer to her, which of course is what I told her.

As I said previously, my hope is that something is stirring inside her now and that her anger towards the Church will turn to an acceptence of the truth. Before I realised that my place was in the Catholic Church, I made every excuse not to listen to God - maybe that’s something she’ll have to do as well.

Once again, thank you for your wonderful advice, support and prayers.


#8

I have been going through something similar with my husband for the past two years. When we married we agreed about religion, but I had a change of heart and returned to the Catholic Church.

My husband does not understand how I could return to the Church and he has said he feels like I have rejected a part of him. He feels very threatened by my involvement with the Church.

We have talked and talked about religion and I have listened to his arguments patiently, even when some of the things he said about Catholicism were offensive to me.

I no longer discuss religion with him and have accepted that for now I cannot share this very important part of my life with him because he doesn’t want to hear about it.

For his part he says he is trying to believe me when I say the Church is not a threat to our marriage.

He knows that I will attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day. I participate in one volunteer activity in my parish and I take vacation time from work so it doesn’t interfere with time together with my husband.

On the advice of our parish priest, I try to be very low-key about religion at home and I have put away most of my Catholic things so my husband doesn’t see them every day.

This situation has caused a great deal of tension in our marriage and I don’t see a good solution, however, we love each other very much and are willing to work on our marriage.

The book When Only One Converts is a good one. It contains true stories of people in mixed marriages. Some of the marriages survived and some didn’t.

The best advice I have to offer is to be patient and not try to push your wife into anything she isn’t ready for.


#9

It sounds as if you are in a difficult situation. If I may ask - were you married in the Church?


#10

The Coming Home Network, associated with EWTN’s “The Journey Home” program, might be a good resource for folks. At least, many of the conversion stories might give a little bit of hope and inspiration if not the services/resources themselves. Good luck to all & God bless.


#11

You may ask. We were married in the Church of England.

Why dya ask?


#12

I would again suggest picking up Home Sweet Rome by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

My wife and I are in the midst of swimming the Tiber. Although her Grandfather is a Baptist minister, she was never Baptised. Thus we have gone through the entire RCIA process.

There have been times when I know she definitely felt the way your wife has stated feeling. She has also worried about what her “family” will think but is moving forward with Faith. I tried to make sure we had extra time together because as a married couple the Church has some wonderful teachings about marriage. Read some stuff form Christopher West as well and pick up Catholicism for Dummys (it’s a REALLY good book).

Tell her that this isn’t about you, or her… it’s about US. It’s about taking your lives to the next level, in your faith and marraige.

I had been studying Catholic theology for a while before I sprung RCIA on my wife… that timing was bad as she had just given birth to our 3rd son a few weeks before. We made it a family thing though and while there have been ups and downs, it’s truly been a blessing.

My guess is that right now this seems like your thing, part of becoming Catholic, IMO, is to make it a family thing.

You are in my prayers!
Joe


#13

One thing great about being Anglican is that you can gradually acclimate yourself to a Catholic form of life without changing denominations. I went from “born-again” anti-Catholic Christian to full-bore defending the papacy and the Immaculate Conception over a period of about 25 years --ALL AS AN ANGLICAN.

Maybe if you show your wife that a lot of the “catholick” stuff that offends her is acceptable in the greater Anglican world, she will move from the position of “If Catholics do it, it is wrong” to “If non-Catholics do it, it must be OK.”

This takes time. Don’t push too hard. But take her to some Anglican Churches that are a little more up-church than where she is now. I wouldn’t start with St. Mary’s Bourne Street or All Saints Margaret Street (if they’re still Spike Central). Go easy. Start with a place that has a crucifix. Work your way up to confessional boxes, rosaries and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.


#14

:slight_smile: hi EDKidd one thing that stood out to me in your op was your wife’s oppostion to the sign of the cross.it is an early church practice Tertullian who died around 240 ad “…in what employment occupies us mark yourself with the sign of the cross. St Ephram also wrote”…let it be your protecting wall round all your conduct…"he went home around the year 373 may God’s love protect you on your journey amen.


#15

Well, you mentioned that you are in RCIA, I assume with the intention of becoming a member of the Catholic Church. I was just wondering how cooperative your wife will be about having your Church of England marriage convalidated.

Like you, I am in RCIA. My entering into full communion with the Church, however, will have to wait until my “irregular marriage” situation is resolved. Just wondering if you were having a similar problem.

Best of luck with you struggle.


#16

You MUST read the aforementioned book “When Only One Converts” edited by Lynn Nordhagen.

It is a compilation of conversion stories and the effect of the conversion on marriages. There are examples of what to do and what not to do. Some end very well, others end in divorce! All of the authors mention what they did right and what they did wrong.

I’m being received into the Church this Easter and no-one in my entire extended family is religious, let alone Catholic. However, by the grace of God my wife has been open to it all, and she is happy to raise our young children Catholic. We are baptising our 4 year old, 2 year old, and a newborn as soon as possible after I receive the sacraments. My wife already feels a growing calling to the Church, and my Mom just started RCIA for hopeful reception Easter 2009!

In my long road to the Church, I’ve found the following things important as regards my wife and family:

  1. Don’t represent a teaching of the Church until you understand it yourself and can defend it.

  2. Get involved in parish life! There are some wonderful Catholic witnesses leading holy lives in every community. We found some Catholic families and my wife can see what it means to “rasie children Catholic”.

  3. Pray for your own spiritual development. You need fortitude, prudence, charity, wisdom, and understanding to witness the faith well to others. Trust me, whenever you make a mistake people will blame it on the Church and not on you. If you are converting, everyone will put you under a magnifying glass.

  4. Pray for your wife. I prayed my mom into the Church, and I think my wife and sisters are not far behind.

  5. Get to know your priest! They are (literally) god-sends to all of us. We have two preists and two nuns at our parish and the effect that these people have on my family (my children included) is nothing short of miraculous.

You are in my prayers.


#17

#18

Right, as long as you were both free to marry , baptized Christians your marriage is valid and sacramental.
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#19

Thanks AlexL, “When Only One Converts” is on order as I’m typing this.

With regards to getting involved in parish life, this is something I wholeheartedly intend to do and because my Priest is running RCIA, it means that he has got to know me over the last 6 months or so, which should help.

My upcoming conversion is definately having an effect on my wife - though this can present itself in both positive and negative forms. She is encouraged that I have regained my faith, though she in convinced that Catholicism is not the right way. At the moment, she questioning God as to why He wants us to follow different paths and whereas I feel that she will perhaps follow me through RCIA, she firmly believes that being Catholic is a stage I’m going through in order to rejoin her.

It’s very very difficult but I suppose it was never meant to be any other way.


#20

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