Several years ago Elder David Bednar gave a devotional address at BYU where he recounted this story:
“Sister Bednar and I are acquainted with a returned missionary who had dated a special young woman for a period of time. This young man cared for the young woman very much, and he was desirous of making his relationship with her more serious. He was considering and hoping for engagement and marriage. Now this relationship was developing during the time that President Hinckley counseled the Relief Society sisters and young women of the Church to wear only one earring in each ear.
The young man waited patiently over a period of time for the young woman to remove her extra earrings, but she did not take them out. This was a valuable piece of information for this young man, and he felt unsettled about her nonresponsiveness to a prophet’s pleading. For this and other reasons, he ultimately stopped dating the young woman, because he was looking for an eternal companion who had the courage to promptly and quietly obey the counsel of the prophet in all things and at all times. The young man was quick to observe that the young woman was not quick to observe.”
This account has been on my mind recently.
Seven years ago the man who would become my husband found in me a woman who was quick to observe. I was a return missionary, had a fervent testimony of the gospel and the scriptures, held callings of responsibility, (and had only one earring in each ear). We fell in love and married in the temple.
About two years ago, I had my first alcoholic drink. I have written a little about it here and here if you are interested, but for the purposes of this post all that really matters is that drink. And the subsequent ones I had after that. I didn’t tell my husband when I had that first drink. (Or the second, etc…) That sounds horrifically deceptive, I know. It is one of those things that I think I will always regret. But I simply had no idea how to approach the subject- ask permission? Announce my intention? Neither of those options seemed at all helpful so I went the passive aggressive route and just DID it with the vague idea that I would eventually find a healthy way to bring it up and talk about it with my beloved husband. But always in the back of my mind was the fear… Would he become incensed? Hate me? Hit me? Be devastated, utterly crushed with grief? Would it be the deal-breaker for our marriage?
To make a long story short(er), we were eventually able to talk about it. He didn’t hit me or threaten divorce or fall into a deep depression. We were able to negotiate this change and keep the marriage intact. But going through this experience brought up all sorts of thoughts and issues for me. As exemplified by Elder Bednar’s young man looking for a wife, there is a lot of emphasis on finding “the right someone” to marry. There tends to be much less said about what to do when that special someone changes after marriage. We have the young man’s rejection of a disobedient woman as the model for other singles; but once married what model does the couple have when one of them loses faith? Acceptance of the ‘offending’ spouse’s actions may feel, to the faithful member, like a slight against god or the church. Yet non-acceptance creates incredible strain in the marriage.
Circumstances like this bring up questions of power, control, and respect. Is the marriage egalitarian or does someone “preside“? The patriarch of old declared “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” but in today’s world exactly whose house is it? The husband of a friend of mine insists that she refrain from herbal teas. Out of respect for him, for his house. For women who are non-wage-earners, there may be the pressure of “you can’t buy that stuff with MY money!” But this isn’t just a patriarchal thing. Power plays between the genders can go in both directions.
For many members, this just won’t be an issue in their marriage; neither spouse loses faith, or if one does they simply won’t feel the need to step over any questionable lines. But for some, negotiating these crossings is inevitable and must be dealt with; the challenging question of how much allowance for individual change a marriage can tolerate.
So, what are your thoughts and experiences on the subject? It doesn’t have to be Word of Wisdom specific, that is just the example I have the most experience with (For some couples, a spouse joining or reactivating in the church is the touchy issue). Likewise, it does not have to be marriage specific; similar tensions arise in family settings (siblings, parents, etc), between friends, or in roommate situations.
I know this is sensitive topic, feel free to comment anonymously if you’re more comfortable that way.
(It should go without saying that any comments questioning another person’s personal righteousness are not welcome, but I’m gonna say it anyways; we do have a comment policy. Please adhere to it. Thanks.)
Wait, G is posting here now? Yikes. Clearly, Exponent blog is going to hell even more quickly than it already was. Err . . . good work! 😉
It’s a good topic, G. People change over time. When we marry, there can be a perception that a spouse will never change (or perhaps, will only change in ways that we approve). But people change. I’m not the same person I was 12 years ago, in a number of important ways. And neither is my wife.
I don’t know if all of my changes have been “good” ones. (But that itself raises the question of how we decide to rate changes; who decides what’s good or bad or neutral?)
I don’t think there are any perfect answers. It’s something each couple and each individual negotiates. But I do think it’s generally a good idea to keep one’s spouse in the loop about changes, so that they know what’s going on in their spouse’s life. (But then, what do you do if you think the change will upset your spouse? Good question.)
Agency is central to mortal life; experimentation is necessary and healthy as long as it doesn’t get out of control. When we marry young we almost guarantee that we will be going through some psychological and spiritual turmoil together.
I was married for twenty nine years to a woman who every seven years or so went through a complete metamorphous involving a reassessment of values, experimentation, and a resulting personality change. This is how she grew; a plateau of stability followed by a chaotic stair step followed by a new plateau of stability. It was very difficult to adjust to. The first stair step was unnerving I found myself married to someone I didn’t know and hadn’t chosen!
Looking back it feels like I was married to four different women.
I have to say, that being single, I got stuck at your quotation of Elder Bednar. I have felt the distinct rejection of young men who checked me off their list because I did not fit their definition of “the right woman” for less than the wrong earrings, or perhaps it’s actually more. It is impossible to express doubt or questioning of any kind, and even be given the chance to be understood, even with only one pair of earrings in my ears. It’s a very palpable dismissal. I also think I curbed some of my own opportunities because I was so afraid of this rejection. I rejected myself before I gave anyone else the chance to because I knew I wouldn’t fit Peter Priesthood’s model, even with no major sins being written on my dating resume.
I always thought that young woman in Elder Bednar’s story dodged a bullet.
A very interesting topic, and one that my wife and I struggle with on a daily basis.
We’ve been married for seven years. When we got married, I was a faithful (if somewhat inactive) RM, about to graduate from BYU. She was fresh out of high school, and somewhat inactive as well. We weren’t married in the temple, but we talked about getting sealed when we were worthy to do so.
Over the past seven years, we have changed in many ways. I became completely inactive within a year of our marriage, and told her I was leaving the church a couple years ago. She, on the other hand, became super-active a couple years after our wedding. We hadn’t talked a ton about children before we got married, but I had stated that I didn’t want them right away. Over the years, however, I decided I didn’t want children at all, and she talks about having them constantly. Lately, she’s often cried when the subject has come up.
What we’ve gone through is, in my opinion, one of the dangers Mormons face when they get married. We typically don’t co-habitate prior to marriage, and we often get married very young. This means that when you get married, there is a lot you don’t know about your spouse, and that both you and your spouse are still in the process of growing up and finding out who you are. I was almost 25 when we got married, and she was 19. She’d never been to college, and had never lived away from home. As you can imagine, this wasn’t exactly a recipe for marital bliss.
I believe that mutual understanding and acceptance are the keys to overcoming the changes that each person will experience over the course of the marriage. I don’t think that Mormon culture makes this easy, however. That Bednar talk is a perfect example of this. The church, in many respects, demands conformity—in appearance, in beliefs, in behavior. When you have church leaders suggesting that a person’s commitment to their faith and the gospel is based on their outer appearance, you’re going to breed a culture that is obsessed with an appearance ideal and conformity to that ideal. And, not surprisingly, those who are the most obsessed with conformity will likely be those least equipped to handle the potentially dramatic changes their eternal/life partners will undergo over the course of their lifetime.
Great post, G. Thank you for writing it.
This topic hits me in a personal way. I’m married to a man who is not LDS, but who at one time was thinking pretty seriously about joining the Church. He’s not at that place any longer and it took me a good amount of time to get to the point where I felt that I could just love and accept him for who he is, without feeling disappointment about him not being who I wanted him to be. My experiences with my husband have also spurred a lot of my own spiritual development. I have not lost my faith, but I definitely have a new relationship to it and perspective about how it fits into my life.
I know many people who have had painful experiences when their spouses change their beliefs. I think the biggest thing that helps marriages remain intact is the willingness of spouses to put the marriage first, exercise acceptance and look for the good in the other person, even when you find yourself at different places in terms of belief.
There are never easy answers, and this process can be a painful one. I just know that the joy I find in my marriage has been worth the personal adjustments along the way.
Congrats on officially joining ExII (can I still call you all that?), G!
