Married and Having Major Problems with Converting!


#1

I’ve posted a few times before on this thread and others but here is a recap of my situation - My wife (lifelong non-denom. evangelical) and I (newer Christian,non-denom,for 2 yrs.) were married in May 07. Both non-denom and united in beliefs. Everything was great in every aspect. Attended church,prayed and studied God’s word together. About 2-1/2 mo. ago I began to have an interest in Catholicism. I’ve heard brief comments in the past about how many Catholic beliefs are un-biblicalfull of man-made rules and even blasphamous. A good Baptist pastor friend of mine even told me one time that Catholics are not Christians.Originally out of ignorance I just went along with them but recently I’ve felt the need to study and find out excatly what Catholics believe. After a few months of study,research, and prayer I’ve come to the conclusion that I might seriously have to become Catholic. I have nothing against the church I’ve been attending but I’ve found more truth in Catholic Christianity and see my relationship with Christ prospering by converting.

One big problem though - my wife. No doubt she is against Catholicism. She thinks Catholics “can be Christians” but their doctrine is mostly un-biblical and some blasphamous. She has no issues with someone being Catholic (her grandparents are) but her husband (me) being Catholic is a huge NO. She was in shock when I said there is a possibility of me converting. She is scared, sad, feeling deserted and confused. She wonders why God is doing this to her. Raising children is the biggest fear she has. She knows I would want to raise them Catholic and is scared of issues that might arise like how do we teach them about God when we believe different things. I’ve explained if we could’nt come to a peacefull decision about the childrens faith then it would be possible to raise them in her church as long as my faith is’nt disrespected. I explained to her (if I converted) that after Mass I would still attend church and worship with her. I have never disrespected her beliefs,her church or her personaly. I have never said she was wrong or in a false church or anything of that nature. But just by wanting to be Catholic she says I am saying she is wrong and has even stated I must think she is damned because she is non-Catholic. She has asked me many questions and I have answered them and debated her,always by letter. This seemed to be the best way since her emotions sometimes get the best of her when debating faith. I have pointed her to Catholic.com, given her Catholicism for dummies,The Catholic Answer Book,The Catachism and of course the Bible which we always look to. She says she understands the Church but it’s apperent she does not. I’ve done the best I could to show her why I want to be Catholic without disrespecting her faith. I’ve explained how I think it can work but I’m still hitting a brick wall. I’ve explained how this is my “personal relationship” with Jesus and how my spirituality is not being totally fed at her church and she says that is selfish since we are one,one flesh as in marriage. The more we and I pray for guidence the more I feel led to be Catholic.

Things came to a head last night. No more letters and email. We argued,which was mostly me. I lost my temper and raised my voice a little too high out of built up frustration. I told her that even if I don’t convert I will still believe what I do,which is not what her church teaches. I would be giving up my integrity, my conscience and my personal beliefs just for the sake of her view of unity. Even if I don’t become Catholic I will still be Catholic in thought. It’s very frustrating. Do I give up my integrity and beliefs just to make my wife happy, or do I seek God as I feel led to in the Catholic Church and make my wife miserable? Either way she will probably not be happy because my beliefs will stay the same.

Do I become Catholic and be spirituality fed and peacefully attend her church with her but possibly suffer at home? Or do I stay non-denom Protestant, attend her church and not be fully fed spiritualy, but still suffer at home and personaly? My wife thinks this can never be resolved unless one of us fully converts to each others faith. I’m unsure. I’m more optimistic then she is but as of yesterday I’m lost. I am very sad and frustrated with this whole thing, as my wife is also. No matter what happens our beliefs will still be different. I did’nt go to church with her this morning and I’m unsure if I will go again any time soon. I am so frustrated and feel lost inside. She thinks I’m being decieved somehow while I think I’m being enlightend by the truth of God. We are both Irish and sometimes it’s like Northern Ireland in our home. I’ve never prayed more in my whole life.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Please pray for us.

God Bless You All!
JPatton


#2

God bless you.

