Now the wife of a bishop!

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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QuestionAbound
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Joined: 13 May 2013, 17:57

Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by QuestionAbound » 11 Jan 2018, 21:10

I'm now the bishop's wife and so far ... I hate it! :cry:

I'm also the seminary teacher and so far ... I love it! :lol:

My life has a complete yin and yang to it right now. 8-)

But really - for this bishop role - the emotional disconnect we (mainly me) are feeling is real and it stinks.

I finally decided that I feel like my husband is cheating on me every Sunday. That's the best comparison I can come up with.
He's gone a lot with work, so his absence isn't felt here at home. It's not the physical separation that is getting to me. It's the emotional connection he is feeling with those that he meets with each week.

I'm not saying that he is sharing his emotions with them (though to some degree he has to), but I do know that when we open up to others about our feelings, sorrows, etc. we, ourselves, feel a connection to that person.

The intimate conversations that he is having without me (and believe me, I do NOT want to know what is going on with ward members) makes me feel like he is being unfaithful.

Insanity, right? That's what I'm telling myself. I must be insane because:
1 - I really don't want to know other people's business (I like people better when I don't know their drama), so what do I care if he knows their business?
2 - He didn't lobby for this calling, so it's not like he was seeking it - so it's not his "fault" that he is in this position.
3 - All other bishop's wives seem to love this calling and say that they have never felt closer to their husbands, so I must be the crazy one.

I find that I'm pulling back from him in major ways. I don't share much of anything with him. It's not a punishment, but it's more like...I feel like MY emotional support is gone. *I* don't have a bishop anymore. I don't trust this whole stage in life - something is missing.

A few times he has walked in the door from church with this dramatic forlorn look on his face and he's sighing and moping. I took the bait once and asked if there was anything wrong, knowing full well that this show would end up biting me in the butt. He snapped that he couldn't tell me those things b/c they are private. Yikes. Lesson learned, but I told him to wipe that look off his face and leave that behavior at the door. I have no interest in those games.

I finally told him that I will pretend like he doesn't have this calling. I don't ask how his ward council meetings went. I don't ask about his Sunday schedule. I don't even ask if he needs a meal while at church. I feel like that's the best protection I can offer my heart right now.

Even when I broke down and told him that I feel like his heart is no longer mine and that I am not at all in this part of his life and that I feel alone, he blamed me for not being supportive and for creating this mess in my head.

I'm sure this is a garbled mess on screen. It sure feels like that in my head.

Any suggestions?

The only idea I've been given so far is: Take time to be with my husband ... but that's the thing ... I don't WANT to be with him. :problem:

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Jan 2018, 06:13

I don't envy you, but also obviously will never be in your position. But from my point of view, I think your feelings are not all that unusual. I have heard many a bishop's wife crying at the pulpit upon his call or release saying either they feel like they are losing their husband or that they are glad to have him back. Honestly, I have never heard one say anything about being closer to him during that time but I have heard them say they felt blessed during the time their husbands were bishops.

I don't have any advice for you on the relationship itself, my apologies.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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LookingHard
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Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by LookingHard » 12 Jan 2018, 06:41

I have read up quite a bit on polygamy (and I am not going to draw a parallel that your husband is going to have "another wife" for 5 years).

One thing that has come through really strong is that the women NEVER liked polygamy, but they felt it was an Abrahamic sacrifice. Since they believed it to be a holy sacrifice with an eternal reward, that really motivated them. Even some that would publicly on the American stage would defend polygamy, would write in their journals just how heartbroken they were over it. But then they would also write that they know this was proving to the Lord they would be obedient.

So to me this explains how many bishop's wives are able to say they, "love it" - because it is a hard test they love to be taking and passing (and they get a better "grade" if they vocally tell everyone just how great it is). And for some it truly isn't that impacting on their family. Wards are different - some are "needy" and some are more self-sufficient. I don't know if this helps you in any way to look at the other wives with less, "how can you say that?" I would bet that if those women in polygamy had a faith crisis their support of polygamy would evaporate quickly. Once that eternal reward for suffering now does not seem real - all justification for the suffering evaporate and it just seems like needless suffering.

Even if that does help on that one aspect I assume that isn't the biggest issue and your relationship and feelings towards him is the elephant in the room. I feel for you AND I feel for him. He is carrying a lot of burdens. I once talked to a really nice bishop I had. He confessed that the emotional load caused him to physically vomit at times. He kept "throw up bags" in his car because he would have to use them every once in a while. The only thing I can suggest is counseling (you can do this over skype - even in the bishop's office!). This may allow you to really express that you want to support him, but it is tearing you up. It may help him see what you are going through and the counselor might be able to help you, your husband, and your relationship. PM me if you want a few suggestions on skype based counselors.

Sending you virtual hugs.

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dande48
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Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by dande48 » 12 Jan 2018, 09:06

God bless you, QA!

My dad served as a bishop for two years, and then has been called to the SP for the past 14 years (as a counselor, and then the Stake President). Being a bishop was a hundred times worse, than anything in the SP. I don't envy what your husband is going through at all.

There's a few "factors" at work here. The Church teaches that our duties should lie:
1. God
2. Spouse
3. Family
4. Church

The trouble is, your husband was called by God (through His prophet, who must personally approve every Bishop), to watch over and take care of the ward flock. In turn, he's been promised, that if he serves faithfully, his wife and family will be taken care of. I don't think anyone could serve as bishop and NOT believe that. So suddenly his priorities are:
1.God/Church
2.Spouse
3.Family

That's the problem with the priorities we are given. God is too often equated with the Church. What's more, is in order for your husband to keep the paradigm he needs to perform his calling, he re-frames your emotional turmoil. It's your fault, caused by your lack of faith and support.

