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Author Topic: Conversion and waiting on spouses  (Read 3025 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dave in McKinney
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« on: May 12, 2012, 11:13:02 AM »

I was listening to some AFR the other day and it mentioned that many priests say not to attend DL without their spouse.  Usually its the men that want to attend first.  And that some need to wait years and years on their spouse. 
  I wonder what do they do in the interim?  Obviously read the bible, the fathers etc  I also assume morning & evening prayers, fasting, and work on... well growing in Christ.
  I ask this because I'm an RC, and wife while she came into RC church, she is really still a Protestant at heart.  I have a couple of EC churches but they are rather far, and a couple of EO churches closer.  (the issue of EC or EO aside) I believe my wife is wanting to go back to Protestant churches for some rather good reasons.  So I'm wondering how to live an Orthodox life in the interim until God calls us both to a church home.
  Thank you!
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 12:33:58 PM »

This is definitely an ask your priest type question (or, if you have yet to settle on one parish, then an 'ask the priests' question). Not because the priest will give you better advice than a bunch of strangers on the internet (though that's quite likely), but because it's one of those priests who will actually be working with you and your situation in preparing you for reception and making the decisions about when that will be.

That said, the Church certainly prefers to receive couples together. 2000 years of pastoral experience says that generally works out better for all concerned. And so when a couple is approaching Orthodoxy at different paces, it's quite common to delay the reception of one until the other is ready as well (and not only for couples--just recently our junior priest was telling some of us about when he was an inquirer/catachumen and told his parents that he was definitely converting to Orthodoxy. That got their interest so they started attending and became catachumens at the same parish. And in the end, the priest had to wait until his parents had caught up and they were all received together). But when only one member of the couple is converting, and the other has absolutely no interest or willingness to do the same, I have never heard of a priest making the converting spouse wait indefinitely on an event that may never happen before receiving them (and I know most of the priests and plenty of converts in the Metroplex area).

In the same way, the Church certainly wants you to bring your spouse to Liturgy with you, whether she's converting or not, even if she's only coming because you asked and not from any interest of her own. But if she simply won't come, I've never heard of a priest telling the believing spouse to not come just because the spouse won't.
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2012, 12:40:51 PM »

Ive heard of many stories, and even met people in real life, who converted to Orthodoxy without their spouse.  Ive never heard anyone say you have to have your spouse completely on board.  My wife isnt really on board and Ill likely be converting soon.  She doesnt mind if I do it though.  Maybe it would be a little different if for some reason she really didnt want me to convert.
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2012, 01:40:39 PM »

I know several couples who have been in this situation. It was tough at first, but all of them eventually agreed to go their separate ways, religiously speaking, and attend different churches.

I'm personally of a mind that, while the marital relationship is of utmost importance and a common faith should be shared if at all possible, nevertheless it is not fair for one spouse to demand the other to violate their conscience or their faith. It is better to attend different churches than for one to force the other to attend a church they don't subscribe to.

It is even more complicated when kids are involved, because they have to basically choose a side, and it's a big decision for young kids to make. In most cases, the conversion process takes a lot longer, to allow for the family to get comfortable and sort things out.

And incidentally, I only personally know of one couple in which a wife became Orthodox without her husband. The opposite seems much more common.
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2012, 01:48:39 PM »

I believe my wife is wanting to go back to Protestant churches for some rather good reasons. 
  Thank you!
What reasons?
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2012, 03:05:43 PM »

I have not converted yet but I suppose God willing it will be soon. My wife is a life long Hispanic RC and I converted to RC from Protestantism.  I've been learning about Orthodoxy for the last 4+years and became serious about conversion two years ago.

My Priest asked me to become a catechumenate this past Great Lent but in order for the hopes of my wife warming up a little bit more I opted to wait awhile longer.  My Priest hopes that my wife will become more open to Orthodoxy but he will not hold off my conversion because my spouse isn't going to convert.

My hopes are no longer hopes.  My wife will vehemently remain RC while I pursue conversion to Orthodoxy .  As many people have said in these situations "walking the fence can make a person crazy".  Unlike other women that have supported their husbands in thier desire for conversion to Orthodoxy, mine has not.  I thought I could wait for my wife but it's been almost 5 years.  Each person and situation is different though. 

My life has changed since finding Orthodoxy.  I wish you the best in these tough situations.
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 03:08:11 PM »

may God give u all much patience.
i am the only orthodox Christian in my family.
i don't go into personal details on the forum, but the keys to being ok is to stay close to God.
be the first to apologise in arguments, give extra time and effort to the non orthodox person / people, never insult their faith, focus on what u share in common, eg. say a short prayer before long care journeys with the 'name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' added under yr breath until they accept that this is a valid form of prayer.

compromise. work hard on yr weakness. be a good servant and loving friend. recognise their wise spiritual insights.
keep up the gentle theological discussions and be a good listener to the other points of view.
accept the differences. don't try to change the other person. keep icons discrete.
go to the other person's church sometimes. don't try to change everyone there!
remember yr weakness. thank God for the challenges and questions that come as they strengthen yr faith.
maybe we think we would climb mountains and suffer for years if it would glorify God and build His church.
well, none of us is saint paul or saint john, so God has not asked us to change nations or spend years in prison, but we can all persevere, meekly, consistently and in great love with the people God has placed us with who need a touch of God's love from the light He has placed inside us.
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 03:52:22 PM »

This is very interesting.  I've never heard that "many" priests are asking a spouse to wait before becoming Orthodox. I might have heard of one or two.  I'm part of a yahoo group for those who are Orthodox without their spouses and I'm not sure any of them have run into that advice either.  Definitely talk with your priest.  My husband is not Orthodox and this wasn't the case for us either.  My priest wanted to make sure my husband wasn't categorically AGAINST my becoming Orthodox, but my priest never told me I couldn't come to church or become Orthodox until my husband was ready.   Waiting for my husband was an option we discussed, but I honestly didn't think it would help any to wait for him.  In fact, I thought it would make things worse.   Not that it's been easy.  

