Discord Between Christian Wife and Catholic Husband
Question: I am a Christian and my husband is a Catholic. He doesn't attend church, partly due to the tension that religion brought between us. He is tied to the Catholic Church because it was the “first” and “one true” church and because of his ties to his Catholic family. The division has caused problems with our children. Our daughter really doesn't believe in any church since we haven’t attended any church because of our division. Our son has taken on more of the Catholic tradition, perhaps out of fear of disappointing his father and his grandparents. I pray for the day when my husband opens his eyes to the truth. In the meantime, all I can do is pray and serve God as best I can, quietly, and without attending any church out of fear of causing more heartache at home.
Answer: You find yourself in a very delicate situation; may God give you wisdom and strength from above.
First of all, please read and meditate on the following passage of Scripture that addresses your situation, and may God give you the grace to take His Word to heart and obey it:
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror" (1 Peter 3:1-6).
Be careful not to irritate and annoy your husband by constantly trying to convert him by preaching to him and other methods. Notice, how Peter says that believing wives may win their husband " without the word" by their good example. Trust God's Word in this!
Do your very best to be a godly wife and mother (and that includes asking forgiveness when needed, and freely forgiving also). Enjoy the companionship of your husband and your children. Enjoy time with the extended family also.
Your spiritual behaviour should not be determined by fear about causing disunity. You should attend church, at least on the Lord's Day because the Bible commands us to do so. You should have a chat with your husband, acknowledge that you two have different religious beliefs, and yet, you should allow each other to follow his/her conscience in this matter. Your husband should go to the Catholic mass, if he so chooses; hopefully he would be understanding enough and allow you too to attend a service on Sunday in an Evangelical church.
Both of you should spend time together daily in prayer, to thank the Lord for His gifts, to pray for your children, for each other and your families. Your husband does not have to leave the Catholic Church before you can do that. Maybe later, you may also agree to read a short portion of the Bible together. Don’t use the occasion to preach to him. God's Word is powerful to speak to the heart. You learn to be patient! You will find yourself coming closer to God, and to one other too.
I know that all this is easier said than done. May God give you the grace to patiently follow His Word. Who knows, you may see your husband come to Christ, and your children and extended family blessed as well. Certainly God will bless you beyond measure if you remain faithful to Him.
Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A