Divisions at Home
Question: I am a former Catholic. Recently I have become an Evangelical Christian but my wife would not come with me to a Christian church and she is making it difficult for me to attend. I have a tough question, should I forsake my marriage to go to this different church? Whenever I bring this up to my wife she says we are never going to go to a non-Catholic church. What are your thoughts on this?
Answer: May the Lord give you wisdom from above to deal with your difficult situation. There are two basic principles which you should keep in mind.
Firstly, God's purpose for marriage is a life-long union between husband and wife, whatever their religious convictions. You should strive to maintain and nurture the relationship with your wife, and you should not even consider the option of leaving her. I am aware of the possibility (may this never happen!) that your wife would leave you because of your faithfulness to Christ. In that case, you should let her depart. But as for you, your aim is to continue dwelling in peace with her as long as you live. In this respect please study 1 Corinthians 7:13-15.
Secondly, faith is a matter of conscience, and every individual should be allowed freedom in religion. Your wife, being a Roman Catholic, is 100% correct when she says that she will never go to a non-Roman Catholic church. Why should she? How could she go to an Evangelical church if she does not believe what Evangelicals believe? It would be wrong for you to pressure her to come with you to a Baptist or any other Evangelical church. Love pleads and prays but it does not dominate by force and compulsion. Give your wife the freedom of choice in this matter of conscience. By the same token, she should do the same to you. You cannot continue to attend a Catholic church if in your heart you don't believe the Catholic doctrines any longer. You would be a hypocrite if you continue to hear Mass and go to confession. She should understand this, and give you the freedom to worship God according to your own conscience. "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind" Romans 14:5.
You have two obligations. Firstly to God, to worship Him with His people as the Bible commands; secondly to your wife, that as far as possible, you would live at peace with her throughout your life. Pray that God may grant you the grace to do both. I also hope that by your godly life and your prayers, you would lead your wife to a saving knowledge of Christ.
© Dr Joseph Mizzi