I do know some people who have opted to wait for their spouse.  But it seems to me that it was a decision they made with prayer and the help of their priest...not a decision made for them by their priest.

Besides, I'm not sure historically this would be accurate.  There's even that scripture verse about wives saving their non-Christian husband.  While that is specific to non-Christians, it was written at at time when there weren't really other Christian options.  
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 04:07:25 PM »

I was listening to some AFR the other day and it mentioned that many priests say not to attend DL without their spouse.  Usually its the men that want to attend first.  And that some need to wait years and years on their spouse. 

The answer is quite simple, really, and very helpful not just in this matter you bring up, but regarding the idea of consulting priests generally. The answer, of course, is that such priests are morons. It also perfectly illustrates why blindly saying "ask your priest" is often, at best, dangerous advice. Priests are not protected from being morons any more than the rest of us. If you trust someone's advice (whether a priest, anonymous internet user or homeless man) then ask them for it. Then give it the weight you think it deserves. Easy peasy.
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 05:09:41 PM »

I was listening to some AFR the other day and it mentioned that many priests say not to attend DL without their spouse.  Usually its the men that want to attend first.  And that some need to wait years and years on their spouse. 

The answer is quite simple, really, and very helpful not just in this matter you bring up, but regarding the idea of consulting priests generally. The answer, of course, is that such priests are morons. It also perfectly illustrates why blindly saying "ask your priest" is often, at best, dangerous advice. Priests are not protected from being morons any more than the rest of us. If you trust someone's advice (whether a priest, anonymous internet user or homeless man) then ask them for it. Then give it the weight you think it deserves. Easy peasy.

I understand what you are saying and don't necessarily disagree.  The problem in this particular instance is that his priest is the one who will Christmate him - or not, as the case may be.  Asking his priest is important in this case. At least he'll know if it's even possible for him to enter the Orthodox church without his spouse, if he chooses to do so.  He (and we) may not agree with the priest's (or bishops) decision but there's not a lot we can do about it aside from finding another parish.  Whether the priest is a moron for holding such a hard-line is a matter of personal opinion.

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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 07:17:58 PM »

I have not converted yet but I suppose God willing it will be soon. My wife is a life long Hispanic RC and I converted to RC from Protestantism.  I've been learning about Orthodoxy for the last 4+years and became serious about conversion two years ago.

My Priest asked me to become a catechumenate this past Great Lent but in order for the hopes of my wife warming up a little bit more I opted to wait awhile longer.  My Priest hopes that my wife will become more open to Orthodoxy but he will not hold off my conversion because my spouse isn't going to convert.

My hopes are no longer hopes.  My wife will vehemently remain RC while I pursue conversion to Orthodoxy .  As many people have said in these situations "walking the fence can make a person crazy".  Unlike other women that have supported their husbands in thier desire for conversion to Orthodoxy, mine has not.  I thought I could wait for my wife but it's been almost 5 years.  Each person and situation is different though. 
It seems to me that your heart may have never been invested in Catholicism to begin with. Am I right to assume that you converted because of your wife?

It's difficult, and rare, to see Hispanic Orthodox in general, in my experience (things might be different down in the Southwest) because Catholicism is very much ingrained in their culture. They're much like the Greeks. The only Greek Catholics I've met were those that married Catholics.
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 07:32:58 PM »

A piece of my sitting the fence for these last two years has been my wife, as well. It is what it is.

I would recommend not waiting. It will only cause you internal conflict.
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 12:03:18 AM »

It will only cause you internal conflict.

I second that!
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 01:03:52 AM »

Ive heard of many stories, and even met people in real life, who converted to Orthodoxy without their spouse.  Ive never heard anyone say you have to have your spouse completely on board.  My wife isnt really on board and Ill likely be converting soon.  She doesnt mind if I do it though.  Maybe it would be a little different if for some reason she really didnt want me to convert.

It is far different converting to Orthodoxy (or any other religion) before one is married when compared to converting afterwards.  A person at my church converted to Orthodoxy from Melkite Catholicism.  His wife, who is the daughter of a professor of a seminary aligned with the SSPX wants NOTHING to do with Orthodoxy, yet he went ahead and converted anyway.  HIs wife wasn't even present at his chrismation.  He's also shown a zealousness often associated with other converts but to a much greater degree. 

He used to be one of our most frequent attendees at not only Liturgy but also Vespers and Orthros, but he's been told that such is a no-go anymore.  His presence at Divine Litrugy is maybe once a month  because he ends up going with her to the Melkite Church more and more.  She never comes with him to the Orthodox Church.  He's also a regular patron of our bookstore and he always pays cash or uses a company credit card so that his wife doesn't know about what he's spending money on.  That kind of secrecy is dangerous. 

He has three young kids with his wife and I'm sure they are confused.  "Why doesn't daddy come to church with us anymore?"  I think that these things are finally coming to a head and I fear for what may happen to the relationship.  If your wife isn't on board and  you have kids in the mix, especially young ones, I say don't do it.  Remember it's important that you end the race well, not that you jump into it when you're not ready.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 05:21:06 AM »

It is difficult, I come from the RC background and my wife is a filipina RC, and she refuses to come to divine liturgy, she knows nothing of her own faith and had never touched a bible before we met.

But she will read the prayers that I leave on the table and she will listen to the talks with me, she thinks they are Catholic until I tell her otherwise.

She is starting to come round slowly, I just leave her to it, sometimes she goes to her church.

I tend to discus with her what the churches have in common, and read the scriptures in the same light, until she asks a question.

