Husband says: Me or religion!

My husband and I got into an argument last week about getting our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church (I want it, he thinks it’s unnecessary). He disappeared on Friday and I didn’t see him again until this morning (it’s Monday). When I asked him where he had been he says “Not here.” So I asked him what he was doing. He says “Thinking” About what? Then he says “Choose me or religion.” Well I didn’t say anything for a while after that, then I asked him if he meant just don’t talk about it to him, or stop going to Church and stop believing. He says “Stop everything”. Then he says “Just because you’re asking, I already know what your answer is”. Then he left for work.

Am I wrong to think that this is completely selfish on his part? Giving up my faith is like asking me to stop breathing or eating. I can’t stop believing and if I stopped practicing I would be absolutely miserable and we wouldn’t last long anyway. But he doesn’t get that. He says that religion is coming between us more and more. I do go to Church every week and am a youth coordinator for children’s programs, but I don’t talk about it much with him because I know how he feels about it.

I already know what I have to do, I cannot choose between him and God. If he leaves because I won’t give up my faith then that is his decision. I sort of wonder if he wanted out and this is his way of putting the onus on me to decide, so he doesn’t have to “decide”. To me, giving that ultimatum is deciding himself because he should know that I can’t do what he wants me to.
I know what I have to do, but any (name removed by moderator)ut or thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.


Do you mind if I save, print and distribute this sad message to everyone who comes to our parish seeking a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic? there is a path for you if your husband refuses to participate in convalidation, please see your parish priest immediately. Simply tell your husband that in respect to his feelings you will no longer bring up the topic, and ask if he can return the respect as you continue to go to Church. Live your faith, don’t talk it.


I think you have figured it out already. St. Paul says that if a non believer wishes to leave we have no obligation to try to force him to stay. Puzzleannie has given some excellent insight as well.


Oh, man! Some choice. Maybe not that hard, but certainly not easy.

As a male, I suspect that it is just a way to put the bug on you. Asking someone to choose between them and God is really hard to comprehend. Spending the weekend away is not a good sign, either. About all I can recommend is to call your Priest today and tell him all about it.

I’d like to have a couple of hours with him over some beers. He needs to see that some secular chick isn’t going to compare to a Catholic girl. A good Catholic girl is hard to find, and only a fool would give one up. Sounds like he just needs to grow up a little.

You can have your marriage convalidated by the church via a Radical Sanation. I just had mine blessed in this way because my wife does not believe our (mixed) marriage to be illegitimate. Your husband doesn’t even need to know, given his reaction you described. I agree with the other post above that it sounds like he is acting a tad childish & is trying to get your goat.

Definitley talk to your priest & pray for guidance. This will work out for you, but don’t turn your back on God. I will keep you in my prayers.

Do you mind if I save, print and distribute this sad message to everyone who comes to our parish seeking a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic?

Thank you, puzzleannie! I second the motion. I am so weary of folks posting on these threads before they are married, asking if wouldn’t it just be fine and no problem at all if they marry their non-Catholic girlfriend/boyfriend. I don’t even bother arguing with them but I do feel an overwhelming urge to point them to the countless threads on this forum of the marital problems resulting from this difficult path.

MomRN: I am *so, so sorry * to hear what you are facing. St. Paul does speak of your situation. I know God will give you the graces to make it through this unimaginable pain. You’re right that you can’t choose a creature over God.

The choice is easy. Send him packing. Don’t think you can change him, you can’t. God will bless your faithfulness.

My ex husband would knock down my family’s belief in
Catholicism, not just that, but when we were dating I had
a pair of really nice crucifix earrings, and he told me I
was not allowed to wear them around him because “it
is evil” according to him. ( as most of you know, his family are jw’s, but he is not ) I put up with his bad mouthing the faith off and on for 10 years, and put up with his parents bad mouthing the faith for 10 years. I had enough of it and we parted ways on friendly terms. As for your situation, you should live your faith. My husband now is studying to be a Catholic after 7 years of marriage. Don’t give up on your husband, he might convert. Do not be discouraged. Live your faith, but do not announce it to him, or talk about it. The Bible states they can be won without a word. In church yesterday, the priest was telling us we should not be dscouraged as the devil loves it when we are discouraged. Pray for him, and live your faith. If he comes around in the future, and remember, God is all powerful, He will hear your prayers. It may take time, but do not get discouraged. Your husband has to respect your right to go to church and practice your belief. However, talking to the priest is a very good idea, and one that should be done soon., Lay it on the table, and he will give your situation a good thorough examination, and he will give you advice. I wilpray for you and your husband. God bless you!

