Agnostic Spouse and Conversion


Brief history. When my dh and I got married he knew I believed in God and accepted that if/when we had children that I would raise them Christian. I knew that he was agnostic. I come from a very low faith family pretty much taught “believe in Jesus and you will be saved”. No one really went to church or prayed that kind of thing. Shortly after we were married I became agnostic for a few years until about 6 months ago. Well now I am looking at my spiritual life in a whole different light and wanting to possibly join the Catholic Church. I am currently in RCIA and as you can imagine it is creating quite an issue for us.

We have two kids who I feel responsible for teaching about Jesus. There are many things about the Church that really bother my dh and he has stated more than once that the Church needs to stay out of our bedroom and that he really does not want the children indoctrinated. I feel myself torn between choosing to follow God and not creating waves in our happy marriage. My dh is a wonderful husband and father and I love him so much. If any one can shed some light on what I should do I would be so appreciative. Thanks!


You must expect problems to come. Where the Christian is, there is the Cross. Bear it with patience and God will give your family peace. If he is hostile, than entrust yourself to St. Monica. She has this example as a wife and mother:

  1. Being thus modestly and soberly trained, and rather made subject by You to her parents, than by her parents to You, when she had arrived at a marriageable age, she was given to a husband whom she served as her lord. And she busied herself to gain him to You, preaching You unto him by her behaviour; by which You made her fair, and reverently amiable, and admirable unto her husband. For she so bore the wronging of her bed as never to have any dissension with her husband on account of it. For she waited for Your mercy upon him, that by believing in You he might become chaste. And besides this, as he was earnest in friendship, so was he violent in anger; but she had learned that an angry husband should not be resisted, neither in deed, nor even in word. But so soon as he was grown calm and tranquil, and she saw a fitting moment, she would give him a reason for her conduct, should he have been excited without cause. In short, while many matrons, whose husbands were more gentle, carried the marks of blows on their dishonoured faces, and would in private conversation blame the lives of their husbands, she would blame their tongues, monishing them gravely, as if in jest: “That from the hour they heard what are called the matrimonial tablets read to them, they should think of them as instruments whereby they were made servants; so, being always mindful of their condition, they ought not to set themselves in opposition to their lords.” And when they, knowing what a furious husband she endured, marvelled that it had never been reported, nor appeared by any indication, that Patricius had beaten his wife, or that there had been any domestic strife between them, even for a day, and asked her in confidence the reason of this, she taught them her rule, which I have mentioned above. They who observed it experienced the wisdom of it, and rejoiced; those who observed it not were kept in subjection, and suffered.
  1. Her mother-in-law, also, being at first prejudiced against her by the whisperings of evil-disposed servants, she so conquered by submission, persevering in it with patience and meekness, that she voluntarily disclosed to her son the tongues of the meddling servants, whereby the domestic peace between herself and her daughter-in-law had been agitated, begging him to punish them for it. When, therefore, he had— in conformity with his mother’s wish, and with a view to the discipline of his family, and to ensure the future harmony of its members— corrected with stripes those discovered, according to the will of her who had discovered them, she promised a similar reward to any who, to please her, should say anything evil to her of her daughter-in-law. And, none now daring to do so, they lived together with a wonderful sweetness of mutual good-will.
  1. This great gift You bestowed also, my God, my mercy, upon that good handmaid of Yours, out of whose womb You created me, even that, whenever she could, she showed herself such a peacemaker between any differing and discordant spirits, that when she had heard on both sides most bitter things, such as swelling and undigested discord is wont to give vent to, when the crudities of enmities are breathed out in bitter speeches to a present friend against an absent enemy, she would disclose nothing about the one unto the other, save what might avail to their reconcilement. A small good this might seem to me, did I not know to my sorrow countless persons, who, through some horrible and far-spreading infection of sin, not only disclose to enemies mutually enraged the things said in passion against each other, but add some things that were never spoken at all; whereas, to a generous man, it ought to seem a small thing not to incite or increase the enmities of men by ill-speaking, unless he endeavour likewise by kind words to extinguish them. Such a one was she—Thou, her most intimate Instructor, teaching her in the school of her heart.
  1. Finally, her own husband, now towards the end of his earthly existence, did she gain over unto You; and she had not to complain of that in him, as one of the faithful, which, before he became so, she had endured. She was also the servant of Your servants. Whosoever of them knew her, did in her much magnify, honour, and love You; for that through the testimony of the fruits of a holy conversation, they perceived You to be present in her heart. For she had “been the wife of one man,” had requited her parents, had guided her house piously, was “well-reported of for good works,” had “brought up children,” as often travailing in birth of them Galatians 4:19 as she saw them swerving from You. Lastly, to all of us, O Lord (since of Your favour Thou sufferest Your servants to speak), who, before her sleeping in You, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 lived associated together, having received the grace of Your baptism, did she devote, care such as she might if she had been mother of us all; served us as if she had been child of all.


:frowning: I am so sorry for you! If you were married Catholic then remind him of his promise and that it’s non-negotiable. No matter what!! you must keep the kids Catholic. Although I really don’t have any experience with this, my father is a ‘fallen catholic’ and my mom and I try to help my sister overcome what she’s learned from him. Because it really is sooo important, especially in this world, that they learn about the Church from Catholics and NOT from the secular world or from protestants (part of the problem with my sister :rolleyes:) I would say to pray like crazy for him, that even if he doesn’t agree that he allow your efforts out of love and respect. Post on prayer intentions as well!!

As for me, my mom and I are sneaky about changing my dad’s mind. Since he used to be Catholic it’s somewhat easier in his case, but we pray and nag him to come to mass, and the big thing today was that I walked the house, counting the crucifixes and the only real room without one was his computer room, where he spends much of his time. So we hung his old crucifix in there :slight_smile: Be sneaky about these things, have the priest over for dinner, pray as a family(you and kids), and just interject the faith into your house. I really have sympathy for you. Stay strong! And welcome back:clapping:


We were not married in the Church. When we were married I just simply believed in Jesus but did not practice any religion or really even pray very often. So at that time it was a non issue. We had a completely non religious wedding.

I don’t want to convert my dh. If he comes to that on his own great, but I am comfortable with him being agnostic. It just gets tricky when it comes to things like raising the kids and things relating to the bedroom. If I decide to convert some things will inevitably change about my lifestyle. Like if I say we can only use NFP and he doesn’t want to then what do I do? Or if their are things that he wants to do that the church prohibits that would not be considered wrong outside of the church (like oral sex to climax for example) what do I do then? Should I talk to the parish priest about this stuff and what my responsibility is to God and my husband?

My dh is really trying to be accepting of my conversion but I know it is hard on him especially in regards to raising our children with the faith.


As a Catholic you are required not to use artificial birth control. So for example you would not be able to morally take the contraceptive pill (unless it is for a valid medical reason).

However, your husband can still use condoms, or get a vasectomy. You would not have to tell him “no” if he chose to use a condom. The Church does not teach that you have to stop having sex with your husband unless he agrees to use NFP.

You can also have oral sex, but I guess the end of it would have to happen inside you. (Not 100% sure on this, you should ask your priest.)


Remember, your first duty is to God.

It is your duty to do all you can to help your husband, your children (and all the people you meet) get to heaven.

God will give you the grace to persevere - take it one step at a time. First step, talk to a Priest.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit