My Dear Dissonance,
What heartening news that your patient is involved with a man who doubts the Enemy’s existence.
I love it when two people who are not compatible with one another spend their lives with each other. It generates a host of favorable consequences for us, including diminished happiness for everyone.
For not only does it prevent her from fully embracing her faith, but it means they will live separate lives, and if they marry, spawn children who likely will grow up without any belief. Very rarely does one half of a couple convince the other to adopt his or her faith and the end result is that the family practices nothing in the name of getting along.
Look at is what happening to Jews in the United States. Almost 60 percent of them intermarry and only one third are raising their children Jewish. It makes me wonder why Moses spent all that time wandering in the desert to deliver his people to the Promised Land when the majority of his 21st century descendants are ingrates who would be just as happy if he had stayed in Egypt. He could have spawned multiculturalism much earlier, at least.
Anyway, not everyone holds such strong beliefs as your patient, however. Therefore maximum strife can only be achieved when true believers marry people of a different or no faith. I don’t know why Our Father does not spend more time on this point in his almost totally comprehensive Primer for Tempters. From what you describe, your patient is a great example of the type of people on whom we should focus our matchmakers. Pairing her with her boyfriend is like creating a secret recipe for isolation and loneliness for life.
What’s even better is that she has started to compromise herself on a number of levels to be with him. For starters, you mentioned that they live together. This is itself is not a big deal as there is virtually no taboo against doing so in today’s society so it is more like you won a scratch off than the Mega Millions in the sin department by bringing her down this way.
Not only will the guilt it causes in her make it easy for you to stop her from praying, it will likely prevent her from going to a church where her behavior will be questioned, and on and on so that what was one sin turns into a cornucopia of them without your even having to try very hard. Even better, she will start to despair that this is all there is for her in this life and start accepting what she thinks of as a flawed arrangement as the only one available. This is important, because it means she will be less likely to question her unhappiness and break off the relationship, and before you know it she will be married and have children and be stuck for life in a union of diminished joy at the very least. No one can believe one thing and act another way without depression surfacing. As I said earlier – a best practices template if there ever was one.
The fact that her motivation is driven by love makes this not a fully favorable situation, as we hate to see any sacrificial aspects of a relationship. But it is good to see that she values love – or at least her version of it — above the Enemy. Why else would she spend so much time with someone who would rather tear down her faith than encourage it? We know from experience that this chink in her armor can lead to gaping holes with the right tactics.
Your affectionate aunt,