I need help!


#1

I’m really worried about the future of my marriage. We have been married five years, one year was in Iraq serving with the National Guard. Our marriage has changed drastically since I’ve returned from war. Part of our problem comes from a decision I made a few months after I came home. One of my characteristics that attracted my wife was that we shared the same faith. We were both United Methodists and it was important to her that we shared the same beliefs and could receive the same Communion. She once told me while we were dating that she would never marry a Catholic. So our relationship was amazing during our dating and engagement periods. We were to be married in December of 2004 and had to move the date back a few months because my National Guard unit was set to deploy at the end of that year.

Everything appears to be decent considering we hadn’t been together for so long. At this time, I’m still investigating the Church without her knowledge because as I mentioned I knew she would be against even thinking of Catholicism as a choice. I was watching EWTN secretively whenever I could. I had this intense yearning for the Eucharist so I decided I had to tell her what I was thinking spiritually. It was two months after I had been home and I remember the scene like it was yesterday. We were in the kitchen preparing dinner talking about our day. Between conversations I told her “I want to be a Catholic deacon”, not knowing fully what I was saying. At the time little did I know she actually has control over whether the diaconate is a possibility! She broke down crying, just sobbing. I didn’t know what to say to her. I was stupid and didn’t plan on where that statement would take our marriage. I couldn’t stand going to the watered-down services at our Methodist church any longer. The next months are filled with arguing and fighting about this dramatic turn of events. The arguments were just horrible. They were filled with a lot of crying, they were emotionally draining, filled with misconceptions of intention. She still thinks I’m trying to convert her when I really just want her to see the Catholic faith isn’t what she previously thought it was. And also for her to accept what God laid on my heart in revealing the Catholic Church to me.
Months after I told her, things relatively calmed down with the arguing. We just learned that we could not agree and we avoided the topic. However, she was still determined to let me know that she will not be converting with me and nor will our future children if we have any. Our relationship got to the point where she said she didn’t know if she wanted to have children with me. (We now have a 2 year old girl and a 10 month old girl). She withdrew herself intimately from me and she no longer looks at me with love in her eyes. I haven’t seen that look since I came home from Iraq. I started RCIA and about 8 months later received Confirmation on the vigil of Corpus Christi.
It took about a year for her to open up and share with me that because of my decision to become Catholic, she feels deceived and abandoned. It has caused her to slough off in her relationship with the Lord. She has stated that by me becoming Catholic, it’s as if I have said everything she has known about God up to this point is wrong (I never once said that or eluded to it). She has told me many times that she continues to be bitter and she holds on to a lot of resentment. She feels I have divided our home because of our closed Communion. She said her family is disappointed in me (though they haven’t talked to me about it and it’s been at least 2 years). It’s taken many years but things are still uneasy. My complaints are that she won’t even read any of my books on the Catholic faith. She doesn’t care what the Fathers have to say. Our prayer life wasn’t very good before we got married and it’s even worse now.
I make romantic gestures to try and rekindle some of what was lost and she laughs at me as though I’m corny. We do take time to talk about our days, but beyond that nothing too in depth. Our sex life is little to none which is why I’m surprised we have two little girls. I told her I won’t participate in contraception, especially the pill. She sees nothing wrong with contraception. We tried NFP before our second baby, which she says I forced her to do. She wouldn’t go to classes to actually learn it, we just read from the text books. She complained the whole time and it was fruitless in her eyes so she stopped. She saw it as a burden and a hassle every morning.
My prayer is for her to be excited about me again. I understand relationships mature and evolve into more meaningful expressions. But honestly, I feel like I’m married to my sister (I never had a sister but I envision this is what it’s like). I try my best, given the circumstances, to show her my love and devotion (flowers, words of love, actively participate around the house doing chores and taking care of our girls) and it seems to get nowhere with her. She says she still loves me but I’m not content with the type of love she’s showing me in return. She knows my “love languages” but makes little to no effort. She’s tired from working (kindergarten teacher) and with being a mother. Our two year old can be difficult to say the least. I’m at the end of my rope here. I don’t believe in divorce and neither does she, but I’m worried if things don’t get better 5-10 years down the road something bad could happen. Please help!! What more can I do to make our marriage better? She gets upset when I go to Mass to worship God! What would she do if I went out to bars instead?
I’m probably leaving out some key points. There has been so much happen so please ask if there are any questions.

Thank you for helping me.


#2

Hello and welcome! Congratulations on devoting yourself to your faith! I am so sorry you are going through such hardships and trials at the moment…I understand you are doing your best and that is very wonderful of you! Keep showing your wife your love for her don’t stop! BUT don’t let the flame die either…I think you and your wife should go to a retrouville, I think I spelled it right…Where she will learn about Catholic faith without being pushed into converting herself…And it’s a couple’s retreat… If she doesn’t even want to give that a try, why don’t you seek counseling, not a religious one for starter, a special doctor that can help you both communicate better and allow you both to express yourselves without the fighting and arguing that harms so many relationships and marriages.

I too would be suffocated if my spouse didn’t see me the same either…It’s frustrating to give so much of your love and life to a person for them to reject you back…instead of loving you the same in return…But sometimes it’s a small sacrifice until you can both reach an understanding…

I think the more you read to her about Catholic life maybe the more she will grow interested in your life and in you a little more…

You are definitely in my prayers…Don’t stop loving her, try to understand the disappointment she is going through in the whole perfect world she had where both of you are of the same religion and family as well… So give her sometime and seek counseling for the both of you…God bless.


#3

Oh, I’m so sorry. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you everything will be all right. But I can’t.

First, thank you for your military service. And maybe what you saw over there affected you spiritually. You came back changed in many ways. I’m sorry she can’t see that some women have had husbands not come back at all, or come back physically or mentally or emotionally damaged.

She feels she married one man and you played a game of bait and switch from out of nowhere. In your heart you know it didn’t come out of nowhere. But she doesn’t get it.

You’re like a spiritual scout going ahead of the family and doing a recon. You have found a good and safe path. She isn’t ready to follow it with you yet.

I would say the ONLY way to get her to see it has value is not through long discussions on the church or its teachings. Only the Holy Spirit can lead her to be curious about that.

You will get her to see that it has value because of the way you treat your family. If you are a better husband and father and more patient, then someday she may realize as her friends are starting to complain about husbands grown cold, or leaving them that HERS is different.

Maybe if you explained to her once in a while that you did this because you feel it makes YOU the best person you can be and a better husband. Maybe if you find some Catholic literature on the web about being a good Catholic husband and show her that you take this seriously and you are trying. Every wife wants a husband who is trying to be a good husband.

Your actions will show her. But it is a long slow process. Please don’t give up. Concentrate on what BOTH churches teach that is similar. You have the FULLNESS of the faith, but you started with her where she has partial teachings. Maybe she didn’t understand that by changing, you weren’t going away from her, you were just going further than her. She will judge Catholicism by how you behave toward her. Continue to be sweet and loving. Right now it doesn’t appear the diaconate is your thing. You may be confusing the inevitable waning of romantic looks that happen in every marriage and blaming it on your conversion. Don’t fight over religion. Just live it. And love her like you’ve never loved her before.

I’m sorry she can’t appreciate yet how very lucky she is as a wife. Yes, you could be going to bars. You have chosen a difficult path. Do it because it is the right thing to do, not because it immediately gets you anywhere with her.

Maybe if sometime you tried to explain to her… when you were in Iraq, you were fighting an evil. Maybe at some point you began to realize Methodism for you was not strong enough to fight the evil in the world. That Catholicism had the answers for you. That what she knows about God all her life wasn’t wrong, just incomplete. But it’s a foundation you are still building on. Maybe you don’t pray together, but you can read scripture together. You still have that in common. Don’t try to show her books. YOU be the book. Your life, your devotion, your patience is the only thing to show her the truth of Catholicism.

