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Author Topic: How to Become Orthodox without my wife and family  (Read 6517 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irish_Rose
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« on: December 20, 2009, 08:43:22 AM »


I have been drawn toward the Orthodox Church for almost 20 years. However, I feared my wife leaving me and taking my children if I did. So, I waited, prayer, attended a charismatic church with my wife, continued to read orthodox literature and saints, etc. Eventually, my wife reluctantly agreed to go with me to a charismatic Anglican group where we've been for about 12 years. Recently our little mission closed and she said if I didnt go with her to a protestant church she would leave me. That hasnt happened but I told her I couldnt do that. The next logical step for me is the Orthodox Church. One of my older sons is planning to explore the Orthodox Church with me. Ive taken him to several monasteries over the years and he loves it.

So, it feels really weird that after 20 yrs of marriage we should find ourselves at such odds and attending different churches. I feel such a great pain in my heart over that but still feel Orthodoxy is the true continuation of the ancient apostolic faith and church.

Would appreciate advice, similar journeys and how you've dealth with it, etc.

Thanks,

Irish-Rose
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 08:49:40 AM »

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2009, 09:09:52 AM »

Lord, have mercy. Welcome to the forum, Irish_Rose.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 09:52:12 AM »

Lord, have mercy. Welcome to the forum!

I think it is wonderful that your wife does not feel any animosity towards the Orthodox faith and the Church. Maybe just write a letter (e-mail?) to a parish priest whose parish is reasonably close to where you live, and establish a contact with him? He will certainly give you the best advice!

Becoming Orthodox, as far as I understand, is simply partcipating in the life of the Church. It does not mean coming to each and every single service in a parish. Do what you can in your circumstances. May the Lord bless your path to the Truth.
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 10:29:21 AM »

I would appreciate your prayers. But a slight misunderstanding here. My wife does feel animosity with me going to the Orthodox Church. She even threatened to leave me if I didnt attend a protestant church with here. So, this is very difficult. Even though she has joined me on the journey toward the catholic faith for almost ten years suddenly she feels I have corrupted our children by teaching them about the catholic faith and wanting to go to the Orthodox Church.

Anyway, stories or encouragement about how others have dealth with this, advice, and mostly prayers and the intercession of the saints would be great!!!
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2009, 10:41:14 AM »

Interesting. Does she feel the Orthodox faith is deficient in some way to the RC faith, or is alot of this animosity based on lack of knowledge or fear of change on her part?

What was the reason that she stopped following you towards RC'ism, if I might ask?
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2009, 11:10:02 AM »

Lord have mercy!

Where are you located?  It seems in an area where you actually have Orthodox Churches, or have I misunderstood?  You mention that a son is going with you, how old is he?  How old is your youngest?

Do you know what your wife's objection to the Orthodox is? Does she?

There are many stories of the hostile being converted: I used to burn icons a year before I converted.  But a wife wasn't involved.  I know plenty of where one was involved, and it ended up an Orthodox family, or at least a modus vivendi.  I don't recall one ending in divorce (though I know it was a factor in some that had other factors, e.g. adultery).

God guide you.
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2009, 12:14:25 PM »

Irish_Rose, I apologize for misreading you. I should have been more attentive.

It's a very tough situation. Personally, I never experienced it at a serious level. My wife is a cradle Orthodox (technically - infant-baptized in her native Ukraine, even though never attended any church services until a few years ago I took her to church). So, she is not hostile to the Orthodox Church the way some devout believing Heterodox Christians are. She is, rather, indifferent, thinks that all these "churches" are mere prejudice, but attends Divine Liturgies with me.

Still, I think the best thing to do is to contact an Orthodox priest near you. Best wishes and may the Lord help and guide you.
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2009, 12:25:52 PM »

I would appreciate your prayers. But a slight misunderstanding here. My wife does feel animosity with me going to the Orthodox Church. She even threatened to leave me if I didnt attend a protestant church with here. So, this is very difficult. Even though she has joined me on the journey toward the catholic faith for almost ten years suddenly she feels I have corrupted our children by teaching them about the catholic faith and wanting to go to the Orthodox Church.

Anyway, stories or encouragement about how others have dealth with this, advice, and mostly prayers and the intercession of the saints would be great!!!

I would contact an Orthodox priest and seek out his advice.

In the interim, would your wife object going to a Traditional Anglican parish?

