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25-Nov-2017 03:55

But then I learned (thanks to writers like Lewis, Chesterton, and many other ‘joyful’ men and women), that this is not how we should be. Let us be not only joyful, but also capable of enjoying (morally, of course) God’s gifts (including our yet to be converted spouse). While my wife did begin to be open to the possibility of Christianity through the changes she saw in me, if she’d been left to her own devices, she’d probably have taken the whole thing MUCH slower. This woman is today a Catholic who probably has about 1/100th of the book knowledge I have about the faith, but regularly manages to put me to shame in living it out. Let us be able to set aside our expectations of what it should or will look like for others (even those most dear to us). Reading is wonderful, enlightening, edifying, helpful, and plenty of it needs to be done to fill the intellectual life of the intellectual Catholic.When she finally did decide to convert, it was as much for me, for our family’s unity (we were pregnant at that time), and for peace in our marriage as anything else. I wondered if she felt forced (though I honestly don’t recall pressing her after the initial foolish period of trying to convert her). I was suspicious that she was doing this way too much for me, and not enough out of conviction and true belief on her part. OK, so her motives weren’t as ‘pure’ I would have thought they should be in the beginning, but look at it another way…how humble of her to have taken such a leap for her family and marriage! God of course will use whatever he can to draw us to him. And looking back, can I really hold my own motives as so pure? If and when it happens, it may very well look very different than might be expected. But always, under girding everything must be the entering into of the life of prayer.Again, aside from the sacraments, this serves more to allow God to transform us and draw us to him than anything else I can think of.This life of prayer empowers us to do the good work of becoming that husband who images Christ to our wives, who turns the other cheek, who sacrifices for her.It was only after my behavior as a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a person, had drastically changed for the better that she began to become open to the possibility that there might be something to that whole Christianity thing.To her non-intellectual personality, the proof was in the pudding. I was listening to the final keynote speaker at a conference, so far back in the nosebleed seats that I had to squint to make out the tall, tattooed pastor standing on the stage. Those who aren’t sure, who can still be surprised.” I barely heard anything after that.I shifted in my seat, listless and ready to stretch, but before I could move, the pastor launched into a final benediction—a blessing-riff on the Beatitudes. My mind fixated on the phrase “blessed are the agnostics” because my husband doesn’t believe in God anymore, and there are moments when I don’t know what I believe, either.

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In our story, the slow drift from faith had been happening for a long time.I feel very disheartened that she has no interest in this faith that is to crucial to my life, and that I don’t even have any friends who share my Catholic faith.It seems that whenever I try to be a good Catholic and Christian I get accused of being a “party pooper” or “holy roller”.That non-intellectual part is not an insult in the least.

My wife is plenty smart, she just happens to be one of those people who lives more in the real world than in her head (i.e. Sometimes, I really think being an ‘intellectual’ is a huge disadvantage.

A reader emailed me the other day to ask if I had any thoughts on how to discuss faith with an agnostic spouse.