And pray for her. And for your children. This is a natural time of fatigue for moms. Young kids and work can dim even the most passionate couples. I’m sorry she thinks your sweet romantic gestures are corny. Ask her what she wants. She may say they’re corny but smile inside. You don’t know if when she hears friends gripe about husbands she’s thinking “Mine helps with the kids, cleans, buys me flowers, takes me out…”

she just feels you’ve pulled a bait and switch on her. She doesn’t get it that if you came back changed from the war, SHE got the best of all options.

Do reemphasise that you view Methodism as a wonderful foundation for your continued faith journey. People don’t reject Catholicism. They reject what they think Catholicism is. Maybe you haven’t been around many Catholics. So she has a false perception of what they’re like.

I know this is hard for you. I’m sorry. Don’t give up on your family or her. Or your faith. I’ll pray for her to understand a little more and to appreciate her own good fortune.


#4

I am a combination of both you and your wife. I am the husband of a woman who converted to the Catholic church after more then twenty years of marriage. I too had told her that I could never have married a catholic. I am a reformed believer and have a strong faith. We have (many) children together.

When my wife began her conversion, almost five years ago, it was with many tears and arguments as well. Probably the same words were uttered by me that your wife said to you.

Before she began this journey, I would have described myself as a very good husband. I was open, tender, caring and very giving of attention, gifts and service. I loved to be with her for no reason except to be with her. The highlight of my day was to come home and sit with her. After twenty plus years I still had that tingle every time I saw her.

Now, we’re both empty of emotion. Our conversations are almost exclusively limited to exchanges of information. We don’t share anything and have almost separate lives. Our intimate life is best described as a disaster. Her conversion was so painful to me, both the fact that she was converting and how she did it, and it led to severe physical effects on my body and mind. I developed twitches and was unable to even hold a pen for several years due to hand shakes.

Part of her journey to the Catholic church required her to turn me into a monster. The church did not require that, obviously, but something within her did. She beat down everything in me that told me I was worthwhile and left me feeling useless and worthless. I had no emotions left inside of me; I was a ghost man.

Things have gotten better, on some fronts. I have tried to fill the giant mawing hole of despair with other things. I spent a lifetime getting all my emotional needs filled in some way be her, and I had to replace those things when she withdrew. It was that or lose my sanity. I knew from my physical afflictions that I had to be in control of my own happiness or face misery.

We face ebbs and flows in our life now. She goes to church by herself; I take the children with me. Recently, as a reminder of just how bad things can get, we had our adopted daughter baptized. After we got home, she stood and cursed my church, my pastor and my faith in front of our children and family. It was ugly. Then, she did not speak to me for days. She was angry that our children would not be raised Catholic, but it was her decision to leave the church we had both chosen; she had baptized our other children in it and promised to raise them in the reformed faith.

When she left the church for the Catholic church it also took away my ability to serve as an Elder in my church. So, I lost much and gained nothing. Our marriage is a pathetic shell of what was once a fairy tail; I no longer have the friend and lover I treasured; I feel like she has rejected me as a man, a husband and a spiritual leader. We can’t even agree on how religious things should be handled in our own home. Many of these things are probably what your wife feels.

Remember, it was your decision to change the family. It was a unilateral one on your part she had no say in the matter, but she has to live with the consequences. Don’t expect her to like it. She’ll eventually accept it, but if you are both strong in your faith you might have to learn to live together as separate people. Neither you nor I are the spiritual heads of our household. Neither one of us has the relationship we crave with our wives. Both you and I are at war with the one we love best. Perhaps not actively, but in a real day-to-day way.

Still, like your wife, I suffer from being told – implicitly – that my faith is false. The very act of leaving the shared faith is a condescending rebuke on your spouse – even if you do not intend it to be so.

I grieve with you; I also grieve with your wife.


#5

You will be in my prayers, my friend.

