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Author Topic: How supportive is your spouse?  (Read 4355 times) Average Rating: 0
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Karamazov
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« on: February 04, 2004, 09:58:49 PM »

Here's a sad topic.  I recently witnessed the destruction of a friend's marriage.   He is cradle Orthodox - spiritual and devout.  She was Anti-Orthodox - wouldn't let him burn incense, display icons, raise child in Orthodox Chuch, etc.  Their differences eventually contributed to the downfall of their marriage after 20? years.

I was wondering if anyone has similar experiences:  perhaps a convert to Orthodoxy who couldn't manage to "drag along" the spouse and kids.  What specific "coping techniques" are there for the Orthodox faithful who are married to "non" or "anti"-Orthodox spouses, or "non" or "anti"-Christian spouses?  I'm thinking of potential trouble areas like fasting, displaying icons, raising children, following the rule of prayer, house-blessing, etc.  Are there any other sources of friction that may exist?  What coping techniques are there in that regard?
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2004, 12:12:53 AM »

Shrugs..
Not put into that situation yet.

Thats why you gotta search out your mates IN The Church.
I have other prereqs too. But one of them is they have to be IN The Church.
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2004, 01:32:58 AM »

Here's a sad topic.  I recently witnessed the destruction of a friend's marriage.   He is cradle Orthodox - spiritual and devout.  She was Anti-Orthodox - wouldn't let him burn incense, display icons, raise child in Orthodox Chuch, etc.  Their differences eventually contributed to the downfall of their marriage after 20? years.

I was wondering if anyone has similar experiences:  perhaps a convert to Orthodoxy who couldn't manage to "drag along" the spouse and kids.  What specific "coping techniques" are there for the Orthodox faithful who are married to "non" or "anti"-Orthodox spouses, or "non" or "anti"-Christian spouses?  I'm thinking of potential trouble areas like fasting, displaying icons, raising children, following the rule of prayer, house-blessing, etc.  Are there any other sources of friction that may exist?  What coping techniques are there in that regard?


I am not in the same position and I'm not a schimastic RC but I do not like the Novus Ordo Missae yet my wife and kids do.  I've tried to get them to go to the local EC Church.  I got my kids to a Presanctified Liturgy a couple of years ago by shameless bribery for some McDonalds afterwards (they were below the canonical age for fasting and abstinence).  Surprisingly both loved it!  Kids really get into body language like prostrations etc.  Ironically, my daughter reacted poorly to the Divine Liturgy!  I guess it takes some getting used to--length and all--especially for "short attention span" modern Cathoics.

Well I failed to talk my wife into trying it.  A lot of it has to do with her mother, a very devout old fashioned Catholic, several rosaries a day, lots of praying . . . who can't get by the fact that EC's aren't Orthodox (sorry!) even though she knows that the EC's are Catholics!  It's a cultural thing!

Bottom line is we worship as RC's in a modern liturgy that does not do much for me in the emotionally satisfying sense.   As an RC I acknowledge the modern mass's validity and sacred character but the pedestrianism really gets to me, even in well executed masses.  So I go "East" every now and then to recharge my batteries as I will do this Great Lent . . . and sometimes I assist at the local Indult Latin Mass, my first and true love of my misbegotten youth!

My marriage is not hurting over this, praise God!  It is just that I do not like to go to Church, even Eastern style, alone.  Religion is a family-centered affair as well as it is a personal affair.  I am a father and have to set a good example for my children who look up to me in religious matters (they think that I am an expert which I AM NOT.)

I am totally mystified how a 20-year marriage could last with an anti-Orthodox spouse!  I can think of no worse suffering than problems in a marriage, a true journey to the cross.  If the Orthodox don't accept Purgatory, in a sense here is a real world example . . . a place and a state of mind with real suffering . . . except I'm not sure this situation would also amount to purification!  No . . . let's not get into an argument or discussion about Purgatory.  I was only making an analogy of sorts.  

