Question on Obedience


A little background: I am the mother of a 1 year old and a 3 year old. My husband is away alot for work (has been home about a total of 7 days this past month). He is a cradle catholic that has turned away from the faith the moment he walked out of his parents house. I am a recent revert to the faith that is trying to raise our children to become good Catholic adults (God-willing!). We had marital problems before my conversion (mainly lack of communication, respect, both of us absorbed in ourselves, etc.) and now he despises my conversion. I don’t necessarily have issues with him not liking the fact that I have converted but I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that he has made comments to my 3 year old ex. she likes to say her prayers in front of him and he has told her to go in the other room if she wants to pray, etc. We have had many problems with him and pornography, talking to other women secretly, etc. But, of course, none of this is a real problem in his eyes. I have forgiven him for all of this but I am having a hard time being obedient to someone with such loose morals.

I would like to homeschool my daughters but my husband is dead set against it. According to him, she needs to go to public school because “we pay school taxes”. My heart is telling me that homeschooling is best but I would compromise with Catholic school (knowing that this isn’t even a good place in many instances for teaching the faith) and additional virtue/catechism work at home but Catholic school isn’t an option in his book. He told me that he would divorce me if i didnt send them to public school. Which is his reaction frequently when we disagree. Obviously, I don’t want a divorce and will do everything to avoid that. Does that mean I have to send my kids to public school? I cringe at the thought! Where is the line between obedience and protecting my children and giving them a faithful education in all of this? I have 2 years before I have to really worry about it but I need to do some catching up on vaccinations(or figuing out a way around them) if I send them to school. Thanks for your input! God Bless!:slight_smile:


I don’t necessarily have advice for you, but in some ways I can commiserate with you. I’m married to a very lax cradle Catholic. I converted just before we were married in the church (probably the only time he was ever adamant about anything church related–he absolutely had to be married in the church.).

I, too, would prefer to homeschool my children but I have gotten the same “I pay taxes for the school.” line. For now, we send our oldest to the public school, but I have told him that I think it’s a decision that needs to be evaluated from year to year.

It is difficult to raise your children to be good Catholics on your own, but it’s not impossible. I generally cannot get my husband to attend Mass with us and he used to balk when I had our children say grace before meals. My girls are learning to be faithful Catholics and they frequently share what they know with their father whether he wants to hear it or not.

I came to a point a few months ago where I decided that I can’t fight him on the issue of religion anymore. I do my best to provide a good Catholic example to my children and my husband. Now, I simply pray that he will have a change of heart. I still can’t get him to come to Mass but he seems like he’s slowly but surely coming around. Two months ago, my children would not say grace in front of their father. A few weeks ago he actually started reminding them to say it when they sit down for dinner. Just that simple little act alone makes me feel that he’s not a lost cause.

I would simply suggest calmly talking to him and seeing if you can find a way to get him to come around or compromise with you. Make sure he knows how you feel and ask him specifically why he disagrees with you. And, I wouldn’t discount praying for him.


Being obedient to what? It sounds like there is a lot of disrespect on the part of your husband. It sounds like he is capable of undermining any of your efforts to educate your children in the faith. I would recommend Retrouvaille for the two of you before your marriage goes further off the rails. There are a lot of issues here besides educating your kids that need attention.


I would love to go to Retrovaille! The problem is, both people have to be in agreement to work on the marriage. I don’t have his cooperation since, in his eyes, there are no problems in it. Obviously, this isn’t an issue of schooling our children. We have much deeper problems than that. I realize this but I trust that God will bring good out of what he has willed for us. I pray constantly for his desire to want to better our marriage and his conversion. I realize that he isn’t obeying God in his role as a husband but I want to do mine as a wife and I feel that all of the wrong and hurt he has caused me doesn’t justify me doing wrong to him. I guess I am asking, how obedient do I have to be to someone who isn’t in agreement with the church’s teachings and where can I draw the line for the sake of my children? There isn’t much room for discussion with him. He always tries to act like he has things to do or he needs to go to bed if I try to have a conversation with him. I have a tendency to just try to keep the peace but when is it time I spoke up in important issues?


The time to speak up is NOW. Why not insist on couples counselling and Retrouvaille? Those are tools provided through the Church so God must think there is a need for such things, and expect us to USE them. He needs to hear that things must change rather than continue to be a bone head.

Why are YOU cooperating with his UNcooperation? How do you figure things will improve? Why are you obeying someone who has no respect for you? Do you think that will make him respect you more, or will he continue to think you’re a dog that will roll over every time he glares? That is not a model of marriage I would want my children to witness. It takes TWO to make a good marriage, as you say. He is being mentally abusive, if you ask me. If you won’t go for counselling, then go talk to your priest or spiritual advisor. This is not a good situation AT ALL.