Your husband needs to re-frame his priorities, back to where his calling, the ward, and the Church as a whole is knocked back down to four, separate from God. The trouble is getting him to see how distinct the two can be.
"Church handbook vol 2, 17.2 wrote: ...Members should not be asked to make excessive family sacrifices to serve or to support programs or activities.
One family circumstance to consider is the Church calling(s) held by a member’s husband or wife. Individual families should not be overburdened with Church responsibilities.

"Church handbook vol 2, 19.1 wrote: Although service in Church callings requires sacrifice, it should not compromise a member’s ability to fulfill family and employment responsibilities. Before calling a married person to an assignment that requires a significant time commitment, Church leaders consider the effect of the calling on the marriage and family.
"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. "
-Albert Campus

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Roadrunner
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Joined: 25 Sep 2012, 15:17

Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by Roadrunner » 12 Jan 2018, 10:40

As a bishop and the husband of someone who dislikes my calling, I might offer a few thoughts.
  • Try to have a weekly date that nothing can interfere with. Turn off the cell phone and spend a few hours together and do not talk about church.
  • It will get better. Slightly better, if nothing else because you'll get used to it.
  • Most of the bishops wives I know hate it, so at least some of them are lying to you. :roll:
  • You have the right to tell him you need him more than church needs him. If Sacrament Meeting starts in 15 minutes and you need him home tell him that and expect him home. Wife is more important than church.
One of the most painful experiences was after I had been in the new calling about 7 months my wife and I went on a 4 day getaway just the two of us. It was wonderful. On way back about an hour from home my wife was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We pulled over and it was full-on weaping for 20 minutes because I'd have to go back to my calling. Once we had a full on argument in a grocery store because she said I was a stranger to her. Good times.

Just know you are not the only one, and I actually do think my marriage is stronger now. I still have 18 months left to go. Good luck to both of you!

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Jan 2018, 10:56

Roadrunner wrote:
12 Jan 2018, 10:40
[*]Most of the bishops wives I know hate it, so at least some of them are lying to you. :roll:
:lol: I was trying to be more diplomatic than that, but it's what I was thinking.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Jan 2018, 11:15

I get it. You like to think that your soul mate and you have no secrets - that you can share everything with each other. So when he has private stuff he can't share with you, it creates a kind of divide.

I don't have any solid advice but to look forward to the unofficial 5 year mark when he will be free of the burden and hopefully released. I think you are right to recognize he didn't choose the calling, and he's only being fair to the members. We criticize leaders now and then in our unorthodoxy here at StayLDS. So look at his unwillingness to disclose other people's business as a positive drop in the positive bucket for us people who have been bitten by leadership roulette and the spate of bad leaders many of us have experienced. Your husband is helping people like us in being private with secrets....

I would try to find some common ground where you can still feel emotionally intimate. I know if I talk to my wife about her animals, about her job, about her political stuff at work, about her interactions with my daughter, there is a level of intimacy there. Whatever that is, which is distant from your husband's calling, could be some common ground for rekindling the intimacy and love.

Also, check out the emotional needs questionnaire at www.marriagebuilders.com. Invest some time in getting to know each others emotional needs and meeting them to keep love alive during this difficult period.
"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."

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theboywholived35
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Joined: 12 Jan 2018, 10:40

Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by theboywholived35 » 12 Jan 2018, 11:27

Hey, new here, so I don't know how it works, but I think you are in a tough spot. When any spouse is dedicating a lot of time and energy to a pursuit that you don't feel is worthwhile, it's only natural for resentment to build up. I have served in callings that took considerable time, but my wife was always supportive because she felt it was time well spent (I had misgivings.).

My two cents would be to focus on improving yourself. If you are left with alone time, use it to work on a hobby or a goal that you have independent of him. I have often found that when I focus on myself and trying to make myself a better person I am happier and more fulfilled and I have fewer issues with my wife. It is MUCH better than focusing on her and what I would like to see her change. It doesn't have to be spiritual. It can be exercise, nutrition, education, knitting, it doesn't even matter. Learning new skills and accomplishing goals takes your mind off of marital discord and helps the resentment not build. It's unhealthy to let your emotional state or attitude be dependent on someone else.

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Sheldon
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Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by Sheldon » 12 Jan 2018, 15:36

When I was bishop, my wife didn't like all the new "fake" friends she had. She knew they were just her friend because of my calling, After I was released, they all went away, and she was back to her real friends.

We once had a meeting in our stake with just the bishops and a 70, Elder Gillespie. He told use we needed to delegate everything we could, and spend time with our wife and remain gainfully employed. He said that sadly, too many time the bishops were loosing one or both of those things because of their callings. I know two former bishops that divorced because of their calling. He also said that the average time a bishop serves in the church is under 3 years because of the pressure. They want a minimum of 5 years, but its not happening.

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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Now the wife of a bishop!

Post by mom3 » 12 Jan 2018, 16:04

I believe my previous Bishop's wife got her butt in gear, the day he got called and went house hunting. 19 months after receiving the call, they moved into the next door ward. It was a massive ward. There was no way he would be Bishop for ages. Smart cookie that woman.

My mom went through it twice.

And all the fake friends thing - yeah big deal.

Small note on his side, I know when I get a new project, whether it's calling or a project I choose, I get myopic. I want to do good. Whatever made me say yes to the project drives my energy at first. I usually taper off, but if I was called as "Father of the Ward" I would probably be overly engaged in it for a bit.

Hang out here. Vent away. You have tons of empathetic supporters.
"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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