Author Topic: When a spouse objects  (Read 300 times)

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Online Eruvande

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When a spouse objects
« on: Today at 04:05:13 AM »
I'm quite sure this topic comes up with depressing frequency, but I'm not a terribly original sort, so here goes. My husband has pretty much vetoed any further travels down an Orthodox road - for now. He let me go to a Divine Liturgy some months ago, which I enjoyed, but was quite put out when we talked about me actually going with any regularity. His position is that he is happy for me to read and learn about Orthodoxy, even to pray and make the sign of the cross, but not to actually become Orthodox. He seems to think I can bring an 'Orthodox flavour' to our current church, and enjoys our discussions about faith, but that's as far as it is allowed to go. So for now, the road appears to have run out beneath my feet.

Offline LBK

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #1 on: Today at 04:12:16 AM »
Is it possible for you to contact an Orthodox priest by phone or email? His advice should help.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #2 on: Today at 04:20:02 AM »
I agree with LBK's advice to contact a priest. However, my personal opinion is that you cannot go wrong by respecting your husband in this manner. I think that if you assure your husband that you will never violate his spiritual leadership and convert against his will, then in time you will see him becoming increasingly open to Orthodoxy. So just strive to cultivate a private Orthodox prayer life, and share what you learn with your husband when he asks questions. And trust that God will honor your love for and submission to your husband. It's not as if your husband is asking you not to pray or not to learn about Orthodoxy. It just sounds like he is rightly concerned about leading and protecting you spiritually, and rebellion against his sincere intentions will only cause harm. So just try to be patient and allow the Holy Spirit to show him the benefits and truth of Orthodoxy as you model the Orthodox spirit before him. Quite a challenge, I realize. But God will guide you. (I am not a priest, so please take my opinions with a grain of salt.)

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« Last Edit: Today at 04:20:23 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
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Offline Maria

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #3 on: Today at 04:44:39 AM »
I agree with Selam.

The husband should be respected otherwise the marriage could break up. If he will allow you to contact a priest, do so. If not, then continue to pray in silence and in solitude and love him, praying that God will convert him. Incidentally, my husband did not want me to convert to Orthodoxy, but after three years, he joined me in the catechumenate, so I speak from experience.

Yes, continue to pray without ceasing. Read Orthodox books.

Several priests have recommended buying and placing The Mountain of Silence on the coffee table. This book's title usually interests men as menfolk are usually trying to keep their wives silent even though some linguistic studies have proven that men talk more than women. In addition, since Mt. Athos only allows men, men will inquire further. Furthermore, this book has already encouraged many men to come into Orthodoxy, some discovering it for the first time, and other rediscovering Orthodoxy.

p.s. Read The Mountain of Silence and giggle at the funny scenarios presented. That should get his attention. That is what I did, and my husband took the book away from me and read it first.
« Last Edit: Today at 04:50:42 AM by Maria »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #4 on: Today at 04:48:29 AM »
When a spouse vetoes, lets, permits, and other such verbs usually which describe the relation between parent and child, I don't think there is a specifically odox response.

Since many here are former evos, many men, many seem to want to exercise authority some where in the world, I am not sure as a woman the advice will be terribly helpful.

The marriage dynamic seems more the issue than anything peculiar to odoxy. Having known a few Priests and their wives rather well, the authoritarian dynamic suggested in the OP and in Gebre's post were practically absent. The couple I new the best, had a rather equitable relationship, Father was given a lot of room to engage in tom foolery with me, but when it was enough it was enough.

Presbytera openly disagreed with her husband and engaged in activities many here would likely take as some open spiritual rebellion, if you take their posts seriously.

So in short, it seems you know your marriage better than anyone, including the odox Priest who happens to be close to you.

So ask yourself and those who know you and your husband and your marriage the best. And take with an enormous grain of salt most of what is said around here, especially if strikes a particularly reactionary tone. The odox I know on the whole would find your situation sad and grievous but for reasons other than will be expressed here.


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Offline orthonorm

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #5 on: Today at 04:49:51 AM »
I agree with Selam.

The husband should be respected otherwise the marriage could break up. If he will allow you to contact a priest, do so. If not, then continue to pray in silence and in solitude and love him, praying that God will convert him. Incidentally, my husband did not want me to convert to Orthodoxy, but after three years, he joined me in the catechumenate, so I speak from experience.

Yes, continue to pray without ceasing. Read Orthodox books.

Several priests have recommended buying and placing The Mountain of Silence on the coffee table. This book's title usually interests men as menfolk are usually trying to keep their wives silent even though some linguistic studies have proven that men talk more than women. In addition, since Mt. Athos only allows men, men will inquire further. Furthermore, this book has already encouraged many men to come into Orthodoxy, some discovering it for the first time, and other rediscovering Orthodoxy.