I gave her the akathist hymn of the Holy Theotokos and download the song fro the Greek church in America, she loved it, thought it was Catholic at first as it was not in chant.

I never speak of her faith in a negative way, she even made me a prayer rope this weekend.

I will take her to a Russian divine liturgy as it is more westernised than the Greek ones, and might be easier for her.

I like the saying in greek σιγα σιγα rough translation is slowly slowly.

Just do what you need to do, my priest knows that my wife is RC and has not asked me to wait.

Just never give up praying about it. it has taken me 2 years to get this far.

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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2012, 09:52:39 AM »

It will only cause you internal conflict.

I second that!

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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2012, 10:55:46 AM »

subscribing. Im was in the same boat. I'll share when I have more time.
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2012, 11:35:27 AM »

I converted to Orthodoxy while my wife remains a nominal, non-practicing RC who wasn't catechized very well.  The only conflict that arises is the sadness I feel because she does not come to church with me, especially since it's not because of any doctrinal issues but because of an irrational (to me, at least) distrust of church hierarchy she's developed over the past few years. 

I still do hope that some day, once she's been able to process her feelings, she will convert.  She certainly likes the liturgy and really likes Byzantine music (which I do not care for, although if I had to attend a Greek/Antiochian church for her sake, I would in a heartbeat, as I have the luxury of being able to do that at present). 

It's certainly doable.  My wife is curious as to why/when/how things are done and I am very careful in how I answer he questions to be as non-confrontational and non-triumphalist as possible.  It takes great care to "ride the fence," as it were, but it is possible.
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2012, 12:15:52 PM »

My wife is curious as to why/when/how things are done and I am very careful in how I answer he questions to be as non-confrontational and non-triumphalist as possible.

Im dealing with this too.  She certainly senses a bit of arrogance when it comes to Orthodoxy, and most of that is my fault because I am a jaded ex-protestant who at times used to be a little more harsh than I should have been.  I have improved a good bit though.  Now when Im answering something, I try to just give the East's perspective on the subject, rather than trying to prove why its right when compared to the West (protestant).
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2012, 12:25:23 PM »

She certainly senses a bit of arrogance when it comes to Orthodoxy, and most of that is my fault because I am a jaded ex-protestant who at times used to be a little more harsh than I should have been.  I have improved a good bit though. 

Tell her that, with humility - that is, something on the order of, "Honey, whatever arrogance you may be sensing is, I'm afraid, my fault. I'm sure you know that I used to be more harsh than I should have been, but I'm working on it."
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2012, 12:36:26 PM »

She certainly senses a bit of arrogance when it comes to Orthodoxy, and most of that is my fault because I am a jaded ex-protestant who at times used to be a little more harsh than I should have been.  I have improved a good bit though. 

Tell her that, with humility - that is, something on the order of, "Honey, whatever arrogance you may be sensing is, I'm afraid, my fault. I'm sure you know that I used to be more harsh than I should have been, but I'm working on it."

I have, actually.  Sometimes shes really open to discussing everything, and seems to be open to the idea of maybe converting.  Then other days, shes not so easy to talk to.  Just depends on her mood I suppose.  Sometimes, and I could be totally wrong here, it seems like that she is convinced and shes just scared of the change so shes trying to talk herself out of it.  (sort of like I used to.... ha!)  She even told me once after attending her parents Baptist church that everything I had been talking about was starting to make sense.  She attended the same church yesterday after attending liturgy with me 2 weeks ago.  Hopefully after seeing the two services side by side, the DL will start to make more sense and she will be drawn to Orthodoxy.  I actually have the next 2 sunday mornings off (assuming any last minute work doesnt pop up), so hopefully she will come with me again.  I never pressure her to though.  Just extend the invitation.
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2012, 12:42:31 PM »

She certainly senses a bit of arrogance when it comes to Orthodoxy, and most of that is my fault because I am a jaded ex-protestant who at times used to be a little more harsh than I should have been.  I have improved a good bit though. 

Tell her that, with humility - that is, something on the order of, "Honey, whatever arrogance you may be sensing is, I'm afraid, my fault. I'm sure you know that I used to be more harsh than I should have been, but I'm working on it."

I have, actually.  Sometimes shes really open to discussing everything, and seems to be open to the idea of maybe converting.  Then other days, shes not so easy to talk to.  Just depends on her mood I suppose.  Sometimes, and I could be totally wrong here, it seems like that she is convinced and shes just scared of the change so shes trying to talk herself out of it.  (sort of like I used to.... ha!)  She even told me once after attending her parents Baptist church that everything I had been talking about was starting to make sense.  She attended the same church yesterday after attending liturgy with me 2 weeks ago.  Hopefully after seeing the two services side by side, the DL will start to make more sense and she will be drawn to Orthodoxy.  I actually have the next 2 sunday mornings off (assuming any last minute work doesnt pop up), so hopefully she will come with me again.  I never pressure her to though.  Just extend the invitation.

Your wife sounds similar to my husband.  Although I don't necessarily think it's fear on his part.
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2012, 01:14:10 PM »

I'll disclose a little personal info in the hopes that it may help someone see a different aspect of 'Conversion Aversion'.  Smiley

 My wife is adopted and an only child and her parents have doted on her from day one.  The reasons she gives me on her hesitancy to convert all boil down to a familial bond and duty that goes like this:  Her parents went to great lengths (travel, financial, time) to adopt her and bring her back America.  To this day, her parents still celebrate what they call "Gotcha Day."  Because of everything they've done for her, all the sacrifices they've made, for her to leave her parents' religion is (to her mind) akin to turning her back on them.  The very thought of this can bring her to tears.  I have tried to explain to her that this is absolutely not the case.  Why, her own father left his childhood Baptist religion for his wife's Lutheranism and he still is as close to his parents as my wife is to hers.  They've even giver her their blessing (as if she needed it) to convert to Orthodoxy.  However, as I mentioned above, the three of them are extremely close and she just will not do anything that she feels will hurt them. 

 Like some of you, I no longer talk about it as much as I once did; I no longer ask her to read this or that book.  Thankfully though, she loves our priest and always goes to church with me on the days I'm not working.  Baby steps, I reckon.   
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« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2012, 04:53:57 PM »

timon, u mentioned that it can depend on the 'mood' of the spouse.
this is sometimes true, but remember that the 'mood' of someone can be actively irritated by the evil one who loves to stir up dissension and arguments.
we are not all saint anthony the great, and most of us will not see demons and fight off serpents (thank God!) but it's certainly possible for people to be affected by the whispers of the enemy.

maybe for some of u it will sound a bit far fetched, but remember the devil is like a 'prowling lion' and so when yr spouse is uncharacteristically harsh with u, (and maybe also u with him / her, we have faults too!) it could just be the enemy causing irritation. so never take this personally, remember yr spouse is not yr enemy (even if he / she takes up devil worship) but the devil is yr enemy. the best way to get even with the devil is to be full of God's love, forgiveness and patience.
'submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you'.
james 4:7.
also see 1 peter 3.
so say something like, 'come on, let's not start being mean about this, the important thing is that i really love u (and then add some specific positive point). lets chill a bit and discuss it again after dinner when we are feeling calmer'.
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« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2012, 10:32:35 PM »

timon, u mentioned that it can depend on the 'mood' of the spouse.
this is sometimes true, but remember that the 'mood' of someone can be actively irritated by the evil one who loves to stir up dissension and arguments.
we are not all saint anthony the great, and most of us will not see demons and fight off serpents (thank God!) but it's certainly possible for people to be affected by the whispers of the enemy.

maybe for some of u it will sound a bit far fetched, but remember the devil is like a 'prowling lion' and so when yr spouse is uncharacteristically harsh with u, (and maybe also u with him / her, we have faults too!) it could just be the enemy causing irritation. so never take this personally, remember yr spouse is not yr enemy (even if he / she takes up devil worship) but the devil is yr enemy. the best way to get even with the devil is to be full of God's love, forgiveness and patience.
'submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you'.
james 4:7.
also see 1 peter 3.
so say something like, 'come on, let's not start being mean about this, the important thing is that i really love u (and then add some specific positive point). lets chill a bit and discuss it again after dinner when we are feeling calmer'.

excellent advice.  thanks for this!
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« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2012, 10:33:55 PM »

She certainly senses a bit of arrogance when it comes to Orthodoxy, and most of that is my fault because I am a jaded ex-protestant who at times used to be a little more harsh than I should have been.  I have improved a good bit though. 

Tell her that, with humility - that is, something on the order of, "Honey, whatever arrogance you may be sensing is, I'm afraid, my fault. I'm sure you know that I used to be more harsh than I should have been, but I'm working on it."

I have, actually.  Sometimes shes really open to discussing everything, and seems to be open to the idea of maybe converting.  Then other days, shes not so easy to talk to.  Just depends on her mood I suppose.  Sometimes, and I could be totally wrong here, it seems like that she is convinced and shes just scared of the change so shes trying to talk herself out of it.  (sort of like I used to.... ha!)  She even told me once after attending her parents Baptist church that everything I had been talking about was starting to make sense.  She attended the same church yesterday after attending liturgy with me 2 weeks ago.  Hopefully after seeing the two services side by side, the DL will start to make more sense and she will be drawn to Orthodoxy.  I actually have the next 2 sunday mornings off (assuming any last minute work doesnt pop up), so hopefully she will come with me again.  I never pressure her to though.  Just extend the invitation.

Your wife sounds similar to my husband.  Although I don't necessarily think it's fear on his part.

so, youre a female trying to draw your husband to orthodoxy?  usually, according to the statistics ive heard, its the other way around to where the male tries to bring the female to orthodoxy!
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« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2012, 11:12:08 PM »


so, youre a female trying to draw your husband to orthodoxy?  usually, according to the statistics ive heard, its the other way around to where the male tries to bring the female to orthodoxy!

yes, I am female and my husband isn't Orthodox.  I am not trying to draw him into Orthodoxy though.  If my husband ever decides to convert it will be his own choice.   I was never one who left Orthodox material lying around for him to "find" or asking him to pray Orthodox prayers, etc. etc.   That is just so not me.  Probably if someone were to look from the outside they'd think I don't care.   But that isn't true.  I care more that if he were to become Orthodox that it would come from his heart and not because he felt some kind of obligation to me or the kids.

I hear statistics say I'm in the minority, but I do know of several women who are Orthodox without their husbands.  I don't think we're as much a minority as it seems.
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« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2012, 03:24:47 PM »

i'm female too!
in a previous church we had a divorced lady who attended alone and 2 men who attended without their wives, though i did get to meet one of the wives. i was keen to show them orthodox Christians don't have 2 heads.
take it slow, value them and their friends, invite yr orthodox friends to meet them if that's ok, for some neutral event such as eating food (before the apostles fast is a great time to do this!)

i have to say, though, that my husband is amazing and even buys me vegan food in the fasts.
 Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2012, 11:41:05 PM »

It seems to me that your heart may have never been invested in Catholicism to begin with. Am I right to assume that you converted because of your wife?

It's difficult, and rare, to see Hispanic Orthodox in general, in my experience (things might be different down in the Southwest) because Catholicism is very much ingrained in their culture. They're much like the Greeks. The only Greek Catholics I've met were those that married Catholics.

