It doesn’t always work

from http://cliparts.co/cliparts/6iy/o8a/6iyo8aK5T.jpg

It’s been a rough few days over here.

When we stop respecting each other and in turn start ignoring the express wishes of our partners…it makes for some rocky roads. Proclamations of love are categorically unbelievable; all readily available evidence would support the opposite being truth.

Lots of tears. Lots of heartache. Misunderstandings and  sometimes deliberate ignorance.

Placing blame does nothing. We can play he said/she said for days and no one will ever win. Pride will ensure that in all participating parties.

But I believe we will get through it. We haven’t been irreparably vexed yet, and we’re more mature and level-headed than we have been in the past.  Refraining from emotional (over)reactions is a practiced skill, one you KNOW i can’t long say I’ve mastered, but it’s definitely one I know I am personally working on.

One of our blog “tags” is “how it works,” but this week, it doesn’t.

It will again, though.

Theory of Mind

Do you learn something new every day?

Sometimes being married to this guy makes me feel like I learn something new every day.

…..he’s obnoxiously bright. Like, read something once and obtain instant expert level knowledge on the subject obnoxiously bright.

(Wait, then, why are we readers stuck hearing from THIS crazy moron all the time??)

(Hey, don’t be so mean! My slightly-more-normal-intelligenced brain is AWESOME!)

When we were teenagers and I kinda’ was 100% totally head-over-heels in love with had a wee teeny tiny little squidge of a crush on him one of the main things I admired was the seemingly endless bits of knowledge  ratting around in his brain that a simpleton like myself was just…wow. All this garbage about constellations one night while laying on the trampoline just hanging out – he wasn’t being a cocky, cliche-romantic turd, just sharing some facts about life he found interesting!

Well, tonight….. hahaha the caverns of knowledge got me again!!

Some of my super-extended-we-never-see family is coming into “town” for the weekend, and I’m pretty pleased, and trying to make arrangements to make sure we bump into each other at some point while they’re here. Because, well, they’re my family! So I’m on the phone with my Mom, chatting and planning and whatever. And it looks like, at the time, WE are going to be freed up from all the fun and frivolity before dinnertime Saturday because the real grown-ups are going out for a fancy real-grown-up dinner or something.

I have this nasty habit of assuming that you know what I’m talking about. You being whomever I’m currently talking to.

Especially if I was JUST talking about it.

Even if the thing I’m talking about to you that I was just talking about…was in a conversation to someone else that you couldn’t overhear because, you know, phones…that whole one-sided conversation thing….

So I hang up.

And my mind starts going.

Gee, if we’re free by Saturday night I can book a couple of work appointments.  Or we can see if his family is free for dinner. Or we can do this, or we can do that, or or or or or or or….   

What comes out?

“We should see if your family is free for dinner.”

………silence……….for a brief moment….

“Usually by the time a person reaches about 2-3 years of age they acquire Theory of Mind wherein they become able to recognize that what is in their mind may be different than what others may actually be experiencing. ….it does take longer to develop in some than others….”

BAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ohmigoodness, I couldn’t stop laughing.

My brain is infantile. hahahaha I don’t have theory of mind!!

Apparently, all the when-what-who-where-why-how CONTEXT of my let’s-do-dinner was…between my mom and I on the phone and theeennnnn carried on in my brain. Silently. Before mid-conversation comes flying out.

If only this were a one-off occurrence. X-D My poor hubs, though, has figured out how to translate, or as in this case, just flat-out tell me he has noooooooooooo idea where I am in what conversation with whom.  Aaaaaand we laugh, repeatedly, at my inability to recognize that I’ve, once again, started speaking out loud mid-sentence, or “repeating” a question I’ve never actually posed outside of my head, or any number of other idiosyncrasies of my, uh, “ability” at verbal communication.

Thank goodness we laugh about it!  And hey! I learned about theory of mind today! I’d call that a win, no? O:-) Do you have any weird communication non-skillz?

Am I Angry?

I was recently asked if I’m angry about my mister’s apostasy.

I don’t think it’s any surprise to you, dear readers, that I sure as heck WAS. VERY angry. My gosh. I was FURIOUS. How DARE he!?!? My perfect, picket-fence, Mormon dreams were completely DASHED because he had the audacity to RUIN MY LIFE!!!

