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Author Topic: Family Issue's  (Read 752 times) Average Rating: 0
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jerry
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« on: August 12, 2012, 06:53:10 PM »

This is my first post here and I'm glad to have found this forum.  I should give you a little history to fully understand my post. 

I'm new to Orthodoxy.  I've been a catechumen for about three months now.  Before then I was protestant my whole life.  I was a protestant minister and resigned my church to become orthodox.  Since my change in faith, there has been a lot of separation between my wife and I.  I think, to some degree, she feels like I went behind her back looking for a new church but as I told her, it wasn't like that at all.  I have had an empty feeling as a protestant or a sort of feeling like something was missing.  For a long time I didn't know if I was doing something wrong, if God had forsaken me and many other things.  Because of this, I began a sort of personal search for the truth.  I decided that I was going to research how to worship as described in the Bible and how the ancient church worshiped or what happened to them.  To make a long story short, all my questions and research kept leading me to Orthodoxy.  Before I knew what hit me, I was making my first visit to an Orthodox church.

I suppose if the shoe were on the other foot I'd feel the same way.  Its just that my wife is my best friend and I hate having anything between us.  I was hoping someone else had a similar story.
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choy
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2012, 02:05:54 AM »

Not similar but I will share mine.

About two years ago I started exploring different aspects of my Catholic faith.  I tried going to traditional Mass (Latin) to see if it fits me.  It doesn't.  Then I visited, with the intention of only catechesis for myself, some of the Eastern Catholic parishes in my area.  When I got to the Byzantine one (which is the UGCC parish), I was overwhelmed with what I saw.  Overwhelmed with joy. I felt that is where I want to be.  When I wanted to move to the new parish, I asked my wife.  She didn't really want to move but she told me that if that is where I want to go, she would want us to go to church as a family. So she quit her position with the choir and went with me.

So we became Eastern Catholics.  A year later we found out that we are having another child.  I wanted our child to be given the Sacraments according to the rites of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, so to remove any canonical hurdle to that I said we should make a canonical transfer to the Ukrainian Church.  I spoke to the Ukrainian bishop about it and he was glad I wanted to do that.  I was going to do it alone, as only one of the parents need to be a canonical member of the Church sui juris (Catholic canonical stuff) for the children to receive the Sacraments in the Church.  But my bishop advised me that we should transfer as a family.  So I asked my wife and she hesitated.  She said she'll think about it but never really made a priority of it.  Our bishop (we regard the UGCC bishop as our bishop regardless of what canon law says) found a way for our child to be baptized, chrismated and communed in the Eastern rite anyway so I didn't press for her to make a decision.  To me what our bishop said and what my wife decided to do (or not do) is what God is telling me to do (or not do).

Fast forward to this year and now I am feeling that pull to Orthodoxy.  And as you will here here in this forum, I have a couple of topics about my cold feet in converting and the emotional stress I am going through thinking about converting.  But going back on what our bishop told me and what I always believe about my marriage (that is it my vocation in life), I will go with what my wife says.  No use in me converting if my wife won't.  As much as I think Orthodoxy is the right faith for us as a family, I'm not going to be in a religion where I am not in communion with my wife.  We're suppose to be one flesh as Christ has said, so how can one flesh be not in communion with one another?  I know there are many mixed marriages out there and this is not meant to kick dirt in their eye or anything, but this is how I view my own marriage.  I have spoken of how wonderful the priest is and how nice the community is in the Orthodox parish I have visited.  Next month we'll go as a family.  I will let her decide.  If she says no, then we won't.  Although it seems that she wants to leave such decisions to me because I'm the one who spends a lot of time thinking about this, I don't want to pull her into something she doesn't want to be a part of.  And after some discernment I was listening to the bible study of said Orthodox priest regarding the Acts of the Apostles. It was about the draw of lots for the replacement of Judas.  I told myself it would have been nice if I can draw lots and expect God to provide me the answer.  Then I realized that my wife does hold that neutral position on the matter.  Unlike me, she hasn't over analyzed the situation.  She will decide without struggling with the issues I struggled with.  She has a purer heart and mind on the matter than I have.  So we will see how this will work out in the coming months.  Where she decides is where we will go.

Maybe you should do the same thing.  Make her part of the journey, make her part of the decision.  Were you planning on becoming Orthodox without her?
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PrincessMommy
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2012, 11:24:32 AM »

This is my first post here and I'm glad to have found this forum.  I should give you a little history to fully understand my post. 

