After almost 15 years of marriage and three well brought up children, my wife has suddenly become born again. She’s started going to a pentecostal church and wanted to take the children along, but I put my foot down. Before she ‘found’ God, we never attended any church.
But she’s now changed almost overnight into a person I don’t know and can no longer relate to. Can we ever be the family we once were again? She seems like a stranger to me now.
Harry, by e-mail.
Do you know what prompted your wife’s conversion? People can turn to religion if they’ve been seriously ill; someone close to them has died; they’ve had some sort of trauma or decided to radically change their lifestyle.
In these circumstances, religion is a form of therapy and a passing phase that’s helpful at the time; seldom a true long-lasting belief.
Even if she were once perfectly happy and simply embraced religion, once she was exposed to it – it sounds very much like you’ve both grown in different directions and have stopped communicating. You need to ask her why she converted and what religion is providing that was missing before.
Let her know that while she has every right to worship whatever god she chooses, it doesn’t mean you and the children have to be converted. Let her know you love the relationship you had and feel marginalised by this sudden change.
A lot of couples have coped with this type of change, if the person who’s discovered religion doesn’t try to convert the other and is happy going to church, while the rest of the family do their own thing.
However, if she’s so devout that things you used to enjoy together are now off the menu, you need to get counselling. If not properly handled, this could put your marriage in jeopardy.