Having arguments with husband over faith


#1

I don’t know what to do. My husband is an agnostic who occasionally goes to church with me, is very supportive of all my church activities and seems interested in talking to me about my faith. We were married in the Catholic church and he has agreed to raise our children in the Catholic faith. I never force him to come to church or to convert and I am sure he appreciates that. However, he sometimes confidently states that his beliefs will not change and that he is not troubled by it. He seems genuinely content with that, which is something that I simply can’t understand. But what really bothers me is that he thinks that I should be happy with how things are. He says that he loves me and that although he does not understand my spiritual side his love should be enough to make me happy. I don’t like to make an issue out of this because that would amount to nothing and nobody has ever been converted by mere words, but we have started arguing over the importance of faith in our marriage. (We have been married for a year). I love him and he does make me happy but I pray for him and hope that he will come to faith one day. I also don’t understand how he can claim to love me and not even try to read a book about some aspect of the Catholic faith, or try to say a prayer just to see what it feels like. I’m sad and concerned.
Any advice would be most welcome.


#2

Sorry to say this, but what did you expect would happen when you married him?

If you married a Hindu man and he wanted you to read Hindu sacred scriptures, and said “how can you love me and not read this book” how would you feel? It’s not reasonable for you to expect him to read religious books when you married him knowing he was an agnostic. If you want him to understand how you think, you can explain in yourself (and in an non-preachy way if you dont want it to become an argument).

If you married him with the hope that he would eventually convert, that is on you, and you have to change your attitude if you want to have a happy marriage. Arguing with your agnostic husband about him not praying or reading religious literature won’t get you anywhere good.


#3

You probably won’t like what I have to say, but I’m going to say it.

If you wanted someone with whom you could share your faith, you should have chosen someone other than your husband to marry.

You didn’t. You chose him.

He is correct, you should be happy with him as he is and happy with things as they are. He is who he is, and he did not hide that from you before you married.

If you married him in hopes of changing him, you were very unwise.

You are unhappy because he isn’t “trying” to pray or read a book about Catholicism. Why should he? He is content as he his. And you knew of his agnosticism before you married and appeared to agree to it.

On the flip side, are you prepared to read some Dawkins or some of the existential philosophers and “see what it’s like” to skip Mass on Sunday and sleep in? Are you prepared to try on agnosticism for size? If not, why not?

That’s the source of your fights-- you want him to change and he isn’t interested.

Keep praying for him, and pray the Holy Spirit opens his heart and that he starts asking you questions, but lay off the rest if you want a peaceful marriage. If you want a tumultous marriage, keep at him about the importance of religion in your marriage and keep trying to change him.


#4

Flyingfish is 100% correct. Your husband is agnostic and you knew it when you married him. I bet you are pretty young, probably early or mid 20’s. A lot of gals get married young and think that whatever flaw their significant other has can be changed. I call it the “happily ever after” syndrome. Young women think that when you say ‘I do’, things magically change and everything is perfect. But that’s not what happens, people are the same. It’s us older folks who know that nothing will change no matter how hard you try. You can’t change someone else, only they can change themselves.

So what you should do it to continue going ot church and continue to do the things you do but don’t push it on your husband. Be open if he comes to you but you have to let him come to you, not hte other way around. If you keep pushing him, you will push him further and further away. And it may take years for your husband to want to change and he may never want to accept your faith. But you have to be ready for that and willing to live with that. I sincerely hope you received marital counseling before entering into this marriage and were taught that you knew about his beliefs when you married him and you have to understand that it may be that way for ever.


#5

Thanks for the replies, but I have statedm in my post that I never demand anything from him or preach. Ever. I don’t initiate arguments. I sometimes quietly wonder how come he is not interested in moving away from an agnostic position, but that’s it. He is the one who demands that I am happy with how things are. I guess he is not dumb and sees that I jump with joy when he goes to Mass with me. I understand it maybe makes him feel a bit insecure.
So what can I do? I pray, I don’t preach, and don’t make demands.


#6

Any advice I could give is more than a year too late. “Forever” is sure a long time, isn’t it?

As it is, this post should be up on the bulletin board of every marriage prep course in the world, as a warning to those going into mixed marriages.

You have married an agnostic. You knew that going in. It’s a valid marriage, so you can never divorce him or leave him. All you can do now is create as peaceful a home as you can, under the circumstances.


