Marriage Problems


#1

I ask for your prayers in a difficulty I find myself in.

I have recently experienced a tremendous renewal in my faith. While a cradle Catholic, I really am only coming into full communion recently.

I married a non-Christian woman who is anti-Catholic. We married in the Church at my insistance and her grudging acceptance. From my research, our marriage is considered a “natural marriage” which is still to be protected. I also have a 4 year old daughter who needs both her parents.

My renewed faith has been a source of great conflict between my wife and I. She sees the church as a mind-controlling power broker dominated by sins of the reformation. While I try to talk to her about the beauty of the truth, it’s like talking to a brick wall. Fortunately, she has not opposed me going to church more frequently and going to confession, or even bringing our daughter to mass. However, I know that as I begin to seriously teach our daughter the faith there’s going to be more conflict - possibly very serious conflight in that it leads to her leaving me.

I pray hard and earnestly in the name of Jesus Christ that my wife may be converted. As shown in the example of Saint Paul, I know anyone can be converted through the Holy Spirit and Jesus, so I will continue to hope she will also come to truly know Christ.

I also pray for the courage, wisdom, fortitude, and grace to navigate this minefiled that I’ve created in my life in a manner that exemplifies love and that remains true.

I humbly ask for you to pray for me, my wife, and my daughter as well. I’m going to need all the help I can get. God truly knows that I’ve done a pretty poor job to date acting by myself.


#2

My own wife converted a year ago from the fullness of the Truth to a man-made copy of it. Her conversion was a horrible time for us; I confess many times I thought about leaving her - the pain of being nothing more than collateral damage was impossible to bear. She has lost all respect for me, both as a man and husband, and no longer treats me with kindness or compassion most of the time. She’s not mean, just absent. Well, she is mean sometimes, but not most of the time.

During her conversion I took the opportunity to teach my sons the depths of the faith. Every time she disappeared off to conversion classes, I held classes of my own with my sons. They learned a lot and are stronger in the faith than they were.

My marriage is sacred to me, and since my wife does not want to divorce me, we are working on things as best as possible.

My point, as I wander around here, is that you are in for a hard road. The religious differences are not going to go away and the presence of children make it likely to get far worse.

you are the husband, you must be the spiritual head of your children. They must be raised in your faith, regardless of how angry that makes your wife. I have forbidden my children to atend church with their mother - ever. There is no “your church - my church” split with them. You are responsible for their spiritual path.

Be prepared to suffer greatly on earth; pray for patience and the ability to suffer without becoming bitter.

I continue to pray for my wife, but I know that only a divine miracle will bring her back to the Truth. You must pray for her, but realize that her standing with God is between her and God, not you. You are not responsible for her soul, but you are responsible to pray or it.

You may not leave her. I don’t get the impression that you want to, but we are not free to do that. She may leave you, but you will have to pray and wait patiently for God to change her heart.

Marriages torn by religion are nightmares; you will have small moments when you think everything is fine, but in a flash you will be reminded of the gulf between you. You cannot compromise, neither can she. Live as peacefully as you can, but do not compromise your morals. Pray for her as often as it comes to mind. Defend your child.


#3

GhostMan,

Thank you for your words. I feel much the same way you do.


#4

I will add you to my list. I know there is a St. Monica’s thread for husbands… is there another Saint for wives that need conversion/reversion?


#5

Newbetx, thank you.


#6

I’ll pray for you and your wife. You are up against some strong opposition, and I think that a lot of the work requires the Holy Spirit! I ask God to grant you peace as you continue to respond to God’s grace in your life. I ask the Holy Spirit to begin and continue the process of seeping the truth and understanding into your wife’s heart and mind, and your daughter’s.
God bless you and keep you faithful and flourishing! I praise and bless God for drawing you back to Him and His Church. I praise God for your courage and love and faith! Trishie


#7

I read your post late yesterday and have been thinking about you, and your situation today. You said that your wife is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. Does she practice a non-Christian religion, or just no religion at all?

It seems to me that all hope is not lost for you and your family. Maybe you are already doing this, but what if you did not about religion with your wife. Especially because she is so strong in her feelings toward the Catholic religion. Instead, what if you just allowed all of the the love and beauty God feels for you to shine through you in your actions throughout your days. I believe faith is something that is contagious. Loving the Lord and trusting in his strength starts to change a person, I belive. All of a sudden we grow more confident…more sure of ourselves and our choices. We have a new light in us…a spring in our step. It is contagious and others want it for themselves. We are all looking for God…including her…she just doesn’t know it. Let her rebel against Catholicism for now. Show her what God looks like and let the rest unfold in God’s own time.

Someone once told me that it is natural for a spouse who isn’t practicing faith to rebel against a spouse who is. That because they were born with a need for God deep down they know they should be seeking him and are ashamed that they are not. Instead of making it right, they almost seem to rebel more against it. Does that make sense?