(Just trying to help find some middle ground here.)
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2009, 01:00:22 PM »

I'm sorry that you're in such a position, potential seperation from one's spouse can be a difficult thing to go through. My own story sort of comes at that from the opposite path as yours, though it has a few points of similarity. I got married about 7 years ago, and both my wife and I were very religious. In fact, had we not both been very Orthodox, we almost certainly would not have gotten married. After a half dozen years of marriage, my wife and I had become very different people. She chose a different path than the one I was on, and set out on it. I guess what you have to ask yourself in situations like that is, what can you do about it, and what long term effects will it have? Keeping a marriage together for an extra year or two isn't necessarily the best situation, but only you would know if you would be prolonging the inevitable. Does your wife's feelings about the Orthodox Church point to deeper issues? I'm not saying that someone couldn't really be willing to leave a marriage over such an issue as what Church you attend, but maybe that's not all there is to it. I dunno, I'm not really asking you to say, I'm just throwing it out there.
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2009, 06:40:29 PM »

Sometimes in marriage, you need to silently and lovingly yield to eventually "win".  Think about how you can relieve this conflict if it is destroying your marriage.  The Orthodox Church isn’t going to vanish. The Church will still be there months from now. Perhaps if you yield now to your wife’s wishes you can still attend some Orthodox services (without pushing your wife to attend).  Continue to read/study the Orthodox faith while keeping your marriage intact.  Over time if your wife sees how important becoming Orthodox is to you, she may want to help meet your desire.  In time, she may indirectly learn things about Orthodoxy from you that might spark her interest in the Church.

Praying for your marriage.
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2009, 07:25:25 PM »


I have been drawn toward the Orthodox Church for almost 20 years. However, I feared my wife leaving me and taking my children if I did. So, I waited, prayer, attended a charismatic church with my wife, continued to read orthodox literature and saints, etc. Eventually, my wife reluctantly agreed to go with me to a charismatic Anglican group where we've been for about 12 years. Recently our little mission closed and she said if I didnt go with her to a protestant church she would leave me. That hasnt happened but I told her I couldnt do that. The next logical step for me is the Orthodox Church. One of my older sons is planning to explore the Orthodox Church with me. Ive taken him to several monasteries over the years and he loves it.

So, it feels really weird that after 20 yrs of marriage we should find ourselves at such odds and attending different churches. I feel such a great pain in my heart over that but still feel Orthodoxy is the true continuation of the ancient apostolic faith and church.

Would appreciate advice, similar journeys and how you've dealth with it, etc.

Thanks,

Irish-Rose

Irish_Rose,

I have been thinking about your situation. I only know about it from what you have typed here, so I could be barking up the wrong tree, so forgive me if I am. But the thing that strikes me in what you have typed is the threats of leaving. This signals to me a marriage in trouble even without the added strain of different religious choices. Love overcomes adversity, it doesn't threaten to take off when things aren't quite as sweet as they might be; like when one partner makes choices that irk the other.

Have you considered counselling? I'm no expert, but I wonder if it might be something to do before placing any further strain on your relationship with your wife. Gaining a Church at the expense of peace at home seems rather pointless to me. You are both Christians and have common ground there; perhaps working on that is more important at the moment. Think of the impact that seperation and perhaps divorce will have on your children.   

Sorting out some niggling issues might open up avenues that can lead to change and acceptance of each other's choices. While a marriage is two people joined as one, we often find ourselves at odds with our partners and their choices. Love and patience can accomplish so much more than threats. 

As ms.hoorah has said, the Orthodox Church isn't going to disappear, so taking care of your marriage first might be a good way of showing love to your wife and dispelling any fears that she might have of the two of you being so "different" that she (or you) can't face the prospect and would rather leave.
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2009, 09:48:11 PM »

^ Excellent advice Riddikulus.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2009, 09:53:56 PM »

Find  easy ways to educate your wife about some of the different things she will encounter in the Orthodox Church.
-----------------------------------------

Find all the things that are somewhat similar about the Orthodox Church and your old  Anglican church.  Memorize them so that you can occasionally point out similarities.

Investigate the areas of Orthodoxy that you suspect your wife will disagree or feel uncomfortable .  Memorize why the Orthodox Church believes in these “beliefs or practices” and occasionally find a way to insert this knowledge into conversations.

Read all you can about an Orthodox prayer life and talk to a priest if possible.  Purchase a book of Orthodox prayers or PM me and I will send you one.  Begin saying morning prayers, midday prayers, evening prayers, and prayers before and after meals.  Ask your wife every morning, night, and mealtime if she wants to pray with you. Ask kindly and don't push. Also remember to pray silently for your wife (and your family).

