Made a vow to husband, now I think I'm in major trouble


#1

People who know me , know that I’m mad for comparative religion. They also know that I’ve never had a sense of place or family that I could call my own. My childhood parish being far from me, and many in my cherished city closing, i simply fell out of being a practicing Catholic. Gor into the LDS for the worst reason you can get into a religion: the love (or infatuation) of a charismatic missionary; fell out of the LDS because I didn’t have a major conviction for it to begin with. Fell into Wicca, new age stuff. Got tired of it. There are books all over the place on practicing the Craft solo, but it’s a lonely life. By the time I met the man I would marry, I was hungry for faith and adopted his. I told him i would go to temple or Gurudwara with him; he is born-and-raised Sikh, and far more orthodox than I. It was not a condition of marriage, but I promised that it would be part of our married life. I promised to keep the long hair and wear the articles of devotion as far as the law would allow me (one article is a ceremonial knife and after losing a job and getting kicked out of a mall, I decided to save it for temple only, though the “orthodox” wear theirs all day.) I still believe in the core teaching sof Guru Nanak: the veneration of the Holy Name in all one’s prayer and worldly doings; work honestly for one’s living unless health puts one in such a situation that SSI needs to be received, so you can give to others; share what you have worked honestly for; and remember God, always. And you know what? I’m thinking that these things can be part of any religious life and belief, and I fnd myself reaching for my rosary a lot lately.

I miss the Church. And I am scared witless over my husband. His parents’ marriage has crumbled and the only thing keeping them together is a sense of duty and the fact that his Catholic mother won’t divorce. His father is Sikh. My in-laws are at each other’s throats on a regular, scheduled basis and I don’t want that. We have such a good marriage.

I told my husband yesterday that, after we had to have our cat put down last year, I spent a lot of time not reaching for the Sikh prayer book and the litany for the dead, but for the rosary. I said too bad, if this is what makes me remember God and if it does something for our baby’s spirit, so be it. (we believe heaven would not be heaven without the sinless animals, for why would God let little children come to stay with Him without allowing them the pleasures of playing fetch with a puppy, and feeling the purr of a cat? But I realize this is something personal, and I digress.) He said it was okay, but I saw the worry in his face. Imagine the blow-up i’m sure I’ll face when i tell him I want to go to Mass again. i miss Mass. Is is a horrible thing to do mass on Saturday and attend his services Sunday, to keep our marriage stable? i don’t want to disrespect the thing that makes my husband the good and God-fearing man that he is. But I can’t deny myself either. I think I want to be Catholic again, I’m scared and he just came home from work…

Blessed be,
Polska


#2

You’re not afraid of him (are you?). I think you are afraid of everything blowing up in your face and ending up like your in-laws.

Couples of mixed religions frequently attend each other’s services when things are good. What you would have to avoid is participation in certain rituals- which ones, I have no idea, as my information on Sikhs is limited to the hair thing, the turban, very hard working people, and “Bend It Like Beckam”.

I think your first step is to contact a priest in your area, and pay him a visit alone. He can advise you what’s what, and what to do next.


#3

I think that you are a very mixed up young lady, trying to please everyone. I think it is time for you to really seek the Truth. Pray deeply to God that he lead you into truth, no matter where it leads you. God Bless.


#4

You seem to have been thinking that you have been “hungry for faith”, when it sounds like what you have really been hungry for is Truth.

Come back to what you know in your heart to be the Truth, and everything else will fall in line. It may not be easy, but it will always be filled with Grace.

You do what YOU feel is right for YOU with regard to your Faith. If you want to be Catholic, then your husband needs to respect that. And if he doesn’t, well, then you have other issues. Issues that do not have to do with how you prefer to worship Jesus Christ, or the Catholic Church.

Oh - and hang on to that rosary. Keep praying - ask for wisdom, strength, and Faith.

And welcome to a journey home! :thumbsup:

~Liza


#5

Hey how was that movie? I always wanted to see that – did you see the one about the wedding in India? What was the name? LOL hijacking…

OP – here’s what I think – and I am just going to be blunt. I suspect your DH knows you flittered here, there and all over everywhere searching for something to make you feel “fulfilled” spiritually. I think his first response might be to think you are off on yet another tangent and while you do it, you may hurt the marriage he has grown accustomed to, and become a woman he doesn’t know, apart from the one he loves. So MY advice is to quit flitting around and FIND it, but do it privately to start. I mean, don’t go talking about how you HAVE to be Catholic, how you NEED to attend Mass. Just do it, and leave the burden on your own shoulders. DON’T HURT HIM and just expect, or much less DEMAND he accept your recent change. Go back to Mass on your own time for now and really, really make SURE it’s what you want. It would be terrible if you destroyed a very good life-long marriage due to a moment of uncertainty in what you want today. By the tone of your post, your certainty about faith is not so certain once the newness has worn off.

Of course the church will welcome you home, they just hope you’ll stay a while, and not hurt anyone, much less yourself, while you do it.
:signofcross:


#6

It’s not Louie I’m afraid of; I know he wouldn’t beat on me or anything like that. What I’m afraid of is hurting him emotionally. He thinks of himself as an example of his faith, as well as the Sikh doctrine. When I’m using that particualr F-word I mean the personal expression of the doctrine, what some might call the Walk with God. Louie is a good, God-fearing man. He is also one who takes himself too blessed seriously, and the last time this discussion came up he thought I was leaving the Gurudwara, chucking the Sikh community for good, and that I was doing it because he was not a good example. Far from it. He is one of the best examples of Sikhism in action–religion lived in the real world, not just under a roof one day a week. And when we last discussed it, he went ballistic. Not on me, but on himself. I thought he might have rent his clothes and poured ashes over his sackcloth, from the commotion he made. And then he was talking as if he were addressing his mother, saying not to come about saying another church was superior and he’d better join it OR ELSE.