I think you raise a very interesting question. I like steve-o’s point about Mormon culture demanding conformity. I think it’s just those demands that make us feel more safe than we probably should about marrying young. After all, perhaps we reason, if we’re both committed to the same conformist culture, we should match up nicely. But the point you raise, G, is that our commitment to the conformist culture (or at least to all of its many aspects) may wax or wane after marriage. So it’s not as sure a thing as we might expect.
thanks for the welcome, guys! (yah, I love you too, kiami! 🙂
howard, my husband probably feels a bit like you, in that he is married to a different woman now than he was 7 yrs ago. that was really hard, for both of us, at first. but thankfully we weathered this change and are closer now, more open with each other now than we ever were before.
madhousewife- yah. I agree. 🙂
zenaida- that is interesting, and thought-provoking. Elder Bednar gave this address after I was married… but that underlying concept, the idea of being ‘marry-able’ was prevelant in the culture and really had a strong effect on who I was as a single. Don’t get me wrong, I was sincere in my devotion to the church… but all of the little questions and concerns that began to crop up after I married… I wonder if I didn’t subconcsiously supress ‘dangerous’ thoughts that would hinder my ability to attract a worthy young man.
Well, they found their way to the surface regardless and required dealing with. I admire your more forthright ability to own your thoughts.
thankyou for sharing your experience, steve-o. (and your welcome!)
hey saral! have you read the “show a little love” post over at fMh? (I liked to it in this post) it sounds similar to your experience with a non-member spouse. The idea in the church that a person is lacking until a member is expecially challenging for the part member marriage.
thankyou for sharing you story.
hi ziff! yes, i think the supposed ‘safety net’ of the gosple can actually be a trap. Many couples go into marriage counting on that ‘foundation of the Gosple’ and so when one member leaves the faith, the foundation of the marriage is damaged as well. what is supposed to hold them together can drag them down instead.
This is a difficult topic. I’m not going to touch on my marriage first, but rather on my parents’ marriage. My dad was agnostic and my mom was rock solid. However, neither of them were expecting these changes at the time of their marriage. The dissatisfaction and lack of acceptance always seemed to undermine their happiness, at least from my perspective. My dad told me the other day that in spite of not being completely happy (not saying they never had happy moments, ya know?), he had decided to stay because he didn’t want to ruin his marriage like his folks had ruined theirs.
Oddly enough, though, watching my parents be dissatisfied was partly what caused me to rethink my marriage and decide to take a break from it. Do my spouse and I really deserve to be less than satisfied for the rest of our lives just for the sake of saving the marriage (one which, btw, we entered into at very young ages and before we really knew where we’d end up emotionally/spiritually/intellectually)? Do I want my sons watching me be unhappy and think that that’s just how life should be?
Anyway, great post G!
yes, I have seen a few marriages where the couple cannot reconcile their differeing beliefs, cannot accept the spouse’s change in faith, but stay together in a marriage now rife with tension and egg-shells.
I think a part of it comes from the underlying notion that to accept a spouses loss of faith is to somehow reject the faith yourself… the idea that it makes you complicit in their apostasy.
and so the faithful spouse always feels the need to be on a soapbox, to make their disapproval known.
but that’s just not conducive to a harmonious marriage.
This post also hit close to home for me because I find myself in the exact same situation. I first got to know my husband because we served in the same mission together, and then we ended up in the same program at BYU. One of the things that made him attractive to me was his strong testimony of the gospel. For the first few years we were the epitome of “young LDS married couple”. During the last few years he has completely turned away from the church and God. It has been a big struggle for both of us. Last year we actually separated for a few months, then realized that we loved each other too much and needed to work on compromise.
The hardest thing for me is the fact that a lot of his rejection of the church involves anger. It’s hard for me to hear him rail against “the church”, when I am a member of “the church”. The Prop 8 thing in California is making him especially angry, and he’s managed to alienate some of our friends and family with his anger. So every day is something different and we’re both trying to figure out how to compromise and to work things out together. On the surface we work well together and enjoy each other’s company, and I think we parent well together. But I do sometimes wonder whether we’ll be able to deal with the big changes that have happened. I’m hoping that at some point he’ll be able to get past the anger stage into something else, because anger is not a healthy thing in a relationship.
This is a great topic. A few years ago I had a conversation with my husband apologizing that I was not the girl he had married – that I now had all sorts of doubts and concerns about the church and that I had different views about all sorts of political and social issues. I too felt like I had pulled a bait and switch and that I was a completely different person. He just said, “Aren’t I lucky that I get to fall in love with each new version of you.” (and, yes, he still gets lucky every time I remember this conversation).