Since Jesus is truth, neither you nor your wife have to be afraid of admitting and following what you believe is true. That’s what has strengthened me in practicing my Catholic faith within my wife’s strongly Lutheran family.

You cannot look too far ahead, but try to trust as you pursue what you believe is true, in charity.

I know what you mean about emotions getting in the way of discussions. My wife and I can’t talk very long about the differences in what we believe. Yet, as I’ve tried to sincerely learn more about Catholicism, and practice it, and receive the Sacraments, and teach our children the good morals that my faith teaches me, I believe it is causing my wife to notice good and true things about Catholicism.

About your wife being scared and suspicious…you might try to stress that you would never deliberately go against God’s will, and that you are always ready to listen if she has a reason to think you are going against Him. Neither of you need fear Truth.

This will give opportunities to (slowly) show that the Catholic faith teaches that God alone saves us (not ourselves), and that we honor saints as members of the Body of Christ (not worshipping them as deities), and that our beliefs go back to the earliest Christians (not having been invented over the last millenium), and a hundred other truths.

I have six kids, being catechized in the Church, with the Sacraments, even as they attend my wife’s excellent Lutheran school and go to her church as well as mine. God will move you to act for Him, if you’re ready at all times, and you’ll be surprised how well things turn out.

Peace.
John


#3

We are called to put Christ first, above everything else.

So, as difficult as it may make your earthly life-- for a time or permanently-- you cannot reject Christ’s call to His Church.

I am sure that it will not be easy, but with time and prayer you will find your way regarding your marital situation and perhaps she will come to see the Truth through you. Of, course, if she’s a bible-believing wife… she is to be subordinate to you… and you could whip out Ephesians 5… but oh, that would be a hard lump for her to swallow (I say this in jest, trying to make you smile!)

Truly, the most important thing is fidelity to God. Everything else is subordinate to that even if it is not easy.


#4

Dear JPatton,
I can related to much of what you have expressed in your post. To some degree, I have been living through what you are experiencing now. I do not believe the answer is to give up and give in thus putting aside your call to further explore the truth found in Catholicism. That’s not to say that you should allow yourself to be drawn into confrontations with your spouse, her minister, or other Protestants. There are MANY non-Catholics in the world who view Catholics as being non-Christian, but all one has to do is to go back and read the early Church Fathers to see that what we believe, how we worship, and what we teach was and is what was believed and taught 2000 years ago. Matthew 16:18 shows us that Christ founded His Church upon Peter. Even if one was to argue this, it is plain that Christ began His Church and that His Church would serve to bring mankind to Him until the end of time. That being said, I have to wonder how it is that the Baptist minister you spoke of (whose denomination did not even exist until 1609 A.D.) equates Christ promise in Matthew as being fulfilled. Christ didn’t say that He would start His Church one thousand six hundred and nine years from now and THEN it would be protected against the gates of hell itself. Again, I refer to the early Church Fathers, specifically to St. Ignatius who even referred to the Catholic Church by NAME in a letter to Christians in Smyrna in the year 106 A.D.! The Martyrdom of Polycarp written in 155 A.D. also mentions the “Catholic Church” as does the Muratorian Fragment written in 170 A.D. Who were these “early Church Fathers?” Well, St. Ignatius was a first century Bishop of Antioch (he was the 3rd Bishop of Antioch) and was personally taught and brought up in the Church by the Apostle John! We know that the Apostle Peter (our 1st Pope) ordained Ignatius as Bishop because we have the records indicating this (Dial. Immutab., I, iv, 33a).

Okay, enough of the history lesson. Suffice it to say that we have the faith given to us by God, we have written history authored by many of the first centuries of Christendom, and we have the promise of Jesus Christ that His Church remains in place as proclaimed in the Gospels. Don’t walk away from this. Instead, continue to investigate the Church; show love and respect to your wife; pray unceasingly for her eyes and heart to be open and live your life seeking & pursuing Truth as opposed to compromising it in order to avoid difficult situations. God bless you and I’ll keep you and your wife in my prayers. God bless.