Marriage is tough enough as it is.  Believe me, it has not always been easy for my wife and me, but the struggle in living the via crucis at times in immitation of Our Savior bears spiritual fruit.

I suppose that it is too late to pray for a marriage already broken and ended but perhaps prayers for the recalcitrant, anti-Orthodox, ex-spouse are in order that she may experience matanoia and peace for the ex-husband.

Again, prayers for Anastasios that he and his wife remain centered in Orthodoxy and in peace both personally and as a family.

Jim C.
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Karamazov
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2004, 08:59:08 AM »

Shrugs..
Not put into that situation yet.

Thats why you gotta search out your mates IN The Church.
I have other prereqs too. But one of them is they have to be IN The Church.

Dear SD,

The purposes of this thread are to:
1]  anonymously poll Orthodox converts, to see if there are spousal conversion issues they may have, and
2] to "flesh out" practical solutions to difficulties people may have while attempting to preserve these "mixed marriages."

Those who have converted to Orthodoxy AFTER marriage (presumably to non-Orthodox) DON'T have the luxury of seeking out someone who is "IN the Church."  In this regard, your comment was not helpful.
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PhosZoe
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2004, 03:39:29 PM »

Spouse is very supportive. Well, we support each other we were chrismated almost a month ago together.

It wasn't easy, Mr. PhosZoe and I had our own reservations about becoming Orthodox. The Pros definatly out weigh the Cons.
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2004, 05:20:28 PM »

I am very fortunate that I'm craddle-Ortho, & I never thought I'd have to face a question similar to this.  Fortunately I'm not yet married to a non-Ortho, but the (faint though it may be) possibility of marrying a non-Ortho, actually a non-Christian is an (unforseen) reality at the moment.  If I ever do marry him, there will be no option but our kids growing up Ortho, or going to Church.  He already knows that I go every Saturday, & every Sunday, and almost every Saturday night, when it gets to be rather late, he reminds me "shouldn't you get home...?  Remember you have choir rehersal before service tomorrow."  Hopefully, if things do get more serious, he will continue respecting that, and even become interested in Orthodoxy.  
It is sad when marriages break up because of the religious differences, but there is also hope, as I have seen 3 of my uncles marry non-Orthos, all (one after 15 years of marriage) have converted, and are getting along rather well.
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2004, 05:54:36 PM »

I can relate to this poll, although I am Catholic. For a while I dated a Southern Baptist girl. It didn't work, but I learned a lesson from it...Catholics only!
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2004, 11:07:28 AM »

My wife is very supportive.  I have gone from a born and bred Fundamentalist Baptist to a Presbyterian to a Lutheran and now finally to Orthodox (in process).  I have been worried that she might lose trust in me with all these changes, but I think she sees it as a pilgrimage and she is just as excited about finally making it home to the Church as I am.  

God blessed me with a great wife.
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2004, 07:02:32 PM »

My wife is very supportive.  I have gone from a born and bred Fundamentalist Baptist to a Presbyterian to a Lutheran and now finally to Orthodox (in process).  I have been worried that she might lose trust in me with all these changes, but I think she sees it as a pilgrimage and she is just as excited about finally making it home to the Church as I am.  

God blessed me with a great wife.

Awesome, Paleo!  I'm very happy for you both!  What a wonderful was to observe your faith!

God's blessings for you both.

-David Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2004, 07:05:33 PM »

Ihave been married 33 yrs to a non practising Roman Catholic, which I was when we married. I think marrying in my faith would be a must for me if I could do it again. When I first re engaged with RCism, I threw myself into it and a few years later into Odoxy, with the predictable result of a very jealous,angry and frustrated husband. I have had to learn to be very circumspect, subtle and
discreet about the practise of my religion. He never really stopped the children from coming, but at the worst would plan exciting outings for Church times etc. At the best he was actually chrismated and came to Liturgy for a while. I think it became a hot spot, something he could focus his negative feelings on. He is ,however, a good man basically. Somehow we are still married , though we both admit we probably wouldn't do it again, seeing how very different we view our relationship with God. We are older and maybe getting more mellow. Maybe the Holy Spirit is bringing
some peace and tranquillity into our lives at last. Bottom Line to all you singles out there .Don't get married without knowing who you are and what you believe
Mo the convert
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2004, 07:07:56 PM »

 That grumpy looking Little Yellow face does not reflect my mood .
I just don't know how to make it go away.
Mo
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2004, 07:18:24 PM »

Hi Mo

Right up the top of the page where there is a row of little faces, choose the one that reflects your mood.