#7

Hmm, you said you argue with him about the importance of faith in your marriage. What do you argue about? Your post made it seem that you get upset at him for being uninterested in reading Catholic-themed books and praying and that that is what you argue about.

If you just quietly wonder about why he doesn’t read the books, what are the arguments about? Why does he demand that you be happy with the way things are? Did you tell him you are unhappy with the way things are?


#8

Seems many women think they are missionary dating - thinking that marriage and love will turn him into a Christian.


#9

Is he drawing you into arguements? It takes two to argue. Just don’t go there. Tell him you married him the as an agnostic, and you’re happy with him. How would an arguement occur after that?


#10

House Arrest,

yes, that is the scenario. No idea how we get into arguments after that. I suspect he is more insecure than I’ve realised and thus needs constant reasurrance that I am happy. Plus, he often wants to talk about my faith and what the church teaches on certain issues. Maybe this is normal for people who are not sure what they believe in and are interested to an extent but not enough to seriously engage with it at a deeper level.


#11

No, sorry, it seems I wasn’t clear. I don’t argue about these things. I never say I am not happy with him. Faith only becomes an issue when he relates it to love. Sometimes he asks whether I am happy despite him not sharing my beliefs. I answer that I do love him and that I am happy, but I have asked him a few times how come he is so sure his beliefs will not change. Things tend to go downhill from there. I genuinely love and respect my husband and that is why I am sad that these things happen. I guess my question should have been phrased differently. I basically am trying to figure out how to address this love-faith issue.


#12

Maybe then it’s time to stop asking him this question, and start emphasizing how happy you are with him and how much you appreciate him and love him for who he is.

If he is insecure and worries that you regret not marrying a Catholic or something like that, then you have a part to play in lessening those concerns.

Make a conscious effort not to imply that you wish he was Catholic (maybe tone down displays of happiness when he goes to Mass with you), and make him feel loved and appreciated for who he is.

Make him feel like you wouldn’t change a thing about him.


#13

Pray for him!

St. Monica prayed for 30 years and her husband converted on his deathbed and her son, St. Augustine (Doctor of the Church), converted as well.

Patience is a virtue (i have zero virtues, please pray for me!)

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#14

“How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16)

You should read that whole passage, and also the Catechism on Marriage. May God bless your family.


#15

I’ve been agnostic for all 37 years of my life, and until recently… I’m not sure why, or perhaps who tapped me on the head but my wife and I started R.C.I.A classes! So don’t be so sure that things wont change. I Don’t know if I will make it all the way through the classes but I’m trying to learn, its very hard to gain faith coming from a non religious family if you weren’t introduced to god when you were a child . My best advice being married myself is, he sounds somewhat interested if only to learn more about YOU and your faith. Continue doing what makes you happy (church) and let him watch from the sidelines. Maybe in time he will have a change of heart kinda like me. But most off all don’t get sucked into a argument as you have seen its a no win situation it will just keep making acid that will eat at your relationship and at your family. Just love him and don’t try to figure out why he believes what he believes, you wont ever find that answer, it will just drive you crazy trust me I’ve been through this myself. Good luck hope this helps:thumbsup:


#16

Perhaps you never say you aren’t happy with him in words, but your actions and emotions are speaking loudly to him. Your elation when he goes to Mass, your obvious disappointment when he doesn’t take interest in reading Catholic books, etc.

I think what you are saying and doing are creating dissonance-- he’s detecting that maybe you aren’t as happy as you claim to be or are being dishonest.

I think you’ll have to find a way to be hapy and not discuss religion.


#17

This situation reminds me of something St. Francis of Asisi said. “Preach the gospel at all times and use words only when necessary”.


#18

Hi all,

I just want to say THANK YOU for all your kind words of encouragement, for your prayers and advice.

I do have to tone down my happiness when he joins me for Mass :o But it is difficult for me to play cool at this time in my life because I have experienced a great surge of spiritual growth in the last few months. He says he can see a change in me that is good and that he is genuinely happy for me. I think I am on a spiritual high of a sort. I’m sure things will calm down once I’m past this point and that I will be able to relate to my husband better because of it. I’ve decided to have a little chat with a priest about this.

As for praying for my husband, I ask God for His will to be done. That’s probably the only right thing to pray for. But St. Monica sounds like a good person to ask for help. (A couple of weeks ago my husband bought me St. Augustine’s “Confessions”. Looking forward to reading it.)


closed #19

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