It doesn’t always work

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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.

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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!

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!