No two people are ever on the same wave length, and that includes husbands and wives. I know. We’ve been married for 40 years.

Now that I have “gone off the deep end,” as she likes to put it, and embraced a radical relationship with Jesus, she now calls me “St. Francis” and constantly asks when I’m going to start wearing the robe…

So…what to do!!!

Humility. God can only work where He finds humility. Go very gently, my friend. Go lovingly. Go slowly. Never argue. Let her see first hand how positive your newly embraced relationship with God has made a difference in your life…different enough that you can actually LOVE HER MORE, something that you never felt possible before…

See if you library has the book: “In the Heart of the Desert: the Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.” Also, please consider praying the Rosary every day, perhaps praying a special Novena that peace and understanding comes about in both of your lives. I will happen, but you have to allow God to make it happen rather than expecting to do it all by yourself.

Again, I will be keeping you in my prayers.

Pax Et Bonum!


#6

Chris, Liberanosamalo and Mybabies,

Thank you both for your wise and helpful comments. I appreciate your encouargement and hope for a better day. After reading Chosen’s reply, I feel he validates my dreaded conclusion that things will be like this for the rest of our lives. Just when I think progress is being made, she makes a remark against the Church that shows she is still where she was a few years ago…just no tears.

Over in Iraq I did experience some things that changed me. I could have died a handful of times if it was for the Lord and His holy angels. I know she’s grateful I returned home, I just wish it would materialize and flow into other parts of our marriage.

It doesn’t help her family would probably disown her. Her mom and dad are pretty anti along with her preacher uncle. They are terribly misled about the faith. As you pointed out, they don’t like the Catholic Church for who they perceive her to be, not for who she really is.

Chris, It’s funny you say “gone off the deep end”. My wife has said the same about me as well. Though, she hasn’t suggested a new wardrobe for me yet. :smiley:

Chosen,

I’m sorry brother and I feel for you and your wife as well. Why are you against the Catholic Church? Have you actually studied and researched her teachings? Have you read the Church Fathers? I’m just curious because if just trusted your wife you would be extremely blessed. Send me a PM brother.

A lot of what you mentioned in your story reminds me of my wife. I’m glad to say that I have not told her what she believes is false/wrong (though she has probably perceived otherwise by how I’ve presented things) or have I ever cursed her pastor or denomination. I have great respect for her pastor and we are very friendly towards one another.
Like your family, because I changed I agreed (reluctantly) to have our children raised in my wife’s church. Our first girl was baptised as a Methodist and I know our 10 week old will be as well. And it hurts and you’re right, you and I are not the spiritual heads of our homes. So I have a hard time contacting her pastor to set up a Methodist baptism for our baby. This is where I have to look past myself, see my wife and the benefit it will have for our little one and just do it because I promised my wife I would.

I don’t know if my wife and I are just “going through the motions” in our marriage like this “empty shell” you described. God, I hope we’re not in that condition. I don’t believe we are. My wife too has withdrawn from teaching Sunday school at her church. I know I’ve caused severe damage to her faith and I don’t know what to do to stregthen it again without compromising my obligations as a Catholic. What could your wife do to make things better in your eyes? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. How can I mend our faith relationship and not compromise my Catholic faith.

Thank you all for your replies. I look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.

Pax Christi,
James


#7

James, you still are the spiritual head of your household. If you behave like an honest, loyal, patient upright man protecting your family, you are the best of spiritual heads of the household.

:thumbsup:

You don’t need an official title. Your children will grow up and remember that you were different from other dads. You were always there. You were good and prayerful and patient. And they may come to question and see that your Catholicism made the difference.

Continue to pray for your wife. Remind her you are both Christians and Christ should be the center of your home. And you seek to follow Him. You can say the Our Father with her every day. You should have a prayer time with the kids. Hold hands and say the Our Father. Let them say the Protestant version and join in. It’s not a sin for you to say that version in the interest of peace in the home, I don’t think.