#5

Praying for you…we went through this also. It took a couple of years until we were on the same page. Now we are both devout Catholics. Time and lots of prayer are required, as well as patience. Be patient with her but don’t give up the beliefs you have won through faith and perseverance. They come at a dear price.


#6

I am going to ask you to do this simple mental exercise:

1- Think that your wife respects a lot your integrity and love for God.

2- Think that your wife really believes that you love her and that you apply your integrity to your relation with her too.

3- Think that your great love for God has brought you away from the church and some core beliefs that you shared.

4- Think that if things change in your relationship with God can also change your loving relationship with her.

5- Think how she would feel if she realized the fact that your relationship with God has changed (for bad according to her beliefs) and that she also realized that your relationship with her could change for bad too.

Is it possible that whole thing is more about her fear of loosing you than a lack of openness toward the Catholic Church. Just give it a try, and show to her that your love cannot diminish but it will improve through your growing as a Catholic. I bet that she will feel safer and more receptive. I am sorry but loosing your temper will not do well with this exercise.

My wife (a Catholic) sometime has similar fears because of my spiritual growth. It is a human and natural feeling.


#7

good point, Christo…my Catholic family was afraid as my faith deepened because they thought it meant I would not think THEY were good enough…and those in my family who had left the faith thought I was trying to be ‘holier than thou’.

It is very hard to not lose your temper but when you do, ask for forgiveness and try to go forward. Ask her to pray with you and to learn with you. If her Grandparents are Catholic ask her if she is willing to learn about The Church to put her mind at ease only - that way she will know she is not going to be married to a Pagan weirdo who worships statues…lololololol…and you are in my prayers…


#8

J,

The book, Rome Sweet Rome, is a great book about Scott Hahn’s journey into the Catholic faith and the issues he and his wife (she wasn’t too happy with him) faced during his discernment and conversion. It’s a great book which might be a comfort to you and your wife as well.

MW


#9

I do have Rome Sweet Home but havent read it yet. We talked tonight and prayed together for quite a while. We both cried and just held each other. She said our prayer tonight helped give her hope that everything will be ok. We do pray together daily but I think we need to start putting even more time aside for passionate prayer, especially for guidence.

I know my conscience would eat at me if I just gave up. I am too passionate about faith to just let it go. Hey I’m not even Catholic and I find myself defending it, that is telling me something. It’s just hard because this is happening after we were married. During our pre-marital counsiling we were on the same page but now it’s a different story. I just can’t ignore the historical truth of the Church. I can’t accept Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide. I can’t believe that Holy Communion is just “symbolic”. These are things I can’t shrug off because they are crystal clear to me, right there in scripture. Romans 5:3-5 is a passage that is dear to me. The good that comes out of suffering. But now the suffering is very personal and emotional, it’s just hard. One half of me says to just go and talk to a priest and get into action while the other half of me is just scared.

I did mention in a letter to her how “as the leader of this family” I would want our kids raised in my faith no matter what it was, Baptist, Luthern, Catholic…etc but she thought I was throwing that in her face. I feel that maybe if I just agree to raise our kids in her church then things won’t be as bad, but my gut is telling me not to do so.

Thanks to you all, God be with you!
JPatton


#10

I can tell how you are suffering with this trial just by reading your post, and so I do not mean any harm when I say I laughed when I read the above line. It never ceases to amaze me how God can push and prod and “nudge” quite forcefully.

I have no advice to offer that is more insightful than anything already posted but you and your dear wife are in my prayers. :gopray2:


#11

Get Deacon Alex Jones’ book “No Price Too High.” He was a pentacostal minister that converted, brought almost 60 people with him inlcuding his wife. His wife’s story is also in the book and explains how she came to accept his conversion and find her own. Good stuff.


