Want to come back to the Church, wife is staunch Baptist

I’m not sure if this is really the correct place to post this, but was directed here from another forum. I originally posted this elsewhere but wanted a little more dialogue as I have some reservations coming back to the Church. I’ll just copy/paste below:

I was Catholic. I was in love with the Church and everything she taught. The Magisterium, confession, the local parish, Catholic culture. I was considering joining the KoC. I was all in. But there was a fork in the road nearing. A girl.

She was Baptist. She loved Jesus. She was smart, funny, beautiful, and I was attracted to her. She was, in now way, going to become Catholic. My friends and I tried and tried, and tried some more. She wouldn’t have it. We used every apologetic in the book. She fired back with her own.
She wasn’t going to convert. We weren’t going to date. I had to do something.

So I sold out. I feigned conversion to date a girl. Trouble is, “fake it till you make it” became a reality. I even began believing protestant doctrines and I thought my belief was genuine. I left the Church around 2 years ago.

She and I got married November 2014 and it has been nothing short of amazing. I love her very much. But there’s a problem: I feel myself drawn back to the Church. I’ve been really examining protestant doctrine and just don’t find anything compelling beyond surface level. I keep going back to John 6 and the disciples who desert Jesus upon hearing his teaching on the eucharist. Then there’s the issue of Sola Scriptura being self-defeating, the issue with Protestantism cherry-picking which ecumenical councils are valid, and many more. It seems like the more I dig, the more I’m drawn back. She has no idea. But this is snowballing quickly and I don’t know how to bring it up.

I don’t know what to do. Her family would murder me. She’d be distraught. There’s the shame of everyone correctly assuming I had simply changed denominations for a woman (a shame that is justified). She loves our current church. Her family are extremely devout Baptists, as are most of our friends.

I’m kind of between a rock and a hard place and it seems there’s no way out and I really need some guidance.

I married a Baptist. We were both protestant and happy about it. We went to a church that we genuinely loved, along with so many very special friends.

But I became convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church. I knew that I could not remain protestant.

But, what about my wife? I was terrified to tell her.

I chose the occasion of a long car trip to break the news to her. The “forced togetherness” meant that we could have a long conversation about it. I started out by saying, “I have something I need to tell you. You’re probably not gonna be very happy about it. And it may cause problems in our relationship. I hope it doesn’t, but it probably will. I’ve come to a very difficult decision. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about it. I’ve decided that I want to become a Catholic.”

Your conversation will probably not have the happy ending that mine did (she was also wanting to convert, but was worried about how I might take it). But I think my approach was pretty good.

Don’t dwell on the “fake conversion” issue, or worry about what motives people might ascribe to you. You were willing to back away from the Church for her, and I can understand that. I would have done the same if it became a no-go for my marriage. Maybe it’s not right. Maybe it’s a sin. But I’m a sinner, and I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do to marry my wife.

But that’s in the past. Forget about that. The important thing is what happens next.

Since I am the one who convinced you to cross-post to this forum, I should probably respond :stuck_out_tongue: , and I will, but I want to think my response through before I click the button.

I’ll be ba-a-a-ck :smiley:

You have to tell your wife the truth. I’m not sure the best way, but you can’t keep being dishonest about this. Perhaps you should emphasize how much you love Jesus and how much you’ve tried but you simply can’t believe in some of the things that Baptists believe. Tell her how you need the Sacraments in order to be close to Jesus. Try being positive about all the things that Catholics and Baptists have in common.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Do not pray for her to change. That’s not your concern. Pray for yourself to remain faithful.

Ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of Saint Joseph.

Be as gentle with her as you can, and do not forget that her faith is as genuine as yours even if she is in error about some things. .

Okay, here’s my story. I was raised Pentecostal (Church of God), but by the time I was in college and later in the Air Force, I was pretty much living as a small-p pagan (not worshiping Odin and Thor, just living my life as if God didn’t exist. Along the way I married a girl who was a cradle Catholic, but was living at the time as a complete Cafeteria Catholic. She attended Mass regularly, had our boys baptized and started their Catholic upbringing without any interference from me. I even went to Mass with her once in a while.

