An alarming twist in my marriage


#1

I married my Catholic wife in 2006, and converted to Catholicism myself (from Lutheranism) in 2008. My conversion was not some compromise measure to appease my wife, but rather through a true affection for the Church, her teachings, and traditions. I believe it is indeed the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, and APOSTOLIC Church, yet I continue to love unconditionally those members of my family who practice Lutheranism, and respect their call to do so.

Recently, my "cradle" Catholic wife - with whom we have a 2 year old daughter - surprised me with an alarming revelation: she said that were it not for my devotion to Catholicism, that she would be happy to leave the Church for some other denomination, or any "church" she considered more "welcoming" or "family friendly". She cited our parish priest's aloofness and uninspiring preaching abilities (admittedly, he is rather dry) as well as a congregation comprised mainly of senior citizens. I'm also afraid that she may be becoming influenced by our environment: we live in the South, and many of our friends are evangelical Protestants, whose churches always seem to be having some sort of "exciting" new faith endeavor like revivals, family festivals, "praise bands", etc. She's beginning to think that time has passed the Church by - maybe she's bored, I don't know.

I've tried to remind her that the Church is more than a single priest or personality, and that the Mass is not intended to be a motivational seminar. Our Sacraments and Traditions are thousands of years old, and should not simply be disregarded as trivial to be substituted for whatever is popular. All of this seems to ring hollow with her, and she always replies with "you're just old fashioned" or "I'm just not being spiritually nourished at church anymore". I'm sure this is not an uncommon sentiment shared by others who may have left the Church. I don't want her to lose her Faith, and I certainly don't want her frustration with the Church influencing how our daughter views her Faith. Yet I also don't want to appear to be a hardline "fundamentalist" Catholic who refuses to allow her to seek out that spiritual fulfillment which I think she is looking for, or somehow compromise our marriage. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I handle this?


#2

Is she interested in re-sparking her spiritual life? Is there a woman's retreat coming up soon (or another retreat) that she could go on? Is she willing to read a book? I would suggest Scott Hahn's "Lamb's Supper" to help her see the Mass as spiritually nourishing.

I will pray for you and your wife.

ETA-I typed in "Catholic spiritual retreats" into Google and there were a lot of options even in the south


#3

Well, first congratulations at
1. having sought and found the Truth yourself
2. having found a wife who is trying to get spiritual nourishment.
:thumbsup:

You may find that her way of trying to move closer to God is misguided, but she's nevertheless looking for Him. :)
And I can totally relate to the "our parish is old and I don't feel spiritually nourished by Mass" thing. Indeed that's what drove DH and I to change parish 2 years ago: we had had to visit another parish for Sunday Mass in order to be on time for a family meal to which we were invited and that was a bit far, and when we got out we realized that, for once, we hadn't been as distracted and depressed by this Mass as we had god used to be:rolleyes:. It WAS time for a change.:blush:

And maybe it IS time for a change. And what will strengthen your marriage is that both of you TOGETHER make this change. This can take many forms. Don't dismiss your wife's feelings and talk these options through with her, in order to better understand her expectations :
[LIST]
*]find another parish, one more lively. It may be worth the extra miles
*]think together about WHY your parish is so "boring" / family unfriendly, and get involved together in order to change things: music is terrible ? get into the chor/ start one. Nothing for families ? Have a chat with other families and start a couple-programm, a monthly family picnic, whatever. It may be worth the extra time.
*]this may be a great occasion for both of you to deepen your knowledge of Catholic Liturgy and its beauty. Maybe your wife has not been given many occasions to keep its signification in mind. Read a great book about it (as opposed to "you lecturing her about it") and share your feelings about what you're reading. This will help her (and you) getting a better understanding of this meaning.
[/LIST]
Hey, that's great, you and your wife are going to find yourself engaged on a spiritual journey !


#4

[quote="NCCatholic, post:1, topic:197100"]
. . Does anyone have any suggestions on how I handle this?