I'm new to Orthodoxy.  I've been a catechumen for about three months now.  Before then I was protestant my whole life.  I was a protestant minister and resigned my church to become orthodox.  Since my change in faith, there has been a lot of separation between my wife and I.  I think, to some degree, she feels like I went behind her back looking for a new church but as I told her, it wasn't like that at all.  I have had an empty feeling as a protestant or a sort of feeling like something was missing.  For a long time I didn't know if I was doing something wrong, if God had forsaken me and many other things.  Because of this, I began a sort of personal search for the truth.  I decided that I was going to research how to worship as described in the Bible and how the ancient church worshiped or what happened to them.  To make a long story short, all my questions and research kept leading me to Orthodoxy.  Before I knew what hit me, I was making my first visit to an Orthodox church.

I suppose if the shoe were on the other foot I'd feel the same way.  Its just that my wife is my best friend and I hate having anything between us.  I was hoping someone else had a similar story.

Welcome to the forum.

Have you sat down with her and talked about it?  Perhaps you did move too fast for her or made some mistakes.   Those of us who have come without our spouses have a lot of choices about how to proceed.  Some go without waiting for the spouse  and some decide to wait (sometimes years).  All have legitimate reasons for doing it that way and every family's circumstance will be different.

The other side is that since you were a pastor perhaps a lot of her worth was wrapped up in being the pastor's wife.  There must be some grief or sadness about losing that large part of who she is to her friends/family.  She very well may be sad and/or angry about losing this place of honor in her community.
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jerry
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2012, 01:35:54 PM »

Quote
Welcome to the forum.

Have you sat down with her and talked about it?  Perhaps you did move too fast for her or made some mistakes.   Those of us who have come without our spouses have a lot of choices about how to proceed.  Some go without waiting for the spouse  and some decide to wait (sometimes years).  All have legitimate reasons for doing it that way and every family's circumstance will be different.

The other side is that since you were a pastor perhaps a lot of her worth was wrapped up in being the pastor's wife.  There must be some grief or sadness about losing that large part of who she is to her friends/family.  She very well may be sad and/or angry about losing this place of honor in her community.

It kind of took me by surprise.  I didn't begin my search for real truth by researching Orthodoxy.  It just ended up there.  The only reason I didn't ask her to join me on the initial research is that it was a personal thing.  I guess in hind sight it would have been better for me to start with her.  If I knew that it was going the direction that it went I would have.

We both loved the people in my former church and she's still there as well.  It was really the toughest thing I've ever done.  If I had just known where it was going I would have included her but going forward I've got to find a way to mend this issue between us.
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JamesR
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 04:47:53 PM »

Just give her time; she will come around. I too came from a Protestant background and my parents were very unhappy about my conversion and even hostile at times (I'm 16). But they eventually got over it and are at least learning to tolerate me. Remember that God always comes first before your family no matter what. While that does not mean you should hate them or leave them. It does mean that you should try to make God happy before you make them, even if it means converting against your wife's will.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 04:49:24 PM by JamesR » Logged

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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2012, 04:53:18 PM »

Just give her time; she will come around. I too came from a Protestant background and my parents were very unhappy about my conversion and even hostile at times (I'm 16). But they eventually got over it and are at least learning to tolerate me.

James...honestly...  You are much too young to be giving marital advice.    Yes, she does need time, but they also need to work through this as a team.

Jerry... many of us don't intend to make a bee-line for Orthodoxy.  It happens.  She may very well feel that since you are rejecting the faith you two married into that you have somehow violated the vows you took (I've heard that one before from other married friends).  Hopefully you can tell her how important it is for this to be a shared journey. 

But, until you can sit down and have a gentle but candid conversation it's hard to say exactly what she's thinking.  Right?

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Pan Michał
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2012, 05:03:16 PM »

Hi Jerry, I don't like to give anyone any advice as to how one should resolve his marriage issues, but I guess the only thing is that you should spend your every free minute to your wife, trying to get into her head and let her into your head. You were Protestant, she has never been Orthodox, so the advantage is on your side, as you surely know. It's also good to speak with your priest about this problem. The first and foremost is to show her that you are not into some "boogey-woogey church", that reminds more of a theatrical picture piety, than faith - from what I know most of Protestants view Orthodox/Conservative Catholic as such - but to show her the rich theology. You should always remember that while you are not Protestant but Orthodox now, you are still her husband and your relations did not change a bit, you are not a different person: and while you know this for sure, she may not feel it the same way. It's very difficult matter and I guess that I did not say anything new to you, so I guess that you should speak with your priest about it - and if he is old man, that's really good.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 05:11:18 PM by Pan Michał » Logged
jerry
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2012, 09:01:08 PM »

Quote
but I guess the only thing is that you should spend your every free minute to your wife, trying to get into her head and let her into your head.

