Staying for my wife

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Staying for my wife

Post by Trailblazer » 16 Jan 2018, 20:57

I have not posted in a long time, however I have been reading the posts on here. I have been going through a faith crisis for a little over a year now. My wife is mostly caught up on my perspective of the church. We have decided that talking about the specific details of my faith crisis with her would not be productive, however when/if she ever wants to know I will gladly share it with her. The other day I told her that I plan to stay a member of the church for the long haul, but that I can’t change how I feel. I try to appear like a normal orthodox Mormon, I guess a TBM. On the inside I am far from it, there is very little I believe to be true. What I mean by that is that I don’t think many of the specific claims made by the church are true. I completely understand that I could be wrong about the church and I try to keep an open mind about it all.
My wife is still invested in the church, so I want to keep it an essential part of our lives. The church is still important to me because it is important to my wife. We have gradually grown away from the church in the last six months. For the past three months we have only gone to sacrament meeting or haven’t gone at all. This has less to do with my faith crisis and more to do with our mutual boredom of church, also a recent move and the holidays didn’t help. All other aspects of our lives we try to live the way we should, we pay tithing, strive to keep the commandment, etc. I have a second obligation to maintain activity in the church that will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.
I can’t help but feel guilty that I don’t believe anymore. I feel like I have failed my wife and family. These feelings are not coming from my wife, she has been extremely understanding during this whole process. She has been so patient and willing to work with me through my faith crisis. Even though she understands, I still feel as if I’ve let her down. It’s hard for me to show support and give motivation when spiritual and emotionally I’m lacking. At the same time when I’m not showing support or motivating us to participate in the church I feel like I’m letting my wife down. I don’t wish that I could forget the things I’ve learned I just wish that they weren’t true, it would make my life much simpler. I’m sure that I’m not the only one going through this.
I’m not really sure what advice I’m hoping for from this post. I hope that some of you have found yourself in a similar situation and can give me some guidance. Are any of you in the church now strictly for cultural reasons and don’t believe the church is true? Is it possible for me to stay here while not feeling spiritually invested in the church?
I appreciate this forum in more ways than I can express.

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Re: Staying for my wife

Post by mom3 » 17 Jan 2018, 05:24

Thanks for asking. I am more your wife than you.

There are plenty of reasons to stay connected to the church besides belief. Having moved may make it a bit more challenging, but you never know, if your ward is friendly it may work well.

Church is a community. A group of people who can share many experiences with.

Plenty of people on here are no longer traditional LDS believers. Some are even agnostic or atheist. Yet they still keep ties or practices of the church for a variety reasons, including family.

Read through posts, collect ideas for how and why people stay. If something resonates with you try it.

As for supporting your wife, does she have specific requests? At times in my life, even back in my firm believing days, I needed church for different reasons, as well as space for different reasons. During either times it was nice to have someone validate my needs. Right now, church connection is still important to me. It feeds a part of my soul. It's not about the doctrines, history or policy. Right now attending is more about being with an old friend. The routines we practice, the hymns only our church sings. (There is a different list that fights at the same time for us to mix it up a bit). My husband would love if we were done, but I just can't. Not yet. He lets me go. He supports (or at least doesn't create conflict) when I do attend. I appreciate that effort he makes. He is giving me space to work out my own process. I need that. I am betting your wife will, too.

Don't feel guilty. This is a process. Let the guilt go. You didn't create your faith transition. It just found you. In our marriage we called it the tsunami or stroke. It was large, totally unexpected, completely life altering. All of that is true. But just like life moves on to a new normal after a tsunami or stroke, this will too. Enjoy the good you can find. That will help a lot.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: Staying for my wife

Post by LookingHard » 17 Jan 2018, 07:03

I absolutely can relate to you Trailblazer.

I have felt the guilt a bit in the past. I am a bit of a ceribrial person and like to think things over many times in my head before saying something. I have spent quite a bit of time reading and studying how the brain works. I have quite a bit of understanding/empathy for my wife continuing to be a TBM. I have tried my best to support her and make sure she knows that I feel different than she does, but I don't judge her and I love her.

I would suggest you spend lots of time making sure she feels loved. If you are skipping parts of church, take some of that time and do something for her that will make her smile. She may always have a feeling of wishing you were more TBM, but if you really make her feel loved that will certainly help.

