This post is meant to share my experience and thoughts on this topic as I’m currently living it. I cant say that I have too much advice if your in the same boat, but maybe we can process that together.
My husband was raised in a Christian family. He attended Church on Sundays and participated in youth group because that’s what you do. That, and he got to spend time with his friends. I met Ben in high school, our sophomore year, and we never talked about Jesus. We were your average high school kids and our social lives mattered most to us. I remember one time attending his church with a friend who was a member of his church. She didn’t actually ever attend but since I had a crush on Ben I decided we should go in case he was there. Of course, of all Sundays, he wasn’t there! That may have been the last time I attended a church service before becoming Catholic.
Ben has been with me for my whole faith journey. He was there during my Buddhism phase and went with me to Christian bookstores years later. He listened to me talk through my thoughts on religion and always allowed me to read to him passages from books to further drive my point home. He has always been very supportive of my journey. As supportive as he is, to him, my Catholic faith is “my thing” and he just “isn’t really interested”. He was confirmed in the Church before our wedding and wants to attend Mass as a family (we go together with our daughter every Sunday) but to him, it’s just a “good thing to believe in” but we don’t really need to believe all of it… do we?
That is where we greatly differ. In my quest for truth I have come to realize how amazing Jesus and his church are. I’ve had to work through some significant barriers before joining the church, but it’s been very important for me to do so. For him, he is going to take what he wants and leave the rest. Ben wants to raise our daughter in the faith but from what I understand, to him, that is so Lilly can be a “good person”. To me, that doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface of Catholicism. I don’t even know where to begin in explaining that to him. I don’t feel like I know enough about the faith to speak on it so I struggle to explain my thoughts. I also don’t often have answers to questions he asks. Also, in all fairness, I can be a tad pushy and that usually shuts him off. I have a tendency to try to explain my thoughts, usually as if I’m trying to win a debate, and that doesn’t help.
At this point, I pray for him. I pray that he will be open to Jesus and our faith. I pray that he will try to see Catholicism as freeing, beautiful and truthful as opposed to simply helpful but not really necessary. I don’t push. I used to push but that doesn’t help. I live out my faith the best I can and try to model that behavior. I want him to share in this experience with me because it is too good to pass up. It’s hard though. This is a lesson in patience but also in understanding that people choose their own path. No matter how much I love them and want the best for them, we have free will, I need to honor that autonomy.
Are you in a similar situation with a family member or friend? How do you handle it?1