Six years into our marriage I had a major conversion event, returned to the denomination in which I had been raised, and started studying for the ministry. I did not try to pull her out of the Catholic Church, but I was willing to point out inconsistencies, and eventually she did leave and join me in the Pentecostal denomination I was in at the time. Fast forward to 1996, and we left Pentecostalism and became Southern Baptists.

In 2003 I had a crisis of faith based on the concept of authority – that there is no authority in Protestantism to interpret the Bible; could Catholicism be real after all? I started reading books – conversion stories, books explaining Catholicism on a level that Fundamentalists can understand, Catholicism for Dummies, etc. Eventually I made the mistake of leaving one of my books in a position where the title could be read at a casual glance, and she discovered what I was doing. By this time she was a virulent anti-Catholic, and she said that I might convert, but she’d never to back. Long story short, she made her first-in-a-long-time confession on the same day that I declared to the priest my intention to convert. Nine months later I was confirmed.

Now there are some differences in detail between your story and mine, starting with your phony conversion, and that is going to be your biggest hurdle to overcome. If you had made a genuine conversion, I could council a gentle return, but with facts as they are, there is going to be no easy way to do this. Through the whole process you need to keep reassuring your wife how much you love her, but you’re going to have to come clean and take your medicine with her and her family. Along the way, you might ask her, as an intellectual exercise, to read some books and discuss them with you. At the top of the list would be Scott and Kimberley Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. I’ll have some other titles for you in a subsequent post.

You’ve got a hard row to hoe. But things may just surprise you. My wife certainly surprised me.

That’s intense, man. I don’t think you could or especially should hide this from your wife. In a marriage you have to be able to go deep with your spouse and hiding this is not really giving your wife the trust you should. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and I would try to avoid anything even remotely accusatory. Just tell her that you have always been attached to the Church and it wouldn’t be honest to God or her to pretend that you weren’t a Catholic. See what she says. Pray a lot about it and be prepared for a tough reaction. I would hope that as a fellow Christian she would understand the depth of love required in marriage. I do think the key is that she knows that your Catholic faith doesn’t change how much you love her.

Firstly you have to be honest, with yourself and to the people around you. That is the only way to deal with this and if there is any blowback then you will have to deal with those consequences…

Secondly, I don’t really see a big problem here if you two want to continue being married. My wife was a Lutheran and I a Catholic. Some times we would attend services at her church and other times we would go to a Catholic church and I don’t see why you two cannot do the same… Of course, each of you could also go by yourselves to your own church.

In the end for my wife and myself though one day something happened. Completely out of the blue she informed me that she had decided that she wanted to become a Catholic. I never pushed her in any way in this direction but that was what happened. So we got her enrolled in the RCIA class and that was that.

Good luck to you my brother and my prayers for a positive resolution.

You’re both Christians. It’s not like one of you was an atheist (even those marriages can survive). I would suggest not to make a big issue out of it. There are lots of prayers you can say together. Love and respect for one another is most important.

(BTW, I am married a Pentecostal)

Actually, he should pray for her and her conversion; it is his concern.

God Bless

My journey to the Catholic Church began about 2 1/2 years ago when a friend opened the door for me by introducing me to some things she’d learned. As I began to study more about it, I became gradually convinced that the Catholic Church was the true Church. However, my husband was not. There were many heated conversations regarding it and at times, I felt so conflicted because I wanted to follow the truth but I also did not want to disrupt my marriage or our family by creating religious conflict. I would lie in bed at night with silent tears praying the “Hail Mary” and “Our Father” and begging God that if the Catholic Church was HIS Church, He would have to bring my husband and kids along with me. That was a year ago. I thought it was a lost cause.

