Ages ago, it was taboo for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic; even up to my mother converting to Catholicism in 1977 to marry my dad. When I met my husband, he knew being Catholic was part of me, so when our daughter came, he was the one that approached the subject of having her baptized Catholic. That was the start of our mixed marriage.
He was raised Southern Baptist in a very small town. He witnessed a lot of “in-fighting” and hypocrisy as well as overwhelming pressure to “be saved”, therefore ostracizing those who didn’t get baptized. That turned him off to religion and he is now what I consider an agnostic.
I don’t, nor have I ever pressured him to convert. I am a firm believer in St. Francis of Assisi’s saying- “Preach the Gospel at all times; use words only when necessary”. He knows how important raising the children in the Faith is, and truly goes with the flow when our son asked “Why is daddy not Catholic?”, or we say grace before meals. He will bow his head and take part so there’s no line of division to confuse the kids.
Are there times I wished I could have a “Catholic Man?” Sometimes. It would eliminate a lot of the explaining about tradition, the kids asking why Daddy doesn’t have to go to Church, etc. There would be a more united front when Holidays and Holy Days come around. I’d truly have a prayer partner in my partner for life.
All of that pining goes away when I see how much he loves us. I once read somewhere that you may not feel like you got the husband you want, but it’s in those times that God is telling you that this man is the one that he entrusts you to take care of for Him. My husband truly is a gift from God, and I am grateful every day that I get to take care of him and our beautiful children. We keep the lines of communication open when it comes to things like our 1st grader attending Religious Formation classes, and our son attending a Catholic Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program.
That’s the best advice I can give to anyone in a “mixed” marriage- keep communicating how important being Catholic and raising children in the Faith is to you. You’ll be surprised how effective being a gentle and quiet influence can be.
Erin Phillips is a multi-tasking mom of 2 school aged children, a freelance photographer, Martha Stewart wannabe and a Roller Derby Girl. She writes about her faith, crafts and all things derby at her blog Gentle and Quiet Spirit
photo by Drew And Merissa