Keeping the peace

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Keeping the peace

Post by fnts » 11 Dec 2013, 14:23

I'm looking for advice from those who have gone through a faith crises, but have a spouse who is TBM. It seems like there are a lot of different situations here and I know a few of you are similar to me. My wife is aware of my situation, but only to a degree. She knows I am discouraged by the fact that I have never had a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of... well anything. I have told her that, for now, I choose to believe and I expect that someday the answers will come. The truth is, I have nearly given up on that hope.

She is kind, but very worried. I think she is afraid our whole life is going to crumble. For my part I avoid the subject as much as possible, and she basically does the same. I have not changed any of my practices as far as church attendance, callings, etc. While I do not enjoy them much any more, I don't want to cause any trouble by slacking in my duties. By all outward appearances I am a solid latter day saint. Other than my wife, no one has a clue.

The big problem is that now we have a rather large area of our life that we can no longer openly discuss. When gospel topics arise, I say what I am expected to say, but I think she knows I'm holding back. It has created an uneasy feeling between us that has never been there before.

I've considered being more open with her, but I know there would be serious conflict if I did.

Sometimes I really wish she would have her own crisis. Then we could be on common ground again, and work through it together. Unfortunately, she has determined that the only way to get through this is for her to be stronger than ever (more frequent scripture reading, listing to conference talks, etc.)

My goal right now is to just keep putting on the TBM face that I'm expected to wear, but I hate not being honest with her. I feel like I'm living a lie - I suppose I am. But it seems like I can either live a lie or ruin my life.

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by Roadrunner » 11 Dec 2013, 15:02

Hello fnts,
My TBM wife and I have sort of reached an unofficial truce that we don’t talk about aspects of the church that bother me. I’m not sure what your beliefs are, but there are still many things I do like about the church which my wife and I do agree on and talk about.

At times I feel I’m living a lie but (usually) I’m at peace enough with my unconventional LDS beliefs that I can have a peaceful and loving relationship with my wife. There are times when it’s difficult, though. Just this last Sunday I reminded my wife that “I don’t believe half of it” and she replied “well you’re sure living like you believe it.” And we left it at that. We have agreed that I can “inoculate” my kids from aspects of doctrine, history, and culture as long as she can present her view and the kids can decide for themselves.

Wish I had better advice, but for me, maintaining a loving and supporting relationship with my wife and kids is more important than being completely forthright, which is actually similar to other aspects marriage. We try not to nag about each others’ faults. For me, if I think about all my doubts I start to get angry and feel tremendous resentment that life is unfair, but trying not to dwell on it seems to help. I can’t change the past and just have to move forward.
Last edited by Roadrunner on 29 Apr 2014, 16:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by fnts » 11 Dec 2013, 15:27

Roadrunner wrote:“I don’t believe half of it”
That would definitely be crossing the line in my situation. It sounds like you have reached a more mature stage than where I'm at. I'm hoping that in time maybe things will get easier. What I'm afraid of is that there may be a battle before we reach it.

I agree that keeping things happy at home are the most important right now. That's why I've been "playing the part".

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Dec 2013, 15:33

fnts, if it helps, here are a couple of posts I've written about the broader topic:

"God is Not More Important than Wife and Kids" ( ... e-and.html)

"Temple Sealing as a Shadow of Practical Sealing" ( ... tical.html)
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by Roadrunner » 11 Dec 2013, 15:39

One more thing I should have mentioned was that not long after my faith crisis I started to write in my journal. I felt I could openly "vent" there without fear of repercussions. That did help me in the short term get through some rough days.

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by Roy » 11 Dec 2013, 15:55

I am several years into my faith transition. DW and I have been through some ups and downs. It has been important that I emphasize that my devotion to her and certain elements of my behavior will not change (for us the biggest changes have been tithing and rated "R" movies).

I have never tried to convince her that the church is false, but we have had many conversations on church culture and imperfections and perceptions etc.

She believes in the power of the priesthood (so the church can be necessary for salvation and incredibly frustrating at the same time) and I respect that. At the same time I am honest with her and feel that she knows where I am comming from.

