Please Help. I am being pulled in two different directions!


#1

Hi all!

I wanted to see if anyone had some suggestions for my situation. I am a married former Protestant -> turning Catholic in RCIA. While my parents and Protestant friends are not too shocked or upset about my decision, I am having a lot of difficulity with my husband and his family. They are all Church of Christ attendees, and my husband was born and raised in a Church of Christ household. Unfortunately, while I too have attended the Church of Christ and have experienced a lot of spiritual growth there, theologically some of the congregations are very anti-Catholic, a stance my husband has absorbed and wholeheartedly believes to be the right way to approach Catholicism. He has openly refered to the Pope as the anti-Christ and made other derogatory statements about Catholics in general. He is also a bit hard headed and has a nasty temper at times. During the period of time when I was first investigating Catholicism, he was very negative toward it, and forbade me to do anything related to Catholicism in the house, including internet research, reading books that were in any way “Catholic”, or even so much as have a Rosary in the house (out of sight or not).

Our last “discussion” on the issue was three months ago, and since then I have become convinced that the Catholic Church is truly Christ’s Church, and I know from the Catechism and other documents that I have an obligation to act on that conviction. However, I have been reluctant to share this conviction with my husband or his family due to the info above. Also, while it has not been a problem in our marriage for over a year, there have been times in the past when my husband allowed his temper to get the better of him and he was violent; I am concerned that this mgiht set him off and perhaps undo all of the good work that has gone into helping him with his anger, as I can see that the Church is a major issue for him, emotionally as well as intelectually.

I really feel that this is not something I should keep from my husband, and I have been told that while I have the obligation to respond to my convictions about the Church, when I share that with others is at my discretion, depending on circomstances. Any suggestions for how I should go about this?


#2

You may have to be flexible for the time being. I can’t imagine not following your heart, you may just have to do that silently for now.
There are many books that you could read when you have time for
yourself instead of using the internet as a resource.
Be patient, let God lead the way.

God bless you,


#3

I don’t know if this will help or not. The violence thing scares me.
He must have underlying issues regarding that, and not just be-
cause of the issue of your being a Catholic either. He should
seek help for his temprament. Violence is never good, believe
me! I think you need to talk to the priest, and as soon as possible. I wouldn’t be discussing anything with him until you speak to your priest. Stick with your faith! But be careful how you talk about it around him. If you feel he is about to get angry, drop the issue immediately. Have you both gone to marriage counseling? You have a right to practice your belief. Your priest can give you some very good advice on all the questions you’ve raised here. I can only speak from my experience, and I will tell you a bit about it. I was married to a man with a hot temper, and he forbade me to celebrate Christmas, even though he was never a jw in the years I was married to him. He threw out my tree once, and it hurt pretty bad. I did not want to go out and get it for fear it would make him angrier than he already was. He never wanted to
attend marriage counseling, and we never did. I became a
jw to please his family, and not because I wanted to. I still
celebrated the Christmas holiday, but never put a tree up
again. Men who are argumentative are not generally respectful
of your right to believe what you want. Some people have
really deep seated beliefs about Catholicism, and so on.
That being said, your probably already praying for him. I
will be for sure. I’d be careful when speaking to him. Always
hold a respectful tone to him if religion does come up. Maybe
he will either join you in your faith, or he’ll learn to let go of
his hostility at least. This is a hard situation, and not one I
like remembering because I’ve been there, believe me. God bless
you, and stick to your faith because you are correct, it is the
Truth! God bless you!


#4

Wow! You are in a tough spot! It is similar to what I went thru when I converted. I also came to realize that if I did not convert, now that I beleived it was true, after asking the Holy Spirit to lead me to the truth, i would in fact be blaspheming the Holy Spirit if I decided it was too inconveneint to do.

I called Coming Home Network and they set me up with email support while I converted. That really helped me. One of the persons was Lynn Nordhagen who was writing If Only One Converts. That is published by Our Sunday Visitor. It is a compilation of various stories of others in the same boat as you are and I was. It will help you not feel so alone in this, and give you ideas too.

If your husband says mean and bad things when he is angry, you can find the book at any library, Verbally Abusive Relationships: How to Recognize Them and How to Respond, by Patricia Evans. That will at least give you some practical guidance on how to respond to verbal abuse and anger outbursts. As well it will help you have some perspective on the problem you and he are dealing with.

You are not responsible for his angry reaction. If he has an anger problem, anything could trip him off. If he is working on it, well, then this could be viewed as a “wonderful opportunity” to practice what he has been learning!

My husband also forbad me to learn about the faith when I first started learning about it - no more internet, no emailing people with Q’s, no more books in the house. I was so upset I went to see a Chrisitian freind who had always been a mentor to me, who I would go to when I was at the end of my rope with my husband.

She told me what she always told me - to obey my husbnad in all things as unto the Lord. I replyed to my friend: “But I let him be in charge of EVERYTHING! All our decisions, when I can have children, whether I work or stay home [he wanted me to work], all the money, everything we do [we did what he wanted]. I just want to LEARN about Catholicism, to find out what they beleive. I would never BE Catholic! He is the head of the home so I would never be Catholic unless he is - andhe never will! All i want to do is learn - aren’t my THOUGHTS my own right??”