And yet, despite that, I’m still having trouble admitting to him how far I’ve changed even since then. At that point, I had doubts about some things, but a relatively solid testimony about most things. Now, I would say that deep down, I’m an atheist. Because I’m such a Mormon to my core, my default position is to believe; but I find it harder and harder to do so. I feel like I can’t really abandon my (itty-bitty) faith until I give it another real, Moroni 10 kind of try, but I’m terrified to do it. What if it’s all not true? Or, almost scarier, what if it is? The truth is that my outward life is not likely to change either way (that’s a completely different post/comment), so right now, until I get up the courage, I’ll just hang out in limbo. Thanks for your courage, both in having the conversation and in talking about it.
I really can relate to this post. Right now my hubby is dealing with his own “crisis of faith” and worries that he has pulled a “bait and switch” on me. He feels bad that he isn’t the man my parents thought I married and that I resent his doubts. I do hope he believes me when I say that I didn’t marry him only because he was LDS. I love him dearly and understand where he is spiritually right now. In fact, I have many of the same issues he has, but have such a strong sense of hope that things will change that I just am not where he is. He fears that if he leaves the church that our marriage won’t survive. That is not my fear, but I can see how it might prove difficult in the social arena that the Church can occupy in one’s life.
I think that refusing a gal over earrings shows one to be shallow. It sounds like he never asked her about them, nor cared about who she was at her core. I feel that obedience to the prophet is important, but I fail to see how it damns one if earrings weren’t removed instantaneously…
Anon for now, your comment really hit home for me. I think my husband’s faith crisis was (and still is) so difficult on me because I heavily relied on him and others for my testimony, which i am only now coming to grips with. I too stand in limbo because I can’t see myself fully leaving the Church even if it wasn’t true (something that drives my husband batty).
I am so happy to hear of people who have made this work. We’ve only been married two years and since we don’t have any kids, I sometimes (on the bad days) think it would be easier to just leave. Thanks for this post, G. It gives me strength and hope.
foxyj, thank you so much for sharing that. I struggled, like your husband, with anger issues about the church… and realized I had to stop if I wanted the marriage to survive. He has been so respectful of me as I have gone through this change, I have to be very careful to be as respectful of him as he remains in and faithful to the church. and I have had to apologize quite a few times when I get heated. And just hold my tongue and love him even though we don’t see eye to eye on certain matters in and around the church.
I think it helps that we are both of rather mellow dispositions.
hey anon! your welcome, and thank you, you sound a lot like me- I specifically remember coming to that “I need to know” (yeah, moroni 10) part and not being sure if I was more afraid to learn it was true, or it was not true. These changes are disturbing to those we love… but can truley be terrifying to us as we go throught it.
I wish you the best!
anon as well- the earring thing, yeah. lots of problematic stuff there.
your husband sounds a lot like me- I feel pretty lousy that I didn’t ‘turn out’ the way i was supposed to (I especially wonder what his folks think). But we are pretty tight together right now, very close… and that helps to aleviate some of my guilt.
personally, I think it can work (one in, one out). I’m betting on it. Good Luck with you guys! 🙂
your welcome, m.e.h. I wish you the best as you work through this.
I have not been to the temple in over a year and it’s not because I’m not worthy or able to answer the Bishop’s questions. I just don’t know that I feel I belong with the way that I have interpreted the Church wanting me to be.
My husband and I married in the temple five years ago and left Utah to move back to the Midwest 3 years ago. In that time I have felt more distant from the church because I feel like no one is interested in myself as an individual. I have never wanted to get a tattoo or drink alcohol or even get my ears pierced *once*. I’ve always visually fit in on the surface while feeling like a fraud because even though I look like I should be molly mormon I’m not. and while the women in the church are often saying that they want to know me better, they don’t really want to know the real me. The me who likes sci-fi books and video games and feminist literature and allnight filksings. When I was in my ward before this one I was talking to the Bishop and explaining how hard it was coming from BYU where I had lots of LDS friends who had similar interests, to moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere where I have NOTHING in common with ANYONE except the church. You can’t base the kind of friendships on just the church that I had become accustomed to. And he told me (paraphrasing) that it was too bad, and I needed to just start hanging out more with other church couples.
