When my wife and I got married, neither one of us were particularly religious. We both were members of our churches (she is EO,) and found value in this, but it was mostly from a cultural/philosophical/private way of seeing religion, not a desire to follow Christ were ever he leads us. So fast forward nearly a decade and I am becoming more religious; understanding that to say you are a member of the Church means a degree of submission to authority, knowing that even though “I” may have an opinion on something, this in and of itself is not justification for it being true.
We have hit a big wall over gay rights. My wife has an unfortunate history with this issue, her family (religious in the cultural/casual way only) has many homophobic members, and as fate would have it, many gay members too. So, both our Churches say homosexual acts are a sin. Recently this topic came up when I was arguing that our culture (USA) moving past just a “I am OK, you are OK” view of gay rights into outright “If you think heterosexual relationships are inherently better than gay ones, you are a bigot” was too much. I mentioned that it was hypocritical for a group espousing tolerance and equal rights would try to silence a POV that disagrees with some of their positions and this attitude was a real threat to our Churches.
Well, my wife has been passive-aggressive with me ever since. It came to head this week when I asked for a 10 or 20 spot to put in the collection plate. She balked and said that I was breaking the family bank with my new found frequent Church attendance, and that she needed to know these things, so she could reduce the amount of money we give to her Church (not even close to 10%) I told her I had no idea our finances were that tight (they aren’t) and said that if the money was an issue, I would give up my only discrentionary spending, fast food, in order to give a pitiance to my parish too.
Then I was accused of trying to guilt her and make her feel bad.
Long story short, I tried to explain that we ARE ALL SINNERS. I tried to explain that none of us are made right in God’s eyes because of our actions, but rather through our faith. I tried to explain that I had never judged a gay person (which she acknowledged was true) because their potential sin was no worse in God’s eyes than my sin, or anyone elses.
She didn’t get it. She said she didn’t trust me anymore and was worried about these changes in me, and was afraid that when I was around her closeted gay relatives I would act out and spew hate at them. I pointed out that I was just around her family, and the people in question, within the last couple of weeks and acted no differently than I ever had in the past.
So, I am at an impasse. My wife isn’t well catechized, she doesn’t understand the theological points I am trying to make, and isn’t really in a position to try and learn. She is a modern, morally relativist woman who married a man of similar disposition that is pulling a “bait and switch” on her all these years later.
She blames Paul for my opinions (that is probably my fault) because I speak often of my personal devotion for this great Saint, and read his writings nearly daily. She tried to read some on my suggestion, but it is admittedly a very difficult read, and not something she is interested in.
So, what should I do? My faith and the Church are becoming very important in my life. They aren’t in hers. I don’t want to drive a wedge between us, but she is having problems trusting me now that I am submitting to Church authority on these teachings. I don’t want to damage my relationship with my wife…but I also don’t want to feel weird reading the Bible in front of her, or going to Mass alone (this isn’t her fault, we have a 2yo, and 19th century churches with no kiddie sections.)
This passage is stuck in my mind. I feel I am caught between betraying my Lord…or hurting my wife.
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.*