I’m sorry Chosen and Called has felt so rejected. It can be a very personal insult because our faith goes to the core of our being and if someone we love walks away from that to something else, it can hurt and feel very personal. Maybe C&C if you made an effort to read some of what your wife suggests, you can say you are at least trying to understand what is motivating her choices now. That very act of being curious about something important to her might chip away at walls. Not for you to convert, but for you to show you care about something that is so important to her. Because it is important to her.

James, if the Methodists around you see you continuing to lead a good life, it interferes with their “horns and a tail” association with Catholics that many of our Protestant brethren have.

I would suggest you emphasize to your wife that her continued practice of the faith is important to you and you married a fine Methodist girl and please don’t go changing on you. Have you shared with her the events in Iraq that made you reevaluate everything you thought you knew? I know many veterans come back and say little to their wives. That sometimes is a wall between you. And she may be blaming the Church when it’s really there is a whole part of you that you haven’t been ready to talk about. Maybe if she hears how really close you may have come to dying and hears the details and what you saw and felt she may understand your need to ramp up the religion to a different level.

Because let’s be real. When Protestants encounter problems with possession and demonic activity in their homes and lives… 9 times out of ten the ministers will refer people to a Catholic priest. The Catholic Church has remedies in encounters with evil that even Protestant ministers know they do not have.

Please, if you have not talked to her of your Iraq experience in real detail, do that. If that is a wall that you aren’t even aware of, tear it down. And if you saw the chaplain out there and he was of help and something happened that made you see things differently, be fully honest with her. You have grasped a spiritual life raft that has helped you come back to her whole and functioning. Tell her that. Tell her she deserved it and you have done everything you can to be the man she deserves. Let her know you want her to resume teaching Sunday school. That it was good for her and you want little kids to know about Jesus.

(And really, for your own peace of mind… we preach one baptism in Jesus Christ. If your children were baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it is a valid Catholic baptism, and they are Catholics. They just don’t know it. The Church doesn’t make you redo your baptism when you come into full union. Maybe the Protestants haven’t figured out how much they have in common with us. The Catholic Church even regards their marriage ceremonies as valid.)

Good luck. With patience and love you may win her over eventually. As long as your attitude is not “I am on a higher plane than you. Come join me” Be her loving servant and as Christ said, that’s how you bring people to Him. The head of the household is the one who serves the others… :wink:


#8

*I have no additional advice to add, other than what has been given. Just wanted to stop in and offer you and your wife my prayers. And thank you for defending our country.

Praying that you and your wife can chip away, each day, at the wall that is there between you both…if you are BOTH committed to chiseling away at the hurt that’s built up, you both will end up with a healthy and successful marriage. Just take each day at a time, and ask her to do the same.

:gopray:*


#9

Just a note about me and the Catholic church; I have studied it. I have read teh ECF and I have concluded that they all taught a presbyterian form of church givernment. I have read much of the CCC doctrine. I hae posted here for years in an attempt to learn the real doctrines of the CC. I probably know more about the CC than 99% of Catholics.

I do reject the teachings of the Catholic church and I believe in all five Solas of the reformation. I love my faith and there is no way I would ever turn my back on it. But, and this is all I’m trying to say, it is not out of ignorance - it is out of intense study. It’s actually really helped me to understand my faith better.


#10

And it’s good you know what it is you are rejecting. I’d suggest you emphasize what you do have in common with your wife.

And have you ever thanked her for her conversion because it propelled you to get to know what you believe better and you think it’s made you a better person in a way?


#11

I can hardly blame her. You are perfectly within your rights to pursue your faith, but you married her with certain understandings, and she made it very clear what was and was not a deal breaker. She did not change her terms and you changed many of yours. You can;t be shocked by her reaction. Explain to her where these changes came from, but do not expect her to willingly walk that path with you.


#12

IgnatiusBenedic,

I feel for you. I to feel a pull to the Catholic church. I have my whole life. However my wife does not. She has been very vocal about her thoughts and opinions. She has a good knowledge of what the Catholic church teaches. We also have open dialog, and made many good choices.

