When husband and I don't agree


I feel all wound up at the moment and I just wanted some advice from my wise friends on here. I was having a discussion with my husband today, as we are both trying to find ways to cope with our different opinions and our conflict resolution skills.(or lack of)
He has read a book about ‘emotional (and something else) behavioural therapy’ and he wants me to read it. He said there were things in there that I would not agree with and he feared that it would make me close my mind to the rest of it.
It apparently talks about when people want things ‘their’ way… what we would call ‘pride and stubbornness’, the author calls, ‘mustabation’
Well my husband was right… I would not read something that uses such a crass term, even if it is a different word, the intent was to sound like the other.
I do not go in for secular psychology, but more for religious or a ‘Christian’ perspective on things. I think we can look to God for the answers to anything and everything. He looks elsewhere. I feel he is a Sunday catholic and a lukewarm Christian and he thinks I am narrow-minded and always have to revert to ‘misguided dogma the minute I am challenged.’
Admittedly, although I tell him what I think is right, I don’t live up to it. I am a very poor example of a good catholic. But I cannot bear to see him look everywhere, but to God for answers, he will read many books except religious ones. He says you can read one chapter then the rest is more of the same. He does not deepen his faith and he’s happy the way he is. I see his soul being in danger; after all, the lukewarm souls grieve God the most.
He goes to mass every Sunday, but does not really put in any effort other than that to deepen his faith. He will not go to communion for months when he needs to go to confession, he’s not worried about getting there as soon as he can. He’s not ‘on fire’ with love for God. I know I sound judgemental, but I do know this to be true.
But I am trying to back down more with him but when it comes to religion, I just can’t. I am interested to know how others deal with a difference of religious belief with someone close to them.
Would anyone read a book that has a term called ‘mustabation’ in it?
All our discussions on this stuff end up in arguments… and it’s such a big part of our lives it’s really impossible not to talk about it.
I know I’m a big sinner, but I really want to be closer to God. He thinks he’s fine as he is.


Do as I say and not as I do will never work on your husband. The first Holy Father exhorts us women: *In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives. Considering your chaste conversation with fear. * 1 Peter 3:1-2. In other words, for every time you tell him that he needs to read a religious book or take church more seriously, he is getting turned off to it. On the other hand, if you questly live out your faith, the Holy Spirit will be able to convict his heart without being impeded by your words. That means you have only one little job to do - make yourself holy. Ouch. But you can do it. :thumbsup: Best tool for this is praying a Rosary daily, plus some Bible study. If your husband catches you doing this, it will impress him - that you aren’t just close-minded, but really devoted to Our Lord with a deep love that goes beyond words. :smiley:

As for the book, consider reading it. First, you can get a clearer picture of where your husband stands. Second, you can study scripture to see how it measures up, so that if your husband asks for your opinion you can (in a non-critical way) let him know how it measures up to the plumb-line of truth. Most importantly, if your husband sees that you are willing to read a book he is interested, it will leave the road open for him to read a book you are interested. If you decide to put your foot down and not read it, he will harden his heart to any of your reading in the future. Is that your fault? Well, no. But if you are really interested in evangelizing him, I would go for keeping that heart as soft towards you as possible.

Good luck, I’ll remember you in my prayers tonight. :hug1:


I agree with RachelB (that rhymes! :stuck_out_tongue: )…

You need to be an example to him with your actions, not just your words.
I would read the book. Maybe it has some good points that he’s trying to discuss with you but can’t say in his own words… this may be a good opportunity to have a discussion with him.
A word like that wouldn’t bother me. Obviously the author is using it in a context that this is a problem that needs to be overcome, right? I find nothing wrong with coining a (albeit goofy) new word to make a point…

Good luck…


If you mean the word “masturbation”, well, it appears in these forms many many times, and it appears in the Cathecism.

I would read the book, and have your husband read a book of YOUR choosing.


In all honesty, I think you’re being a little over-scrupulous. “Mustabation” is actually a pretty accurate term, because it’s trying to get the selfish satisfaction in everything in life that you can get sexually by pleasuring yourself. I never thought of willfulness that way before, actually, and it makes some sense. Try reading it and seeing what he’s trying to get at. Then offer him something you want him to read.


