Converting wife


#1

A buddy of mine who seems to be quite devoted to the Catholic faith has expressed exasperation with his struggles to bring his wife up to the “same page” as he puts it.

From what he says, and what I observe, she seems to be somewhat Catholic - but in a very tepid sense. She’ll go to church, receive Communion, but she has never been confirmed nor does she go to confession.

Whenever I’m over and the group of us get into a discussion on religion she seems to participate just fine. But my friend says that whenever it’s just the two of them trying to share their beliefs the discussion quickly turns into an argument.

For example: He asked her once, “what is stopping you from going to confession or getting confirmed?” I asked him if he came on argumentatively, but he says he made every effort to be sincere about just trying to find out what was “in the way”. He wasn’t angry, just honestly didn’t know why his wife would go to church, receive Communion, pray at meals, read religious magazines/books, but Confession/Confirmation seem to be out of the question.

Her voice got louder, and she just said, “those things might be good for you, but they’re just not for me. OK?”

I honestly didn’t know how to help the guy. Cuz it seems like most situations it’s the wife trying to get her husband to “Church”. Some of the advice given to wives in such a situation doesn’t seem applicable to husbands. Such as, “Be a more loving wife, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.” I just don’t see a woman being convinced because her husband suddenly shows an increase libido. He already seems like quite the family guy, and he puts me to shame in terms of buying flowers, and stuff like that.

I understand that if you’re the one who is Catholic, you’re supposed to make it seem like it is the greatest thing on Earth. Yet to my friend it seems to be more anguish because he feels unequally yoked.


#2

Do they have children? If so, I would think it would be very important for him to really take the lead in making sure they are learning all that they need to know about their faith and being actively involved in their religious education. I think if she sees him consistently taking on the role of being the spiritual leader of the family, after a while she will naturally follow his lead.

I guess the best advice is to not badger his wife about it, pray for her, and lead by example. Being patient would be helpful too.


#3

Women generally need the affirmation of other women. Maybe the husband could cultivate friendship for them with other solid Catholic couples, especially those in which the wives are involved in something his wife would be interested in, as well.

Also, it sounds to me like she is operating out of emotions not logic. She probably has some irrational fear she doesn’t want him to know about. It’d be great if she could talk to a solid Catholic sister or spiritual director. But, she’d have to be open to doing that, of course.


#4

Do they have children?

Yes they have children. As far as I know he’s the one doing the spiritual leadership. He’s the one taking the older kids to confession, anyway. It’s kind of funny. But you walk in their house and it has the appearance of being a rather unified Catholic family. Sacred Heart picture enthroned. Little cute “God” poems on the fridge. Crucifixes, holy water by bedroom doors.

It’d be great if she could talk to a solid Catholic sister or spiritual director. But, she’d have to be open to doing that, of course.

I know he’s asked her to go to councelling with him (which I guess is why I suspect it affects their marriage) and she’s refused. Kinda weird, usually it’s the wife begging husband to go seek help.


#5

I get similar answers from my dh. We’ve been married 22 yrs and as far as I know, he has not been to Confession in all that time.

I pray and sacrifice. He knows how I feel, so there’s not much I can do. —KCT


#6

Even if she doesn’t want to go to counseling, he should go. It will offer him insight in how to deal with the situation and approach his wife.

My husband is the more devout of the two of us. At times I’ve resented this, for no good reason other then pride and my own spiritual immaturity. I eventually was able to articulate the differences in our spirituality and that helped him (and both of us) enormously. It settled me down because I didn’t feel I was being forced to honor God ‘his’ way.

Earlier in our marriage, I hated praying the rosary. I just hated it. It was monotonous, it made me sleepy, it was so hard to focus on the words and mean them again and again and again, with all the repetition (which was a misunderstanding since I should have been meditating on the mystery and not necessarily each individual word). My husband prays the rosary at a moderate speed, very deliberate in articulating each word slowly and prayerfully. It grated on my nerves terribly. Finally I told him how much I hated praying the rosary out loud together. His response was to ask me if I wanted to be a great saint and not just merely get to heaven. The question irked me considerably, but it made me think, too. He later said that he couldn’t think of any great saint who did not have a special devotion to Mary which included daily rosary. He said that he wanted me to fall in love with Marian devotion, being that my vocation is wife and mother, so he offered to let me lead a decade at a time and leave it at that for awhile until I told him I wanted to pray two decades. And so on. I was smugly stubborn about this for a couple days, until God gave me a moment of realization and the fight sort of went out of me. There is more to the story, but ultimately my hubby and Mary won.