Pick up Orthodox pamphlets that are quick to read and “accidently” leave them sitting on the dining room table when she will be home alone.  On other occasions, “accidently” leave them in the bathroom. (Conciliar press has them, but they might only come in bulk.  If you can’t find these, PM me and I’ll send you some from my church.)  Leave your Orthodox books sitting out and in the bathroom when you know that she will be home alone.

Sign up and pay the miniscule fee to the various Archdiocese newspapers. These newspapers will arrive monthly.  “Accidently” leave them sitting around the house.

Get a tape of beautiful Orthodox hymns and leave it in the CD player.  Selecting one with familiar chords would be the best choice at first.  There are lovely ones recorded by the seminary choirs in the US.

Put a tiny icon of Christ or a Saint in your car.  Velcro it near the air conditioner.  Explain that driving is “dangerous, crazy, or whatever” and you appreciate any extra “help”.

Start immediately associating gift giving with St. Nicholas instead of Santa Claus. Tell your family the story of generous St. Nicholas.
http://www.roca.org/OA/5/5m.htm

When your wife agrees to visit an Orthodox Church, go to one that is “known” to be very friendly.   Talk to the priest in advance so that he will know to locate you at coffee hour.  Introduce yourself at coffee hour and don't wait for parishioners to come to you.  They may be older (forgetful...like me Wink) and worried that they have already introduced themselves to you 10 times. If some don't speak English, just smile and they will smile back (an international language).   Smiley

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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2009, 11:57:30 PM »

That is so, so hard. Praying for you.
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2009, 12:16:18 AM »

My situation is somewhat similar.  My wife is not hostile, she is just happy with her faith tradition and doesn't see any need to do things any "particular" way.

May God guide you.

And of course, welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2009, 12:36:27 PM »

I'll be praying for you as well.
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« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2009, 03:07:26 PM »

Riddikulus reply was very good - I have been where you are! I am just going to tell it to you straight. There are problems in your marriage - period. Orthodoxy has nothing to do with it!  It's difficult. I've been where you are! We finally split up - separated. The Lord had mercy and I raise my daughter Orthodox! And my former Charismatic Protestant wife is now happily dating a devout Catholic and attending mass regularly. This from the woman who couldn't stand the Orthodox Church because it was, in her own words - "toooooooooo much like the Catholic Church!  Go figure. Get help or get out!  Sorry to be so rough but I think it's time to wake up bro! I will pray for you. May the Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2009, 03:29:07 PM »

Hmm...have you considered catacombs? (I have some plans drawn up I can let you borrow, I was thinking about tunneling some for myself  Wink)

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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2009, 04:06:08 PM »

But the thing that strikes me in what you have typed is the threats of leaving. This signals to me a marriage in trouble even without the added strain of different religious choices. Love overcomes adversity, it doesn't threaten to take off when things aren't quite as sweet as they might be; like when one partner makes choices that irk the other.

Have you considered counselling? I'm no expert, but I wonder if it might be something to do before placing any further strain on your relationship with your wife.

This is what I was thinking also. Perhaps there are other issues which are being played out in a religious context?
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« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2009, 05:12:53 PM »

I put off becoming orthodox for ten years because I was afraid of what my wife and family would say. So after ten years of crying and feeling incomplete, I finally got brave enough to do what I needed to do, and I drove my fwife and I to an Orthodox Church one Sunday.

We started the journey, and “O guess what” my wife loves it. She thought it was a little weird at first, but once she got used to it she loved it.

That was five years ago, and we are going strong.
 
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« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2009, 06:18:44 PM »

I put off becoming orthodox for ten years because I was afraid of what my wife and family would say. So after ten years of crying and feeling incomplete, I finally got brave enough to do what I needed to do, and I drove my fwife and I to an Orthodox Church one Sunday.

We started the journey, and “O guess what” my wife loves it. She thought it was a little weird at first, but once she got used to it she loved it.

That was five years ago, and we are going strong.
 


Praise God!
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« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2009, 06:23:22 PM »

Find  easy ways to educate your wife about some of the different things she will encounter in the Orthodox Church.
-----------------------------------------

Find all the things that are somewhat similar about the Orthodox Church and your old  Anglican church.  Memorize them so that you can occasionally point out similarities.

Investigate the areas of Orthodoxy that you suspect your wife will disagree or feel uncomfortable .  Memorize why the Orthodox Church believes in these “beliefs or practices” and occasionally find a way to insert this knowledge into conversations.

