Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marriage

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Posts: 6
Joined: 26 Mar 2015, 08:27

Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marriage

Post by KeitherB » 19 Apr 2015, 06:56

So I am trying to find my place in the church after a faith crisis that probably started 10 years or so and continues. Ultimately I believe the church is good and I think that Mormon theology is beautiful and comforting but I no longer use the language of "the church is true." I particularly struggle with elements of the modern church and it's treatment of liberals, women, and LGTB members. I stay because direction is important and I think we are moving forward (slowly). I also stay because I'm stubborn and believe that the church belongs to me and I'm not leaving something I love just because I don't exactly fit the mold. The church is my home and family and it helps me be more Christ-like even if it weren't true.

My current struggle is in my marriage. After Kate Kelly was excommunicated, I expressed my disappointment to my wife who completed disagreed and we got into a big fight. The same fight happened after John Dehlin's excommunication. It caught me off guard because she's not your typical orthadox Mormon. She's a convert, a democrat, and supports gay marriage so I was surprised. I guess there have been signs before. There was a time a few years back when I was reading rough stone rolling and started to talk to her about Joseph Smith's polygamy and she didn't want to hear anything about it. Recently I talked to her about my views of the BoM as symbolic and not historical and she just got quiet and didn't respond. She's made it clear that she doesn't want to talk about it. So I've had to make this journey alone. I've been going to LDS blogs and podcasts like Mormon Stories when she's not around like they are porn sites because she wouldn't like it. I've wanted to talk to her about my spirituality and how I view the church but I'm afraid it will drive a wedge between us.

I'm also keeping most of it to myself because I feel like I have to be someone for her. I feel like she needs me to be the worthy priesthood holder who has a solid testimony and doesn't struggle with doubts or issues with faith. She deserves a strong Mormon husband and father who knows the church is true and holds to the rod. Right now I am pretending to be that for her even though I know that's not who I am. Except for the few moments referenced above, I don't talk about it. I feel bad for her that she has to have a husband who struggles with testimony. I feel inadequate as a husband, father, and priesthood holder. I want to be open with her but I feel that it will only cause problems and make her afraid that I'll leave the church and she'll lose her Eternal family, even though I have no intention of leaving.

Has anyone struggled with similar issues in their marriage? Any suggestions?

User avatar
Holy Cow
Posts: 314
Joined: 10 Nov 2014, 17:07
Location: Las Vegas

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by Holy Cow » 19 Apr 2015, 10:37

The effect that my faith crisis has had on my marriage has definitely been the hardest thing for me to deal with too. My bishop (and the previous bishop) is completely aware of where I stand with everything, and has been very supportive and understanding. I've even talked about things with my father-in-law, and he has been very helpful and accepting. My bishop allowed me to baptize my son, and has signed a temple recommend for me (he keeps it in his desk drawer just waiting for my signature since I don't feel like it's a place I want or need to be). But, my wife was upset that I baptized my son, and feels like I'm not worthy to use the priesthood. She even went and asked another brother in the ward to give her a priesthood blessing and tried to hide it from me. I found out about it from my son. If she had just asked me if she could have our home teachers give her a blessing, I would have been completely fine with it. But it bothers me that she went and found somebody to give her the blessings and tried to keep it all a secret.
I think the pressure that the church places on eternal family and worthiness to be in the celestial kingdom keeps people toeing the line who might leave otherwise. It's like the way that Joseph Smith approached some of his lady-friends with the story that their marriage to him would ensure exaltation for their entire family. How is somebody supposed to exercise their own free agency, when the eternal state of their entire family will be affected by their decision?
I try to avoid talking about church-related topics as much as possible when I'm at home. I feel like I've been able to find a lot of support and understanding from everybody I've talked with, except my wife. I would love to talk with her about things, but she doesn't want to hear it. And I don't blame her for feeling that way. I know that she's stuck in that position of worrying that my decisions are going to ruin our families eternal connection. How am I supposed to compete with that? That's one of the many reasons that I don't enjoy the temple. I've never loved it, but I've grown to like it less and less as time goes on. I just can't believe that a merciful God would require people to go through those rituals in order to be allowed to be with their family forever. How many of you would turn your children away when they came home if they couldn't show you the secret handshake and the code word when they came back?
So, I can relate to what you're going through. Unfortunately, I don't have any helpful suggestions. I've been trying to figure out how to make that work as well. Good luck! :smile:
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

User avatar
Posts: 2945
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by LookingHard » 19 Apr 2015, 10:47

I have had a bit of the same. My wife wants nothing to do with any of "that stuff" - even when I try to tell her I am looking at historical books written by active members.

I have come to the conclusion she is scared and is afraid she may fall if she starts looking. It is a bit of what the LDS church as taught - that anything that isn't pro/positive LDS is anti-Mormon and has the spirit of the devil. Read it and you will be in his control.

KeitherB - I don't have any advice and it has hurt my already troubled marriage.

Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by startpoor » 19 Apr 2015, 13:02


That has been my exact experience with my wife. It's been a terrible journey so far. Like yours, my wife was liberal, pro gay marriage, and slightly unorthodox. But she dug in her heels hard when I expressed doubts. At first I thought it was because she thought she was losing her forever family and that she actually believed in the literal true church in a TBM way. More recently I realized that it probably has more to do with the expectation that women in the church carry with them to be perfect, to have perfect families, to be the one who steps in to make their husbands and their kids perfect. I believe this because I know she still is troubled by gay member mistreatment and is weary of Joseph Smith. She knows deep inside that the church has issues, and basically agrees with me on an intellectual level about church historicity. But emotionally, church is where she feels safe, and right now, when she feels threatened, she wants to find safer, secured harbor.

