husband lost faith

Hello. I married a catholic who was baptized and at time of marriage in church received first communion. Later on he even received his confirmation. We have been married for about 6 years. However we never really spiritually connected on a deeper level than going to church together. When I wanted to pray together I met with a lot of opposition and since it was such a dividing argument we never did. Now it is turning out that my husband does not even believe in any spiritual being such as God (or sometimes he does but sometimes he does not). He certainly does not believe in Jesus. We are thinking of starting a family. I am devastated. What would you advise?

I will be praying for you and your husband. I wish I had words to offer you. Just pray and ask St. Joesph to intercede for your husband.

Thank you.
I am so conflicted. We are trying to have a child because we have been married for 6 years but honestly sometimes I am not sure if that is a good or very foolish idea.
We just talked about faith yesterday and it turned out that my husband is a secular humanist. He believes in humanism (in goodness of people). We talked about how to bring up the children because we both promised that we will bring them up in catholic church but he does not want to teach them something he no longer believes (he does not believe in God any more). This is a mess! What do I do? Also he is against a lot of church teaching about sexual purity before marriage and says that he wouldn’t teach his kids not to have sex before marriage. Just let them protect themselves and be responsible and have sex after they are ready to deal with the consequences. That too coming from a man who had a child with his girlfriend when we was younger than 20 and she went for abortion (I believe this was her idea).
It is clear to me that he only believes in God when he feels anxious and “in trouble”. Happened several times during the 6 years of our relationship. Then he prays and is a very strong christian. However when danger passes and his anxiety calms down he does not believe in God any more. This is terrible. I think that he never believed in God at the first place. No faith. :frowning:

I think you have this posted in at least 3 forums on the website right now - and are getting different responses in each one.

I remember another recent thread you posted and many of the forum members responding said that trying to have a child when you had not worked things out with your husband would not be a good idea.

I can understand how frustrating this must be, but please don’t bring a child into the world hoping that he or she will save your marriage or cause your husband to have an epiphany, or even to be company if and when your husband leaves you.

I hope you are able to get some marital counseling and work things out between the two of you. At least if you know precisely where he stands - does he intend to support your raising of the children in the Catholic Church, or not - you will be able to proceed from there and decide what your next step should be.

Thanks Juliane. Yes, I posted this previously but did not continue the tread because I felt it no longer spoke about my situation. I do not feel my husband has bipolar. He seems completely normal for at least 4 months. Yes he went through a rough time in the summer and it lead to diagnose him as bipolar. This diagnosis was never confirmed by other doctors though (he saw several during the period of 6 years due to anxiety). He saw a spiritual director and together they concluded that he had a crisis that allowed him to mature (I respect this spiritual guide very much).

I was quite anxious about the things that happened to him in the summer but we talked about it a few times in the past few days and I feel calmer now. I also pray to discern my way how to proceed with my life. I feel that God wants me to stay in this marriage even though some things are quite burdensome for me. Other times we fell a lot of joy together.

My question is; do you reject children based on differences in faith or more precisely because one of the spouses looses faith? OK if he lost his faith I should never have children with him? He is very nice to me and we have a lot of affection for each other. We would like to have children. I am a devoted Catholic but he now turned out to go back on his wows to raise children in Catholic faith (on his part). He is not going to prevent me teaching them Catholic ways but will tell them that he himself does not believe in this teaching.

Sorry for my long answer and thank you very much for your advice and insights.

P.S. My husband does not want to leave me or is in no way nasty or abusive to me (sometimes I fell he has bad days and is tired, anxious and lazy but other times is very helpful and loving).

Should I just accept that we are not going to be a “perfect” catholic family??

I can’t offer any real help, but a little encouragement :slight_smile:

Pray every night for the “re-conversion” of him. If Saint Monica got Saint Augustine to convert and follow God (even if it was after a long time of constant prayer), so can you. Don’t lose hope.

Thank you. I will pray.

This is tough. If you have children and he does undermine your teaching, the children will have no faith whatsoever, most likely. I do not know why, but the father’s influence seems to be the one that is most important as far as faith or religion. So if the father is an atheist while the mother is devout, chances are the kids will also be atheists or at least agnostics. Think about it - you have one parent who is trying to teach you really hard stuff to grasp and understand, stuff that pits you against 99% of the rest of the world. Then you have the other parent who says all that is bogus and just stories, and that you can live the way everyone else does and be happy. Which are you going to listen to? It is also divisive between the 2 of you - the kids may feel they are picking between you and Daddy and whichever parent they DON’T choose is going to be mad.

Then you will also be missing out on that entire realm of being united in faith - praying with your husband, ministry with him, going to church, teaching the children to pray, etc. I can tell you that it SUCKS to be the only parent who is Catholic (my husband is technically Catholic by baptism and sacraments but other than that, he’s atheist). It is a huge challenge to try and pass on the faith as best I can with no backup. That aspect of our marriage is like being a single parent. I can’t even share my frustrations with him because he thinks he has made a huge sacrifice by just going to church with us!

I do not mean to discourage you. I never realized how important it is that a couple be the same faith and pretty much the same level of devotion. I sure do now, after 22 years of this ache in my heart.

I could not tell you to give up your desire for children. My 2 sons have been the best thing I ever did, the hugest blessing God ever granted me, and the doorway back to my own faith. But it would have been better had my husband been able to walk alongside me as I celebrated being Catholic.

I’ll add you to my prayers.

Thank you for this post Juliane. I feel your pain. I wish it was not so but it is (for both of us). We don;t know why God put this path in front of us. I believe that it has some meaning and I accept it. I was struggling with the anxiety to have children because of difference in faith/worldview for about 2-3 weeks (that is why I started to write on this forum).
I will pray for you too. You actually inspire me, I can see that this can be done even if it is tough!
Thank you.

Please lookout for your own best interests first. If he is bi-polar or suffering from another mental illness, the issue of faith may just be the beginning. If the two of you are not fully connected on any of the things you hold dear, now may not the best time for a child. Try not to look at a child as a way to change or improve things. A child needs to be in a family full of love and unity.

I am sorry to read about your troubles. I am in a similar situation. My wife has left the Church, it’s been about 2-3 years now. Like you I married a Catholic, and like you, my spouse was also very reluctant to pray with me on a regular basis. I do not have any advice for you; I guess the only advice is prayer. The situation is very difficult and very painful. In addition to offering my sympathies, I also wanted to thank you for posting. It does offer comfort in knowing others are suffering in a similar way, are carrying the same cross. Please pray for me (I very much need it) and I will do the same for you.

In Christ

As much as I hate prenups and think that they completely undermine the idea of building a permanent and trusting stories like this make me seriously question whether people should get them in regards to raising children religiously. (and only in regards to raising children religiously. No money or property stuff.)

I mean really. If both people are of the same faith it would just be a safety net in case one of them lost their faith. Or if one person was a Muslim and the other a Christian and the Muslim agreed to raise his children Christian before the wedding he should not be able to change the rules of their family in such a profound way.

I’ve joked with my fiance about getting one saying that our kids will be raised completely without religion in case one of us “reverts” to what we grew up with. It makes for a funny inside joke, but I wonder if there may be something to it. At the very least it protects family harmony and it keeps one person from unilaterally changing the rules of the marriage when the other one wouldn’t have gotten married without those rules. (How many Catholics would agree to marry a Baptist if the the Baptist wouldn’t agree to raise the kids Catholic? Not many, so why should the Baptist get to change the rules after the wedding?)

But what would it say? In case of a faith conversion/reversion/abandonment…What? The injured party gets custody of the kids? The entire estate? Do you split up at that point? Or make them stay with you and remain whatever they were when you married? Like clutching onto Jell-o…can’t be done.

Or would you just be looking to prevent it? Because words on paper aren’t going to do a thing. It’s like a restraining order. If someone wants to harm you, holding up a restraining order isn’t going to do anything. It’s meaningless.

I’m sorry. You misunderstood. Many prenups outline things within the marriage, not just what happens if it ends. Just putting in writing how the children will be raised in regards to religion. As for what would happen if one party didn’t abide by it, well, talk to the attorney who drafted it. :slight_smile:

I have experienced much of what you describe, only my wife goes in and out of strong faith phases. I am encouraged by the words of St. Paul when he writes to the Corinthians. He says that we should not lose heart, for maybe God created us with the purpose of converting our spouse to a deeper devotion.