You might also share this with her
A prophet of God once offered me counsel that gives me peace. I was worried that the choices of others might make it impossible for our family to be together forever. He said, “You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine. ... amily-love

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Re: Staying for my wife

Post by nibbler » 17 Jan 2018, 07:47

The concern you have for your wife's feelings shows that you aren't a failure. It tells me that you're trying to do the very best with the cards that life dealt you.

You certainly aren't alone. If my local leaders are to be believed, there are many husbands in my ward that only attend to support their wives, though I don't know who they are. I get the feeling that in any given ward there could be dozens of people that are there more to support a believing spouse than for personal reasons. That's called sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed for us and we consider it a blessing in our lives. The non-believers that are there more for others than for self are emulating Jesus, though in an unexpected way.
With a bucket of Lego, you can tell any story. You can build an airplane or a dragon or a pirate ship - it's whatever you can imagine.
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Re: Staying for my wife

Post by AmyJ » 17 Jan 2018, 07:53

I can relate to this post as well.

I stay because I believe this community has something to offer my family and myself. I stay because I believe that this community needs what I have to offer.

What helped my soul was making my first plank to accept that I don't know what I don't know. That this developmental process found me - and I can either let it shatter everything I hold dear, or redefine many things in my life. I can't shame myself for where I am in life just as I can't shame my 16 month old for throwing little temper tantrums and getting impatient. I can be with her in the process of learning about emotions. I can't shame myself for where I am, but I can be with myself in learning about where I am.

Focusing on finding ways to be charitable in my thoughts and actions has done the most good for me personally faith-transition wise. I see improvement, but I still see light-years to go. Also, talking to the spouse about what self-improvement goals you are working on and setting has been helpful. It contradicts the thought that you might "just being lazy" about church stuff and allows the concept that "you might be receiving personal inspiration" and thus continuing on the gospel path.

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Re: Staying for my wife

Post by Roy » 17 Jan 2018, 10:59

Trailblazer wrote:
16 Jan 2018, 20:57
I can’t help but feel guilty that I don’t believe anymore. I feel like I have failed my wife and family. These feelings are not coming from my wife, she has been extremely understanding during this whole process. She has been so patient and willing to work with me through my faith crisis. Even though she understands, I still feel as if I’ve let her down. It’s hard for me to show support and give motivation when spiritual and emotionally I’m lacking. At the same time when I’m not showing support or motivating us to participate in the church I feel like I’m letting my wife down.
My thoughts might not apply to your specific situation. No offense intended.

1) invest in your marriage. try to separate your marriage from the church as an independent institution. Why do you choose each other and your marriage day in and day out. If it is because you covenanted to stick it out for the long haul - get better reasons.

2) Make sure that she knows that your values are not dependent on the church. It can be really scary for member spouses that assume that without the church most of us will descend into drunken debauchery. Making her aware that you are not changing who you are and how you choose to live is important IMO.

3) I cannot thrive in the position of disappointment husband. There are things that I do not have or do not provide that would be nice if I did contribute. I need for the focus on how much I do have, provide, and contribute. My primary "love language" is words of affirmation. DW and I daily send each other messages of appreciation and gratitude for the little things that we do for each other. Getting the kids ready for school. Making breakfast. Running an errand. Lots of ways to serve each other and the family and show appreciation.

Once again - might not apply to your situation. Just general ideas that have been helpful for me.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: Staying for my wife

Post by SilentDawning » 17 Jan 2018, 14:44

Staying for a spouse is a good reason to stay. It's a form of love and sacrifice. the good news is that you can put boundaries on how much you let the church extract from you. I agree it's boring. I am trying to change that in my calling. I don't know if you have kids, but I take the stance that the church seems to work for 1/2 my family so why disturb that? And are there religions that are any better? They all have their problems. Better to stay unified.

It's not good to bring up disaffection or doubt with the spouse, though. YOU seem to have realized that. I try to be supportive and helpful, and not speak unorthodoxy. Post any quandries here to navigate through them. There is a lot you can do. And I can say I am way happier in my church relationship than I have ever been!! I wish the same for you.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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