[/quote]

Yes; Get her on an ACTS retreat! ( actsmissions.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49 )

Find the next and closest one to you , then Do whatever it takes - travel, etc to get on one! This is especially helpful if your local parish is dry/inactive/unconnected. Your wife will THANK you - even if you have to drag her there to go on it.

My current parish had great pastors/priests for the first 9 years we were there, only to be replaced by one who is liberal/modern/dry. Thank goodness we've been on ACTS and FAMILYLAND retreats to be able to see past 'dry' priests to see what you are really at mass for - THE EUCHARIST! Fortunately, his consecration is Valid whether his sermon is good or not.

Besides, if you're hungry for a good sermon, you can always get a Fr.Corapi, Fr.Pacwa, Fr.Calloway, Fr.Pavone, Fr.Groeschel, and others on CD/mp3/tape, etc or online. You can also get audios from Scott Hann, Jeff Cavins, Ray Guarendi, Steve Wood, and more if you've 'heard all those already' . . . ha ha .

If you're looking for something to ignite the whole family, consider Family Consecration - familyland.be/family_consecration/introduction-to-consecration-to-the-holy-family.html and/or a trip to familyland for vacation - familyland.org/content/Content.aspx?CategoryID=120


#5

I so agree w/ spirit4life -- ACTS or CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish). A women's retreat would possibly be wonderful. I feel your frustration. I will most definitely keep you and her in my prayers. Our Blessed Mother is such a great source for comfort and solace. God Bless You, -K:gopray2:


#6

I would suggest the following:

[LIST]
*]Find out who is running Cursillo in your diocese and see if you can get her to go on one. It will likely change her life.
*]Get involved in a ministry together with the Church. If the Church doesn't have one, start one up. Food bank. Prison Ministry ... you get the idea. Helping others a great way to reenergize your own faiths
*]Try praying the Divine office with your wife. Just started doing this together and it is wonderful
[/LIST]


#7

Hi there and Welcome!

I understand your position, yet my spouse goes with me every Sunay. He is Vat. I and was raised very strictly. We live in the South too.,

My suggestion is this, find the Jeff Cavin's dvds on the Bible Timeline or any of his dvds. These are inspirational and very instructive. Invite those of other faiths to participate in watching these dvds. Ask your priest if he will order them. Even if you don't get the workbooks these are worthwhile.

Sometimes when we become complacent. IMHO when we become complacent this fault line in our faith is open just enough to let in the enemy. Satan has many insidious ways to enter our lives and pull us apart from God.

IMHO Your wife's problemis are not the church but within herself and no amount of worldly manipulation is going to change anything. She willl carry all of her problems real or not with her no matter where she goes. I understand how she feels and I went looking for the same thing. I found it in the Catholic church 2 years ago. The only thing that changed is me. My exterior world stayed the same. It is easy to run away but it is harder to the catalyst for change.

If we don't like the way things are at our church, we need to change them personally by getting involved. The church is really not here to serve us, we are here in our churches to serve and worship God and His Church.

Is your wife a member of Catholic Daughters or RCIA? Is she involved with CCD? I know you said there are mostly elderly in the church. Get with you priest and talk about this with him and see if you can brainstorm to arrive at some ideas that will help your church and make it grow. Be an example to her and become involved with others.

There are many lay ministries in the church, visitng the elderly, eucharistic, lector, teaching, planning pot lucks and festivals. God Bless and I pray you will both remain faithful to the Catholic Church and pray a lot.:thumbsup:


#8

I think this is a great idea. I would also add Fr. Robert Barron to the list. Here is his website: http://www.wordonfire.org/

He posts his homily every single week. You can listen to his homily together as part of your spiritual preparation for Mass.


#9

I personally would recommend an Emmaus Retreat - I also would look at dfferent parishes with more lively Priests. There is nothing wrong with meeting half way and finding a Priest with more charisma when needed especially when you also have children that you will be bringing up in the faith.


#10

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