I find, often, the easiest way to explain how I felt when he told me, is to just reference an email I wrote to a friend a few days after I had the information. So, with some editing (I changed the names – I don’t think I actually know a Mildred anywhere..?? Sorry, if I do! It’s not about you!) and PLEASE remember, this is a year ago, and NOT my best most charitable moment in time, AND he has read this himself, here you go:
Sorry, I didn’t mean to give you the itch for the gossip over here and then not share…I know that’s brutal! AND I figured I’d email you, because frankly, I’m better in writing than in person, AND writing is SO DANG CATHARTIC soo…. don’t sit down to read this ’til you have time ’cause I can tell you right now it’s not going to be a short one! hahaha
Okay, so Tuesday night my darling husband sat me down for some news. I thought of all the make-or-break things I could think of and asked did-you-have-an-affair?-do-you-look-at-porn? the usually run-down of the list (which in your case includes smoking!) 😉 He said no to everything, so I breathed a sigh of relief, because I THINK I can handle just about anything else. And really, what else could it be if I can’t in my wildest nightmares think of it?? Right?
So then he tells me, point blank, he doesn’t believe the Church is true.
Which….is a little bit stunning.
Now, I know having a husband who doesn’t believe in the Church is not REALLY the end of the world – you’re doing it very successfully, Francine seems happy as a clam, Jane makes it work, Kathy too…. It is TOTALLY possible to have a wonderful, fabulous, fulfilling marriage with these men who DON’T hold the priesthood.
Quite frankly, my marriage BLOWS. It’s, again, nothing compared to what I am SO glad I cannot even imagine my dear friends like yourself, Linda, or my neighbour, or my other friend Cameron, or Mildred – ohmigoodness, I know way too many horrible horrible stories – have gone through. [My husband] doesn’t beat me, yell at me, abuse me in any way. He IS employed, newly, but takes pride in taking temporal care of us, and really, he’s not all that bad a guy. At ALL. So please, don’t misunderstand me and think that I’m being naive or ungrateful. I AM grateful!
But my marriage sucks. We’re a joke.
For 9 years [my husband] has just sort of existed alongside me. I drag him around, force him to do the odd thing…basically, I’ve been his mother for 9 years. It’s exhausting. And infuriating. He…doesn’t make me feel anything. I don’t feel important, appreciated, loved… I used to feel used because he only had time for me if he was aroused and wanted sex. I yelled at him for that after a few months. Over the years, though, that has become less and less of a problem….probably being the MAIN reason why there’s such a gap between [our first baby] & this little nugget.
I do EVERYTHING. Everything. His contribution to this household outside of finances is non-existent. Not spiritually, not physically, nothing. He does nothing. Even when I ask him to do something to help, he ‘forgets’ or doesn’t get around to it or…I don’t even know. It doesn’t get done unless I do it.
And it’s been exhausting. But you know what? He’s a good man, he’s learning, he’s growing. I’m his wife, it’s my job to HELP him learn and grow and we work together. And being [my daughter]’s mom is the greatest thing in the world, so taking care of my two people, while I am far from HAPPY, makes me content, for the most part. I can live like this. I am married to a good man with amazing potential, who for better or worse brings the priesthood into my home, and that is invaluable.
So then, he tells me, he doesn’t believe anymore. His ONE redeeming factor in my eyes in the last NINE YEARS he has decided to announce, just like that, he is stealing away from me. I am 4 months from having a baby and all of a sudden, just like that, her daddy won’t be blessing her. Because he’s been reading and researching and really struggling with things for a few months. He’s done his due diligence and he just can’t believe it anymore. It can’t be true. Joseph Smith & Brigham Young were horrible tyrants and the Church has just covered it all up. We all THINK it’s true because we’ve been duped by psychology mumbo-jumbo blah blah blah… it makes us feel good because it’s comforting.
Tuesday night I try my darndest to just listen. To let him talk to me. To tell me what he’s feeling, what he’s thinking. I try NOT to make him feel judged or uncomfortable, because I’ve found that is the WORST way to make a person feel, and probably one of the most un-Christlike things we can do to each other. I bawl a bit when I think of my girls (yes, I’m expecting to have another perfect little girl) and the daddy they deserve and the one he’s decided to now become. But he tells me he’s still the same good man he was the day before. My instinct is to slap him, but I manage to hold it together.
I ask him questions about HIS questions. What does he plan to do? Does he not believe in Mormonism or in Christianity, because that’s kind of a big thing to know – Joseph Smith is NOT Jesus Christ, and I need to know what is or is not ‘acceptable’ in his new belief system.
He asks if he can hug me. I’m repulsed, honestly. Part of me wants to throw myself at him and be comforted, but he’s the ass MAKING me feel this way, and I want nothing to do with him. But HE hurts, hurting me, so I let him, and we sob together. He assures me he loves me, and that he’ll do ANYTHING for me, for [our daughter]. He won’t make me go to church alone, he’ll support me in whatever I want to do….