She thought this over and then told me that I needed to give up my rights as Christ gave up His rights on the cross, and that I was to imitate Him.

I was so mad at this advice! It seemed so wrong, such a violation! Yet it did seem right that I was to imitate Christ.

So I determined to do Gods will, even though I was mad about it, and pray God to help me be not mad. A couple of months later i realized I was not mad anymore about Gods will, instead I was actually relieved, because I really didn’t want to be Catholic. And since my husband wouldn’t, I would never have to be and God would still be pleased with me.

{I will tell the rest of this on the next post as there is a word limit here.}


#5

{This is the rest of the previous post}

Then I decided to learn how to use the internet, and as it the “information highway” I thought about what I most wanted to understand - why the Evangelical faith - and the Bible - teaches that we women had to obey in all things? This worked well for so many - partilarly those strong women with nice husbands. But in my case, the more obedient I was the LESS respectful he was. i felt that I was in fact “enabling” him to become the meanest person he could become.

So i went straight to learn about Bill Gotharsd, because those who had attended his seminars were the most adament that this was Gods Holy way of doing things.

Thru online discussion with ex-Gothard-followers, I learned about “Biblical Exegesis” - how to tell what the Bible is really saying - and I learned that the Bible wasn’t really saying what I had always been taught it was saying. In short, I learned that my husband was not, as I had basically been taught, a Pope, (or a “blocker”) that stood between me and God, or me and my consience. That, in fact, nobody belonged there. That was a quite a life-changing revelation to me. I knew it was powerfully so at the time, but I did not know HOW I would be applying this new truth. I had forgotten by this time about the Catholicism that I made up my mind to not learn about. It was not long after, though, that those Q’s cropped up again and I prayed a rosary, and the rest is history.

My husband had a severe anger problem and was very verbally abusive, so when I told him about my decision to convert, it was quite a difficult time. Yet throughout I felt a great peace about doing God’s will. I hung onto the hope from a quote of I think Chesterton, to a young wife converting, “Your husband may mind you converting to Catholisim, but he won’t mind your BEING Catholic.” i knew all the graces I would recieve would make it easier to be a better wife. It certainly gave me peace in the midst of storms. And I think it really did work out that way.

When our marraige finally did fall apart, it was not the Catholicism, though I feel it was the graces that brought me to see how bad things really were. Yet I was determined to stay married, but, when my husband found he could no longer manipulate me, he secretly went looking for a new life, to where staying married was in no way an option for me - and anyway he sought divorce based on lies he told about me. I certainly don’t expect yoiur situation will end this way - our problem was not my converting, but other things.

But I look at the sequence of events that led to the shock and difficulty of the divorce, and i truly beleive that God led me to the Catholic Chruch because he knew how hard my life was going to get and he wanted me to have all of Him - Jesus in the Eucharist, the Saints, and above all his One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, so I could handle what he knew was coming in my life.


#6

Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice. I feel like God really wants me to tell my husband soon, and I am looking right now to tell him after the first of the year, possibly. Please keep me in your prayers, and God bless you all!


#7

[quote=desertdreamer81]Hi all. Also, while it has not been a problem in our marriage for over a year, there have been times in the past when my husband allowed his temper to get the better of him and he was violent; I am concerned that this mgiht set him off and perhaps undo all of the good work that has gone into helping him with his anger, as I can see that the Church is a major issue for him, emotionally as well as intelectually.

[/quote]

the underlying problem in your marriage is not disagreement about religion, it is your husband’s violent behavior and inability to manage anger. You need counselling at once, both of you, to deal with this issue. If you both converted tomorrow that would still not resolve the underlying issue.


#8

I agree with puzzle annie(who is right in most things:) ) The problem is not religion but your hubby’s anger and violence. Get couseling immediately. If he won’t go with you, go alone. Also, start secretly saving money, just in case that you find that you have to leave for your own safety. I am not automatically saying divorce him, just have a way out planned for yourself if things get that bad.

As far as the issue of wifely submission… Apparently there are some Christian who sadly believe that marriage takes away a woman’s ability to think for herself.


#9

Hi again,

Maybe I need to clarify a bit. My husband, while violent in words, and in stomping around the house occationally during an arguement, did not turn that toward me. And for over a year now, thanks in no small part to good counseling and lots of prayer, has had no major problems with his anger getting out of control. We have even had some discussions about tough issues that 2 years ago might have led to his temper rising, without so much as either on of us raising our voices.

I guess my nervousness comes from reading a few convert stories where the spouse is so upset about the convert becoming Catholic that they separate, and the non-Catholic spouse even files for divorce. At the moment I am in RCIA, having been recieved at the Rite of Acceptance, and becoming more and more convinced that this is the right thing to do, based on the Truth of the Church, not my own feelings (which are a bit wishy-washy still). However, all my husband know to this point is that I have been investigating the Catholic Church, and I feel really guilty about not telling him. Yet at the same time, I don’t want to put off converting and at the same time I fear rejection from this man who I love so dearly. I am praying for him daily, as well as for guidance for myself i nthis matter.