Prayer is the most consistent and practical advice we always see in these situations because our spouse will not come to believe through logical reasoning, a contract (prenup as mentioned above), or good ole’ fashion begging. For through the Holy Spirit shall they come to see God.

1 Corinthians 7:10-16

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you[a] to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Unfortunately I agree…though some wouldn’t I imagine. Despite all my prayers and efforts, after my husband lost his faith following illness that ended his career and working life and left him chronically depressed, my sons left the church. One had even been in a seminary until around that time…two are definitely atheistic, the other is non-practicing and has some vague faith. I put a lot into giving them the example, encouragement, and prayer I could, but their father’s influence prevailed. I never feel delighted when I see folk actually walk into situations of mixed belief and unbelief. In addition to anything else, they don’t realize how alone they will often feel. There is a significant part of yourself and your life that you can never share with your husband or wife.

In your case and mine there had been cause for unity and hope, but his position changed. Or perhaps your husband was not entirely open with you at the time of marriage,
however you have to make your own choices with regard to God, you, and your conscience, prayer, and hope.
The question of being open to life and natural family planning are issues to be considered.
You are going to need to trust in God and to do the best you can, whatever occurs.
May God guide and bless you both, and if possible, restore your husband to faith.
May God protect any children who may come into your family

Sometimes, a reasonably non-confrontational thing to do can be to offer someone a book on the subject. At the very least, you will want to do some reading yourself. If you do have children, then some day those children will grow up and ask questions and you’ll need to have some good answers yourself.

As beginner level books, Lee Strobel’s are considered to be pretty good:
The Case for a Creator
The Case for Christ

*disclaimer- I am a graduate student and so convinced that the answers to any problem can be found in a book somewhere.

Was it St Paul or St Peter who said that our battle is against principalities and powers. In other words the demons. What your problem is, is that they are winning. They have succeeded in planting bad seed and it has grown. You are fighting them and are losing. You need help.

Exocism by an exocist is a sacramental not a sacrament.
The Green Scapular is a sacramental given by Mary as a gift to us.
Both sacramentals.
Both against demons.

“However,” adds Amorth, “let us be clear on this: The Lord takes faith into account. Therefore, a simple prayer of a lay person, even though it is private, could be more efficacious than the prayer of anyone else.”

Father Amorth cites the example of Saint Catherine of Siena: When an exorcist could not liberate a demoniac, he would send the afflicted person to her. “Then the saint would pray and obtain liberation,” writes Amorth. “Her prayer was not an exorcism; she was neither an exorcist nor a priest. But she was a saint!”

As Father Amorth notes, it all comes down to faith: Christ Himself admonished His followers to cast out spirits, but He also pointed to a lack of faith as the reason they weren’t always able to succeed. It is faith that is our shield. It is our faith that unlocks the power of God – which readily overcomes all evil.

With the Green Scapular it also depends on faith of the one using it. To rely with trust that Mary will keep her word and she will protect those that use it.

Here is some important info about the Green Scapular that Mary herself gave as a gift to us to help us in our war to fight satan.


  1. Conversion of those who do not have the faith
  2. Reconciliation to the Church for those who have lost/strayed from the faith
  3. Assurance of a happy death
  4. Strengthening of the faith for those already in the Church
  5. Protection from Satan

It may be placed in the clothing, on/in the bed, or simply in the room.

Pray this prayer every day, “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
Say it for your husband, then say the prayer for yourself.

There is one requirement, that you believe Mary will bring your husband back to the faith. If you noticed, this is one of the benefits of the green scapular, to help those who strayed come back.

Mary wants to help us. You enlist her help thru her gift. She wants to help, and who could be more holy or trustworthy than Mary herself. Father Amorth said the same thing, that it takes trust and belief in the word of God, or Mary’s word. In other words, believe it and you’ve got it.

You can get a free green scapular by googling “green scapular”.

He doesn’t believe in Jesus as a person that existed and was counted within census? Or he doesn’t beleive this man who was seemingly otherwise magic, and talked like a crazy person was actually God?

I actually like the book Know why you Believe. It falls short on Catholicism, but makes a great arguement for Christ.

Is it perhaps that your husband is struggling with the cards dealt in life that he’s feeling rather alone in the world right now.

Also, although it would be great to pray together, some people just don’t have a comfort level with it. I personally wouldn’t push a person through your chosen prayer style. But that’s just me.

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