Read all you can about an Orthodox prayer life and talk to a priest if possible.  Purchase a book of Orthodox prayers or PM me and I will send you one.  Begin saying morning prayers, midday prayers, evening prayers, and prayers before and after meals.  Ask your wife every morning, night, and mealtime if she wants to pray with you. Ask kindly and don't push. Also remember to pray silently for your wife (and your family).

Pick up Orthodox pamphlets that are quick to read and “accidently” leave them sitting on the dining room table when she will be home alone.  On other occasions, “accidently” leave them in the bathroom. (Conciliar press has them, but they might only come in bulk.  If you can’t find these, PM me and I’ll send you some from my church.)  Leave your Orthodox books sitting out and in the bathroom when you know that she will be home alone.

Sign up and pay the miniscule fee to the various Archdiocese newspapers. These newspapers will arrive monthly.  “Accidently” leave them sitting around the house.

Get a tape of beautiful Orthodox hymns and leave it in the CD player.  Selecting one with familiar chords would be the best choice at first.  There are lovely ones recorded by the seminary choirs in the US.

Put a tiny icon of Christ or a Saint in your car.  Velcro it near the air conditioner.  Explain that driving is “dangerous, crazy, or whatever” and you appreciate any extra “help”.

Start immediately associating gift giving with St. Nicholas instead of Santa Claus. Tell your family the story of generous St. Nicholas.
http://www.roca.org/OA/5/5m.htm

When your wife agrees to visit an Orthodox Church, go to one that is “known” to be very friendly.   Talk to the priest in advance so that he will know to locate you at coffee hour.  Introduce yourself at coffee hour and don't wait for parishioners to come to you.  They may be older (forgetful...like me Wink) and worried that they have already introduced themselves to you 10 times. If some don't speak English, just smile and they will smile back (an international language).   Smiley



Irish_Rose,

The above methods might be ok if the road was open and your wife was merely hesitant, while trusting your religious decisions. Clearly that is not the case. Any intelligent human being is going to resent "accidental" evangelism. Subterfuge doesn't seem like a good way to go, at all. It could make matters much worse, resulting in your wife becoming even more opposed to your decisions and trust you even less. It sounds to me that you aren't going to convince your wife by any ordinary means; it's going to take extraordinary patience and love - and a lot of prayer.

But again, I'm thinking that this "Orthodox issue" is just the tip of the iceberg in your marital problems and seeking professional help is more in order to save your marriage than following your dream to convert; in so doing risking disharmony within your family situation. It would be a shame if Orthodoxy was perceived by other members of your family to be the blame for a breakup between you and your wife; like you had deserted hearth and home to join some mind-controlling cult.


 

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« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2009, 06:29:02 PM »

I am quite sympathetic to your situation, as my own has not been dissimilar, though I don't need to go into it here.

I agree with some of the other commenters here: threatening to leave over Orthodoxy speaks of other issues affecting the viability of your marriage.  From personal experience I can urge you along the following lines, some of which you surely are already doing:

1. Observe Orthodox prayers in your own personal devotions, including following/being aware of the Church calendar.
2. Attend, when you can as often as you can, an Orthodox vespers service (this will leave you free for Sunday morning services with your wife)--keeping in mind that while this is probably not the cause of marital difficulties, it can exacerbate them, so while I would not absolutely swear off going to Orthodox services, you may want to try once every other morth or so.  If you can go oftener, do.
3. Be in regular contact with a local priest--email and call him about *your* spiritual life.  It may be that *your* becoming a better Christian while "under the influence" of Orthodoxy will say much more to your wife than any book by Bp kallistos can.
4. Get to a marriage counselor.  Far better to save your marriage, and take another 20 years to get into the Orthodox Church, than to simply insist on "your" way, wreck your marriage.  Orthodox or not, you will stand before God and give an account of your duties as husband.  And you may be able to save your marriage, become Orthodox while your wife does not.  It will be tricky to continually negotiate a balance there, but it is doable.  I personally know of an Ortho-RC couple who by my limited lights have a great marriage.
5. You may ultimately come to the conclusion that your marriage is not salvageable.  But make absolute certain that such an assessment is not predicated on whether or not your wife becomes Orthodox.

Most of all, take heart. Be patient. God has an infinite number of resources and knowledge by which he can influence the hardest of hearts.  As has been noted: sometimes the strongest resistance happens just prior to conversion.
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« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2009, 06:49:05 PM »


[/quote]
I am quite sympathetic to your situation, as my own has not been dissimilar, though I don't need to go into it here.