Ignore my post and listen to Maria. Her charm is simply irrestiable.
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #6 on: Today at 05:38:20 AM »
When a spouse vetoes, lets, permits, and other such verbs usually which describe the relation between parent and child, I don't think there is a specifically odox response.

Since many here are former evos, many men, many seem to want to exercise authority some where in the world, I am not sure as a woman the advice will be terribly helpful.

The marriage dynamic seems more the issue than anything peculiar to odoxy. Having known a few Priests and their wives rather well, the authoritarian dynamic suggested in the OP and in Gebre's post were practically absent. The couple I new the best, had a rather equitable relationship, Father was given a lot of room to engage in tom foolery with me, but when it was enough it was enough.

Presbytera openly disagreed with her husband and engaged in activities many here would likely take as some open spiritual rebellion, if you take their posts seriously.

So in short, it seems you know your marriage better than anyone, including the odox Priest who happens to be close to you.

So ask yourself and those who know you and your husband and your marriage the best. And take with an enormous grain of salt most of what is said around here, especially if strikes a particularly reactionary tone. The odox I know on the whole would find your situation sad and grievous but for reasons other than will be expressed here.


I think you are grossly exaggerating the intention of my post. I was in no way advising the OP to "submit to your husband, regardless of what he asks, as this is your wifely duty and any difference of individual opinion will send you to hell." Sure, there are many fundies out there who would advise such nonsense, but I think you know me well enough to know I ain't one of them. My advice was more in the spirit of pragmatism. If she wants to become Orthodox and win her husband in the process, then I think that trusting the good will of her husband and ultimately trusting God is the best course. Good grief, you act as if I were advising her to submit to the violence of a physically abusive husband. And while you mock Maria, she is after all, speaking from experience.


Selam
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Online Eruvande

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #7 on: Today at 05:48:14 AM »
Thanks all. To be clear, I am not a greatly submissive wife who wouldn't say boo to a goose (any longer, that's another story), I am simply trying to stay on the same page as my husband. We have always, thus far, been of a similar mind on spiritual things, from our journey into Calvinism and then our journey out again. It's just an odd place to be where I am deeply interested in something that he is, if not dead set against, then certainly very reluctant about.

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #8 on: Today at 10:35:58 AM »
Good to see you back Eruvande!

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #9 on: Today at 10:55:47 AM »
I agree with orthonorm that you know your marriage better than we possibly could, so I won't attempt to dole out any advice on that front but hopefully encouragement: it's okay for the whole process to take time. Many people take many years to end up in Orthodoxy, and there's a lot of good that comes from a lengthier journey. Progress can be slow and painful- many of us would relate to that. So, the road may seemingly be run out beneath you, but don't be discouraged. It may yet not be. In the meantime, I think only good can come from you continuing to read and study, pray and love your husband. Be at peace. It could be that once he sees this is something that isn't going away for you, he will be more open-minded. If it gets to a point where you feel he isn't ever going to be on board but you need to move forward, I think you will know more than we internet strangers when that point arrives. And at that point, I would speak to a priest. But I mostly just wanted to encourage you not to feel discouraged because you've hit a wall. Really in conversion, that's par for the course.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #10 on: Today at 10:57:51 AM »
Before I ask, just as a warning to Eruvande, please do not read into my post as a suggestion to divorce your husband.

To the Orthodox here, plainly speaking, would there be an objection to a priest or any other clergy that would suggest to a potential catechumen to divorce their husband/wife if they obstruct? I wonder if Luke 14:26 would be used to substantiate the suggestion. It's not like the OP had a sacramental marriage that would impede any placing of divorce on the table.

This is what I wanted to ask Trisagion, but I forgot to send him a PM. How was he in good standing with the church knowing that his wife was attending a protestant church. Sure this is very very common, but I just find it interesting in how theres tolerance for it when I read certain passages in Scripture that suggest otherwise. Not to put too fine a point on it, who do you love more God or your husband, or rather what comes first? If you cannot love God in the manner as Jesus talks of in Scripture,  well what are you to do? I have my own opinions but I will not share them due to insensitivity to others.

I'm probably missing a piece of the puzzle here and I sincerely apologize to anyone I may upset with my post. Just looking for some clarity.

