Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bridging the Faith Gap: What to Do When There's a Spiritual Divide

Lately, there's been a spiritual divide between me and my husband.  It's not the big, overwhelming chasm it was 4 years ago when he was an atheist and I was a devout Catholic.  This one is a gap caused by drift.  It's been troubling me and so I turned to my mother for advice.  You have to understand how odd that is for me.  A little less than 13 years ago she hated my husband enough that she falsely accused him of child abuse.  However, through the grace of God she is a different woman today than she was back then, and she has cultivated in her heart a very real affection for him and because of this I can now safely turn to her when there are troubles because I know that the advice she gives me will not be intended to create a divide at home but to foster a closer unity.

Her advice to me was something I thought I would share with other wives who may be struggling with the same thing.  Her first piece of advice was to be sure that I am seeking his advice at least as often as I am busy dishing out advice to him. If I am the only one who is ever giving advice, it can begin to seem like I don't value his opinion and he may begin to feel like I don't see him as an equal.  I had to confess that most of the advice giving was pretty one sided in our home, especially in matters of spirituality, and she reminded me that this may make him feel as if I am treating him like I would a son or a child.  He already knows that I've got years more experience in being a Catholic, and my handling of things may be causing him to feel like it's a race he can't win to try and catch up.

Her second piece of advice was to be sure that when I spoke about the business we run together, I avoid talking about it like it's mine alone.  The business may have started off as my idea, but it would not be where it is now without him, and I need to be sure to choose my words to reflect that fact.  She pointed out that quite often, when I speak about the business I talk about it as if it is my business, my clients, and my work.  The truth of the matter is that he puts at least as much work into it as I do, sometimes more, and he deserves to be given credit for the fact that he's not just an accessory to the business but a core element of it.  We're a team, but I sometimes forget to treat him like we're a team.

Her last piece of advice to me was equally solid.  If he is complaining that I am not home much anymore, I don't need to ignore that. I need to address it.  Either I should attempt to encourage him to join me, or I should trim back on my activities so that I am home more often.  My marriage is my first priority, and I need to be sure that in all things I remember that.

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