Now, our whole family is currently enrolled in RCIA and my husband is one of the most staunch believers in the truth of the Catholic Church. He defends our decision almost daily to family and friends (sometimes very heatedly, I might add). It was a total miracle and the power of prayer. I didn’t nag, I didn’t plead, etc. I just prayed (and sometimes left convenient Catholic media in places) :wink:

So my answer is: Pray.

I think you should be honest with your wife and explain that you have to follow your conscience. Tell her WHY you are drawn back to the Church. You should brush up on your apologetics and lay out your case (I’d do it in a letter so that she can re-read what you wrote because a conversation can be full of many misunderstandings). Don’t nag her and don’t become angry if she doesn’t see the reasoning or the logic in it. Encourage her in her relationship with Christ where she is right now, pray with her, let her know that you pray for her (not just for her conversion but for her in her walk with Christ) and love her the best way you can. As the old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.”

At some point you have to get her in the real presence of Jesus and ask her to pray fervently for Him to put the truth in her heart. I did this myself and found myself in tears ( I’m not a crier by a long shot ) as He made himself known.

It still hits me now and then and I’ll feel a year run down my cheek when I’m in his presence. The Catholic Church is the one true church and I know this through the Eucharist and I would never leave it.

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it.

I think what I hate is the timeframe of all this. I left the Church, diddled around in Protestantism for a year or two, and want to come back. It’s just all so fast. I know what people’s reactions are going to be like. Bahh!

I will tell her the truth. I’m definitely going to take my time. I’ve been reading a lot of arguments back and forth. Could someone recommend where to start with her to put a chip in her Protestant armor? I assume it would be with Church authority? I don’t know what the best approach is going to be - all I know is that when I take that first step (coming clean), I’m going to meet a barrage of Protestants from our church, from her family, my family, etc. So I want to be as learned as possible beforehand and have an answer for as many questions and accusations as possible. I’m trying to figure out how to order “Home Sweet Home,” as mentioned by DaveBj, without her knowing (shared checking account and all). I’ve been reading “The Protestant’ Dilemma,” which is pretty good.

We’re going to a weekly “home group” meeting tomorrow after church where they’re going to ask us to give our testimonies. Boy, that’s going to be interesting. I’m trying to decide how to handle it.

DaveBj, to by honest, I don’t know if it truly wasn’t a genuine conversion. Before leaving the Church, I did do quite a bit of research and became doubtful about a few things (things I’m currently researching still), but to be sure there were quite a few things which just took a “leap of faith,” as it were.

To be clear, I’m having the usual hangups on Marian doctrine, and the Eucharist. Now, I believe in the real presence, but I’m not entirely sure, if that makes sense. I’m right on the precipice of fully believing. I’ve heard all the John 6, trogo, why did the disciples leave, arguments. I’m just looking for that last knockout piece of evidence.

I mentioned to her last night that I’m having trouble understanding why, in John 6, Jesus lets the people leave Him believing that he was being literal about His body and blood if He were just being metaphorical. She was too busy with schoolwork so she hasn’t given it a real thought but I’m going to mention it again tonight. I think I’m going to kind of ease into this by gradually bringing up my doubts piece by piece. Might not be the best plan, but it’s all I’ve got.

Mostly, I’m just afraid of her father. :eek:**

Geesh your last post had me overwhelmed. How do you expect to accomplish all of that?

This is your decision to make however I deeply believe that it is crucial to your marriage this situation be discussed with your wife first.

You are presenting a scenario in which you are trying to prepare and present (chapter and verse) to support your need to pursue ‘the voice’ within your heart to return to the Catholic Church. Not to mention to ton’s of people that should not be your primary concern, That may be how the Baptists do it, but the Catholics simply trust in their Faith that we are the true path to God.

I’m not trying to be glib here but it seems like Protestants spend an awful lot of time trying to ‘box bet’ their beliefs. Catholics present a very clear road map (The Creed, The Our Father and the 10 Commandments…) an affirmation for the salvation of our souls and the attainment of heaven.