I guess the reason I started this thread is to see if given these circomstances, it is okay for me to wait to tell my DH that I am Catholic until whenever it is convinent, or if I should tell him sooner rather than later, regardless of my own misgivings and his own intense dislike of what he percieves the Church to be?


#10

Here’s a Bible verse that may console you or anyone with a similar situation.

Luke 18
29 He said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God
30 who will not receive (back) an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”

Good luck and God bless


#11

I suggest reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s “Rome Sweet Home”

They were both from a Presbyterian background and anti-Catholic to a certain extent. Scott converted well before Kimberly and she had a lot of trouble with it for a long time. It’s an easy read and perhaps it is something you can both go through together.

Blessings,

Kyle


#12

It is not a good idea to wait very long and allow a large gulf to grow between your understanding of the Church and his.

It is better to let him in on some of what you are learning so that if he wants he can investigate Catholicism to “save” you. Since Catholicism is true then he will eventually see what is leading you to the Church.

It might be wise to not share everything or how close you are to the Church to not scare him, but you do need to share some and give him a chance to check it out for himself.

I think that was a mistake Scott Hahn made when he was converting in that he might have had less problems in his conversion if he shared it more as he was on the journey.
(I don’t know, this was just speculation on my part as I read the book)

This helped my wife and I a lot as I would watch EWTN in private, but curiosity got the better of her and she started watching the Journey Home with me. This helped a lot in our journey as we did it more together and stopped fighting about it once we were more together. When I was investigating and she was just fighting it was very difficult.

In Christ
Scylla


#13

[quote=desertdreamer81]They are all Church of Christ attendees, and my husband was born and raised in a Church of Christ household.
[/quote]

No, you are the one that is entering the Church of Christ, the Holy Catholic Church - the one and only true Church that Christ established. Also, I don’t know if this so-called “Church of Christ” is the same as the UCC, but they recently voted on whether or not Christ should be considered Divine by their pastors! How absurd. No wonder so many Protestants are coming home to the Catholic Church. The Church is not a democracy, it is the Kingdom of God and therefore authoritative and hierarchical (sp?).


#14

[quote=JSmitty2005]No, you are the one that is entering the Church of Christ, the Holy Catholic Church - the one and only true Church that Christ established. Also, I don’t know if this so-called “Church of Christ” is the same as the UCC, but they recently voted on whether or not Christ should be considered Divine by their pastors! How absurd. No wonder so many Protestants are coming home to the Catholic Church. The Church is not a democracy, it is the Kingdom of God and therefore authoritative and hierarchical (sp?).
[/quote]

I think that “Church of Christ” and “United Church of Christ” are two different denominations.


#15

[quote=GoLatin]I think that “Church of Christ” and “United Church of Christ” are two different denominations.
[/quote]

Okay, I wasn’t sure. Either way, it’s still pretty disturbing.


#16

[quote=desertdreamer81]Hi all!

I wanted to see if anyone had some suggestions for my situation. I am a married former Protestant -> turning Catholic in RCIA. While my parents and Protestant friends are not too shocked or upset about my decision, I am having a lot of difficulity with my husband and his family. They are all Church of Christ attendees, and my husband was born and raised in a Church of Christ household. Unfortunately, while I too have attended the Church of Christ and have experienced a lot of spiritual growth there, theologically some of the congregations are very anti-Catholic, a stance my husband has absorbed and wholeheartedly believes to be the right way to approach Catholicism. He has openly refered to the Pope as the anti-Christ and made other derogatory statements about Catholics in general. He is also a bit hard headed and has a nasty temper at times. During the period of time when I was first investigating Catholicism, he was very negative toward it, and forbade me to do anything related to Catholicism in the house, including internet research, reading books that were in any way “Catholic”, or even so much as have a Rosary in the house (out of sight or not).

Our last “discussion” on the issue was three months ago, and since then I have become convinced that the Catholic Church is truly Christ’s Church, and I know from the Catechism and other documents that I have an obligation to act on that conviction. However, I have been reluctant to share this conviction with my husband or his family due to the info above. Also, while it has not been a problem in our marriage for over a year, there have been times in the past when my husband allowed his temper to get the better of him and he was violent; I am concerned that this mgiht set him off and perhaps undo all of the good work that has gone into helping him with his anger, as I can see that the Church is a major issue for him, emotionally as well as intelectually.

I really feel that this is not something I should keep from my husband, and I have been told that while I have the obligation to respond to my convictions about the Church, when I share that with others is at my discretion, depending on circomstances. Any suggestions for how I should go about this?
[/quote]

Listen, my sister in Christ, it is all well and good for any of us to sit here on this forum in the safety of our homes or offices and tell you how to deal with a man who could become violent.

Are you in counseling? Could you give him the news that you would like to persue your education with a third party present, in a safe environment, so as to insure your safety and allow him to express himself in a reasonable manner?

My prayers are with you…


#17

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