Sorry about this late post.  I just saw your reply.  I did convert for my wife and became invested into Catholicism prior even knowing or hearing about the Orthodox Church.  But as I started to learn more about the RCC I started to learn about the OC and so on................ Your exactly right about the culture in the Southwest.  That's one of the reasons she's so stubborn Grin
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« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2013, 08:02:53 AM »

My wife attended Liturgy with me once and she said she didn't like it.  We got into some heated discussions over the Church and our respective faiths/beliefs.  My priest is well aware of my situation and his advice has been to pray and come to liturgy when I'm able, which tends to be on a weekday because of work.  I think prayer has been working.

This weekend, my wife and I visited my parents and I tricked invited them to the local Greek festival where I know they have tours of the Cathedral.  After lunch, I said, "Hey, let's go see this tour."  So, we all did.  It really was more of a lecture, sitting inside the Cathedral surrounded by the icons.  Under no other circumstance would I ever think I would get my wife AND my parents to sit in an Orthodox church and listen to a half hour lecture on a brief history of the Church, icons, traditions, architecture, etc.  The lecturer is a college professor, so he obviously knew his stuff.  Anyway, after the lecture and back at home, my wife apologized for not understanding and she says that she gets it now.  She said, "All you had to do was say what he said." 

I said, "I did.  I just didn't have the benefit of having a fifty foot icon of Christ enthroned above our heads."  We laughed.

I am going to keep on praying and I believe someday my wife will turn to me and say, "Let's go to Church," and mean our Church.
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« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2013, 08:06:00 AM »

Quote
I said, "I did.  I just didn't have the benefit of having a fifty foot icon of Christ enthroned above our heads."

Priceless.  Cheesy
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« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2013, 08:31:10 PM »

I converted by myself while my wife is still protestant. If I had it to do over again I would have included my wife in my research. You know what they say about hind-sight though.  For me it has been important for me to grow in the faith so that I could better lead my wife to Orthodoxy. If I had not been attending an Orthodox Church I think it would have hurt the possibility of her conversion. As I've learned about the Faith, I've shared what I've learned and she's gradually accepting bits of truth. The more I learn, the more she learns. She may not accept it all but she cannot grow towards Orthodoxy if I'm not.

...my two cents
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« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2013, 07:19:27 AM »

I converted by myself while my wife is still protestant. If I had it to do over again I would have included my wife in my research. You know what they say about hind-sight though.  For me it has been important for me to grow in the faith so that I could better lead my wife to Orthodoxy. If I had not been attending an Orthodox Church I think it would have hurt the possibility of her conversion. As I've learned about the Faith, I've shared what I've learned and she's gradually accepting bits of truth. The more I learn, the more she learns. She may not accept it all but she cannot grow towards Orthodoxy if I'm not.

...my two cents

Did you need change? Wink  This has been my experience so far.  I started to investigate Orthodoxy before I met my spouse, so it was kind of a one man show.  I failed to share more with my wife, which led to contention.  But, like you said, she's gradually accepting the truth.
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« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2013, 08:12:28 AM »

I wish I had involved my wife more in my discovery, but she was not real interested in hearing about it, so I just did it on my own.  I wish I could say my wife is becoming more accepting of it, but I think it would probably be more accurate to say she is tolerating it a bit more than before.  She definitely is not at any level of acceptance at this point.
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« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2013, 10:31:52 AM »

keep waiting, keep praying, keep sharing bits of what you learn.
also, in any friendship (not only in marriage), you also need to show some interest in what the other person is interested in.

this is not always easy, e.g. recently i persuaded my friend to agree read some lovely stuff by saint athanasius (on the incarnation and the letter to marcellus about the psalms). but i had to promise to read some bit of anti-semitic conspiracy theory nonsense that he is interested in.
 Sad
off now to read the antisemitic nonsense so that i can then show i am a good friend...
the things we have to do for friendship!
 Wink
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« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2013, 10:43:39 AM »

keep waiting, keep praying, keep sharing bits of what you learn.
also, in any friendship (not only in marriage), you also need to show some interest in what the other person is interested in.

this is not always easy, e.g. recently i persuaded my friend to agree read some lovely stuff by saint athanasius (on the incarnation and the letter to marcellus about the psalms). but i had to promise to read some bit of anti-semitic conspiracy theory nonsense that he is interested in.
 Sad
off now to read the antisemitic nonsense so that i can then show i am a good friend...
the things we have to do for friendship!
 Wink


This doesn't always work.  I read all three books of "50 Shades"  but my wife has yet to pick up "Against Heresies."   laugh  LOL, j/k.  Seriously, though, she has barely peeked into "Surprised by Christ" by Fr. James Bernstein.
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« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2013, 10:49:48 AM »

My husband is still nominally Anglican. He'll be chrismated eventually, though the last few years haven't done much for his concentration, or his ability to attend services. I'm not pushing; I know he wants it, and it will happen in its own time.
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« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2013, 12:26:53 PM »

ok, now i read the antisemitic nonsense.
my head hurts!
as for father james' book, it is really very good. maybe you should post a few quotes on the fridge door to stimulate her appetite for good reading!

the best 'book' our spouses have to read is our lives. keep working on this and you will see results!
 Wink


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this may take many years.
you will become more beautiful as you wait; don't be discouraged.
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« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2013, 12:35:32 PM »

This doesn't always work.  I read all three books of "50 Shades"  but my wife has yet to pick up "Against Heresies." 

I know you were joking, but to be fair to your wife, I didn't really enjoy Against Heresies all that much.  I know little about Fifty Shades, so I don't know if I would enjoy it, but I suspect I would have a better time with it. 

Moral: pick funner patristics. 
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« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2013, 12:44:37 PM »

This doesn't always work.  I read all three books of "50 Shades"  but my wife has yet to pick up "Against Heresies." 