I agree and believe this is the best approach.  I know more than ever that she needs to see a change in me or it will simply seem like I changed churches.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2012, 09:02:54 PM »

I don't have a story to share here (actually I went the opposite direction), but I did want to welcome you to the forum Smiley
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I'm not quite sure what to make of the common argument for Christianity that might be rephrased as: "Well, it's better than suicide, right?"
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2012, 12:31:02 AM »

I will be honest with you.  I feel your pain as do others.  I'm sure others will chime in before too long.  There are many that are in the same boat as us.  I've been moving towards Orthodoxy without my wife for the last 4 years.  I too was doing it alone.  I was looking for the Truth and everything led me to Orthodoxy.  I've made many mistakes along the way and I will sum up my best advice for you.

The BEST advice I can give from these 4 years of experience is be patient, be loving, and no matter what assure your wife you are still the same man.  Yes, listen to all good advice given regarding sharing the teachings of the Church and what you've come to find but be patient and at all cost don't be pushy. 

Listen to the advice posted.  It is much better than I can give you. Many of us have similiar situations which have many similiarities.  Share what you've learned but also know when not to share it.  Take it slow.  It may seem like eternity but it's not.  Trust me.  It can be a struggle, but you can get through it.  I didn't want to believe this when I was given the same advice and I struggled with it when I knew I was in the midst of this struggle, but I have become a better person for this and I thank God for that.

I thought my wife would never come around.  We had many heated and civil late night discussions.  It was  never easy in my situation. My wife has come to the point of begrudgingly supporting the idea of me becoming Orthodox and she remain Catholic.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  By all means yes.


Hang in there.  Pray for your family.  It will get better.
My .02
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2012, 01:54:26 AM »

I know more than ever that she needs to see a change in me or it will simply seem like I changed churches.
Yep. Also, sloganeering doesn't help these types of situations.  Wink


« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 01:54:40 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
jerry
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2012, 07:57:06 AM »

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sloganeering doesn't help these types of situations.

I'm not sure what you mean
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Pan Michał
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2012, 08:02:58 AM »

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sloganeering doesn't help these types of situations.

I'm not sure what you mean

I think he was trying to say that using "orthodox" language could scare her off, and make her think you are really in a different world. The best is, I guess, leave aside the nuances, talking about orthodoxy and such, and instead talk about you and her.

Does she need to see a change in yourself, or is she seeing it already and that scares her, because she does not know what does she see and mistake it for a sectarian behaviour? Jerry, none of us knows the situation between you and your wife, I don't think asking anonymous forumites will help. I'm sorry I'm repeating it like a mantra.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 08:03:27 AM by Pan Michał » Logged
jerry
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2012, 09:29:18 AM »

Thank you all for your encouragement.
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2012, 02:40:13 PM »

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sloganeering doesn't help these types of situations.

I'm not sure what you mean

I was poking a little fun at your signature (Not non-denominational, it's pre-denominational!). But in all seriousness, such things can come across as triumphalist, so I would be careful with them around your wife.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 02:41:03 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
jerry
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2012, 02:56:42 PM »

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I was poking a little fun at your signature (Not non-denominational, it's pre-denominational!). But in all seriousness, such things can come across as triumphalist, so I would be careful with them around your wife.

I do have enough sense to not express this to my wife but I thought I'd be safe here  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2012, 03:11:14 PM »

top tips from orthodox lady with protestant husband:
1. you both worship the same God. acknowledge the validity of her spiritual experiences.
2. the devil is the enemy of both of you. when u think she is being unreasonable, don't blame her; she is being provoked. as u learn humility (wish i could!) u will realise he is provoking u as well. spend quality time with her doing something u both enjoy and make sure u don't stop socialising with your mutual friends, even if u no longer go to church with them. maybe invite them over.

i could say more, but it's too personal to share on a public forum.
may God guide u and give u very much grace and patience.
 Smiley
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