How can I be a part of the church how they want me to be without being absorbed by all the sameness?
I prayed and asked our Heavenly Father how I would know the woman I was to marry. Yes he answered me. I was told what my future wife would say to me so I would know her.
Sometime after I met a woman that just blurted what she was supposed to and it was not something she would never say. But she did. I know that my wife was given to me by our Heavenly Father. There is nothing she could do that would keep me from loving her or forgiving her.
G: This is a great inaugural post! Welcome to the Exponent team 🙂
One of the hardest lessons that I’ve learned in my marriage is that I need to allow my spouse the freedom to change. That was a hard-earned lesson!
One of my non-LDS friends actually celebrated this idea in his wedding vows, saying that change was a huge part of relationships and that it was to be expected. I think I understand that now, but I didn’t as a 20-something wife.
Thanks for sharing this story.
Wow. He didn’t marry her because she had an extra pair of earrings? He’s going to be sorely disappointed when he actually does marry. I find myself in the same spot. We met at BYU, married in the temple. And now my views have changed and I consider myself fairly agnostic. We’ve definitely had arguments recently over the Prop 8 thing. I’m still afraid to tell her exactly how I feel about religion and the Church, for fear that she’ll leave me or become emotionally distant. We’ve become much more tolerant of each other, but still have a long way to go.
G – I do not believe that I have ever been more moved by a post in this forum as I am by yours and for so many different reasons.
First is the issue of changing after marriage. Who doesn’t? I remember telling my wife when we were engaged that I was marrying her more for who I believed she was going to become than the person who she was at that moment. She did not really like that statement but I can honestly say that if I really knew who she was then I would not have married her but if I could have actually seen who she would actually would be today through a crystal ball I would have begged her to marry me that day. She was a happy go lucky girl then (I liked that) and today she is a strong, intelligent, articulate wife, mother and educator who is passionate about her work and her family (I love and admire that).
There were moments that were extremely difficult when I am sure that both of us had wondered what we had done. Then we eventually matured. I honestly think that it was about a 20 year process. I am glad I stuck it out. Those of you that talk about issues after a few years of marriage…… I just found myself smiling. I was there, I was young, we both grew up and changed.
You know I love my upbringing in the church. I always look back with great fondness on my friends, teachers and leaders. As much as I love it I do not like the conditioning that is part of Mormon culture. Obey the commandmants, go to church, get baptized, go on a mission, get married in the temple, multiply and replenish the earth.
When I read the comments I see many cases of individuals that went through the motions of mormonism for years and that is one of the dangers in the church today. I truly believe that we as leaders, members, teachers, friends and parents do not do much to cultivate the gifts of the spirit that the Lord has made available to us. I also believe that when people do and share them that it makes many members uncomfortable (maybe that is why we are asked to keep these experiences sacred and personal) and most of us, including Bishops and Stake Presidents, really do not know how to react to those have these gifts.
I loved President Hinckley and I do not think that twenty earrings is a great look but I am more concerned about my daughters relationship with our Heavenly Father. Is she aware of him? Does she know he is aware of her? Have I done enough teaching so they know that they can have that relationship? Do they really understand the Atonement and its cleansing power and what is truly behind it? Have I and am I leading them to a path where they can knock, seek, ask and listen? Do they know how to listen?
I hope so but as I write this I think we will be having a special session of FHE on Monday to dig a bit deeper. Now of course everyone at church thinks they are great. They have their Young Women Awards and they could probably quote you much of the strength of youth pamphlet. Isn’t that special? It is nice but it is just a very small piece of the spiritual foundation they will need and in my humble opinion not the most important part. I do not want them to find themselves married in the temple, to an RM they met at the Y, who was an AP on his mission, whose dad was a stake president who lives next door to one of the Seventy who live in the right neighborhood in the right ward in Bountiful, or Holliday or one of those other places up on the bench of the mountain that many of those down below aspire to be. Yuk! I really detest that.
To your point about the your temple experience G it frankly makes me sad. Not because you did not have this incredible experience but because I fear that there are multitudes of people out there that feel the same way. One of the most profound things I have ever heard about the temple came from an evangelical minister (who obviously believes many of the truths of this gospel) who said that we need to get beyond going to the temple and get beyond the signs and ordinances. Be the person that you are going through for that day. In other words get to the realities beyond the ordinances and experience geneology in its purest form actually fellowshiping with the Church of the Firstborn. That to me is amazing but worth going for when I look at it in those terms. It is truly about the most selfless thing that one can do.