I know you were joking, but to be fair to your wife, I didn't really enjoy Against Heresies all that much.  I know little about Fifty Shades, so I don't know if I would enjoy it, but I suspect I would have a better time with it. 

Moral: pick funner patristics. 

Meh, 50 Shades is your typical harlequin romance with some pretty tame smut thrown in the mix.  I do have to agree with you on "Against Heresies";  it's not that good for fun reading.
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« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2013, 01:07:11 PM »

This doesn't always work.  I read all three books of "50 Shades"  but my wife has yet to pick up "Against Heresies." 

I know you were joking, but to be fair to your wife, I didn't really enjoy Against Heresies all that much.  I know little about Fifty Shades, so I don't know if I would enjoy it, but I suspect I would have a better time with it. 

Moral: pick funner patristics. 
I think it would be much better if we were actually dealing with expansive gnosticism in todays society.  All his arguments against Aeons and the like just kind of go over my head.  I did find some interesting points in book 4, I believe, regarding the Church and what it is.  I love St. Clement of Rome.  He is one of my favorite Fathers.
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« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2013, 02:43:14 AM »

What words of wisdom... "don't go into personal details on the forum, but the keys to being ok is to stay close to God.
be the first to apologise in arguments, give extra time and effort to the non orthodox person / people, never insult their faith, focus on what u share in common, eg. say a short prayer before long care journeys with the 'name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' added under yr breath until they accept that this is a valid form of prayer.

compromise. work hard on yr weakness. be a good servant and loving friend. recognise their wise spiritual insights.
keep up the gentle theological discussions and be a good listener to the other points of view.
accept the differences. don't try to change the other person. keep icons discrete.
go to the other person's church sometimes. don't try to change everyone there!
remember yr weakness. thank God for the challenges and questions that come as they strengthen yr faith.
maybe we think we would climb mountains and suffer for years if it would glorify God and build His church.
well, none of us is saint paul or saint john, so God has not asked us to change nations or spend years in prison, but we can all persevere, meekly, consistently and in great love with the people God has placed us with who need a touch of God's love from the light He has placed inside us".

In my case my wife is not resistant but at least 'open' so all I can do is become an example of which to follow.
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« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2013, 09:57:36 PM »

My wife will not convert, but has no problem with my converting (after much discussion). But, the priest says we have to be "re"-married in the Orthodox Church (we are both converts to the RCC - me from atheism and her from Methodism and we were married in a Methodist church as such).

It seems to my wife (and to me), that she would be committing a grave sin (from the RCC perspective) if she were to take part in the marriage in an Orthodox Church. (In at least two ways, as a party to my "schism" and by "simulating a sacrament" since we are already sacramentally married according to the Catholic Church).

Has anyone solved this problem? 

I am in agony... This is very difficult, and I don't know what to do.
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« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2013, 08:05:49 AM »

My wife will not convert, but has no problem with my converting (after much discussion). But, the priest says we have to be "re"-married in the Orthodox Church (we are both converts to the RCC - me from atheism and her from Methodism and we were married in a Methodist church as such).

It seems to my wife (and to me), that she would be committing a grave sin (from the RCC perspective) if she were to take part in the marriage in an Orthodox Church. (In at least two ways, as a party to my "schism" and by "simulating a sacrament" since we are already sacramentally married according to the Catholic Church).

Has anyone solved this problem? 

I am in agony... This is very difficult, and I don't know what to do.

Do you mean your priest says you have to be remarried in the Church even though your wife won't convert?  And he's willing to perform it without her conversion?  I find that kind of strange.
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« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2013, 08:21:11 AM »

My wife will not convert, but has no problem with my converting (after much discussion). But, the priest says we have to be "re"-married in the Orthodox Church (we are both converts to the RCC - me from atheism and her from Methodism and we were married in a Methodist church as such).

It seems to my wife (and to me), that she would be committing a grave sin (from the RCC perspective) if she were to take part in the marriage in an Orthodox Church. (In at least two ways, as a party to my "schism" and by "simulating a sacrament" since we are already sacramentally married according to the Catholic Church).

Has anyone solved this problem? 

I am in agony... This is very difficult, and I don't know what to do.

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2013, 10:13:21 AM »

There is a shorter version of the crowning ceremony called a marriage blessing, the Antiochins use it occassionally in these cases---I do not know if the OCA does. The Greeks go through the whole ceremony without the hoopla of the rerceptione etc as long as the other partner is baptized in the correct Trinitarian Formula, the last I heard the  Methodist baptism is adequate to meet those requirements. We did our on on 15th Wedding Anniversary, it might be a way to do it that she will accept as a renewal of vows.

Thomas
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« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2013, 01:26:38 PM »

ermycath,
baptism/chrismation/etc. should only be done for someone who wants to be an orthodox Christian.
it should never be done for the purposes of marriage (like you can 'fool' God!) but only for individual need and request.
you can only be remarried to your spouse if you are both orthodox, and definitely this is not an area on which you should put pressure on your spouse, who is on her own spiritual journey and who has a very important personal relationship with God.

so if you are orthodox and your wife remains catholic, this should still be considered a valid marriage, especially as you married in a church whose sacraments are recognised by the orthodox church.
you should certainly be allowed to be orthodox and have confession and take Holy Communion while your wife remains catholic and able to attend services with you (if she wants to) and not take Holy Communion.
there is no need to rush here; God knows both your hearts and loves you both greatly.

when i became orthodox (with my husband's permission), he remained protestant, and i have had no problems in taking Holy Communion because of this. i am in an oriental orthodox church (coptic), but from all i have read about eastern orthodox churches and from my experience with EO friends, the principle is the same in EO churches.