I also shared with him ways in which I might connect spiritually with him and God. My husband loves really structured prayer–reading from the daily missal, liturgy of the hours, daily rosary, daily mass, etc. I don’t. I’ve grown up singing in choirs and cantoring, so music really connects me with God. Sometimes we just sing together during shared prayer or especially now that we have a baby–it may sound kind of random, but singing is twice praying and it really connects me. I also looked up various couples bible study materials online and told him I’m much more of a ‘discusser’ then a ‘rote pray-er’. He was open to praying ‘my way,’ too…We have a devotional table, but we also have a spot that is just ours to pray in the home and I light a pretty scented candle, dim the lights, get out discussion questions, read a few passages together, etc. We have an acronym we use to keep us on track when we aren’t doing a bible study and it encompasses prayers of thanksgiving, praise, intentions, etc. I’ve compromised by letting him read the daily readings aloud to me, we pray the rosary together at least a couple times a week and I’ll sometimes join him in his night prayers, aside from our couple prayer time. It’s been a good compromise for us. Oh, we also have a shared journal of ‘gratitude prayers’ that we read each night and fill out sometime in the day or evening–it helps keep us grateful for each other and serves as a prayer of thanks to God.

My husband has always been very gentle with me about this and I think it’s been key. His love, not his frustration or disappointment, was always stronger and it won me over.

P.S. I saw in another post that your twins came!!! Congrats!!!


#7

Well, your friend’s kids actually have a better chance of keeping their faith.

A priest told me that in marriage where the husband is a practicing Catholic and the wife is not, the kids have a 85% chance of being practicing adults. This is compared to only a 50% chance when both spouses are practicing Catholics.

I think this applies in this marriage because he is taking the lead on all the sacramental and spiritual matters. The kids know that Dad takes this stuff very seriously. Dad is not just going along with mom’s plan.

The best thing for your friend is to get his wife around devout Catholic women. I don’t know what is available to them, but Regnum Christi, Catholic familyland in Ohio, familia are great places to start. And, if he has CRHP, that is a good place to ignite a faith.


#8

May be she’s just uncomfortable to go for confession? After all, it’s confession. Another thing is that, she might not understand what the sacraments for.


#9

P.S. I saw in another post that your twins came!!! Congrats!!!

Why thank you! That’s been an enormous spiritual battle in my own home. I suppose I ought to make a particular announcement.


#10

Yessss please do!! Inquiring forum members would love to know if they’re b/b, g/g, b/g…names…weight…how they’re doing…how mama is doing… :slight_smile:


#11

Just a suggestion…when you open a discussion with your wife…do a little pre-setup. Print out a copy of Fr. Corapi’s topic on marriage. Here’s the link. fathercorapi.com/articledet.aspx?articleID=1896068715
We do marriage prep, and my spouse and I always give a copy of this article to the bride and groom to get them thinking. In your case, you practice your faith. In most cases, the young couples have distanced themselves from their faith, usually because of poor catechesis, habit, their own parents don’t practice, apathy…etc.

But this article says why you invite Jesus to your wedding. Why you invite him into your marriage. Why the ultimate reason we love and marry alttogether…So that one day, you and your spouse will make it to heaven. The greatest wish we should have for our spouses is to be happy with Jesus and them in heaven. So when you ask your wife to consider getting confirmed, do it with the gentle tones of your own witnessing of your own faith. Tell her about the graces and consolation you receive when you go to reconciliation. How much comfort and solace you know that you are growing closer to the Lord, and you want your wife to have the same in her life, so that one day you can be together in heaven.

Worth a shot! Pray for her daily. Tell her that you do. Even better, ask her to pray with you. Try adoration before the Blessed Sacrament if you can. God answers all prayers…be patient and loving.


#12

I honestly think your friend should just back off and leave his wife alone. There is nothing more obnoxious than someone trying to encourage you to be more spiritual.

He should walk his faith, not talk it. Let the Holy Spirit draw her closer to God. Your friend can obviously pray for her, but not in her face. Keep his rosary to himself. Be discreet in the things that bother her. Don’t bug her about confession, leave this between her and God. This is the way to show her he loves her.

From what you wrote, your friend seems like a control freak to me. I get the impression he doesn’t think his wife is ‘good enough’, because he ‘struggles to bring her up to the same page’…sounds rather arrogant to me…hopefully, I’m wrong.


#13

Newf,

Good post. I’ll run it by him. Better, yet I think I’ll se if he has access to the net and can just read this thread.


#14

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