G, The last thing is the drinking thing. I am not quite sure I understand the desire and the hole that it fills. I have had my own experiences fighting drinking as a teenager and then for a short time in my young married life. It took the life of 5 of my good friends in high school. Gradually over a 7 month period. I would still love to drink today. I can smell liquor at restaurants and it makes my mouth water but I understand the consequences. I hope that this is something that has not or does not take over a portion of your life. Speaking from personal experience it can easily happen.
Thanks again for your post. It really brought a great deal to the surface for me.
G, this is such an important post. I’ve come back to it many times and have been absorbing the comments on both postings of this. Thank you everyone for your personal stories!
I am all too familiar with the guilt that comes from feeling you’ve pulled the bait and switch (or had it pulled on you) after marriage. My husband and I have both had our challenges and our changes. One of these is my hesistation to have children seven years into our marriage.
I thought so much about this post yesterday, and what I came to was the realization that when DH and I were dating, we were both doing our best to be honest with each other then. Sure, we saw the Church in a simpler light and the commitments seemed easy to make. Now that light is fractured, refracted, nuanced. But what hasn’t changed is that we’re still trying to be honest about where we are now and share that with each other when we can. And that removes some of that guilt.
About two years ago, I had my first alcoholic drink. I have written a little about it here and here if you are interested, but for the purposes of this post all that really matters is that drink. And the subsequent ones I had after that. I didn’t tell my husband when I had that first drink. (Or the second, etc…)
I don’t know why it happened this way, it was horribly unfair to this great man I had married.
Interesting, how I see this question from the other side from time to time.
Bednar’s story is told from the male perspective. I’d like to know the female’s side. My guess is that SHE is the one who broke up with him because he was a tool…and he rationalized it all w/the earring thing.
Lucky girl for getting out of that relationship!
“Women who desire to have their ears pierced should wear only one pair of modest earrings.”
What does that even mean? What is a “modest” earring. Not too big, or flashy? Does a $3000 pair of diamond studs fall into the ‘immodest’ category?
I’ve always thought that the two earring thing was so weird. Women in our church being told to wear only one earring is not about a ‘willingness to obey’ it’s about a willingness to become homogenized.
Oh yeah, we’ve been through a lot of changes and have a very accepting, flexible style for handling it.
We’ve had times where one of us, then both of us, became “more Catholic than the pope”, then there was a time we were baptized mormon together and sealed in the temple, followed by the garden-variety struggles to develop personal LDS spiritual practice, and now, well, things are always changing and in order not to have to go anon, I’ll just end the story there. good post, G!
My story sounds very similar to yours. When I met my wife, she was another of those sisters who was quick to observe. She was a returned missionary, wore one earring in each ear, and was prim and proper in every way. Then she wore her thong bikini on the beach in Cancun a couple of years ago and………….I’m sorry, what were we talking about again?
G–great post. Welcome to Exponent!!
WAAAAY cool post! And I have loved drinking in all the replies here.
I actually went into marriage expecting change as a typicality, really (not that I have everything figured out!).
I really like who we are as a couple right now and where we don’t know we’re going.
Overall it’s paradiasical wedded bliss for us, partcularly because we expect bad days, bad moments, & barrels of hell some weeks which, I feel, is an inevitable thread of our progress together as committed partners (he was really, really hard to find!)
There’s much of me that is the same–crazy, whimsical, book&film freak, in love with LDS youth in Young Womens(though all these things have been augmented in my heart moreso since marriage & I have discovered that nuptials have grounded me in odd ways that have never hampered my wanderlust or freedom to develop the multifacets of me). Also, let us not forget how sexuality has soothed my pre-marital jitters.
Rob, too, is very much the same dude: sports, current political events, deep religiousity, won’t ever drive over the speed limit (this bugs me!), non-member who hates Joseph Smith, in bed long before me at night. I like to think that with me, he, too is gifted with the space to further carve out who he is over the next several decades we are married.
That doesn’t mean some days aren’t pissy, moody, angry, a bewilderment, a disappointment, a sadness, a boredom for me&Rob.