We left our Pentecostal upbringing we had and started attending the Methodist church. I continued to pray for my wife, and over time in her eyes the rough edges of the Catholic church have warn off.

We now attend a great traditional Anglican church. We are very happy, and yet part of me desires being part of the Catholic church. I cannot say we will never become Catholic. We both listen to EWTN, I pray the rosary daily, she wears a medal around her neck, and recently we joined a Catholic home school group.

She is loving her new faith, and our family has never been stronger. I really feel for you. I myself could be in the same situation. Prayer and patience are so important. Sometimes you can see where your family needs to be, but the path will take longer then you like.

I personally believe that family needs to worship together. Family needs to pray together. If I was to do my own thing, and if it would cause a division, and possibly damage my wifes faith or even worse her salvation I personally would fear for my own.

I know this will not be a popular opinion on the forum, but if I was in your shoes I would start attending church with your wife. Pray for her and have patience. Pray for her and in time she will come around. Remember the Holy Spirit needs to reveal all of this to her. Any attempt on your part without the drawing of the Spirit will cause division.

Some people move slowly. If you believe the Catholic church is where your family needs to be, and I agree with you it is. You have to work on the Lords time table, and support your wife, and family. Sometimes we need to sacrifice ourselves for our family.

For me honestly taking a step back (start going back to the Methodist church) and letting the Lord work on your wife would be hard, and decisions like not taking communion or whatever you decide would be hard, but seriously would it be any harder then what you are going through now.

I dunno maybe I am crazy, but rebuild what has been broken, establish a sound home centered on Christ. Let the Lord work on the situation, and in time she will come around. Keep going the way you are, and I personally think things will end badly.

just my 2 cents.


#13

Also there are things you can do to help feel fulfilled. Pray the office every day. Continue to pray the rosary. Listen to EWTN in the car. Continue to read the writings from the saints. My house is filled with prayer cards, and such. Since my wife did not feel threatened she would just roll her eyes, and say I was goofy. Slowly she is starting to understandd, and more and more my faith makes is becoming desirable to her.

You are in my prayers. Have faith my brother


#14

The Church allows you to have sex with your wife even if she is choosing to use artificial contraception, and even if it is abortifacent. Don’t take my word for it, search the Ask and Apologist forum.


#15

No, no, no. Don’t do this!!! Your work in Iraq is between you , your priest, maybe a counselor and God. OUT


#16

Top, I normally wouldn’t say to talk about it. But since it was so central to something that has had such an affect on his marriage, maybe she needs to understand more.

I’m not saying divulge classified info. But he might need to indicate to her that there are real reasons for his choices.

I’m interested in why you say to not talk about it.


#17

In 2003, my mentor, a currently active member of the 20th SF and former member of MACV SOG CCC, winner of the DSC, told me two things, don’t get wounded and don’t tell your wife everything. She will never look at him the same.


#18

Interesting.

But she doesn’t look at him the same now. He DID come back a changed man. Would it help if he at least explained a little of what he endured that caused that change. So maybe she wouldn’t take it so personally?

(And thank you for your service…)


#19

Maybe a priest can be a buffer. Thank the guys in it for the long haul. I was discharged for medical.


#20

One of the things I said I would do is to continue to go with her to the Methodist services. I’ve been pretty good about going with her and the girls. I do NOT participate in her Communion, which is something that causes her a lot of pain, as it is against Canon Law to receive in a Protestant denomination. My wife (and I too obviously) thinks Communion is very important and she really enjoyed it when we partook together (pre-conversion). So much as we did so in our wedding service. I just wish she would study the Eucharist, I think she would be blown away with our teachings with all the breadth and depth that is there. After all, it’s the “source and summit of the faith”.

I have shared some of my experiences in Iraq with her. I’m not sure what kind of effect it had on her. She never embraced me after sharing a few of my stories.


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