I am concerned about your marriage. Set your house in order. Trust in your commitment to each other and respect any vows that you made to each other.

God will accept your return to him and I accept that you will make the right choice for you.

God Bless you. You will be in my prayers.

Just my 0.02 worth

minorsecond,
The Holy Spirit loves us. That is why prayer is the way … He responds to that and gets inside a person where it counts. The Holy Spirit turns on many a light in our soul so we can see. Without Him we are blind.

Pray. That is best.

A woman remarked on CAF in one post that her son had left the church. So she decided to pray and fast for him everyday. She did this for a year and at the end of that year her son became an enthusiastic supporter of the chruch. A complete turn around.

Fast. That is real good. Strenghtens our prayer. Fasting can take different forms.

Hope the best for you and will remember you and your wife in prayer.

Echo99:

You are presenting a scenario in which you are trying to prepare and present (chapter and verse) to support your need to pursue ‘the voice’ within your heart to return to the Catholic Church. Not to mention to ton’s of people that should not be your primary concern, That may be how the Baptists do it, but the Catholics simply trust in their Faith that we are the true path to God.

My only fear is not being able to explain why I believe Catholicism is true. If they ask me, for example, something like (and this will probably happen) 'why are you turning down God’s free gift of salvation for a man-made works-based righteousness," I want to be able to give a well thought out explanation, versus just shrugging the question off.

I also have issues with being singled out that way - it’'s kind of a personal problem I’ve always had. I fear being questioned and being made to look stupid. So that may play into it.

I am concerned about your marriage. Set your house in order. Trust in your commitment to each other and respect any vows that you made to each other.

Thank you. I really don’t foresee it going this badly, however. We’ve got a pretty strong relationship. Why such concern?

Thanks for the prayers. I really need them.

Fred conty - Thanks. I will definitely be praying a lot about this. Thank you for the prayers, too. I really appreciate it.

my gut tells me that this is a rabbit hole, a trap…I don’t mean to be insensitive, my fault here is that i can be linear sometime.(I’m from the N.E.)

I’m afraid I don’t follow. Do you mean that their questioning me would be a never-ending rabbit hole of sorts? If so, I agree.

Hey I’m just a big Fan. I’m a woman that has been blessed with two good marriages [widow] and being married has provided me with the soul nourishing satisfaction in feeling the strength and peace and the bond that develops when given the opportunity to share and work on things together.

I get what you’re saying. I do plan on smoothing all this out with her, but I need to get all of my issues sorted out internally before I know how (or even what) to verbalize them. Marriage is awesome and, though I’ve only been married for ~10 months now, I love it. I want to organize my thoughts before I bring this up with her.

The Bible calls us to be prepared to give a defense of our faith so yes, you should be prepared to answer not only this question **with actual Catholic doctrine **but also a vast number of questions that will likely come at you from all angles.

Therefore, you should know what the Catholic Church actually teaches on works but also on most other common objections.

For the “works righteousness” charge against the Church, the Council of Trent (I believe, but someone correct me if I’m wrong) actually *agreed with the Protestant Reformers and reaffirmed the Catholic teaching * that we are saved by grace and NOT by works. However, Catholics believe that we must continue to cooperate with God’s grace for it to be efficacious.

Most Protestants (well, our Protestant friends have anyway) will begin their assault on the Catholic Church with Ephesians 2: 8-9 which says:
*
“8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”*

However, they fail to see that the very next verse (verse 10) says:


“10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (NRSV)***

Further, James 2: 26 says:

"26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead."

I have a list of great books, videos, and audio recordings that I’ll PM you. They are ALL from Catholics who converted from mainstream Protestantism and they all researched the Catholic faith significantly before conversion so they converted based upon the cold, hard truths of Scripture and history. I believe it would serve you well to become acquainted with these people if you haven’t already.

Like I said before, continue to pray for your wife.

But, I’d get a few of these books and audios to leave lying around :wink:

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