My husband was born Catholic but doesn’t practice our faith. I was very lazy in my faith as well…until the beginning of Advent last year. Around that time, I experienced quite a renewal and I haven’t been the same since. I think you can relate, by the sound of your post. Now, I attend Mass every Sunday, most often with my three year old son, or alone. Every Sunday I wish my husband was with me. Every day I wish we were a couple who could pray together - and grow in our faith together. For now, Renewed777, you and I are in a lonely place in our marriages where faith is concerned. Still, God is pleased when we stay true to our commitments and love through it all.

I know you were mainly looking for prayers and I will say one for you. Just thought I would share a few thoughts…for whatever they are worth.


#8

Twelve,

I appreciate your words, they are of great comfort to me. To answer your question, the short answer is no religion at all. However, in actuality it’s a bit more complicated. My wife is not strictly anti-Christian as she gravitates to a Southern Baptist way of thinking, and enjoys their services when she goes - which is not often. She knows about Jesus (sort of) and has a strong belief in one God, but she has not been baptized. She also dabbles in what I call “new age junk” - crystals, palm reading, psychics, etc. I see the latter as dangerous, but I have been loathe to directly confront her as I am afraid it will push her more in that direction. Instead, I’ve been doing more to encourage her positively towards Christ. I’d even be willing to bring her to a Baptist church, if she insisted. If I can get her to at least learn about Christ and talk to me, then I can use apologetics to bring her to the true Catholic church. However, my preference would be to find a way to help the Holy Spirit bring her to Catholicism right away. Nevertheless, beause she is not baptized, I am concerned for her spiritual state. Only God judges in the end, but it is not helpful to die without having been baptized. The Catechism is pretty clear on the subject.

As for hope, I have it in abundance. As I said in my opening post, if Jesus and the Holy Spirit can motivate conversion in someone who was actively killing Christians into one of the greatest father’s of the church (St. Paul), my wife - who is more lost than anything else - is certainly capable of receiving similar grace.

I also agree that setting the example of love and service is part of the answer. Since I first posted, I have received the same counsel many times over. Like the hymn says, “Let them know we are Christians by our love.” As GhostMan also said, I also have to remain true and bring my daughter up appropriately, even if my wife decides to leave me over the issue and to fight me about it in the civil courts. At some point, you have to draw the line. Thus, I believe a two pronged approach is best - love and steadfast teaching. My concern and prayer is that the Holy Spirit guide me in using my words and in choosing the right time to speak on the matter.

That will be very hard for me. My wife can be extremely aggressive, and she frequently uses anger as a weapon of manipulation. Let’s put it this way, when she was TWO, when a FIVE year old bully pushed her out of a swing she used a whiffle bat to chase the bully off. I sure would love to see that zeal channeled into the defense of Christ! :slight_smile: Anyway, you are right that it’s natural for one spouse to rebel against the other when the rebeller is also rebelling against the inner callings of the heart.

My wife does have a generous heart and has plenty of goodness in her. If I had to characterize her metaphorically I would say she is like a rose - beautiful, delicate, sensitive, but with sharp thorns.

As for your story, thank you for sharing it. It sounds like you are in a similar situation. I very much empathize with your sense of lonliness - I feel it too. I crave the kind of sacramental beauty, unity, and intimacy shared by husband and wife that are both fully in comunnion with the Church. I fear that I will never be able to share that with my wife. I somtimes find myself deriding myself for being stupid enough to marry her in the first place - knowing full well who she is. I counter such thoughts with prayer and the possibility that more than my will was at work when I chose to marry her in the church.

I also believe that God is pleased by my decision to stay with my wife. It’s the hard road, but perhaps my vocation in life is to evangalize her, which may take a lifetime. Even if not, if I stay true and act with love and wisdom, then God will surely work great things in the time I have left.

I offer up a prayer for you and your family. I pray that your husband may also experience an inner conversion and that you can arrive at a better place in your marriage. I also pray for your son that he might follow your example.

If you want to communicate more about these issues, either post or send me an email. That goes for anyone who feels inspired to share their thoughts with me. I appreciate everyone’s support.

God Bless


#9

Renew. I continue to pray for you.

A while back, I saw a thread or two… and it might be the St. Monica thread… where a couple of women brought their husbands around by pulling some “dirty tricks”. One sprinkled her bed, especially the husband’s side and his truck with holy water and did some special prayers. It worked.

I’ve not been one to especially believe in demons, but I am being convinced that there are infuences in people that the tools of the Church can overcome. You may want to talk to your priest.

I like your approach, don’t get me wrong. I just thought I’d relay what I had read elsewhere.

Peace be with you.


#10

twelve… Have you seen the St. Monica Thread? I havent’ been there in a while, but those women really support each other.

I’ve often posted that it impossible to get your spouse to come to where you are if they are at the end of a long rope. One must get next to one’s spouse and push, pull or, hopefully, go arm in arm on the faith journey together. I feel the farther the spouses feel they are apart in faith, the harder it is to get them to the same place. And continue the journey together.

Just a thought. Hope it helps.

Peace to you.


#11

Thank you newbetx for your post. No, I hadn’t heard of the St. Monica thread. I will definately check it out. I always appreciate good advice.


