Living an unequally yoked marriage is not easy, especially when one person is an atheist and the other decided six years into their marriage to convert to Catholicism. Whatever your faith denomination, or not, as the case may be, here are some quick Do’s and Dont’s that I’ve collected that may help you get through some of those tougher moments.
Do ask your children to pray for your spouse. I don’t know where I heard this, but children’s prayer’s are powerful. Maybe it’s that scripture verse Matthew 19:14. Simply praying as a family for them to have a good day, or a safe flight is perfect.
Don’t tell your children to pray for the conversion of their parent’s soul. Don’t create a divide in your marriage this way. In essence what you’re doing is pitting your spouse against the rest of the family and if what you want is peace in your marriage, do your best to eliminate unnecessary us vs them scenarios.
Do participate in church activities. Faith is something that isn’t seen. Make your faith, new or not, visible to your spouse and sign up for a bible sharing study or a clean the church day. They’ll see that faith isn’t private, but shared in a community.
Don’t kill your schedule with every church activity. Remember that marriage is a vocation too and that is always priority with family. It’s about balance. If you’re a new convert, it’s easy to be so excited about your faith that you want to scream it from the rooftops and participate in everything. Pick one or two things and then journal girl, journal. That will get all the high energy stuff out, and you’ll have a great resource for yourself to look back on when things get tough.
Do spend quality time with your spouse. I know it may sound weird, but this new faith thing you got going, where you’re consuming all things God, it’s wonderful, but to your spouse it’s like they’re sharing the spotlight with an interloper. Don’t get me wrong, God is not an interloper. Just look at yourself through their eyes. They married you because of how you love, and they want that love showered on them.
Don’t assume your spouse isn’t interested. Just because they say they will never, ever, ever in a million, trillion, billion, years believe in anything other than your delicious rice and beans, don’t assume they don’t care. They love you and do care, just give them time to come around to your new found faith. Like all change, it takes time for a marriage to adjust.
Do show patience. A priest explained it to me like this: “Of course you’re frustrated, you are milestones away in your faith, and even if he doesn’t know it, he’s on a journey of faith too, but he’s like at the entrance to the journey. He’s checking out the door. Be patient with him” Remember how the door to your journey of faith fascinated and terrified you at the same time? Show a little patience.
Don’t argue over every tenet of the bible, or social doctrine. I know it’s hard, but sometimes, sometimes, you have to stay silent. For me, marriage trumps all. I know that’s the vocation I was called to and God understands the struggle in my heart. Peace and love in your marriage always. Of course, there was that one time that I caused a rift.
Do share the load. Have a good friend, priest or minister? Confide in them. This is tough stuff to work through by yourself and it’s not healthy to hold it all in. In fact, it can make you a little crazy. Ask for prayers to have the grace to be the spouse you are called to be. As a Catholic, I lean on the saints, but most of all Our Blessed Mother.
Don’t focus on their conversion. As harsh as it sounds, that’s not your problem, nor is it something you can really do anything about. That’s a battle they have to work out. All you can do is pray for yourself and your marriage. Personally, I just pray for seeds of conversion. That’s all. Because blooming where you’re planted has strong roots.
Do admit that you don’t have all the answers. Sometimes, when conversations heat up, one or both spouses can feel cornered. A quick “get out of here now” card is to say that you don’t have all of the answers. Back it up with a resource, my favorite? My priest. He knows everything!
When in doubt, sprinkle everything with holy water! I’m kidding. Maybe. Please know that you’re not alone. If He brought you to it, He will see you through it. It’s cliche, but man is that something to keep handy when the going gets rough.
Are you unequally yoked? Do you have any tips that could be helpful to others? I’d love to read and share them.