Actually, I’m pretty impressed that he would read a “emotional behavioural therapy book”. You have to give the man credit for that. My husband’s eyes get that glazed look about them whenever the quoted words are used in any combination. :rolleyes:

As for the word “mustabation”, it’s actually kind of funny. “Must”-abation = I must have my own way. I would think that this is what the author was trying to get at.

I agree with the others who said to give the book a shot. It may not be “Christian” per se but it may have some very good ideas.


Yes, I would read the book he is asking you to read. I think you’re being a little overly sensitive there. At least he is wanting to work on the relationship, which is better than average.

As for a good Catholic book, I recommend Greg Popcak’s For Better… Forever. It does talk about communication and the different types of relationships. Although Catholic overall, the part about communication is applicable to everyone, and it’s very good information and advice.


You complain that your husband shoots down spiritual books you want him to read but then you shoot down a book he wants you to read. It’s not pornography it’s a play on words. If you expect your husband to ever be open to your ideas you need to make an effort to do likewise. Your husband is a grown man you can pray for him but it’s not your job to parent him.

God has a plan your husband, you can’t force someone to have relationship with God it’s never going to work. Trust me I have been where you are and to some degree I still am. I’m always thinking there is more my hubby could be doing. God has his own time and it’s usually never as fast as we would like it. If you would have told me my husband would be the godly man he is today 11 years ago I never would have believed it -it certainly didn’t look that would ever happen.

I had to learn how to back off, to meet him halfway and stop beating him over the head with religion. Work on your own relationship with God, pray for your hubby, show an interest in what he’s interested in. When you read the book look for all the right things instead of all the wrongs -concentrate on what you agree with not on the things you don’t.


Nothing wrong with a psychological book. Sometimes we’re supposed to deal with things in our own mundane ways - after all, we don’t pray for healing instead of going to the doctor’s, we don’t pray for illumination instead of going to school. We don’t shut ourselves in our houses and pray for friends to come to us. We go to work and we don’t pray for food to fall on us from heavens above. Similarly, why not read a psychological book, so long as it isn’t any pseudoscientific bogus theory formed and preached from an anti-Christian perspective?

Looks like the author has a sense of humour… “Mustabation,” hehe. Admittedly, though, I had to have it explained to me (in the previous posts) or otherwise I wouldn’t have “connected”, so it looks like the guy’s quite intelligent as well… Perhaps a worthy read?

We Christians and especially Catholics are often accused of wanting to have things our way because of certain commandments of God which are not subject to human voting. However, we should stay on guard and watch ourselves whether we want things God’s way or indeed ours. Similarly, we should separate our wishes and our interpretations from what God really said - suffice to say experience teaches it’s not always exactly the same. For example, the fact God has given certain commandments suggests He wants our family members to obey those, but it doesn’t mean He wants us to seek “here and now” confrontations.


Thankyou everyone for your (as usual) wonderful advice. I guess I just see it that if it isn’t God centred then it isn’t worth it. But I will read it, I told him I would. You have all made me feel much better about it. Yes, I probably am being overly sensitiive about it. But it’s so hard, I think I have gotten into a habit of trying to evangelise him and as another poster put it, ‘beating him over the head with religion’.
I just think that if the author has to use a crass term like that then, his mind is in the gutter to beigin with, but maybe I’m just too critical. I know the way I talk to my husband about religion is very unhelpful, but my emotions take over and I just WANT him to love God more instead of looking to humans all the time.
I do have to work on myself, and try shutting my mouth more, as a dear friend of mine told me.
Thankyou everyone for your wise advice… I will tell you what the book says.


what a nice, honest post.

Hoping things get better,


Remember also that God “speaks” to few of us directly. Rather we see, read and hear His inspiration in the Gospels, other scripture, in the teachings of our church leaders like the late JPII and thinkers like Acquinas, More, Ignatius Loyola, and through the example of those all around us who in little ways show us godliness and goodness in their generosity, humility, intelligence, humor, kindness, patience and love. All of these folks are humans and the lessons they can teach us are invaluable.


Yes, besides, it isn’t automatically God-empty if it’s not religious. :wink:


I know your concern for your husband is legitimate…but remember that your husband does go to Mass every Sunday. This is huge and not something to be set aside, he is a practicing Catholic.

I am not sure who this comes from (a saint) or the exact quote, but I will never forget the meaning behind it: “you cannot judge how close you are getting to God by using human emotion as a gauge.”

