We invite our longtime married readers to share the experiences that have marked, refined, and anointed their marriages; months and years that, by grace, transform the mundane, the bitter, and the incomprehensible into the fruits of holy wisdom. A purification and a clear vision for the path to heaven that lies ahead. The Sophia Series.
Each domestic Church practices the faith differently at home. My husband and I are both cradle Catholics, yet our families of origin practiced the Catholic faith differently at home. And that’s okay.
After high school, I spent a year at a Catholic Charismatic Bible School and became actively involved in youth and music ministry. My husband quit attending Mass for roughly 11 years, until just before God’s divine intervention finally brought us together.
How we met is a crazy story of God’s absolutely perfect timing, bringing all the puzzle pieces together. My husband and I quickly knew we were meant to be together and didn’t waste any time. We were married six months after our first meeting, and our oldest child was a honeymoon baby.
Life was grand until we realized we liked to practice the faith differently. That’s when a new, controlling side of me came out. I didn’t understand why my husband couldn’t see things the way I did, and wanted to fix that. Trying to force things on people never goes over well, particularly if that person is your spouse. It started to affect our relationship.
When our oldest was a baby, my husband stopped receiving the sacraments. He was undergoing an inner struggle I didn’t--and still don’t--understand. It was upsetting to me, heavy on my heart. It made me feel like a failure as a wife. Bringing up the issue only upset me more.
The most upsetting was yet to come.
I still remember the day my husband admitted he was struggling with addiction. I remember where I was sitting. I remember where he was standing. I remember what he said. I remember the tone of voice he used. I remember my heart shattering.
I was in complete and utter shock. I mildly knew he’d struggled before we were married, but I never expected addiction to show its ugly, destructive face in our marriage--which, in retrospect, was pretty naive of me. Getting married doesn’t fix problems. Addiction doesn’t just magically go away.
I spent almost the entirety of the next day in tears, all the while trying to hide it from our daughters and, of course, from my husband. I was numb. The rest of that week was spent in and out of tears. My parents came to watch the girls for a couple hours, during which time I journaled and sobbed in front of the Tabernacle.
Once again, my controlling side came out. I need to help him, I thought. I want to fix it. What can I do to make sure it never happens again? I wanted, unknowingly, to control the situation. It somehow ended up being all about me--only me!
I didn’t want to ever feel like that again. And in my pain, I forgot it was also about my husband.
I read stories of people whose spouses were struggling with the same addiction; one in particular stood out to me. Through that story, I realized it wasn’t up to me to fix everything. If I tried, I would probably make our situation worse and drive my husband further away.
I decided not to push. I still occasionally tried to encourage the sacraments, but again, it didn’t help anything--it only upset me. I tried my best to surrender the situation to God. The trouble with my surrender though, because I was affected so deeply by this, is that I kept taking it back. It’s my job as a wife to get my husband to heaven, I’d think. I can’t just drop it.
It wasn’t until recently that I came to a (rather obvious) realization: my husband is a child of God.
He is one of his sheep. The love I have for my husband is so great I sometimes think my heart might explode. And even so, God loves him infinitely more. He loves him more greatly and more perfectly than is humanly possible. His love is overwhelming, never-ending, reckless. He will leave the 99 to go after him. If I, who am his wife, do not want to give up on him and want heaven for him, how much more does God want this for him?
Oscar Wilde wrote, “every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”
Though it’s still not easy, and I’m still imperfect, our God is perfect. When I have a moment of heartache, or discouragement, I surrender my husband. I offer him back to our Lord, who loves him infinitely more than I do; who desires heaven for him. It has made my life all the easier and more joyful. I know our Lord will not abandon him and will fight for him.
Katherine’s Advice for Brides:
We can do nothing apart from God! In times of despair or heartache, surrender your husband to God! Offer him back to our Lord, who loves him infinitely more than you ever can or will. Let him fight for him, and trust that he will!