Spiritual Lonliness


#1

Well, everyone, I need some advice. I’m hoping you can help.

Over the past several days I’ve discovered that, in spite of my husband and I having a great marriage, I’m “spiritually” lonely. By that I mean that my husband and I don’t do anything spiritual together. We don’t pray together, or read the Bible together, or even worship together (he’s a Protestant and I’m a Catholic). I’d love to be doing these things with my husband. I never feel closer to my husband then when we’re praying together.

My dilema is that I don’t know how to approach my husband on this issue. We’ve talked about praying together before, but we never seem to actually do it. We’ve tried having evening devotions together, but the effort never seems to last longer then a week or two at the most. Any other times I’ve brought the situation up, he always ends up feeling guilty. He takes things very hard, and believes he should be leading the family. When he feels he’s not doing that, he gets very down on himself.

I don’t want him to be all guilt-ridden about the situation, but I do want to tell him how I feel and see if, together, we can change things.

So, I guess my question is, how do I best approach my husband about this situation? How do I convey best convey how I’m feeling, without making him feel guilty? How do I encourage him to lead me and the children, without making him feel like I’m trying to take over or that I’m disappointed in him? He’s a wonderful husband and a fantastic father, it’s just in this area that he needs some work.

So, any help and advice you could give me about this situation would be wonderful. I really appreciate your help.

Thanks.
Scout :tiphat:


#2

Does your husband attend a Protestant church on his own? Does he spend time in prayer on his own? If he doesn’t have his own active prayer/spiritual life it may be difficult for him to have that with others. I’m in a similar situation with my husband. He doesn’t take spiritual leadership in our family. Whenever we pray together or as a family, it’s at my initiative. I can’t tell if this bothers him, but I don’t know what else to do. If I don’t take the initiative, it doesn’t happen. In the mean time, I continue to pray for him that he will become the spiritual leader in our home God wants him to be. One thing I’ve been doing lately during Lent that seems to work is to have family prayers right after supper while everyone is still sitting around the table. We’ve been using a Lenten devotional book provided by our parish, so I get it out, and we read it and pray together while my husband is there. We haven’t been able to do this every night, especially lately with sports practices going on in the evening, but at least we’re doing it some, and it doesn’t seem to pressure my husband like when I try to plan these kinds of things in advance.

I’m not an expert, but based on things I’ve read and heard and from talking to other women, it seems men have a harder time in this area than women, and especially praying with others. Sometimes men are intimidated if they perceive their wives are more “spiritual” than they are, so they just avoid praying together with them. This may or may not be the case with your husband.

I would just express what you think and feel in the most positive way to him --share how much those times you have prayed together and as a family have meant to you and how you would like to continue having those close experiences as a couple and a family. Tell him honestly you don’t want him to feel bad or guilty, but would love to have him continue these prayers together because you love him and want to be close to him in every way, including spiritually.


#3

My husband does attent a Church on his own. In fact, he’s the Music Minister for the Church he attends. He’s told me that he has no trouble praying on his own, but for some reason, it’s difficult for him to pray with me. I think it is because he sees me as being more “spiritual” then he is. I was raised in a home where going to Church, youth groups, etc. were a regular part of our lives. My husband’s family never went to Church. I think I intimidate him. I don’t mean to, and I try not to, but I think that’s how he feels.

Scout :tiphat:


#4

How about this for an idea–ask him if he would attend RCIA classes with you, “Just so that he can better understand your faith background.” Since he grew up with no church in his life, what made him pick out his Protestant church? Maybe if he learns more about the Catholic Church, he will be more open to conversion :slight_smile: It will be harder for him though, since he is the music minister, but hopefully if he does consider converting he will be able to join the music ministery at your church. This is probably jumping the gun several, several times, but with God we must “think big”!


#5

[quote=amdgjmj]How about this for an idea–ask him if he would attend RCIA classes with you, “Just so that he can better understand your faith background.” Since he grew up with no church in his life, what made him pick out his Protestant church? Maybe if he learns more about the Catholic Church, he will be more open to conversion :slight_smile: It will be harder for him though, since he is the music minister, but hopefully if he does consider converting he will be able to join the music ministery at your church. This is probably jumping the gun several, several times, but with God we must “think big”!
[/quote]

We were planning on attending RCIA together last year, but they switched the nights it was held on and he had class on those nights. Hopefully, this coming Autumn, he’ll be able to go. He doesn’t have any interest in converting right now, but would like to know more about the faith. We talk quite a lot about it, and he agrees with many things the Church teaches, but no quite everything.