so i would suggest you discuss this with your priest again, and maybe ask another priest if you don't manage to understand each other on this issue, as putting pressure on a spouse to 'convert' and have a church marriage is not what an orthodox priest should normally do.
feel free to send a personal message if you wish, as i have met (in real life and on line) plenty of couples where only one is orthodox.
i am glad that thomas' story was so happy (sounds great!) and i pray that yours will be too, as you grow in love and patience.
 Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2013, 03:06:05 PM »

ermycath,
baptism/chrismation/etc. should only be done for someone who wants to be an orthodox Christian.
it should never be done for the purposes of marriage (like you can 'fool' God!) but only for individual need and request.
you can only be remarried to your spouse if you are both orthodox, and definitely this is not an area on which you should put pressure on your spouse, who is on her own spiritual journey and who has a very important personal relationship with God.

so if you are orthodox and your wife remains catholic, this should still be considered a valid marriage, especially as you married in a church whose sacraments are recognised by the orthodox church.
you should certainly be allowed to be orthodox and have confession and take Holy Communion while your wife remains catholic and able to attend services with you (if she wants to) and not take Holy Communion.
there is no need to rush here; God knows both your hearts and loves you both greatly.

when i became orthodox (with my husband's permission), he remained protestant, and i have had no problems in taking Holy Communion because of this. i am in an oriental orthodox church (coptic), but from all i have read about eastern orthodox churches and from my experience with EO friends, the principle is the same in EO churches.

so i would suggest you discuss this with your priest again, and maybe ask another priest if you don't manage to understand each other on this issue, as putting pressure on a spouse to 'convert' and have a church marriage is not what an orthodox priest should normally do.
feel free to send a personal message if you wish, as i have met (in real life and on line) plenty of couples where only one is orthodox.
i am glad that thomas' story was so happy (sounds great!) and i pray that yours will be too, as you grow in love and patience.
 Smiley

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« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2013, 03:13:25 PM »

Thank you for your replies. I have spoken to my priest about it quite a bit, so I am sure there is no miscommunication. 

I appreciate very much your reply about not pressuring my wife, and I think I am doing okay with that now. It is just as important for her to remain Catholic as it is for me to convert to Orthodoxy.  I have suggested the "renewal of vows" idea that Thomas mentioned as I think it's a good way to view things. But, no traction so far.

I just wish there were some way out of this impasse so that I wasn't stuck between the two with no place to call home (to put it melodramatically).

Any former Catholics out there who've solved this (or priests who can chime in)?
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« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2013, 05:34:07 PM »

your home is in heaven.
you visit there when you worship God.
He will reward your patience and diligent searching.
is you getting chrismated 1st an option?
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« Reply #50 on: November 06, 2013, 09:48:20 PM »

Oh do I empathize. I recounted my own story here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,46265.msg853304.html

This is such a hard issue. My only advice is to pray without ceasing. I still think my wife's conversion was nothing short of a minor miracle.
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« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2013, 08:16:01 AM »

Oh do I empathize. I recounted my own story here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,46265.msg853304.html

This is such a hard issue. My only advice is to pray without ceasing. I still think my wife's conversion was nothing short of a minor miracle.
A beautiful testimony.  Many years to your family!
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« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2013, 08:00:37 PM »

Thank you for your replies. I have spoken to my priest about it quite a bit, so I am sure there is no miscommunication. 

I appreciate very much your reply about not pressuring my wife, and I think I am doing okay with that now. It is just as important for her to remain Catholic as it is for me to convert to Orthodoxy.  I have suggested the "renewal of vows" idea that Thomas mentioned as I think it's a good way to view things. But, no traction so far.

I just wish there were some way out of this impasse so that I wasn't stuck between the two with no place to call home (to put it melodramatically).

Any former Catholics out there who've solved this (or priests who can chime in)?
My wife is Methodist, but if I told her that I needed her to have a second wedding ceremony so I could join the Orthodox Church, I'm pretty sure she would beat me over the head with a tire iron.  I've never heard of requiring a non-converting spouse to do that.
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« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2013, 09:35:52 PM »

Thank you for your replies. I have spoken to my priest about it quite a bit, so I am sure there is no miscommunication. 

I appreciate very much your reply about not pressuring my wife, and I think I am doing okay with that now. It is just as important for her to remain Catholic as it is for me to convert to Orthodoxy.  I have suggested the "renewal of vows" idea that Thomas mentioned as I think it's a good way to view things. But, no traction so far.

I just wish there were some way out of this impasse so that I wasn't stuck between the two with no place to call home (to put it melodramatically).

Any former Catholics out there who've solved this (or priests who can chime in)?
My wife is Methodist, but if I told her that I needed her to have a second wedding ceremony so I could join the Orthodox Church, I'm pretty sure she would beat me over the head with a tire iron.  I've never heard of requiring a non-converting spouse to do that.

On the other hand, I can't exactly go to my priest and say, "Everyone on OC.net says they've never heard of a priest requiring what you're requiring."  I don't know how to handle it...
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« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2013, 03:50:09 AM »

maybe write to the bishop?
this is the normal thing to do if there is a disagreement that can't be resolved within your local church.
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« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2013, 07:47:45 AM »

maybe write to the bishop?
this is the normal thing to do if there is a disagreement that can't be resolved within your local church.

+1! This would clear up any confusion.  OC.net ain't the Church. Tongue
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« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2013, 08:30:11 AM »

Dear ErmyCath,
 
I am a member of a GOA Church.  I have certainly seen people received into the Church before without their spouse joining.  I'm quite sure a previous marriage is not officially an impediment to being received into the church.  That would not rule out pastoral concerns, of course. 

I'd also have a conversation with your Catholic priest to clear up any misconceptions about the view of the Catholic Church about Orthodox sacraments. 