Yesterday morning I woke him up with my sobbing. I made good choices, Tarah. I somehow have the benefit of never having GONE through the ‘bad times’ and doing the things we’re not supposed to do. I fell in love with a worthy priesthood holder, home from his mission. We covenanted to each other eternity in the Temple. I picked well. And he’s just STOLEN it all from me.
My mom came yesterday after I phoned and asked her to. I needed help. My world just came crashing down. My good man just told me he’s taking away the one thing I have always been able to love most about him when he’s made me feel awful.
Mom was excellent. She loves [him], too. But she knows me pretty well. I started telling her I don’t want to force him to do anything he’s not comfortable with, make sure not to be all judgy and whatever….and she basically stopped me dead and yelled at ME. hahaha Moms, eh? She told me I need to STOP being my people-pleasing self, and for once in my life look at ME, put my foot down, and DEMAND what I want. I did NOT sign on for a priesthood-free home when I married him, and I am NOT okay with it. I signed on for following the Proclamation to the World on the Family, raising my babies in the gospel, with a wonderful example of a priesthood holder as patriarch. Not for my dad and brother-in-law to have to bless and baptize my babies, for me to have to track down my impossible-to-reach home teachers when I’m sick and need a blessing, for my daughters to have to travel to grandpa for a “father’s blessing” before the school year…. Yes, other people do it, and no, there’s nothing WRONG with that at all. At all! It’s just not what I want, nor what I’ve ever wanted.
Yesterday I let him have it, after my mom left. She was right, honestly.
I called him on the fact that for MONTHS he’s been keeping this secret from me, hiding in the basement “researching” when he should have been looking for a job. I told him it’s no different than having kept a porn collection hidden from view. That when he first encountered the issue he should have come to me – we’re MARRIED, and this is a huge thing. If he’d come to me we could have worked through it, researched together, and we’d either both be anti-Mormon right now, or both be reconciled with things and moving on. Instead he decided to hide it from me, and has consequentially made the decision to, for this instant in time, ruin my life, without any input from anyone else outside of the damned internet. (I HATE computers. HATE them.)
I called him on his claim that he’s still as good a man today as he was before he told me. I told him that the thing that MADE him a good man to me was not his amazing husband skills, but his priesthood. Because as my husband he sucks. He makes no effort and does not try to make me happy. I should feel every day like I’m loved, wanted, appreciated…a freaking princess for pity’s sake. And he can’t even get it together to celebrate my 30th birthday. I work every day in this house, on blogs, on dinner, lunches, to try to make things run as smoothly as possible for this family. I literally exhaust my physical body to the point now, where while pregnant, it fights back and I cause myself agonizing pain. And he STILL won’t help me.
I said if he’s taking the one redeeming thing that he brings to my marriage away, then he had better damn well figure his crap out and man up. Because I am not spending the rest of my life feeling awful-to-mediocre in my marriage to a selfish overaged child. I told him that as long as he is willing he WILL be coming to church with us, and when that is no longer something he can do then we need to separate and figure things out; I refuse to have to explain to my daughters why their father, whom I married in the temple, doesn’t join us for worship on Sundays. I told him when he touches me I have no desire to reciprocate his actions. I don’t want to hold his hand, hug, snuggle… but he’s to continue to do it, and do it MORE, because I believe in time that will be important.
Anyway. That’s what’s going on. I’m heartbroken. But I’m better today. Other than tearing up a little bit I haven’t cried yet, so that’s progress. I’m feeling strong and empowered. I can do this – this too shall pass. And maybe, out of it, I’m going to get the husband I’ve always wanted to be head-over-heels for and one day he’ll come back to his faith. Either way, I’m done being made to feel like I have to accept the status quo. I am better than that. I rock. I need to be made to feel like it’s true.
When you ask if there’s anything you can do…I don’t think so. I’ll need a friend when I can’t have my mommy – I’m lucky she’s close enough by that I can take advantage of her like that!
[My husband] needs help, but I don’t know who or what or where to go to get it. Regardless of his feelings about church, he needs to figure himself out and figure out once and for all how the heck to be a man. He needs to take care of his family, and not just by working 40 hours for a paycheque. We need so much more than money from our spouses and parents.
So…yeah. That’s how I felt. Please note FELT. PAST tense. I’m happy to expound in better, less horrifically-nasty ways in future, but at the time I was TICKED.
A year later, we have our differences. He’s not perfect, not the perfect husband, but he’s FAR from being the worst. And goodness knows I’m far from being the perfect wife! (Though I’m closer than he is at this whole perfect spouse game… hahaha) We have a long way to go, but have come so far together as a couple in the 12 months. As far as our marriage goes this “crisis of faith” was a wake-up call. We are better, and will continue to get better. We’re far from throwing in the towel. We differ in opinions and religion, but we love each other and our girls. And that’s what really counts.