Keeping the Peace and Your Faith

Millie wrote to Dr. Phil regarding a conflict she faces in her 12-year-marriage to Matt: He's Jewish and she's a practicing Christian. "I attend church four times a week. I wish he was going to church with me more often," she says. "I know that Jesus is alive and lives today, and he is my savior, and I just have faith that one day Matt can profess the same thing."

 

[AD]"I am Jewish but I am a non-practicing Jew. She's trying to raise our kids Christian, which I am all for, but at the same time, if I'm not going to church, the kids want to stay home with Daddy sometimes, and that kind of puts a strain on our relationship," Matt shares. But he tries to accommodate his wife's requests. "I've gone to church more times in the last year than I have in the last 40 years of my life. I do that to support my wife and kids." 

 

"Matt is such a great guy. He would do anything for anyone. We have an awesome, awesome life," Millie says. Wiping away tears, she continues, "If I could just know that he loved the Lord as much as I did, how much more more amazing and incredible could our relationship could be?"

Dr. Phil asks Millie, "What is it you want him to do?"

"I can sit next to him at a service he attends, and I truly can get something out of the service that I know he's not experiencing, and that's really a personal relationship with Christ," she says. "I can't give that to him. He has to have that on his own."

Matt shares that his parents and ancestors were Jewish, and he wants to remain Jewish. "I cannot see myself becoming Christian down the road," he says.

Dr. Phil asks Mitch, who is in an inter-faith marriage, for his thoughts.

[AD]"We talked about it before we got married and came to an agreement on it," he says. "I think children change the equation, too, because I do believe children should be raised with a single faith." He reminds Millie that two generations ago, many Jews died for their faith in the holocaust. "Focus on the similarities."

 

"How do you raise your children?" Dr. Phil asks Mitch.

"You decide beforehand which faith you're going to raise your children in. That doesn't necessarily mean that parents have to give up their own," he says.

Matt says he likes the fact that his children go to church and learn about Christianity, but he's not interested in learning it for himself. "I try to go as much as possible, but at this point in my life, it's just not for me," he says.

"First off, you do have a different faith. But the second issue is you're not very active in your faith," Dr. Phil says to Matt. "So it seems to me that it's a personal issue with you, that you'll deal with at some point in your life."

Dr. Phil turns to Millie and says, "Patience might be the order of the day here. He supports the children being raised in your faith."

"He's very supportive, and I was not attending church when we first got married, and it's just become an issue where I've increasingly grown more in my faith recently, and I think he's very good to have allowed me to be so active in church, but it's hard to be alone at church," she says.

[AD]"You've got to be careful here," Dr. Phil warns. "Is this an issue of faith, or are you worried about appearances?"

"I do think that's a small part of it. I don't worry about it going to church. It's not something I think about, but I always feel there's something I can grow from when I attend church, and I would love for him to get that with me," she says.

Dr. Phil offers the couple advice.