Best of all to you.  Love, elephant
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« Reply #57 on: November 15, 2013, 08:55:02 PM »

maybe write to the bishop?
this is the normal thing to do if there is a disagreement that can't be resolved within your local church.

This is usually a bad idea in non OO churches my friend.  Most priests do NOT like it when you go over their head.  if you want to remain on good terms with your priest, I wouldn't recommend this.  Or at LEAST let your priest know that you plan on doing it.  

I would imagine most priests are going to do the heavy lifting FOR you.  For example...write the letter to the bishop themselves.  
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« Reply #58 on: November 15, 2013, 09:01:09 PM »

It's usually a bad idea in OO churches as well, Father, but maybe Copts are the exception.  Smiley 
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« Reply #59 on: November 16, 2013, 12:52:36 PM »

I don't think I'll write the bishop. I am rather close with my priest and don't want to go around him.

With that said, I am a little concerned that this requirement seems out of the ordinary to you all... I don't know what to make of that.
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« Reply #60 on: November 16, 2013, 01:12:34 PM »

I don't want to be rude, so I apologise if the question is inelegant, but what exactly is the objection of the non-Orthodox spouses to going through an Orthodox marriage rite with the convert spouses?
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« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2013, 01:45:38 PM »

I don't want to be rude, so I apologise if the question is inelegant, but what exactly is the objection of the non-Orthodox spouses to going through an Orthodox marriage rite with the convert spouses?
I think my wife harbours some thought that I will abandon Orthodoxy and return to Evangelical Protestantism. There's not a chance that she would even discuss her participation in any Orthodox rite. (That being said, some cracks have appeared lately in her façade - I'm still looking forward to her accepting my choice of spiritual growth and direction - not necessarily that she would become Orthodox, but that she would be supportive and appreciative of my spiritual life.)

There is also the argument that "What? Doesn't the Orthodox Church think I'm good enough? Are they saying I'm not even a Christian?!?"
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« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2013, 01:55:06 PM »

I don't want to be rude, so I apologise if the question is inelegant, but what exactly is the objection of the non-Orthodox spouses to going through an Orthodox marriage rite with the convert spouses?

In addition to what genesisone said, which is also somewhat applicable to my situation, the Roman Church has a lot of rules about participating in non-Catholic ceremonies.  If you look at the Catholic Answers site, for example, a lot of questions come in about whether it is okay to go to such-and-such wedding.  This is all the more problematic when that ceremony would be your own.  It is further complicated by the fact that my wife and I are already sacramentally married according to the Roman Church, which brings into the equation the idea of "repeating Sacraments," which is blasphemy from the Roman perspective--analogize that to being baptized again.

I can imagine that most Protestant spouses wouldn't have these particular hang-ups, but these are valid concerns for my Catholic wife and also for me.  Whether these are really sinful or not is a complicated question, but it is difficult that this situation has arisen.
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« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2013, 07:16:56 PM »

also if the spouse does not want to join the orthodox church it is really wrong for them to pretend and go through the motions.
this is exactly what orthodoxy is NOT.
and i can assure you it certainly is a problem for protestants!

about writing to the bishop, i am not suggesting you go over the priest's head, but is seems like you are in a really impossible situation and i can't imagine it is right for you to just stay as you are and suffer like that, when all the orthodox Christians here and some others i know (that is quite a few!) have said that you DON'T automatically have to get your spouse chrismated / baptised too. i know really plenty of people from different orthodox churches who are in the church without their spouse, and sometimes the spouse comes to social occasions or Bible studies and sometimes they are at a different place in their spiritual journey.

no, we don't tend to go to our bishop over our priest's heads, but our bishops are really approachable and whenever a bishop visits, there is always a big queue of people who line up for hours to discuss their problems with the bishop (usually after lunch, we take care of our bishops!) i have met all the (4) uk bishops and at least 3 visiting bishops from egypt and they are all really approachable and lovely.
our priests are too.
but if there was a dispute that could not be resolved, it would be normal to involve a bishop.

is it different in EO churches?
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« Reply #64 on: November 16, 2013, 07:53:50 PM »

My priest would talk with the Dean or the Bishop if a question like this came up.  Then again, my priest has not told me to bring my wife to bless my marriage, so that isn't an issue.

To ErmyCath:

Everyone has hang-ups of one sort or another, even those coming from one flavor of Protestantism or another.  You are doing the right thing of being open with your priest, but AFAIK it is not the norm to encourage a spouse that is not into the whole conversion process to be involved with a marriage blessing.  When the time comes and your wife is ready, then go for it.
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« Reply #65 on: November 20, 2013, 01:02:02 PM »

I was listening to some AFR the other day and it mentioned that many priests say not to attend DL without their spouse.

I wasn't told not to attend without my spouse.  In fact, I'm converting without him.  The priest's only concern was whether or not my husband minded at all.  He doesn't.

Usually its the men that want to attend first.

It wasn't his idea.  I think his original plan was to find a church we could drop into and out of without being noticed.

And that some need to wait years and years on their spouse.

You never know.  It's his path, not mine.

I wonder what do they do in the interim?  Obviously read the bible, the fathers etc  I also assume morning & evening prayers, fasting, and work on... well growing in Christ.

If I couldn't go to church without my spouse, I'd find it very hard indeed to grow spiritually.  While there are many books available to expand knowledge, I think the lack of fellowship and support would cause most to become quite lax spiritually.
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« Reply #66 on: November 20, 2013, 01:23:12 PM »

My parish priest and I have discussed my wife once, the day I told him I was ready to go from inquirer to catechumen:

Priest: "And your wife is...?"

Me: "She's staying Catholic for the time being and supports my decision to convert."

Priest: "Okay, then, let's take a look at the calendar and set a date."

Aside from asking after her health and whatnot, that's the most we've talked about her.
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