(Remember this? Sigh. I do. All too well!)

But I’m not, now.  Really.

I tease and call him my moron, or that idiot or other degrading nasty names, but I’m a jerk in real life to everyone soooo…. it would almost be WRONG for me to ALWAYS be nice! 😉 And I know full well that he thinks I’m a brainwashed automatron, so…we’re good!

I don’t mean to sound flippant or crass, but I’m really not angry anymore.

Yes, of course, I wish things were different. I think anyone with huge differences in marriage wishes they weren’t so.  Especially unplanned for ones? I don’t know if it’s worse when you didn’t know about the divergence until later on in the marriage, as opposed to knowing ahead of time and barrelling on anyway?

But things aren’t different. So, what use is it for me to sit here and be a grump and be pissy and angry and treat him like garbage? Fun fact, I actually LOVE this man. I love him. Sometimes I forget WHY I love him 😉 but he’s delightful, and SUCH A GOOD MAN.  And we’re married, and to me? To him? That means something. EVERYthing.

We just don’t have the same religious beliefs anymore.

So what?

So get over it.

Up until recently he’s been so good as to even accompany us to church every. single. week.  True story. My apostate has a better attendance record since his apostasy than most ‘active’ members do! And why? Why would he do that?! BECAUSE HE’S NOT A BAD MAN! And even disbelieving its doctrine or whatever his beef is 😉 the church building itself isn’t going to cause him any harm. So he comes to help me juggle our two angels while I’m off teaching primary (and brainwashing the next generation muuahahahaha!)

But our baby isn’t a baby anymore, and is in Nursery now.

So….

I figure here are my options. I can MAKE him keep coming with us (not actually, physically make him, you know what I mean. “I am wife, hear me roar” kind of make) and have him resenting me, my faith, my traditions, and everything and anyone associated with those things, OR…

Dude, stay home. NAP. Enjoy some time to yourself while I take the kids. Make us lunch for when we get home, and then we’ll leave a lovely Sunday afternoon together (read: he gets the kids while I take a turn napping!)

His first Sunday staying home our 7-year-old says to me in the car on the way to church “It’s sure nice of Daddy to stay home from church to make us lunch!” hahaha I love that! I love her so much.  And she is just pleased as punch that her daddy is at home on Sundays looking after things while we go off to worship services.

So no, I’m really not angry. Not anymore. I have more important things to do with my energy than choose such a destructive attitude. Ain’t nobody got time for that! 🙂

And now I have to go fix my bed head before I head off to work because…. gross. Until next time!

United front

I have had some people not really understand or agree with my “letting” my mister off the hook on Sunday and take the day off.  And while I understand my reasons and what went on, I think basically, it boils down to Aesop’s oft-quoted wisdom above.

Unity is power. A couple years ago now, I think, Elder David A Bednar spoke at a CES training session about the immense importance of unity and the destructive power of division and/or contention amongst us.  He shared some brilliantly insightful thoughts and illustrated these opposing ideas with aplomb. I loved increasing my understanding of this principle of life.

So in my marriage, where we are SERIOUSLY divided in ideology, how can we possibly be united?

Honestly, that’s what makes it so hard; it’s hard to know how to discuss things that previously were as easy as pie to talk about.  If I want to pray and go to the temple to seek out the Spirit to help with a large family decision, how on Earth can I take those desires to my husband who thinks I’m completely insane?  How do I take money that we SO DESPERATELY NEED and give it in relatively large quantities to the Church as I pay tithing?

But it works.

We are united.

We unite in our mutual respect for one another and our opposed belief systems.  He respects me, my beliefs, my upbringing, my desires for our family and children.  I respect his struggle to come to terms with his new views, his new understanding of life, the universe, and everything (42!), and I am SO grateful for his courage and honesty.

So yeah, I need to back off sometimes, and just let him be.  He lets me, and I let him.  It’s how we go.

I probably take it for granted that we’re going to raise our girls in the Church, but I am TRYING to do it with their being very aware and informed about their Daddy’s position, that no topic is taboo, that they are comfortable coming to EITHER of us with their questions as they strive to find out the truth for themselves.  I cannot FORCE my beliefs on them, nor can he his.  And as we have currently agreed to take the girls to church, together, it is more likely they’ll have that ‘background’ to lean on, which as I AM a believer, I am very grateful for, but they absolutely MUST know and understand their dad, his position, his feelings, and WHY.