Even if he does attend RCIA this Autumn, that doesn’t solve the problem at home. It just makes him more aware of Church teachings.

Scout :tiphat:


#6

Being married to a practicing Catholic or Protestant is no free ticket to a in- house prayer companion.

Always be open to praying for your spouse or with your spouse but don’t make the mistake of thinking that marriage splices yours and his spiritual connection to God. You are connected to your spouse by marriage but if you are looking for a prayer partner ( and your spouse is not delivering) then consider joining a prayer group in your parish.


#7

Maybe you could read a spiritual book together and discuss it. Maybe a book by Scott Hahn or a book on praying the rosary. Or perhaps for that matter you could look for a good DVD from EWTN to watch together and talk about.


#8

[quote=contemplative]Being married to a practicing Catholic or Protestant is no free ticket to a in- house prayer companion.

Always be open to praying for your spouse or with your spouse but don’t make the mistake of thinking that marriage splices yours and his spiritual connection to God. You are connected to your spouse by marriage but if you are looking for a prayer partner ( and your spouse is not delivering) then consider joining a prayer group in your parish.
[/quote]

It might not be a guarantee, but I do believe that couples should pray together.

If I just wanted a prayer partner, I could go anywhere. I want to pray with my husband-there’s a big difference.

Scout :tiphat:


#9

Maybe the Footprints of God videos by Steve Ray? The entire family could watch together, and then discuss…


#10

[quote=Scout]It might not be a guarantee, but I do believe that couples should pray together.

If I just wanted a prayer partner, I could go anywhere. I want to pray with my husband-there’s a big difference.

Scout :tiphat:
[/quote]

Hi Scout,

I am so happy to hear that your husband is interested in the Church and attending RCIA with you in the autumn :dancing:

However, his attending RCIA may very well lead him to attend Mass with you, which is one of the most perfect prayers possible. Most of Mass is a prayer, and by his coming to church with you, he would be praying with you on a weekly basis. At least it would be a start. God bless you both!

I also agree that it is essential to a healthy, wholesome Christian marriage to pray with your partner. Maybe, for now, how about if you say an Our Father at breakfast and then each take a few moments to say a short personal prayer? That would take no longer than two or three minutes (well, depending on how long the personal prayers take) and would be so easy to work into your routine. If you don’t have breakfast together, then do it before dinner. Once again, it may not seem like much right now, but you’re buliding a prayer foundation. It may be that in the past you tried to do too much all at once and got overwhelmed or burned out in a week or two. What about a Tuesday Night Bible Reading together? Start in one of the Gospels, and each Tuesday (or whenever) read one chapter together. Also, I’m not sure if you go to his church with him, but maybe you could do that, say, once a month or so. And ask him if he would be willing to go to Mass with you once a month. One or two little things at this stage is better than none and better than doing a whole lot for a few days and then quitting. One little step at a time :slight_smile:


#11

does his church have a couples ministry or prayer group you could attend together???


#12

[quote=Scout]It might not be a guarantee, but I do believe that couples should pray together.

If I just wanted a prayer partner, I could go anywhere. I want to pray with my husband-there’s a big difference.

Scout :tiphat:
[/quote]

Ideally - spouses should pray together but being married is no guarantee this is going to happen. This sort of thing should be evaluated before marriage. If your to-be spouse is not willing to pray with you before you get married it isn’t likely you will change him/her after you are married…you can try but don’t get your hopes up too high. Also…your spouse might have a different style of prayer than yours…maybe he/she is more contemplative and you are more outwardly charismatic…


#13

[quote=Scout]I don’t want him to be all guilt-ridden about the situation, but I do want to tell him how I feel and see if, together, we can change things.
[/quote]

My first note of advice is that he is the one who has to be in charge of praying together as a couple. You know, that head of the household thing has to apply somewhere. :slight_smile: Do you have children? If you do, try praying with them and seeing if you can slowly entice him in. Get dad to light the advent candles or something. Suggest rather than *lead *in this department, perhaps. It sounds like your husband might be easy to usurp.

If you can eventually get him to go to mass, then you two will pray side by side.

Be aware that depending on which type of Protestant he is, he is used to people praying very quietly in their room so that no one can see them. He won’t necessarily be comfortable with anything but the man leading a quick grace at dinner. They don’t have traditions like family recitation of the rosary.

Oh, does he pray with his kids at night next to the bed? Build on that maybe. Also, you could just pray right in front of him, like say an ambulance goes by, you could (outloud) pray a hail mary, or ask him to join you in one. Good luck!


#14

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