I converted when I was 28.
At this point in time, my husband and I had been married for three years and had two children under the age of three. So this decision was super convenient for everybody.
I was baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant. When I was three years old we moved back to where my mom grew up and started going to the Lutheran Church that she had gone to as a child. I had a great life growing up. We were in church every Sunday (we sat mid-back like a good Lutheran family would), my mom taught Sunday School, I received my Lutheran sacraments and I was perfectly content. Sort of.
Something Was Missing
I felt at home in my Lutheran church because that is where my family was. It’s where my parents were married. Where I was married. Where my Grandpa’s funeral was. It was my church.
But there was still something missing that I could not quite put my finger on.
In 2014 I met my future husband. We went to church together every Sunday—sometimes mine, sometimes his—but always a Lutheran church. One year we decided to go on a “church tour” and would visit a new church each Sunday to see which one felt right. After much convincing on my part, one Sunday we went to the Catholic church that I had been baptized at and … ding ding! That was it for me.
The traditions and rituals and formality of everything just made me want to learn more. I felt like I had finally found what I had been missing all along. The Holy Spirit pulled me back here and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. That was in 2015.
Seeing the Light
Over the next couple of years, I started learning more about the Catholic Faith and what it all meant. I began soaking up all I could: books, blogs, podcasts … you name it.
In 2019 my sister-in-law (who had converted to Catholicism several years prior) invited me to go along to the Blessed is She “Shine” retreat. It changed my life. I had never experienced something so pure, honest, and beautiful. I wanted to become Catholic and I wanted to do it immediately.
That August I went to the local parish to speak with the priest. We talked a little about where I was and what I wanted from all of this. I talked to my husband about it and, to be honest, he was not thrilled. In his mind, we were doing just fine. We had a baby and went to the Lutheran church just a few miles from our house every Sunday. Why would I want to change that?
It wasn’t a smooth process. At all. We fought about it a few times and things ended with me crying in frustration. Why couldn’t he just do this with me? Why is this such a big deal?
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That following January, I went back to the priest and decided to start the RCIA class. I expressed to him what was going on between my husband and me and he gave me some of the best advice. He said that my husband’s conversion was not my decision. It was not something that I could make my husband do. The Holy Spirit would work in him just as it had me and the best thing to do until then was to pray. Pray hard and pray often.
And so I did. A lot.
I prayed for him to open his heart to the Catholic Church. For him to want to learn all the things I had come to know and love. For him to want to raise our children in the Church.
I continued to do my studies and read my books. I would leave the papers and books out on the kitchen table so he would come across them, but I was not begging him to read them. This seemed to alleviate some of the tension around the subject matter.
He didn’t necessarily embrace my decision, but he did accept it.
Loving My Lutheran Husband
I was confirmed on November 8, 2020 and it was one of the best feelings ever. I remember feeling so full of joy that day and all warm and tingly inside!
My husband is still not Catholic, but that’s fine. Our children will be raised Catholic and we go to each other’s church every other Sunday. On weekends that we go to his church, I either go to the Saturday vigil or to Mass after we go to his Church. It is really important to both of us that our children grow up going to church every Sunday like we did. So regardless of “who’s Sunday” it is, we are all there, and that’s all that matters. We are loud (and usually late), but we are there.
Do I wish we all went to the Catholic church every Sunday and had our “designated spot” like the rest of the families I see? You bet. But I’ve accepted that we may never be that family. I still pray every day for my husband’s conversion. I pray that it will happen soon. I know that it may never happen. I know he loves God and he believes in the resurrection just as much as I do.
If the day ever does come that he decides he wants to take the steps to convert, I will throw the biggest party ever and you all will be invited.
Did anyone convert to Catholicism after marriage? What was your experience like?
Kyla Goebel is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of two small (and rambunctious) kiddos. She loves hot coffee, warm days and afternoon runs. She spends countless hours in her garden and has dreams of one day having her own little farm and becoming a pioneer wife. You can follow Kyla and her family’s adventures here.