Just pretending everything’s a-okay and ignoring HIM, well, in my humble opinion, that’s just a recipe for disaster!!

And so yeah, I gave him a day off.  Because he needs to know I’m not just paying lip service and that I do respect him.  Because we are united even in our disagreement.  That we are one in purpose of love and raising as happy and healthy a family as we can.  And that we work together to make each other happy.

End of story.

Don’t fight. Don’t argue.  Just don’t.  In or outside of the Church CONTENTION is one of the WORST things EVER.  If you hold to the scriptures you know that contention is the food of the devil, that he uses it to turn us against each other and ruin friendships, families, countries, lives.   If you don’t believe in scripture you can see the horrific things brought about in your life, on the news, in the world, as contention runs rampant.

Just, just don’t do it. Nothing is worth it.  YES the odd argument and/or fight is totally okay and HEALTHY even – please don’t misunderstand me. We OBVIOUSLY disagree!  But don’t let it run your life.  Don’t let it stand in the way of the things that will make you happy.

And THAT, my friends, is that for today.  Cheers!

A day off.

Now that we live closer to (and with!) family we’re seeing a lot more of everyone. And we are LOVING it. Especially our girls.

Our oldest especially loves playdates and sleepovers with her cousins, and this weekend she got to go up to their house, go to their ward Christmas party, see a baptism, go to church, and play until dinnertime at Grandma’s house.

Which meant Sunday morning, she wasn’t home with us.

Now, I need to tell you a little bit about my apostate: HE’S AWESOME. He may not believe, may think I’m totally wrong, a little insane, a lot brainwashed, and may not in his mind affiliate himself with the Mormon Church, but with the odd exception for illness or other extraordinary circumstances, he comes to church with us EVERY WEEK. He comes to be supportive, to make it easier on our kids, (and me, let’s be honest), because while he doesn’t believe it’s true he doesn’t think it’s BAD.

So he comes.

I woke up Sunday morning, to my alarm instead of my six-year-old climbing on me for morning snuggles,  and realized….he doesn’t need to come today.

I mean, really. I believe in the Spirit and that one is possibly more likely to experience it in the Lord’s church than sitting on his/her butt playing plants vs zombies at home, BUT…

…if the person in question doesn’t want to be there…

How many weeks has he come for me? Done that for me? Why not on a week when the kid is away give him a day off? He can apostasies to his heart’s content while I worship without worrying about people’s testimony-bearing and lauding of biased histories offending or further swaying him against my position?

So I got up with the baby, brought her back to bed, roused him a bit and asked “do you want the day off?”

He was so cute; he lit up like a kid at Christmas! “Sure!” And then….”what’s the catch?” hahahahaha

He got up and got the baby ready while I primped myself to go – what’s a day off if you’re stuck parenting all day? hahaha – and then baby and I left and he stayed home.

And you know, I think he really enjoyed not coming for a change. And it was so nice to do that for HIM instead of him doing the opposite for me all the time.

…don’t worry; he’ll be back next week. 😉

 

Out of line?

Yesterday we asked some more of you guys – who are you, and why are you here?  I was NOT prepared for the amazing response we got in the comments.

First off, I’m SO sorry that life sucks sometimes.  It just does. No matter who you are, what you believe, what you DON’T believe, or whether your problems are first, or third-world trials, life SUCKS.  It’s just hard.  (My world view leaves me pretty okay with that, but that’s a whole different blog post for a different day!)

I’m sorry that in this sucky life some of you are experiencing the same situation we are here because I’m living this one so I KNOW it’s hard.  Suddenly finding yourself at a religious/spiritual/historical impasse with your committed life-mate and all the incredible repercussions that entails is HARDLY the worst thing in the world, but I promise you it’s not easy. Not by a long shot.

So when we hear directly from you that you’re in the same situation, my heart just aches for you.  I don’t know why we have THIS to go through, but we do.