I agree with some of the other commenters here: threatening to leave over Orthodoxy speaks of other issues affecting the viability of your marriage.  From personal experience I can urge you along the following lines, some of which you surely are already doing:

1. Observe Orthodox prayers in your own personal devotions, including following/being aware of the Church calendar.
2. Attend, when you can as often as you can, an Orthodox vespers service (this will leave you free for Sunday morning services with your wife)--keeping in mind that while this is probably not the cause of marital difficulties, it can exacerbate them, so while I would not absolutely swear off going to Orthodox services, you may want to try once every other morth or so.  If you can go oftener, do.
3. Be in regular contact with a local priest--email and call him about *your* spiritual life.  It may be that *your* becoming a better Christian while "under the influence" of Orthodoxy will say much more to your wife than any book by Bp kallistos can.
4. Get to a marriage counselor.  Far better to save your marriage, and take another 20 years to get into the Orthodox Church, than to simply insist on "your" way, wreck your marriage.  Orthodox or not, you will stand before God and give an account of your duties as husband.  And you may be able to save your marriage, become Orthodox while your wife does not.  It will be tricky to continually negotiate a balance there, but it is doable.  I personally know of an Ortho-RC couple who by my limited lights have a great marriage.
5. You may ultimately come to the conclusion that your marriage is not salvageable.  But make absolute certain that such an assessment is not predicated on whether or not your wife becomes Orthodox.

Most of all, take heart. Be patient. God has an infinite number of resources and knowledge by which he can influence the hardest of hearts.  As has been noted: sometimes the strongest resistance happens just prior to conversion.



I am also in a similiar situation that has been ongoing for two years and I believe all this "accidental evangelism" advice is good for certain areas of your realtionship at certain times.  From my perspective in which I have tried most of this advice I see the advice posted by CDhealy as the most effective and advisable.  God Bless you
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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2009, 07:17:40 PM »

My prayers are with you.

Try to communicate to your wife that Christ would not want your family to ever be divided by religious differences. Lovingly point out to her that threatening to divorce you if you don't attend a Protestant Church with her is not a biblical or Christian thing to do.

I would also be firm. You are the head of your household, and thereby you have a responsibility to lead your wife and children in the Truth. But of course you do not want to be a tyrant or a dictator.

You may want to sit down with her and say something like this:
           "We are both Christians, and Christ is the foundation of our marriage. Therefore, He would never want us to become divided as a family over religious differences. As the leader of this family, it is my responsibility to discern what the true Church is and lead us into the community and practice of true Christian doctrine and worship. Right now I am studying and learning about the Orthodox Faith, and so far I am finding much about it that leads me to believe that this may be the one true apostolic Church. But I'm not sure yet, so I don't want to jump the gun and lead us into something that I am not wholly convinced of yet. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience ask you not to attend a Protestant Church if you feel that's where you need to be. And I may even attend with you until I have made a final decision about which Church our family should be a part of. But when I prayerfully and carefully come to a decision about which Church we should belong to, then I hope you will honor God, me, and our family enough to follow me into that Church. And please know that whatever decision I make will be done with the best interest of our marriage and family in mind. You and I are on this spiritual journey together, and I want us to grow closer to Christ and closer to one another by learning together along the way."

Anyway, that's just a suggestion, FWIW. These are such difficult matters, and Our Lord prophesied that following Him would often be accompanied by division and difficulties, even within families. May God give you His peace during this process.

"Lord Have Mercy."

Selam
  
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« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2009, 07:58:01 PM »

Thanks to everyone for their prayers, encouragement, advice, and even being ruggedly upfront. My feeling drawn to the Orthodox church is not something new. I've felt it for almost 20yrs. It has always freaked her out for some reason. What she said abt leaving was said out of fear and pain from things she's going through. This and other things have been indicators of marriage issues and we are both willing to go to counseling soon to deal with that. And she's beginning to accept that I am going to start "exploring" the Orthodox Church with our oldest son (18). My youngest (16) also wants to visit. So, who knows what will happen. Im still going to attend the Anglican church once in awhile with her, for now, so its a gradual process of tranistion not such an abrupt thing for her.