We kinda got married into a huge, nebulous “it’s gonna be alright–just chill & be wary of the many rocks ahead” kinda mentality–an unexplainable melding of all things ‘tossable’. Really weird.
And I think what made our choice to marry more comfortable (for the most part) was that I was 29 & he was 32—not fresh outta high school or off from a mission.
I think we just knew what to do & expect after our elopement “I do’s” having experienced a bit of the world each on our own–replete with our own set of disappointments and self failures along with self victories & self realizations, & having lived our own crazy singularities long before we met.
By the time we tied the knot (after a year of dating), it had been years since I officially got rid of useless Gen Auth demands for ear piercings–as if Rob or I care about that(though I like to keep the useFUL advice from the pulpit at times).
I think my biggest change is how my love for all people, regardless of spiritual paths, has grown. I like to think I’ve always been this way, but marrying a non-member (who, since marrying me, has increased his faith in Jesus in his own 1-to-1 relationship with the Saviour—-they have an understaning of each other, so it seems) has really sealed that deal within me. I really love how I’ve developed a wonderful sense of non-exclusivity because of my marrying a wonderful nonmember (btw, this doesn’t mean he poops ice cream!)
I also wonder if I could ask through this post, what FREEDOM looks like/feels like in our marriages.
I am not sure exactly what to say I could go on and on. I relate to many of these posts. My husband has left the church and it is hard. I am mourning the loss of many things. Certain traditions that we did as a family regarding the church. My kids are also suffering from this loss. We all love our father and husband. We are trying to adapt to our new life and create new traditions etc.
I think sometimes it is hard because we are not on the same page. My husband remains quite on most things out of respect for what I believe. He allows me to teach my children without interference. But it is so strange and hard to continue to do things where he is not included. The examples I can think of today are going to church without him. Watching conf. while he disappears into the basement. The sunday before school my kids asking why they arent getting their school blessings. Trying to help my 7 year old understand she has to have someone else baptize her. I am not sure if he will even participate.
It is a struggle when two married people are not somewhat on the same page. It sometimes separates us. But should I give up what I believe or should he be forced to do what he doesnt believe. I dont think so but working around it all can be difficult. My struggle is to do it while showing him love and respect. Without becoming a marter. Remaining happy in my new life. And raising healthy children in the gospel while not putting their father in a bad light.
I think most of us dont end up with the life we imagined. I imagine or am trying to image that is getting over the loss of what should have been and making what is good.
One last thought is that often it becomes hard because everyone around you pulls way back. They treat me differently. They are confused I think because they are trying to understand something they cant. They want me to explain but boy I dont want to go their. I hate being felt sorry for. I would just like real love and frendship without judgement. Or people saying to me how amazing I am for putting up with things the way I do. That is probable the worst. I am not amazing and would not have choose this. Sometimes my children get treated different as well. I just wish people would just treat you I don’t know just different then they do. It is like right now people are questioning why I am having another child in my “situation” like I shouldnt have another child in this “mess”. There is so much people fail to understand when their life doesnt have these differences.
why do you censor posts on this forum now?
jeni could you clarify? to my knowledge we don’t censor posts, though we do sometimes either close a thread or delete comments if they violate our policies. what exactly are you concerned about? we’d like to address it if there’s a problem.
G, thanks for this great post. It has been on my mind since I read it, as well as the other posts you linked to. Your writing has given me the courage to not renew my temple recommend, at least for now. (“Courage” seems like such a weird word to use here, but that what it feels like). It also gave me the courage to talk to my husband about the reasons for my decision. I felt really honest for the first time in a while, and the conversation went better than I expected. Thanks.
Great post. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have changed a lot from when we first got married. I was the prim and proper, return missionary molly mormon type, but not so much anymore. I have lots of questions and doubts, which I think have always been there I just can’t ignore them anymore.
While I have considered leaving I don’t think that is the best option for me right now. I don’t have a recommend although I could get one. I just don’t care to get one. I go to church to support my husband and children and I am trying to redefine myself spiritual and really decide what I believe in.
I can see that there is pain on both sides for the spouse who changes and the one who doesn’t. What I got out of reading this the importance to love eachother and to accept that people change even in marriage.
Thanks again for sharing your experience.
Is that painting Chagall? It reminds me of one of his other pieces.