Positive Energy

May 02 2016 | by

DEAR FRIAR RICK: I got married two years ago with a 46-year-old widower who has a 16-year-old daughter. I am 42. This man lived for a time shortly after his wife’s death with a woman who had established a good relationship with his daughter. However, this woman’s relationship with my husband did not work out, and in the end they mutually decided to end their relationship.

The problem is that this woman and my husband’s daughter are waging an absurd war against me, especially the girl. I prepared a nice bedroom for her in our home; I have gone out of my way to befriend her… all to no avail. In her sight I am just a social climber: her father was my boss at work. What can I do?


Nothing. It sounds awful but there is really very little that I can tell you that will have a guaranteed effect on a teenager who has lost her mom, and is now looking at her father’s second relationship since then. This is one of those situations where the pain of our human condition can be ever so unfair! Although you can’t ‘do’ anything to convince your husband’s daughter, there is much you can do to create the environment in which the young woman can heal.

First of all be yourself. Do not try to be her friend or win her over. Be the best wife you can be for your husband. You can be warm and friendly to her without any expectation of getting something back from her. Just be the normally good and gracious person that you are. Just don’t expect anything back. It’s not that she’s not good as well, but she’s still grieving and needs a lot of time.

The next most important thing will be your consistency. Have clear expectations of what happens in your home, keep your word and be there for her when you say you will do something. You cannot replace her mom and you can’t defend yourself against the ex-girlfriend’s poison. But if you are a stable, consistent and caring presence in her life she may just open up enough to take another chance.


DEAR FRIAR RICK: I am a Christian who got married in church with a Muslim. We get along and have affection for one another, even though he has tried several times to convert me to Islam because he does not want me to go to hell.

Unfortunately, a calm discussion with him on these matters is impossible – our faiths and cultures are just too different.

What actually worries me, though, is our 18-year-old son. My husband has imposed his faith on him. He threatens my son, saying that if he does not embrace Islam he will disown him. However, my son is not interested in religion. He is also uninterested in studying and spends his time lazing around at home playing video-games or on the internet. Life has become really difficult for us.

All I do is just pray the Lord and Our Lady for the eternal salvation of our souls – the three of us. Do you have any advice for me, Friar Rick? Can you please also get the friars to pray for us?


I most certainly pray for you. Inter-faith marriages (between Catholics and non-Christians) can be both very beautiful and also quite challenging. I just say that I am puzzled that your husband, who seems so adamant today, was willing to get married in a Catholic church. That seems rather incongruous. But that happens sometimes.

Although as a married couple you need to work at growing in understanding of each other, you still have basic human rights; including the right of religion and conscience. If you feel in any way threatened by your husband with physical or emotional violence you should leave the home or ask him to leave, whatever is safer for you. This all depends on where you live. But there is no reason for a woman to experience any kind of violence or abuse – this is not God’s will.

If things are not that bad and you feel there is still some room for conversation I would engage him in remembering why it was that you two felt that you could make a go of it as an interfaith couple. What did he think would happen? There must have been some positive energy and hope that gave you two the courage to move forward. It’s important to connect to that initial fervor and start again.


Updated on October 04 2016