Are you the Mo from Celtlist?

Welcome

Peter Theodore Farrington
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PhosZoe
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2004, 10:26:17 AM »

...Bottom Line to all you singles out there .Don't get married without knowing who you are and what you believe...
Mo the convert

This line jumped out at me.

I'm the living, breathing result of a union that did not "look before leaping". My father, who is fallen away serbian orthodox married my methodist mother. My father treated the church as if it was some sort of "club" that me, my sister and my mom couldn't be a part of, despite my mothers desire to convert.   This is one of the many lies my father told me.

 

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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2004, 11:16:11 AM »

As it happens, every woman I ever seriously pursued was Episcopalian. For me it was never really an issue, because I don't think I could ever have married someone who had any discomfort with the way church interweaves with my life.
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jbc1949
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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2004, 01:36:48 PM »

This line jumped out at me.

I'm the living, breathing result of a union that did not "look before leaping". My father, who is fallen away serbian orthodox married my methodist mother. My father treated the church as if it was some sort of "club" that me, my sister and my mom couldn't be a part of, despite my mothers desire to convert.   This is one of the many lies my father told me.

 



In addition to all the good advice about knowing yourself and where you stand personally regarding your faith and your future spouse's position regarding religion, GET TO KNOW YOUR IN-LAWS WELL BEFORE YOU LEAP!

I wish I had.  No, I don't regret my marriage and I love my in-laws.  My father-in-law reposed in Jan 2000 and was my very good friend.  My mother-in-law is pushing 80 and is still going strong.  We get along famously.  If I had regretted my marriage, I would not now have the two beautiful children, James Albert (16) and Teresa Marie (14), that my wife and I brought into this valley of tears called the world.  But it was only until I got to know my other mom and dad that I even remotely began to know my wife.

Oh I still don't understand her.  Why should I?  She's a woman after all and I'm a *>%#T male! Grin

There would be fewer marital problems and divorces or even fewer bad decisions to marry if folks took the opportunity and the time to know their prospective in-laws well.  This is in addition to and not a substitute for matters of religion, etc.

I have learned this the hard way!

Jim
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2004, 02:41:42 PM »

Hello everyone!  I'm new here but I thought I would post my experience as well.

Short history:
Born/baptised a Lutheran.
Grew up in Baptist and AG missionary churches in Africa and the Middle east
Irish on both sides, one parent with American citizenship who worked for the American gov't, so first generation American
Now "over the hill", been a Christian most of my life except for a brief foray into the "new age."  Returned to Christianity six years ago, hence, the arduous journey began!

My husband:  "Jack" Mormon who absolutely *hates* church "authorities" of any kind.  Prefers to stay a nominal "Christian" with a basic faith in Jesus alone.
He has been very surprised to see me struggle with my faith, and my journey to Orthodoxy.  He doesn't understand it at all, and cannot fathom why anyone would want to "follow a bunch of rules".  He was not exactly hostile but at the same time, he was slighly disrespectful.  For example,    when I said "Fr. J is coming over to bless the house this afternoon."    His response was "Oh yeah?  Make sure he finds the actual foundations and doesn't just throw a bunch of oil everywhere." Then he laughed.  (He was referring to what he once witnessed at a RC church dedication.)  

I am a fairly recent convert to Orthodoxy and have only just begun my catechumen classes.  When I said I wanted to take "catechumen" classes he responded by saying "You want to take Cats Who Are Human classes?"  Everything to him was a joke and it really was starting to anger me.  I told him at that point that if he didn't have anything constructive or helpful to say, to just shut up.

