What to Do When a Spouse Leaves the Faith

By pintswaquinas May 16, 2023

The beauty of Catholic marriage is that you and your spouse are united on the thing that matters most: your faith. Sadly, it’s common for one spouse to leave the Church. There can be many reasons for this, such as losing trust in God due to intense suffering.

This situation is heartbreaking for the other spouse. Here are some tips to encourage the love of your life to come back to Christ.

1. Consider whether you’ve played a role in his or her decision.
Maybe you’ve inadvertently behaved in ways that encouraged your spouse to leave the faith. This can happen if you judge your spouse too harshly for mistakes or weaknesses and he or she begins to associate the faith with fear, rather than love. If this is the case, ask God to help you become more merciful, understanding, and loving toward your spouse.

2. Pray and make sacrifices for your spouse.
There may be a time and place to charitably make the case for faith, but prayer and fasting are your two most powerful gifts.

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Offer your Rosaries up for your spouse. Go to a Holy Hour for him or her. Periodically skip your favorite snack and offer up that suffering for his or her salvation.

3. Remember that God is the one who changes hearts.
In 1 Cor. 3:6, St. Paul reminds us who’s really in charge of conversion: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

You’re understandably anxious about your spouse and could think the decision he or she made is all on you. It’s not.

God calls you to plant the seeds, but it’s His job to draw your spouse back to the Church. Don’t let your anxiety lead to despair.

4. Continue to love and respect your spouse.
Faithful love is a powerful thing. Make sure your spouse knows how much you love him or her. It may not draw your spouse back to the Church right away, but it can work wonders over time.

Also, don’t speak negatively about your spouse to your children. You may have to explain what’s going on, but be sure to show your love and respect for your spouse.

Above all, remember our Lord is a God of boundless mercy. He desires to draw your spouse back to Him. He wants you to be involved by being an image of His never-ending love for your family.

Never give up on your beloved, for you have the heavenly Bridegroom on your side.

 

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