Also, someone mentioned my name "Irish-Rose." Yes, I am a man. Im of Irish ancestry on my grandfathers side whose name was Rose. So "Irish Rose" was just the name I used. Not effeminate intentions here I assure you! lol smile

Anyway,.... thanks for your prayers. This is hard. It does feel weired to attend different churches after 20 yrs of marriage. Maybe she'll evebntually come and check it out with me and my son.

My name is actually Aidan or Aidan Rose but I dont know how to change my profile name. if anyone knows let me know. Thanks

Aidan+
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« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2009, 08:10:27 PM »

May St Aidan guide and protect you both.
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« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2009, 08:11:18 PM »

Irish_Rose, Ι'm reading a book about transition of (married) buddhists(!) to Christ and Orthodoxy right now.  And I have to say it's basically a matter of faith. God will not let you sink -like, once, Peter the Apostle  Smiley - if you walk on faith and not on shallow "reason". Praying -penance is implicit- is always the ultimate weapon. And freedom of choice an absolute prerequisite. Now, "counselling" is typical rationalist western culture, I would certainly advice you to be someone -at least- who is not a castaway in the spiritual battle. My spirit and prayers are with you, whatever you pick. I'm certain everything will be great in the end.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2009, 11:40:01 PM »

Irish_Rose,

The above methods might be ok if the road was open and your wife was merely hesitant, while trusting your religious decisions. Clearly that is not the case. Any intelligent human being is going to resent "accidental" evangelism. Subterfuge doesn't seem like a good way to go, at all. It could make matters much worse, resulting in your wife becoming even more opposed to your decisions and trust you even less. It sounds to me that you aren't going to convince your wife by any ordinary means; it's going to take
extraordinary patience and love - and a lot of prayer.
Accidental evangelism worked very well in my house which has reading material (along with cookie crumbs, popcorn, cat hair... Tongue) lying about.  If your spouse is an avid reader, she is likely to read any new material that comes into your home.

About counseling-Please understand that after it starts your marriage may get significantly worse before it gets better.  During the first part of counseling, you must sit and discuss/re-argue all those old problems again and do this for hours.  This will bring that past pain/anger/frustration to life again except now those 20 years of marriage frustrations will be re-experienced in months not years. The re-experiencing of pain/anger/frustration doesn’t mean that counseling is not going to eventually help though.  Sadly, it is unlikely that you are going to get your wife to attend any church that she is not excited about during this painful part of marriage counseling, but the Church will still be here when you finish counseling.
Praying for you.
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« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2009, 12:53:20 AM »

that's a real hum-dinger Irish. there's a lot to consider. it's not as simple as just going to two different churches. how will you deal with fasting periods, calendar differences and such? depending on which juristiction you join you might end up celebrating Christmas on different dates, as well as Easter. how will she react to spending 3-4 hours at a time in church? during Holy Week you coul dspend about 2 hours a day at services not to mention 3-4 hours on Great Friday and all night at Pacha.
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« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2009, 04:07:20 AM »

Thanks. I appreciate the input and prayers
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« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2009, 12:37:11 AM »

I would appreciate your prayers. But a slight misunderstanding here. My wife does feel animosity with me going to the Orthodox Church. She even threatened to leave me if I didnt attend a protestant church with here. So, this is very difficult. Even though she has joined me on the journey toward the catholic faith for almost ten years suddenly she feels I have corrupted our children by teaching them about the catholic faith and wanting to go to the Orthodox Church.

Anyway, stories or encouragement about how others have dealth with this, advice, and mostly prayers and the intercession of the saints would be great!!!