Okay, maybe that wasn't very "ladylike" or "loving" but you know what?  Sometimes, a person really does just have to obey the Lord's calling and put the jokesters and harrassers in their place.  In my own case, this has worked.  He does not make inappropriate comments anymore (so far) and has conceded my right to follow where God leads me.  When I put up my icons of Jesus and St. Columba, St. Nicholas, and St. Demitrios, he did not say anything except:  "I see you did some redecorating.  It looks very nice."

So although I cannot really give any good advice in this thread,I will say that my husband actually seems to respect me and my decisions  more since I told him to "shut up".  He also has asked a few respectful questions and has even said, "Well, maybe I could go with you sometime."

I have consistently prayed for his acceptance and I do believe that this has played a very important role also...
Smiley



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Karamazov
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2004, 04:57:08 PM »

My prayers for you and your husband,  Suzannah.  May the Holy Spirit continue to work in your lives, and guide you to Theosis.

I ask this for all those struggling to interpret God's Will, and struggling to act in accordance with God's Will, including myself.

I ask this in Jesus' Name,  Amen.

-David, a sinner.

PS.  Welcome Home to our Mother and Father, the Orthodox Church!
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2004, 08:25:12 PM »

Suzannah writes:

 His response was "Oh yeah?  Make sure he finds the actual foundations and doesn't just throw a bunch of oil everywhere." Then he laughed.  (He was referring to what he once witnessed at a RC church dedication.)  



He was probably referring to the annointing with oil of a new altar by the diocesan bishop who also annoints the walls of the newly dedicated or re-dedicated Church.

You'd be surprised what some leadership by example on your part may achieve in your husband!

Jim C.
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2004, 10:18:42 PM »

Mrs. Oblio and I converted (from So. Baptist) together while we we engaged.  Later that year we were married in the Church.  We are awaiting the arrival of our little cradle-O, Anna, in mid-April.

Welcome Suzannah :clap:
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2004, 10:30:53 PM »

Here's a little bit of advice I was e-mailed by Orthodox Dynamis a while back:
____________________
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
The Venerable Angelina of Serbia
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 7:12-24
Gospel: St. Matthew 14:15-15:11

Christian Sexuality II ~ A Non-Believing Spouse: 1 Corinthians 7:12-24, especially vs. 20: "Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called." In the year 593 BC, a young slave in the Babylonian empire attained his
thirtieth birthday. Had he been free, he would have begun serving as a priest after the tradition of his fathers, but such was not to be. Instead, God placed His hand upon him to fulfill the special work of Prophet among his fellow
slaves and far from their native land, where they "sat down" by the rivers of Babylon and wept remembering Sion so far away and so inaccessible (Ps. 136:1 LXX).  That young slave was God's holy Prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:1-3; 2:1-8). Some of us, like Ezekiel, have awakened in the course of our life to rediscover that, before and above everything else, the Lord's hand is upon us, that we are members of His People, that we are Orthodox Christians. When this dawns in us, the reality of our "first love" (Rev. 2:4) compels us to examine every aspect of our life and relationships in this world in the light of God's claim upon us.

In today's Epistle reading, the Apostle Paul directs us to consider our lives, our purpose, and God's call upon us as a result of being Christians. Whether we were united to the Lord in infancy and grew up in the Church, or
were drawn to the life in Christ as adults, makes little difference. When the consciousness of our calling from God awakens within us by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and as long as our hearts desire to abide in the Lord (Jn. 15:4),
all priorities and all our relationships come into question under God's demand that "first things" truly be first. If one is married to another who does not practice the Faith or we have parents or children who are not believers, God still calls us to the struggle of being faithful where we are.The Apostle affirms the supremacy of our first allegiance - to serve the Lord, for "...he who is called...is Christ's slave" (vs. 22). Ownership defines the limits in our lives. Christ's rule over us is ultimate and not subject to compromise. Even when a spouse is not a practicing Christian, belongs to
another Faith, has no religion, or is apostate from the Church, we are not "slaves of men"(vs. 23) and must not follow them. We are to follow our Master, Christ. If false ideas, practices, and demands from our loved ones intrude on our prior call in Christ, let us remember Whose we are and to Whom we shall answer. Married persons should not consider leaving their partners who are not believers for that reason alone, even if their spouses scorn the Faith, so long as they are "willing to live with" them (vss. 12,13).