So from respect to my husband, I don’t want him feeling like he failed. He in no way failed me. If anything, he is proof to me that a person can take his religion and live it in the day-to-day. Part of the reason I stopped being a practicing Catholic 25 years ago was that there were hypocrites coming out of the woodwork. You know the kind. Sunday Catholics; Christmas-and-Easter Catholics. The ones who beat the snot out of their kids while wearing a Miraculous Medal and saying God allows abuse in the name of Honor-Your-Father-and-Mother. Not so with Louie. He practices what he preaches, and preaches what he practices. The truths of Sikhism can be applied to any other doctrine. And in response to another poster, I do hunger for that truth and want to worship most meaningfully to myself. Otherwise, it’s not worship; it’s sitting down in some church building and working out my grocery list while someone’s up front preaching. It’s a lousy way to worship God.

I so badly digress!

I just don’t want to hurt a good man who has been hurt by his parents’ hate, and I want to approach it right. At least he didn’t have kittens when i told him earlier today that I wanted to go to confess–Louie says confession has good psychological properties going for it.

On a doctrinal level, is there a problem if a person attends a Saturday night Mass and goes with a different-faith spouse to his place of worship Sunday? (In the US, many Sikh congregations only open their temples on Sunday.)

I’d better shut up, and not because Louie’s coming up the stairs.

Blessed be,
Polska


#7

Wtih that, I agree mightily.

Blessed be,
Polska


#8

Dear Polska,

To answer your question if it is horrible to attend Mass on Saturday and attend Sikh Services on Sunday, my humble response is no, it is not horrible. You say that your husband is a devout Sikh, to the best of his ability. Many Sikhs, like myself, practice our religion by being life long students of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The literal meaning of the word Sikh is Learner, or student. So I think that your husband, my Sikh Veerji (brother) will not feel slighted at all, if anything, he will feel inner content knowing that you are happy in practising your religion. You see, simply going to Gurdwara Sahib, and listening to Kirtan and doing Ardas ( by the way, I did not understand what you meant by “litany to the dead”) because of a promise you made to your husband is not a good reason to do so. The only reason anyone should attend Sikh Services is because they really want to. It is difficult to practise two religions. There is an Indian saying that if one steps in two different boats, one foot in each boat at the same time, one will surely drown. Because the boats, most likely, will go in different directions. If in your heart your Church is calling out to you, then you should follow your heart and attend Mass on Saturdays. And you can also attend Sikh services with your husband on Sundays, simply to share his faith, not necessarily to adopt his faith. Sikhs believe that there is One God, and any path that brings one closer to “Him” is a good path. Many religions have certain idealogical differences, but I truly think that the core belief in all religions is the same, to be a good person. Which, from your post, you are. Because only a good person would not want to hurt another person’s heart. You don’t want to tell him because you don’t want to hurt him. You made a promise. I agree promises should not be broken. But then we all grow in diffferent ways. Be truthful to your husband about your feelings, and say that you would like him to release you from that promise. As a Sikh, I think he will. I don’t think he will blow up if you tell him that you want to go to Mass again. I am sure he will agree with you when you gently remind him that faith has to come from within. Truth always wins.

You do not have to keep long hair or wear the kirpan to prove to your husband that you are a Sikh. There is a reason why we are ordained to keep hair, and a reason why we wear the other articles of faith, and one who practices Sikhism will strive to follow the tenets of Sikh Teachings. What is important is to be true to yourself, and if it is Sikhism that you choose, when you are ready, you can get “baptised” by taking Amrit, and then wear the five articles of faith. And if you choose to be Catholic again, you should practise your faith fearlessly. The Ninth Guru of the Sikhs, the Ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was beheaded by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb because He stood up for upholding and defending the rights of people of a religion other than His own, the rights of Kashmiri Pandits who practiced Hinduism, but who came to Him for protection from being forced to convert to Islam. Your husband will respect your wish to return to the Church, as per Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s Teachings.

If I may, I would like to point out that a few references about Sikhism in some of the posts are factually incorrect. In my understanding, there is really no such thing as an “orthodox” Sikh. I think you meant an Amritdhari Sikh, someone who has taken Amrit and who wears the five articles of faith at all times as ordained by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Nanak. And there is a religious significance to Langar, the communal meal. And the Sikh Kirtan are Shabads or Hymns, which are sung from the Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, all in Praise of the One God. There is not really any denomination called the Sikh Dharma where men and women must wear the turban. Men are ordained to wear the turban as a covering for kesh, or hair. I am in my fifties and am still learning myself, and I recently learnt that Amritdhari women should also keep their head covered at all times, which they can choose to do by either wearing a keski (small turban) or by simply covering their head with a chunni ( Indian scarf) There are no meaningless rituals in Sikhism, and Sikhs do not believe in any superstitions. If anyone has any question on Sikhism, please feel free to ask, and I will try to get back to you over the weekend, with information you want to the best of my knowledge.

Mixed marriages are becoming quiet common now, and sharing in each other’s worship is a good way to know each other, and bond with each other. I think certain issues arise with the religion of children in mixed marriages, but that is entirely a different topic. Polska, I wish you all the best. As some of our fellow posters wrote, pray deeply to God, and God will show you the Way.

Please forgive me if I have made any mistakes in my post. May God’s Blessings be upon all of us.


#9

#10

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