In summary, I don't know that dancing around the issue would be sustainable for me. I would rather take a chance on understanding than live in perpetual isolation.
"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: Keeping the peace

Post by GodisLove » 11 Dec 2013, 16:11

I am the wife of the man with a faith crisis. Maybe I can give you a bit of her perspective, although I am in a different place now.

Church was our whole world. I was serving in leadership, he was too. We joked that the drive to Ward Council was our date. I knew something was up with him for a long time before he opened up. It was shocking and in retrospect my biggest fear was the loss of him and his dedication to our family. That hasn't changed and if anything has been strengthened. I felt like I was on eggshells some because I didn't know exactly what bothered him where and it was awkward. He slowly opened up on different topics and I was able to share my view and it was respected.That was huge for me.

I am sure you have read other stuff on here, but when people say go slow.....go slow. Things would come up, like tithing, tithing settlement, callings, kids interviews. I hope she realizes how hard this is for you too. It helped me to read this websites articles and also FAIR, although even in my more TBM that one was gaggy. There is a website called Faceseast that is for people with a disaffected spouse. It doesn't get a lot of traffic but it is nice to know you aren't alone. Also a giant help was God Who Weeps.My husbands continued love and reassurance and respect that I could believe how I wanted made things "easier". It isn't easy and sometimes it feels earth shattering.

Good luck.
Not one Sparrow is forgotten
E'en the raven God will feed
And the lily of the valley
From His bounty hath its need

Then shall I not trust Thee, Father
In Thy mercy have a share?
And through faith and prayer, my Mother
Merit Thy protecting care?
Shaker Hymnal 1908

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by hawkgrrrl » 11 Dec 2013, 18:41

Marriage is all about trust, and when one spouse changes their views on something assumed to be in common, it's easy for doubts to creep in and insecurities. That's why communication is important and respect and above all, putting your partner first - seeking to understand the other person first and to be patient and loving.

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by fnts » 11 Dec 2013, 18:58

Thanks all. Roadrunner, I guess that's how I consider this site. A place to "vent", and not worry about repercussions, and it does help.

GodIsLove, I often try to think how I would feel if our roles were reversed. Thank you for your insight. I can only imagine how difficult this is for her. That's why I'm very hesitant to be completely open with her. I'm afraid it would be too much. One time I tried to talk about tithing and what does "increase" really mean. It didn't go as well as I had hoped. She is of the opinion that whatever calculation arrives at the highest amount is what should be paid. I don't mean that in any disrespect. That's not far from what I would have said years ago. And I applaud her faith. But I just don't see it the same way anymore. All I was really able to do was throw in something like "I think it's probably a little more complicated than that".

It's funny because I think the biggest concern we both have is "what if my spouse wants out of our family". In reality that would be highly unlikely, but the fear is still there. We really have a great relationship outside of church matters. But the church has always been such a big part of our lives that it makes a large impact.

Hawkgrrl, you've identified the two conflicting courses I'm trying to navigate: having open communication, and putting her first. I'm afraid if I'm totally open it would cause her more pain.

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Re: Keeping the peace

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Dec 2013, 19:58

Here is my formula -- I am the unorthodox person (I would not say "doubter", but disillusioned and critical). my wife is TBM:

1. I don't talk about my concerns about the the church with her because it upsets her.
2. I invest in meeting her needs in the marriage. She has a high need for conversation, affection, financial support, and family commitment in the form of fathering and leadership. I do those things. They compensate for lack of church passion.
3. I support her and my daughter in their churchy wurchiness

So far it's working. Sure is precarious though.

I suggest takeing the emotional needs questionnaire that used to exist at this will help you understand what deposits love into your marriage bank account. Step up the extent to whcih you meet non-church needs to keep the marriage strong.

Occasionally, there are low points in our marriage and I have to retrench and do better in certain areas. one must always be monitoring and making adjustments to make sure the love account is in a positive.

Hope that helps...

"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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