#12

I would leave the “leader” thing a lone at the moment. Your wife is scared and imposing your authority when she is questioning your decision over converting will only scare and/or anger her. Right now, you need to be understanding, patient, and reassuring.

That is not your “gut” but instead your conscience. God gave us a conscience to be a guide. However, we must ensure that we form our conscience around Truth. If you deny your children the opportunity to be exposed to the Truth of Catholicism, you may indeed make life easier between you and your wife; but it will be that much more difficult for your children to recognize the Truth of the Church. I made a similar mistake with my three sons. All three are now adults and I thank God that two of them HAVE come home to the Catholic Church. However, one of them, my oldest, is right on the boarder of being considered “anti-Catholic.” If I could but take back my foolish decisions as a young father, I would; but it is too late and now all I can do is pray. I cannot even talk to him about the Church because he becomes very angry. He has MANY misconceptions about Catholicism but will not allow anyone to clear up those misconceptions. He will believe a lie, if it is anti-Catholic, without a second thought, but will not investigate or listen to what the Church actually believes and/or teaches. DO NOT make the same mistake I did! God bless.


#13

I felt there was hope last night. - Tuesday at dinner my wife brought up the topic of annulments and we debated again. There just is’nt much she agrees with when it comes to Catholic Church doctrine or teaching. Well annulments slowly made it’s way into Church/Christian history and the debate continued untill I had to stop it because we were starting to get aggrevated. We prayed for a while later and called it a night. Well last night she told me she had been praying and she needed to talk. She made a list of why she loves me and married me and no where on that list was anything of religious beliefs.The only thing on there relating to faith was that I loved Jesus and give my life daily to God, something we both DO AGREE on. She said she does’nt need to tell me what to believe but just needs to love me and pray for me. She knows I seek God and his truth and that is most important. She really wants us to be used by God together as a couple and is worried that if were “seperate” we won’t be. She said she will try not to worry because God can use us no matter what and God is in control so she should’nt worry anyway, though it will be tough. She is going to trust God and knows we will be fine. Just hearing these brief words made my night and has me a little more hopefull this morning. Thanks for everyones encouragment, God Bless!

Jamie


#14

Well, sounds like you could use some resources. Hope these help.

vatican.va/phome_en.htm

catholic.com/

newadvent.org/cathen/index.html

cin.org/

catholic.org/

catholicity.com/

fisheaters.com/

catholic.net/

usccb.org/catechism/text/entiretoc1.htm

usccb.org/nab/bible/index.htm

scripturecatholic.com/
This one is great for finding Catholicism in the Bible.

ewtn.com/

forums.catholic.com/

therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html

scotthahn.com/

catholicapologetics.org/

cpats.org/apologetics.cfm

catholicintl.com/

jesustheanswer.org/jta/index.asp

catholicqanda.com/

Just highlight with your mouse, click “copy” and “paste” them into you email under “compose” and save them for later readings.(thats what I do):blush:


#15

Wow, that sounds great! I’ve been hoping and praying for your wife to understand your journey better - it sounds as if she’s beginning to feel that you are having an awakening, not trying to destroy your marriage. Good luck! I’m sure the ride isn’t going to suddenly become smooth sailing, but I hope she begins to feel that you can become Catholic and still love her as you have all along.


#16

As a cradle Catholic who left the church, married someone with backwoods Protestant beliefs, returned to the church, and is now divorcing the one with the backwoods beliefs, I beg you to please, please, please not shove the spiritual leader stuff down her throat. That will definitely be counterproductive to any faith unity. And, it is definitely not the “Catholic way”. Love, respect, kindness, prayer (lots) and patience is the “Catholic way”. I listened to a bible study on tape one time about a couple that was having marital difficulties. One of the main points that I got from the study was to get out of God’s way in trying to get your spouse to see the Truth. It made such sense. God really is big enough to handle the task. Instead, pray for God to use you as a vessel or conduit to her.

God bless and welcome home.

P.S. And, as I understand the “spiritual head of the house” concept, that makes you the head SERVANT.


#17

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