I found the following helpful, from a females perspective on another board:
"1. Although men grow up with the pressure of the priesthood, women group up with the pressure to perfect. Perfect themselves, their future, their future children, their future spouse.

2. As girls we are taught to respect and obey our parents, our Heavenly Father, and thanks to the Proclamation of the Family ...our husband.

3. We are (generally speaking) pleasers and loyal supporters in large part due to the conditioning of growing up in the church.

4. We learn from Primary to Young Women to Relief Society to sustained our priesthood holders, and abide by and receive council from them. BUT we are also taught that if they are not doing the Lord's will, it is up to us to be their strength through prayer and fasting, reading scriptures, and perfecting ourselves to help them find the way. I can recount MANY lessons that give the message to women in the church that they are not only responsible for their children's eternal happiness, but their husband's eternal happiness as well...because after all ---isn't that what we were created for?"
So be patient and help her feel secure with this adjustment, and hopefully, eventually, she will be at peace with it and you can move forward together.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

User avatar
Posts: 7375
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by DarkJedi » 19 Apr 2015, 14:02

I am also in a similar position with my wife. We have reached a sort of detente where I simply don't talk about it. It's OK for me to throw out an occasional thing like we don't know April 6 was Christ's birthday or a fitting quote by Pres. Uchtdorf but otherwise we literally just don't have religious discussion. It does affect our marriage, but we've been this way for over 10 years so we've learned to live with it more or less - it's just the way things are.

I do however try to be the best husband and father I can be - that has nothing to do with the church or the priesthood. There are lots of good husbands and fathers outside the church. As far as priesthood goes, maybe you need to redefine what being a good priesthood holder means for you and stop being so hard on yourself.
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

User avatar
Posts: 4075
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by mom3 » 19 Apr 2015, 14:48

I was/am the spouse. My husband went down the rabbit hole first. My response, which is different than most, was to battle back using Rough Stone Rolling. It didn't work, but it was my effort. We struggled, strained, and hit a wall of silence. The big D was looming, then he listened to Natasha Parker, and we reached out to her. It helped a lot.

We had many personal decisions to make, and find we still have to make them every day. Today he is agnostic and totally inactive, me I am the lone stayer. My view has changed dramatically, but being Mormon is in me and I can't quite close the door.
"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

User avatar
Posts: 7348
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by SilentDawning » 19 Apr 2015, 15:17

My wife preserves her inner peace by not exploring and analyzing my own attitudes toward the church. I don't talk about it with her because it upsets her. I would suggest doing the same.

I also recommend fining her emotional needs by having her do a emotional needs questionnaire. Do everything possible to meet her non-church needs very well to compensate for lack of churchiness.

I do that and I believe it has helped my situation since my wife would rather I was a full-on believer like I used to be.
"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

Posts: 952
Joined: 19 Jan 2014, 20:43

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by amateurparent » 19 Apr 2015, 17:39

My husband is a member of FAIR and FARMS. He is an apologist.

He is a bright, educated guy who publishes prolifically. We can read the same article and come to vastly different conclusions. It has made for some very interesting and heated arguments on our evening walks.

I found found certain topics are open for discussion and certain topics go too quickly into a heated debate. I love to have his input .. But his input is that of an apologist. So if I snort at his answer and roll my eyes, it doesn't help..

So, I find faith, spiritually, charitable work, women and the priesthood, nature of God .. Those sorts of things are wonderful to discuss. We do not discuss JS and polygamy, modern prophets and when GAs do stupid things .. Unless it is McConkie.

More than anything else, through our years of marriage, we have realized that while we compliment each other, we are very different from one another. We are not mirrored reflections. I don't expect him to meet all my conversational or intellectual needs. We both have interests that the other doesn't share. We would respect each other less if we agreed with each other in all ways. We think so differently .. How could we reach the same conclusions?

I still attend church because it makes him happy to have me there. That is my compromise. He doesn't expect me to participate in most church things anymore. We pay tithing on his income. Not on mine. I donate money to causes within our community. That has become my tithe offering.

We both try REALLY hard to love and respect each other's choices. And recognize that as adults we both stay in this relationship because we want to be here with each other. So .. We make time for the relationship. Kindness and love are two very powerful things.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

Posts: 2579
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by Ann » 19 Apr 2015, 20:59

I have nothing profound. It's really hard sometimes. We've settled in to some compromises, and in some ways our marriage has never been better because we're so aware of this as a threat. I did tell him at one point that I was very lonely and really wanted to talk. In exchange for not just putting his fingers in his ears and saying, La, la, la, I can't hear you, I agree to stop talking when he has reached his limit. So some conversations end very abruptly. But it's better than it was in the beginning. All is not lost! Good luck.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

User avatar
Posts: 226
Joined: 06 Jun 2014, 09:04

Re: Struggling with how my faith crisis is affecting my marr

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 20 Apr 2015, 10:43

I appreciate the discussion here because I'm really struggling with how my faith crisis affects our marital and sexual relationship. I'm afraid I don't have any answers, but we've started meeting with a counselor and I think that has helped. It is really hard to talk about anything spiritual, because we both end up being frustrated. I'm just trying to be the best husband and father I can be and be as supportive as I can for her desires to have a TBM family.
I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2014

Post Reply