We were asked by an ex-mormon reader if we think it’s out of line for him to wish to share the, um, let’s go with “more historically accurate” version of the Church’s beginnings and early days than the “whitewashed version…[taught] in seminary” with his teenage children.  Currently that practice is prohibited by his Mormon wife, I understand? Please forgive me if I am misrepresenting the situation – I’m watching “Star Trek: TNG” with one eye hahaha (it’s leaving Netflix Dec 1st and we are NOT DONE YET! NOOOOOO!!!!)

Here’s my two cents based solely on the information you shared in your comment: NO YOU ARE NOT OUT OF LINE.

My gosh.

Please, remember, we’ve been married for ten years, and our children are 6 years and 9 months, so we’re in a TOTALLY different place in life than someone married for 18 with two teenagers.  Except the split-religion thing.  But 18 years behind you? You guys are doing SOMETHING amazingly right; keep it up!! YAY!

Here’s what I’ve come to learn and understand to a whole different level in the past year dealing with my hub’s disaffection: LOVE.

Love isn’t just about wishy-washy romance with candles and jewellery, fattening chocolates and fancy nights out. It’s not just hugs and kisses, cuddles and snuggles. Nor is it just the physical connections of more intimate behaviours, of course.

No, love is so so so much more than all that.

Love is an agreement, a promise between two people to honour, respect, tolerate, support, uplift, accept and stand by one another.  Think about it: think about someone you love. What would you do for that person? What wouldn’t you do? Probably not much.  What could he/she ever do to make you stop loving him/her? YES, people end relationships, end marriages, but REALLY REALLY do you ever stop loving that person? (I know there are crazy circumstances with psychos – you survivors are excused my ignorant suppositions 😉 )

So, yeah.  So my husband decides not to be Mormon anymore.

So what?

If I love him, so what? Who cares?  I mean, it’s HUGE, and life-altering, but so what? I love him. I want what’s best for him. I want what’s best for my kids, for me.  I believe whole-heartedly that our family’s affiliation with the LDS Church IS the best for us, but he disagrees.  So, we agree to disagree. He respects me, my decision to remain involved, and I agree to let him disagree.  We are OPEN and HONEST with each other, and especially with our kids.

Now, honestly, the baby…this whole thing is pretty over her head at the moment.  hahaha  And the 6-year-old? Well, she’s six. Kids are amazing, though, they pick up LOTS. So, what is the point in my trying to censor and hide Daddy’s change in faith from her? She’s not stupid; she KNOWS something is up.

In my opinion, the BEST thing I can do, WE can do, as her parents, is be as open and honest with her as we are with each other.

YES, we go to Church. NO, Daddy doesn’t believe in Church. Mommy does, Daddy doesn’t. Mommy believes that warm fuzzy feeling is the Spirit. Daddy believes it’s just the psychological effect of community, safety, of the friendly atmosphere and whatever all other Freudian mumbo-jumbo that makes anyone adhere to one sect or another.

What a tremendous opportunity for learning and growth it will give her, to grow up with access to such wonderful, varying views! Our children will never be faced with the “whitewashed” version of the Church – Daddy won’t let them!  And I’m okay with that. What is this horribly difficult life if not a tremendous opportunity for learning? And WHY, if the nitty-gritty, nasty things about Church history are true, would I want to HIDE those facts from anyone? Does not learning history teach us about ourselves and help prepare us for the future? Would not making the decision to have faith in the Gospel as taught by the LDS Church WITH an advanced knowledge of history, politics, policy…wouldn’t that ENHANCE your testimony?  Or at least allow you the utmost ability to decide one way or the other to leave the Church or stick with it?

So, no, I don’t think it’s out of line at ALL to want to be able to talk to your kids about different views.

BUT, I DO believe it HAS to be done delicately, with respect for the beliefs of your partner and/or the children themselves.  You can’t come out attacking Mormonism any more than you like being attacked for not believing.  And vice versa.  When we feel attacked we get defensive, and when your back is up you’re almost NEVER open to new ideas, just posturing for an increasingly heated conflict.

So…yeah.  That’s what I think.  BUT it’s JUST what I think, so… take it with the grain of salt and all that jazz.

What do the rest of you think?  Is anyone out of line for wanting their religious conversation to be comfortably uncensored within their own families?

Good luck!