God bless...
« Last Edit: Today at 10:58:42 AM by nothing »
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Offline LBK

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #11 on: Today at 11:02:53 AM »

1 Corinthians 7:14 comes to mind.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #12 on: Today at 11:06:00 AM »

1 Corinthians 7:14 comes to mind.
I really am not interested in a polemical discussion and I hope I didn't invite one with my inquiry, but I'm not sure this really addresses a situation like the OP is in.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #13 on: Today at 11:08:14 AM »
for those keeping these things in mind, I am in intermittent contact with a priest, yes. But sometimes a natter on a forum can be helpful in helping one see things in a different light.

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #14 on: Today at 11:09:30 AM »

1 Corinthians 7:14 comes to mind.
I really am not interested in a polemical discussion and I hope I didn't invite one with my inquiry, but I'm not sure this really addresses a situation like the OP is in.

I think it would be better for you to start a new thread if you want to talk about this question in general terms (which, based on your earlier post, I think you do). 
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #15 on: Today at 11:11:06 AM »

1 Corinthians 7:14 comes to mind.
I really am not interested in a polemical discussion and I hope I didn't invite one with my inquiry, but I'm not sure this really addresses a situation like the OP is in.

I think it would be better for you to start a new thread if you want to talk about this question in general terms (which, based on your earlier post, I think you do).
Good idea, hopefully Trisagion isn't in the middle of replying to me...either way I'll start a new one with the relevant posts.

Thank you.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #16 on: Today at 11:18:20 AM »
Before I ask, just as a warning to Eruvande, please do not read into my post as a suggestion to divorce your husband.

To the Orthodox here, plainly speaking, would there be an objection to a priest or any other clergy that would suggest to a potential catechumen to divorce their husband/wife if they obstruct? I wonder if Luke 14:26 would be used to substantiate the suggestion. It's not like the OP had a sacramental marriage that would impede any placing of divorce on the table.

This is what I wanted to ask Trisagion, but I forgot to send him a PM. How was he in good standing with the church knowing that his wife was attending a protestant church. Sure this is very very common, but I just find it interesting in how theres tolerance for it when I read certain passages in Scripture that suggest otherwise. Not to put too fine a point on it, who do you love more God or your husband, or rather what comes first? If you cannot love God in the manner as Jesus talks of in Scripture,  well what are you to do? I have my own opinions but I will not share them due to insensitivity to others.

I'm probably missing a piece of the puzzle here and I sincerely apologize to anyone I may upset with my post. Just looking for some clarity.

God bless...
I'll address this as well as the OP as unfortunately, I have quite a bit of experience in this department. I am not technically "in good standing" with the Church because I am still a catechumen. My priest has advised that he will not chrismate me until my wife gives her blessing, and I think that is wise counsel. I've never heard of a priest advising someone to divorce their husband to join the Church. Of course, maybe if someone's spouse was a non-Christian and refusing them to participate in any Christian worship, then that might be another conversation, but my wife is Methodist and while obviously the Church finds Methodism to be deficient, it isn't like I'm going to a Moslem mosque and proclaiming that there is no Triune God. I go and sit quietly with my wife and kids, I don't take communion there and then after that service, I go to DL by myself. It works for us now. When I started, there was a lot of fights and objects thrown. I wish I would have handled it better and I know she does as well. We are mostly in a stalemate at this point. I don't really buy in to the whole "woman, submit to me because I am the husband" thing. Rather, both persons need to demonstrate humility and submit themselves to the other person. Of course, I can only control myself, I can't control what my wife does, so I do my best to be humble and honor her wishes. I think every couple has to work that out between the two of them. I know my priest told me that it would be better if I never darkened the door of another Orthodox church, but was a good husband and father and kept to private prayer and read Scripture and the Fathers, than ignore my wife and damage my marriage and role as a father and push headlong into the Church while ignoring the familial consequences.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #17 on: Today at 11:19:28 AM »
Thanks all. To be clear, I am not a greatly submissive wife who wouldn't say boo to a goose (any longer, that's another story), I am simply trying to stay on the same page as my husband. We have always, thus far, been of a similar mind on spiritual things, from our journey into Calvinism and then our journey out again. It's just an odd place to be where I am deeply interested in something that he is, if not dead set against, then certainly very reluctant about.

I'm on moderation so this might come up before iit finally is posted but let me ask these questions if it isn't too much but what are the reasons for your husband opostion to you converting to Orthodoxy. Is he happy in the current modern Anglican church? Has he himself ever went to Liturgy in the Orthodox Church? Anyways you seem like a great wife wanting to be on the same page as your husband concerning faith. I'm still young in my journey myself but someone can correct me if I am wrong but Orthodoxy is very much pro-family and Pro-marriage and wouldn't allow conversions that could tensions in a family or hurt a marriage I've heard of priests denying people conversions before since it would hurt the marriage since the other spouse is of another faith or was objecting to their signifacant becoming Orthodox. I hope this helps you.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #18 on: Today at 11:21:13 AM »

1 Corinthians 7:14 comes to mind.
I really am not interested in a polemical discussion and I hope I didn't invite one with my inquiry, but I'm not sure this really addresses a situation like the OP is in.