I am really sorry and sad to hear you are going through this. I will keep you in my prayers.

The choice itself is not difficult, obviously, you can not chose your husband over God. However, what the choice means is difficult. It sounds like your husband is aware of this. This sounds deliberate on his part. Especially if he did not come home. I don’t want to upset you any more than you already are but you need to consider where he was, and who he may have been with.

I don’t think I would convalidate with out your husband knowing because there seem to be other issues here. Do you really want to hide your Faith for the rest of your life? Doing so will most likely cause resentment on your part. In addition, keeping secrets from your husband, or just having a part of your life that does not include him will keep the two of you from truly becoming one. The odds are against this marriage working out under this condition.

I will keep you in my prayers. Remember, living in this world is only temporary, it is where we live for eternity that really matters.

OKay, this is a totally wild thought and you all can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m wondering if she should bother even getting her marriage blessed right now. If he leaves her, she was not married in the eyes of the Church anyway, and can have an annullment easier–or would she even need one? Technically right now, as a Catholic, she could divorce him, go to confession for living in sin, and never even need an annullment to marry again!

I’m sure someone else knows more than I do about Canon Law on this subject, but I think getting her marriage blessed right now would be a bad idea, especially if he plans to walk out on her.

MomRN - my suggestion (and it’s just a suggestion) is to talk to a priest and stop having relations with him for the time being. Right now, since you are not in a marriage in the eyes of the Church, your relations with him would be sinful. And, seek the sacrament of confession this week before Easter.

And, I’m with you. If it’s between him and God, choose God. It will not be easy since I’m sure you love him. But God will bless you and hold you in his heart for what you must do.

Big difference between a non-Catholic and a non-Christian.

That is not Biblical, though certainly tempting! You are married for better or worse. The Bible has lots to say about being yoked with an unbeliever. Hang in there, be that shining light, and get lots of support.

Remember, your husband is on his own spiritual journey just like you are. Pray for him. Support him. Tell him you love him and will always love the Lord. Right now, any kind of ceremonial spirituality is going to agitate him, so I would suggest giving him some space.

He has given you an unfair choice to make, but you can correct that. If he needs to leave because you won’t give up your church attendance, that must be his choice. Do not allow him to make this YOUR choice between him or the Lord. Remember, he too, knew what he was marrying. God bless you!

A few questions-

How long have you been married?
Did you always practice your faith or did you recently have a conversion or re-version?
Are there other issues going on besides religion, in other words are other aspects of marriage fine?

I started practicing my faith about 6 years into our marriage and it was a big source of tension at times. What really was happening is my husband was afraid that I wouldn’t be the same person he married. On top of that he felt I no longer accepted who he was and was critical of him. Little things like what television programs he watched or what he played on the radio. And he was right I was very critical, even if I didn’t say it my body language spoke it. He knew me well enough to read the unspoken signals. We worked through it but my husband was honestly right in alot of ways, in my fervor and joy of my knewly rediscovered faith I had put my marriage relationship on the back burner, kind of like if he wasn’t coming along at my pace I’d just leave him behind. Actually it was my husband that helped me find a sense of balance. After all I wasn’t a nun -I was a wife (and mother).

The other thing that occurs to me is that there are other issues in your marriage and he is using your faith as as a scapegoat simply because he doesn’t like it.

Either way marriage counseling is in order so that he can get some perspective by a third party that is not emotionally involved in your situation.

(By the way my husband actually did end up converting to Catholism 3 years after my re-version.)

My “reversion” as you call it, started happening in 03.
My husband converted in 05. Of course, he had been attending church with me off and on for those 2 years,
and a couple of times in 99. He was a strong evolutionist his entire life, and he was never dragged to church or forced to go. He did it on his own. He had been prayed for alot by myself, and my family. One day out of the blue, he asked me, " how does one become Catholic?" with God, all things are possible. prayer is extremely important for every facet of life. God heard our prayers, and Frank is now on the road to baptism.

You have good advice here, so I won’t repeat, but I sympathize and pray you will be comforted and have the wisdom and grace needed to do God’s Will and live in His love and Grace. Jesus will comfort you.

Your husband suffers from a hardened heart. He is being called by God to be one of His children, but has made the decision to reject God. It will be impossible for your husband to love with an unselfish heart He is hurting *himself *as much as anyone.

God Bless.

This happened to my sister! She had her marriage convalidated and then three months later, he left her. I was so mad at the priest because the week before the wedding, my sister told him that her husband had struck her. Also, he had a marijauna, alcohol and pornography addiction. The priest knew all of this! But, my sister was desperate to receive the sacraments.

Ironically, she was a better Catholic in her bad marriage than after her divorce. Divorce is so hard on people. She is remarried now, but had not had an annulment. I just pray, pray, pray for her.

You are correct. I missed her already being married. I am sorry.
My advise was if they were not already married.


I was hesitant to post this because I don’t know your complete situation. I thought I’d post it anyway, and you can decide if it helps you or not.

Your situation sounds similar to my parents’, so you’ll be hearing from the perspective of a adult child of such a marriage. My mother was & still is a very strong Catholic woman involved very heavily in the Church - choir, liturgical committee, CCE teacher to name a few. My father couldn’t stand the time she spent at or spoke about the Church. I believe he was jealous of her time & felt almost as if she was being unfaithful to him through her time at the Church. He was also very jealous of the respect she had for the priests & their opinions.

Now, my father was not abusive, but he really resented the church. I agree with others that you should not turn away from God for a mortal. However, my mother did not bring my father any closer to God or the church by continuing to be heavily involved in the Church or by speaking so highly about the priests to my father. I always wonder how things would have been different if my mother had honored my father’s requests by just slowing down a little with Church activities & by spending more time with him. I also wonder how things would have been different if she had talked my father up instead of the priests or even as much as the priests.

Yes my father was insecure. Yes my mother has done great work for God. However, from what I observe growing up I’ve decided that if my husband ever feels like he’s playing second fiddle to my activities at the church I’d choose him over those activities because in choosing my husband I’m not rejecting God or the Church but honoring them through my commitment to my husband. Of course I’d never give up my faith completely or quit going to Mass.

Another thought especially if you have children - all the boys in my family have nothing to do with organized religion. All the girls in my family are strong women of faith; however, my father being a good man & an agnostic made it easy for his children to believe that you can live a good life outside of the faith. I am the only remaining Catholic.

I’ll pray for you.

I think this and Rayne89’s advice is excellent.

I also do not know if it would apply to the OP’s situation but it is certainly worth considering.

There’s a good chance that the husband delivered his ultimatim in anger and frustration. He may actually be more flexible than he has indicated.

However good serving the Church may be, it is not so important as one’s marriage. (Obviously Mass attendance is not negotiable.) The fact that this marriage was outside the Church adds some additional variables to the equation but the principle remains the same.

Actually, there was nothing wrong with your advice. She is a Catholic, married to a non-Catholic (possibly a non-Christian, maybe even unbaptised if this is the case), and this marriage was obtained outside the Church and never convalidated. At this point in time, without additional information, this marriage does not sound like it is a sacramental marriage. It is a civil marriage but that would not be a valid marriage for a Catholic. The Biblical references apply to true marriages.

“Neweyes” comments would be correct if this was a sacramental marriage, but at this point it does not appear to be so.

“Sparky’s” comments were actually right on the button.

It also sounds like there maybe other issues besides her Faith.

It would be unwise to convalidate this marriage under these circumstances. At this point in time, it sounds as if she could obtain an annulment if this marriage failed. If the marriage is convalidated, and then fails, she may not be able to do so.

Most comments seem to focus on her husband not wanting her to practice her Faith, but this seems a little off focus to me.

First, if that is all this is about, he did not ask her to not participate with excessive activities at Church. From what she has said, he indicated that he wanted her to give up God completely. To tell her to keep her Faith a little more private, or participate a little less at Church is useless if this is the case.

Secondly, this can easily lead to emotional blackmail, once he has succeeded in getting her to give up something this important in her life by threat of divorce, he can do it all the time with anything. Once God is out of the equation, what is left for her?

Thirdly, the other comments about her marriage, ie. not convalidated, him not being Catholic (or Christian?), etc., are actually the real issues here. These things are where the real problem comes in to play. These are the real issues.

MomRN, as hard as this is for you, and I do know how hard it is, do not convalidate this marriage with or without him, until thoroughly thinking it all through. It is possible that this could only make things worse for you.

Weigh all sides of the issue first. Know where all paths may take you. Then go from there. One thing for certain, to turn your back on God is not an option, and it will not fix your marriage or make you any happier. In fact, I say it would do quite the opposite.

May the good God bless you.