#12

Renewed,
Just to let you know I’m praying for you and your family.
The best way to show your steadfast Catholic faith is to live a holy married life, fulfilling your duties as a husband and father lovingly, heroically and with the determination of a saint.
As much as possible, lead a clean interior life by going to mass and confession more frequently than your comfort zone. Daily Rosary and visit to the Blessed Sacrament are the surest way to begin.


#13

Chancellare, thanks for your suggestions. Some I had thought of, but I haven’t prayed the rosary in many years. I think I will take that up again.

Some good news for those of you following this thread. I had a long talk with my wife during a car ride. The conversation kind of wandered, but eventually I mentioned that I really wanted her to choose to be baptized, even in a protestant faith. She said that she wouldn’t do that until we found a church that we could “both be happy with.” I told her that I believed the Catholic church was the fullest expression of Christianity, and that the more I learned about my faith the more I realized it was both true and what I wanted. For that reason, I would not leave the Church ever, but rather am being drawn into full communion with the Church. At first I thought these statements would start World War III, but I was surprised. She was frustrated and irritated, and still has no intention of converting - ever - but she seemed to accept it. We talked a little about why the Church is true, but I strove to be gentle and loving and not didactic. I had to avoid confrontation on some issues for that reason, but I was making progress!

We also talked about our marriage. I told her how I felt about her and our marriage, conveying the Catholic teachings on marriage without identifying them as Catholic per se. She seemed relieved. She was worried I would leave her. She did say she couldn’t see a circumstance about her leaving me, other than extremes that just would’nt happen (adultery, my parents moving in (a whole 'nother story), abuse, etc.).

I asked her whether my growing faith and being more close to the Church would be a sticking point for her. She said it wouldn’t separate us and that she loved me. I said, “even as I teach Lexie (our daughter) about the Catholic faith and try to raise her in it?”) Again, she said no in a relaxed way. She did say that she didn’t want me to “force it down Lexie’s throat,” but I explained that faith in Christ and His Church is never forced. I would teach her, but she would have to choose on her own. Which is true.

I admit I was genuinely surprised. She still hates the Church, won’t go herself, and is very frusted by my renewed faith, but if she moved towards being accepting towards me and my daughter being in full communion with the Church, then more goodness can follow later. The whole talk gave me renewed hope. There’s a LONG way to go, but at least I felt like we had made progress. Baby steps, I guess.

I know that she can change her mind again - she’s famous for that. However, I can only deal with the present. I chose to believe that she will continue to move towards Christ, and I continue to pray that she will.

One other story that happened last week that floored me because of what my wife said. The story starts as my daughter came crying into our room at 3:00 am. She was scared of the monster in the dark. I calmed her down and then decided I would help reason away her fear. To do this I decided first to identify what she saw as the monster so that I could find a way to make her feel better. I figured it would be a monster under the bed, or some such silliness (recall that she is 4 years old).

My daughter talked and I listened without saying anything at first. She told me that the monster only came out at night. He was a bad guy that was a shadow full of dark. He was angry. He wanted to take over the world and draw everyone into his family. He was trying to get Lexie and take her away.

You can imagine what I was thinking. I asked her what was the name of the monster. She said his name was “Schizain.” She had never mentioned such a name before, and nobody has taught her such a name, and she hasn’t heard the word “schism” before. Now I was scared.

I told her that she should ask God to help her, and to ask Jesus for help. That Jesus had defeated the monster, and that the only way the monster could hurt her is if she listened to the monster.

She emphatically said she would not listen. She said she was angry at the monster.

I told her not to be angry. I said to her, "baby, the monster likes people to get angry. Don’t be angry, just ask God for help and God will chase the monster away.

She asked God to help her. That seemed to work almost immediately.

We let her fall back asleep in our bed. No more trouble with the monster that night, or since thankfully.

Here’s the twist to the story: My wife, who was thinking the same thing I was, said that we should have a priest come to the house and bless it. My jaw hit the floor.

Anyway, I just wanted to share, especially for those of you also going through hard times. There is most decidely hope.

God Bless


#14

Prayers.

A suggestion - perhaps your wife would not be opposed to your teaching your daughter the Guardian Angel prayer? Placing a small picutre of the Guardian Angel or St. Michael the Archangel in your daughter’s room?


#15

Great idea! thanks. :slight_smile:


#16

Always great to hear good news, Renewed! Keep us posted!


#17

many prayers for you, wife and lexee.

that we should have a priest come to the house and bless

take her on her word-- call the priest. keep it low-keyed, but get him over there.

get and use holy water, too.


#18

Monicatholic, thanks for your encouragement.

Another update. Today I have an appointment with our wonderful parish priest. I am going to talk to him about these issues. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide my words. Thank you for your prayers to date.


#19

renewed i would bring in some fasting.

Maybe you can pick one day in a week you fast for the conversion of your wife to the fullness of the truth. along with your fasting step your prayer life up a notch.

You will see a breakthrough.
God bless


#20

SoulRebel,

Good idea. I could use the weight loss anyway, so it will have multiple benefits. I’ll have to be careful, tho, as I’m a borderline diabetic and can experience sudden sugar crashes.


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