Grace and Peace Irish_Rose,

I know exactly how you feel. My wife has practically 'no' interest in Orthodoxy. On occasion she attends a Vespers Service or a special Vigil but on any regular basis she really has no real interest. I must admit that in an interest to not create schism within my own home I have continued to be active in my Roman Catholic Parish and continue to raise my daughter Roman Catholic even though much of our personal piety is noticeably Orthodox/Byzantine Catholic in practice. My wife is very attached to my Roman Catholic Parish and principally the parishioners whom she knows as personal friends. The details of doctrine, tradition, etc escape her and she honestly doesn't see how such 'minutia' is of any true value for the salvation of souls. Any discussion on the matter seems to annoy her or escape her interest. I do what I can but I will not abandon my wife, daughter and my coming baby boy to simply fend for themselves while I pursue Orthodoxy. I have a friend who has done just that with his own family and honestly he eventually wore his wife down and allowed him to enter Orthodoxy and brought his three youngest children with him as well. He didn't bring the eldest child, who was from his wife's previous marriage, into Orthodoxy nor did his wife enter Orthodoxy. Both remained devout Roman Catholics but I wonder what harm this has caused within the interior relationships within the family. I fear the harm such division might cause between the wife and the husband as well as the children. Also, my wife has always tended to be the more reasonable one between the two of us and I often ask myself 'why' I'm interested in Orthodoxy... So often I hear individuals here and elsewhere roll out a list of 'reasons' why... but I wonder if the pursuit of 'more' isn't at the heart of it. It seems that there is a kind of stereo-type convert personality which I am starting to recognize both in others as well as in myself. Of course, I as most desire a stronger, deeper relationship with God. I have often equated this with a 'tradition' which claims exclusive rights to that relationship but I am beginning to question this. As a Roman Catholic such exclusivity in such a relationship isn't alien nor abnormal but I find that I have met so many individuals whom are very religious and appear to have made great spiritual progress and yet are members of very different spiritual traditions. Grace seems to flow from an unknown source which neither Church seems in control. I'm not sure where such musing will eventually leave me but it is where I am at, at the moment.

PS: My wife and I are naming our soon to be born son Aidan and I have that icon in my icon corner upstairs. Very nice!

Peace.
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« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2009, 04:12:21 AM »

Hi Ignatius,

Thanks for the comments. What a wonderful name "Aidan" for your son. It means "Little Fire" in Gaelic.

I'm not really sure what it is about Orthodoxy that makes my wife uncomfortable. She's never even attended a service. She did go with me once to talk to a priest abt 15 years ago. I remember her wondering why the icons of Saints always looked so sad or angry instead of happy or joyous. She is also very much into contemporary/charismatic praise and worship; and services without these ammenities feels dead to her. Unfortunately, she is not a reader or interested in theology, etc., so its hard to have a real discussion of the issues. Anytime I try to explain it comes across to her like I am a Pharisee or being judgemental/critical of other Christians, which is not my intention.

She's trying to adjust now to the idea wee'll be going to different churches. Her first reaction was to leave me but it seems that was said out of panic and not a literal intention to leave me. But it still feels weird to attend different places.

Maybe we should get the plans for a catacombs project fro Ortho-cat!
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« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2009, 07:58:28 AM »

Irish:  How are you holding up?

I hope some of the comments on this site has helped you. Ms. Hoorah had a good point about counseling and Ignatius' piece was very informative. As an aside, concerning icons. I was taught that the intent in writing (painting) the icon was to purposely "distort" the face and form so as to not excite the passions - i.e. bring about a physical attraction. Another explanation was that we see them through a glass dimly as they are windows into the heavenly realm.

Take care of yourself brother and have a blessed Christmas!
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« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2009, 08:20:13 AM »

Irish:  How are you holding up?

I hope some of the comments on this site has helped you. Ms. Hoorah had a good point about counseling and Ignatius' piece was very informative. As an aside, concerning icons. I was taught that the intent in writing (painting) the icon was to purposely "distort" the face and form so as to not excite the passions - i.e. bring about a physical attraction. Another explanation was that we see them through a glass dimly as they are windows into the heavenly realm.

Take care of yourself brother and have a blessed Christmas!

Personally I love the Icons! We even used a few at our former Anglican services. I've been reading Orthodox lit for almost 20 yrs and some appreciation of the beauty and purpose of icons but since my wife is not theologically minded its difficult to have those kinds of discussions. Especially right now! lol. But she is a good person, a much better person and Christian than I am. I'm a Mary and she is a Martha and it seems sometimes that never the two shall meet when it comes to certain things. I do keep praying that Orthodox women would begin to appear in her life and that she would eventually have some orthodox women friends.

Anyway... Merry Christmas to you and all

Aidan Rose
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« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2009, 11:33:25 AM »

Just a thought:
would reading a book together help in any way? I'm thinking of Frederica Mathewes-Green's Facing East or any of her books? They are easy reads, and not overtly "theological."
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« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2009, 12:08:33 PM »

Just a thought:
would reading a book together help in any way? I'm thinking of Frederica Mathewes-Green's Facing East or any of her books? They are easy reads, and not overtly "theological."

Thats a good idea. I dont think she would be open to it right now but perhaps at some point she might be. I'll keep this idea in mind in case the possibility presents itself. Thanks
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« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2009, 03:56:22 PM »

I can't help but wonder if you should arrange a meeting that would include you, your wife, and the pastor of her chosen church and then ask him how you should respond to your wife's threat to abandon you if you don't attend his church.