They’re not just your children, they are his children too. You feel strongly about homeschooling and he feels strongly about public schooling.

It’s wrong for him to say “do it my way, or I will divorce you” but it is also wrong for you to try to get your way when you know he is strongly against it.

Do the children want to be homeschooled?


I agree that we need to do something…counseling, retrovaille, etc. but I can’t make him want to work on our marriage. How do I MAKE him? "Go with me to counseling or…? " or what?! I have suggested it on several occasions and he refuses. The priest idea won’t work either since “what would they know about marriage since they have never been married”, etc. I agree that he is mentally abusive. When I found him with the porn we ended the conversation with him telling me that I needed to love my children more. :shrug: With that I responded that I have loved our family more than he ever has.

My question is, what do you suggest I do? Go against his wishes and do what I want? How far do I push his threats to divorce me? Either way, my children will be witnessing an unhealthy marriage. I think humility and obedience are far better virtues to show them than rebellion and hostility. I think God has blessed us with this time he is away on work so much. I’m sure it is having a hand in holding on to our marriage.


Yes, I strongly want to home school and he wants public school so wouldn’t a compromise be Catholic school? What would be a fair compromise? The children aren’t old enough to know the difference if they want to be homeschooled or not. The school bus is oh-so-inviting for the 3 year old but she has no idea what school is!


Try to be upbeat " Oh, I think its cute when she says here prayers!", and point out to him the sesspool that is the public school system every chance you get. I always seem to find a reason a day to home school my kids, just by watching the news. He must want the best for his kids, you have a few years, work on him, and good luck.


Your problems are much bigger than where to send your kids to school. Him threatening divorce every time you disagree is going to cause lots more trouble as your kids get old enough to understand what this means. That will be a horrible example to them of what marriage is supposed to be. Its also stressful for them to worry that if they make daddy mad, maybe he will leave them too.

You cannot change someone who doesn’t want to change, or doesn’t see a problem with their behavior. I would strongly urge you to seek counseling on your own if he won’t go. Talk to your priest about this, and pray.

Marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship. Its not about obedience, but working together for the spiritual growth of all the members. There has to be mutual respect and compromise for it to work.


Amen. Threatens divorce if you don’t send your kids to public school? :frowning:


For the first time ever, I agree with flyingfish. :stuck_out_tongue:

Not about the kids having a say in it, but just that I don’t think you should automatically assume that your way is best just because you’re convicted about it, you know? You husband seems to be convicted about his view as well. I do think Catholic school would be an awesome compromise. Would he consider that you think, or is he stuck on public school only?


I have no problem that he differs in opinion in where our children go to school. He is not of the same mindset as me and I can see where his objection comes from. Prior to my conversion, I would have said no way to homeschooling! I’m not blaming him, it’s the way of the world to go with the flow of society. I have a problem that he is baseing his public school push on the fact that we pay school taxes. That, to me, is not an acceptable reason to send your kids there. I do also see the importance of kids with good morals and strong faith in the public school system. Who else is going to influence kids with no faith/morals than their peers? That doesn’t stop me from being a protective mother hen to my children who knows the temptations and evils of government run institutions. Not saying that Catholic schools are perfect but at least God is freely mentioned there without taboo. Catholic school just seems like a suitable compromise to me. Please keep us in your prayers.


The problem isn’t in him making a request of where the kids go to school, that is something that you both need to discuss. The problem is that he threatens divorce for something like that. I will hold you both in my prayers, and for your husband, that he realizes that marriage is not about threatening to get what you want. Please don’t let him treat you like that. :(*


Yes, this is bordering on emotional abuse. You and your children can not live your whole lives worrying if he will leave the moment things don’t go his way. I too will pray for you.


Make an appointment with your priest for counseling, or call or

Get some help for you.


I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the tax thing isn’t the real reason, though it may somehow represent the real reason in his mind. He may either think that an overtly religious education is a negative thing (which it can be if done poorly) or that kids should be with lots of different types of children in school, or that you should go back to work once the kids are in achool and not pay for Catholic school, or perhaps he is afraid that religion will distance the children from him more.

I agree, your problems are bigger than this, and it is hard to know what to do if he won’t help.

It is possible to have kids go to public school and still give them an excellent religious education. But if you are worried about the public school’s quality, present that as your issue, he may identify with it much more.


Listen not to your heart but to God. Reflect upon God’s words in Eph 5:21-33.


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