St. Paul requires us to look at the immeasurable good that God may accomplish through our relationships with unbelievers, particularly those close to us, and most especially our spouses and family members. "For how do you
know...whether you will save your husband" or your wife (vs.16)? There's the potential. As St. Peter urges, "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may
be won by the conduct of their wives" (1 P. 3:1). In other words, instead of giving up on the relationship, do as St. Paul says: "...rather use it" (1 Cor. 7:21).

Take your station in life as the field of labor which God has set before you. Participate with Him in His saving work. Let Him bring any results. The primary task for us as Christians is to serve Christ, and if possible "...in the calling in which [we are] called" (vs. 20). Of course, "...if the unbeliever departs, let him....God has called us to peace" (vs. 15). The departure may be through desertion, divorce, or by what St. John Chrysostom called a bid to "take part in...ungodliness on account of thy marriage," but it must be the other who commits the breach. Let us follow Christ in all peace with God and with all others.

Unto Thee we commend our whole life and our hope, O Master, Who lovest
mankind.
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« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2004, 12:53:49 AM »

My wife was a cradle Russian communist who wept at the tomb of Lenin as a young girl and was proud to be one of the leaders of the Young Pioneers.

She became Orthodox at age thirty.

Russia is now full of "converts" like that, BTW.

Anyway, she is not opposed to my being Orthodox, obviously, but she does think I am "too religious."

She likes the Roman Catholic Church because you get to sit down (but don't tell anybody I told that on her!).
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« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2004, 07:16:14 AM »


She likes the Roman Catholic Church because you get to sit down (but don't tell anybody I told that on her!).
That's interesting, Linus7.
Your ACROD parish is a new one and devoid of certain practises from the Unia days. My very old ACROD parish still does the sit-stand-kneel "thing" which drives me crazy. However, my convert spouse prefers to stand in the back with me and only prostrate when I do.
I get a good chuckle when fellow parishers ask me why I don't do the sit-stand-kneel thing and then are shocked when I tell them "It's not Orthodox". They think it is and that to change would be 'unOrthodox'! My priest is very supportive and encourages me, an old sinner, to help him show proper form.
Demetri
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« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2004, 12:29:43 PM »

We actually have pews, but we don't use them except during the sermon or for the old or ill.
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2004, 01:21:03 AM »

When my husband first met me at a Christian singles Thanksgiving Pot-luck Dinner, he was a Presbyterian.  The first time he visited my apartment and saw the large crucifix on the wall, he asked me if I was a "Papist"? I responded yes, expecting to defend my weak faith. Then he said he wanted to take instructions. He became a Catholic just one month before we were wed. Wow! Holy Spirit was working here.

Then with all the liturgical changes, we experienced a Mass where the choir director sang, "Her name is Jesus" to which the people responded "His name is Jesus." It was an all out liturgical war.  The next day I called the Melkites and we joined that Church.

That next Sunday, the Melkite Priest handed us the books written by Father Thomas Hopko and told us that there was nothing heretical about the Orthodox Church. My husband looked at me and then we asked, "Why aren't we Orthodox?" The priest responded, "It's a cultural thing."

So we went to the Greek Orthodox Church and joined their inquirer's class and asked a lot of stupid questions because we didn't understand the Eastern mind.

Within three years we were chrismated into the Greek Orthodox Church as a family, but I had to wait for my husband to accept the Orthodox faith as he didn't want to jump ship without a reason.  So I had to wait two years until he decided to come on board. We found the true faith within Orthodoxy.

Maria
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