Colleen Duggan

By Your Love: Becoming a Witness to God's Existence

Q: My husband is an atheist (he was brought up in an atheist family), and as I draw closer to God, I am finding that more difficult, especially when I think about how we are going to bring up our new baby. How can I continue to draw closer to God, and yet not draw away from my husband?

A: I’m not sure exactly why your husband and his family don’t believe in God, but a good guess is that both he and his parents experienced at least a modicum of suffering in each of their individual lifetimes which led to the conclusion a loving God does not exist. One of the greatest lies Satan pedals to us in the middle of personal pain is this: You are abandoned. You are alone. Where is your good God while you suffer? 

Taken to the extreme (Satan’s favorite living place) this lie becomes cemented in a living ideology that not only have we been forsaken to manage our pain alone, but a loving God we might have once believed in can’t possibly exist at all. 

My guess is your husband’s parents (or someone in his family tree) experienced trauma and their pain led them to a simple, though incorrect, conclusion: There is no good God.

The fact your spouse married you—out of the many other women he could have chosen—of course, is just the tip of a mountain of evidence God does indeed exist because only a loving and good God would have given your spouse you

Yes, you are how your husband will come to know there is a God—because of your witness and your love.  You will become the embodiment of God’s presence to your husband and this will prove to your spouse not only that God exists, but that He loves your husband very, very much. 

Your husband will know there is a God because of your total acceptance of him for who he is, not what he isn’t (or what he doesn’t believe).

Your husband will know there is a God because instead of arguing with him about the proof of God’s existence, he will come to know a good God through your loving attention and devotion to your faith and your family.

Your husband will know there is a God by the way he sees you worship something greater than yourself, by your reverence, piety and devotion to someone your husband can’t see and doesn’t understand.

Your husband will know there is a God because of the compassionate way you respond to the suffering he experiences in life.

Your husband will know there is a God through your maternity—by the way you adore, care and nurture that beautiful baby of yours.

I don’t mean to make this sound simple because it’s not. 

What is going to be required of you is the stuff saints are made of and you are going to need a few ground rules if you are going to be the primary instrument God uses to prove His existence to your spouse. You will need to know what to avoid doing if you really want to prove God exists. Here goes:

- You must never choose to be right about God’s existence over being in relationship with the man you married. What does this mean? This means you must never set out to prove him wrong about his lack of faith so as to prove you are right. The only thing you should ever try to convince your husband of is love. This is the best argument for the proof of God, not dogma, religious practices, or arguments. Period.

- You must never doubt that God loves your spouse more than you do. God is the creator of the world. As such, He desires his entire creation live in perfect harmony with Him until the end of time. Jesus wants to draw your husband close to His Sacred Heart, which means He wants your husband much, much more than you do, trust me.

- You must never despair that your husband will never come to know Christ personally. Walk by faith, not by sight. Declare your husband’s conversion out loud, especially when fear nips at your heels that it will never happen.

- Your husband is not on your timeline and neither is God, but it doesn’t mean God’s timeline is imperfect. He knows the hour and the day. Trust in His time (and His plan), not yours.

- You must never cease to pray and sacrifice for your husband’s conversion daily. With a new little baby on the horizon, you won’t have to look hard for things to offer up: you’ll have them in spades. 

- You must never cease to love your husband as Christ loves him—perfectly and until the end of time.

As you probably have figured out, my response isn’t filled with tips on how to pull a fast one on your man in order to convince him that God is real. My response actually requires little of your husband and a great deal of you. It requires a kind of supernatural love that overflows from a union with the Father, something you’ve already stated is very important to you.

This kind of love is not for the faint of heart.

It is not for wimps. 

It is not a path for your husband to get holy on, but instead requires your own sanctity. 

Saint Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians 2: 12 we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. I believe that if you follow St. Paul’s advice, you will save not just your own soul, but your husband’s as well. Your perfect union with God will never draw you away from your husband, but will only draw you closer to him because love only begets more love. Remember: Satan sows division and separateness, Christ sows unity and love.

Your husband is an atheist now but if you take up your cross and follow Jesus Christ to Calvary, your husband will not be an atheist forever. Your husband will eventually know the existence of God because of you and your relationship with Him. Your love for the Father will save your entire family. It will never draw them away from you or more importantly, from Him.

Good luck. I’m praying for you and so are all the Saints and Angels in heaven.

Colleen Duggan is an author, Catholic wife, mom of six, and speaker. She writes about Catholic family life here and her articles have also appeared on Catholic Exchange, CatholicMom.com, and Aleteia. Her new book Good Enough is Good Enough can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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