Many people go through periods of spiritual dryness. They go to Mass but they just don’t “feel” it. Perhaps this is where your husband is at. Just because he is not “on fire” with love for God does not mean that he is not growing spiritually and abudandly in grace. Just because he is not reading spiritual books and the Bible and really getting-into his faith does not mean that he is not growing. He should be getting plenty of grace from the Mass. I am just trying to comfort you, remember, just because you do not personally see his spiritual growth does not mean that it is not occurring.

Hang in there, hope this helps a little.


Thank you all so much. You have no idea how you have put my mind at rest. I think at the time that I am sooooo right, but there is another perspective as you all have pointed out.
This is a huge stumbling block for us, I am far too forceful with religion and as he says, ‘i am black and white’. This is not helpful, I know. I am really praying hard for humility, the grace to change and for God to open my eyes to another way of looking at things.
I know that I want him to see things my way and do things my way, but it is my pride. I am trying to overcome this vice.

Thankyou all and God bless


I only read half of the posts here, so I may be repeating someone elses words, so forgive me if I am. I am sure you’ve heard the old proverb “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? Well, someone recently on Catholic Answeres Live was discribing a similar problem with their spouse that you are having and the person on CAL said, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. BUT you CAN make him thirsty”. You can do things to make him curious about your reasons for being so interested in church.

Someone on here quoted St. Peter talking about how a woman will win over her husband with her deeds, not her words. Sometimes, all us women do is talk talk talk talk and it drives our husbands CRAZY! My husband is not Catholic and I desperately want him to come to church. sometimes, I cry when I see couples going to Communion together because I want so badly to go with my husband. But I know that beating him upside the head with the CCC is NOT going to bring him to the church. I tried it for a while. You really have to give that kind of thing to God. It’s hard when it’s the person we share our soul with. One thing that I try to do is let him know how wonderful I think church is. I never skip Mass and even if I don’t feel like going, I try and show my excitement. I also try and hilight the things that people in the parish do that I know he would approve of. Like our comittee that handles all the funeral receptions at the church so families don’t have to worry about it. I try to, in daily activities, let him see what Christ has done for me because I am Catholic. That is so hard to do and I mess up ALL the time. He may never become Catholic and you must leave room for the possability that your husband may never be that interested in church, but love him ANYWAY! Love him the same way you would if he WAS on fire. Be good to him and treat him like the king of your castle. Make him look forward to comming home to you. Try and back off a little bit. Don’t mistake that for changing your beliefes, never do that. Never compramise your morals. Take and interest in something he’s interested in. If you give a little, I guirentee you that he will at least try at some point.

I’m glad you are going to read that book. It may be really stupid and say some totally off the wall stuff, but there is always some nuggit of truth in everything. If you can find that, you can work from there to have a good discussion with your husband about the book.

wow, my post was long, sorry.


but love him ANYWAY! Love him the same way you would if he WAS on fire. Be good to him and treat him like the king of your castle. Make him look forward to comming home to you. Try and back off a little bit. Don’t mistake that for changing your beliefes, never do that. Never compramise your morals.

WOW. That’s beaautiful.


I think with someone so closed and difficult, I might offer to read it in exchange for reading and discussing one of my books through. If he wanted me only to read his books and would not show interest in mine, then maybe ts not wise for the inbalance of the relationship to continue.


“Musterbation” is a term coined by Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy. “Musterbation” has to do with irrational thinking, not any kind of sexual activity. It is not a “crass” term, but rather a very descriptive term to describe a type of thinking that sometimes occurs in some mental illnesses like Depression or Anxiety. Please don’t be misled by the term into thinking that this is some kind of irreligious or pornographic book. I would bet, without knowing the title, that it is one of the many self-help books available today. Psychology can be very God-centered. Think of Fr. Benedict Groeschel who is a clinical psychologist. He is a wonderfully holy man.



What on earth gave you the idea that you were to agree with your spouse in everything? That’s not reasonable or Christian. Marriage works on a lot of compromise. You need to work out what works for you as a couple. You are not supposed to be mirror images of one another. You are not supposed to behave the same way all the time. And your religious beliefs and practices will not be identical either. You are two different people.

The biggest mistake a couple can make is to believe that one or the other is right when you disagree. It’s perfectly all right to agree to disagree. This leaves you both your dignity and room to manoeuver and change. We all change through life and nailing yourself or another down by having to be “right” is unjust to both of you.


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