That's not really an "Orthodox" reaction, but I'd want to know if that church actually supported having its members act this way.
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« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2009, 09:40:46 AM »

Threatening to abandon is not a Christian action!
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« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2009, 02:18:02 PM »

Threatening to abandon is not a Christian action!
I wouldn't remain pacifical either. Knowing you have what you believe to be the truth behind you. 

Than again I'm an cradle Orthodox. Take my advice with a grain of salt. laugh I do see your point though and admire your great strength. Us feeble men always buckle at the knee's at the mere mention that we may lose our "boxaki" Spouse as we call it in Greek.  laugh
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« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2009, 03:20:38 PM »

Demetrious - good reply. Irish needs our prayers. I have been there. Threatening to abandon for any reason is blackmail. Sorry to be so dour on this eve of such a festive occassion.

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« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2010, 10:33:36 PM »

Hello,
 this is my first post, i think ever on a forum in general. Anyways, i have been married for one year; my wife and i have both been raised protestant, and two years ago went thru a long term missionary training program-myself in Argentina, her in st Croix. So we have an extensive backround in the protestant faith- Our walk with the Lord is our number one priority in life, so when i became intrested in Orthodoxy my wife was okay with it---when i became really interested she became hostile. Our Marriage is secure, but we now have shouting matches about theology when we get in the discussion. We are returning to the missions training program in three months. I will never return the the protestant way of thinking, and this is a problem for her since will will be in this program YWAM--(non-denominational, but charismatic) I am willing to go back to the program because it is medical training. im rambling at this point--i just need advice
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« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2010, 12:09:19 AM »

Hello,
 this is my first post, i think ever on a forum in general. Anyways, i have been married for one year; my wife and i have both been raised protestant, and two years ago went thru a long term missionary training program-myself in Argentina, her in st Croix. So we have an extensive backround in the protestant faith- Our walk with the Lord is our number one priority in life, so when i became intrested in Orthodoxy my wife was okay with it---when i became really interested she became hostile. Our Marriage is secure, but we now have shouting matches about theology when we get in the discussion. We are returning to the missions training program in three months. I will never return the the protestant way of thinking, and this is a problem for her since will will be in this program YWAM--(non-denominational, but charismatic) I am willing to go back to the program because it is medical training. im rambling at this point--i just need advice

"Lord have mercy."

I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It seems that stories like yours are more and more frequent. I don't have any answers. All I can tell you is to stand firm in your righteous convictions, and recognize that following Christ is costly. Tell your wife that you love her unconditionally, and that nothing will change that. But also tell her that loving her means following Our Lord and leading her in the truth. Ask her to have faith in God and to recognize that following Christ means following her husband unless you are leading her into heresy or sin, which you clearly are NOT.

Personally, I would seriously reconsider going back into a YWAM situation. It will be very difficult for you to grow in Orthodoxy and to lead her into the true Faith when you are ensconced in such an unOrthodox context. Just my two cents.

Our prayers are with you. Say the Jesus Prayer often: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner."

Peace to you.

Selam
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« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2010, 12:09:46 AM »

this is my first post, i think ever on a forum in general. Anyways, i have been married for one year; my wife and i have both been raised protestant, and two years ago went thru a long term missionary training program-myself in Argentina, her in st Croix. So we have an extensive backround in the protestant faith- Our walk with the Lord is our number one priority in life, so when i became intrested in Orthodoxy my wife was okay with it---when i became really interested she became hostile. Our Marriage is secure, but we now have shouting matches about theology when we get in the discussion. We are returning to the missions training program in three months. I will never return the the protestant way of thinking, and this is a problem for her since will will be in this program YWAM--(non-denominational, but charismatic) I am willing to go back to the program because it is medical training. im rambling at this point--i just need advice

I have no good advice for you except to pray; never to argue.

Welcome to the forum!  I hope it is a blessing to you!
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« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2010, 01:43:57 AM »

Thank-you for the advice, arguing has gotten us nowhere, maybe further away. We have three months before this training program starts, if she doesnt receive a change of heart and mind, not going to this program will cause a huge division in the marriage. is this division necessary, i do not know. YWAM has had an enormous positive effect on our lives-and like the rest of my upbringing it has lead me to this cusp.
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« Reply #46 on: January 04, 2010, 03:12:10 AM »

MoLocke, Welcome to the forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2010, 10:25:33 AM »

Threatening to abandon is not a Christian action!
No, it certainly isn't in a case such as this.
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