I think it would be better for you to start a new thread if you want to talk about this question in general terms (which, based on your earlier post, I think you do).
Good idea, hopefully Trisagion isn't in the middle of replying to me...either way I'll start a new one with the relevant posts.

Thank you.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #19 on: Today at 11:26:23 AM »
for those keeping these things in mind, I am in intermittent contact with a priest, yes. But sometimes a natter on a forum can be helpful in helping one see things in a different light.
Do you have an icon corner?  Perhaps you can start with something like that.  Whatever you do, take it slow and keep the communication open.

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #20 on: Today at 11:33:37 AM »
Just go slow, and let him see that Orthodoxy is not the toxin that Calvinism is.

I have had a couple of spouses (husbands) of catechumens say that there was no way in _______ that they would convert.  Years later, one has and the other is on his way.  It takes time.

Men don't like being led by their wives any more than wives like being led by their husbands.

Just be faithful and let God do His thing.  He does it better than we do.
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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #21 on: Today at 12:01:40 PM »
As someone who was in a similar, but not altogether exact situation, Ill give you the advice my priest gave me. Your marriage is not worth losing.

Now, if your husband left you over it, that is different. However, do what you can, when you can. If you cant be Orthodox, then live it as best you can and let God do His part. He might convert, but then again, he might not.

You have to understand, that this is as jarring for you as it is for your husband. I started having "convertitis" and not realizing that my conversion had ripple effects in my household that I wanted to ignore.

I hope this helps.

PP
« Last Edit: Today at 12:02:23 PM by primuspilus »
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Offline Maria

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #22 on: Today at 01:42:01 PM »
It is better to wait. And another true story.

There was a husband who wanted to be chrismated against the wishes of his wife. He told her that he was just inquiring, nothing more. When he started purchasing icons, prayer ropes, incense, candles, books (over a thousand books), and then made an icon stand and next a reader's stand to store all his bible and his Orthodox liturgical books, she became very upset because he was transforming her living room into a chapel. Man, he was so zealous that he acted like a Marine General in the Orthodox Church. Therefore, she contacted her Catholic priest, who told her to get her marriage annulled, which would cost money as they would have to get a divorce first.  With a house full of children, it would be nasty, as she threatened to move away from him, make him pay alimony and child support, and not allow custodial privileges.

Since the priest was kept in the dark as he was never able to speak with the wife, did not know what was truly happening in the home, nor how dire the situation was, he chrismated the husband. Within three weeks, the husband flew the white flag and surrendered. Now the man is back in the Catholic Church because he neither wanted to lose his wife, nor lose custody of his children.

If an Orthodox Priest asks to interview both husband and wife when only one wants to convert, he has good reasons for doing so. My priest scheduled appointments for me and my husband to see us separately and together. Gradually, my husband came around, but it took three years.

And most importantly, he was the first one to be received as a catechumen, and he was the first one in our family to be chrismated as a new Orthodox Christian.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:47:47 PM by Maria »
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Offline Maria

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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #23 on: Today at 01:49:55 PM »
Just go slow, and let him see that Orthodoxy is not the toxin that Calvinism is.

I have had a couple of spouses (husbands) of catechumens say that there was no way in _______ that they would convert.  Years later, one has and the other is on his way.  It takes time.

Men don't like being led by their wives any more than wives like being led by their husbands.

Just be faithful and let God do His thing.  He does it better than we do.


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Re: When a spouse objects
« Reply #24 on: Today at 02:30:38 PM »
Thanks all for the continued advice and comments, it's all appreciated. To answer some questions - I'm not Orthodox-convert-of-the-century candidate, I have a small icon corner on the mantelpiece that my husband is very happy for me to have and I make the sign of the cross when we pray which he is also quite comfortable with - he's even happy for the kids to follow suit. I pray using an agbia (Not very well, but I perservere) and he has on rare occasions joined in with me, and that's about it. I am certainly not trying to run before I can walk and am not applying conscious pressure on him.

His objections are variously that he doesn't want to upset the stability we find ourselves in, Orthodoxy is very exotic and he doesn't see the need for me to make any changes. Nothing earth shattering and we bumble along without much argument on the matter. My focus is, and always has been, to love him and my children to the best of my ability and see what will come. It's just hard to not be of like mind spiritually when we have been for much of our marriage. I suppose Orthodoxy is somewhat incidental to that, in some senses. Anyway, like I say, thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond :)