Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Can this marriage be saved?

I remember reading that series in some women's magazine, Ladies Home Journal, I think.  It was always interesting as both the husband and wife would lay out their gripes about what they felt was wrong with the marriage.  Then the counselor would put her two cents in and the marriage would be saved!  I don't remember reading one where the counselor said, "There's nothing worth saving.  Let it go."  Maybe there has been but I've blocked it out.

Which leads me to "interfaith marriage", for lack of a better term.  When a husband and wife don't agree on their religious beliefs, or lack of.  If two people go into marriage knowing that they have differing views, I'm sure it's difficult enough.  But if one spouse's beliefs change after many years of marriage, what then?  Is it possible to completely realign a relationship at that point?  And if the marriage wasn't particularly strong to begin with?  I've been pondering this question for months and have come up with nothing.  Just going around and around and around with the same questions with no answers.  And for someone who doesn't like to think, it's been torture.

So I'm throwing this question out there to the internet.  Has anyone been through this and what happened?  Can this marriage be saved?  Or should it? 


  1. My leaving has been a trial to our marriage, without a doubt. It may actually be the biggest thing we have or will ever face. However with that said, it's actually brought us closer together in the end.

    My wife stayed TBM for a while after I came out to her, I'm still not 100% out though.

    I was fortunate that she made the decision right up front that if it came to a choice between me and the Church, I was going to win. I would never have asked her to choose, but I did appreciate that.

    Gradually she started to question things as well, and while she retains a belief in God and I'm pretty convinced there isn't one, we're actually communicating better than we ever did in the Church.

    What may have helped... Unrelated to my leaving, I had a friend who was finishing up a degree in marital counseling, and needed a couple to practice on. It turns out he had the only normal couple in his class, for which he was incredibly grateful, but... While we were already communicating pretty well, he gave us some extra communication tools, and actually helped break down a couple of barriers between us.

    His opinion is that people wait far too long to get counseling with their marriage. He actually went through counseling with his wife before he even tied the knot.

    Anyway, so loooong story short. Interfaith marriages can definitely work, but both members have to be invested in making it work. Perhaps the biggest thing for my wife and I was that I didn't try to convince her about my beliefs and generally she has tried to give me the same respect. That's not to say it's all be plain sailing, or that we haven't faced challenges, but we have made it through.

    Holler if you want to chat more... I'm happy to help where I can. The whole process of leaving is just nasty and unpleasant.

  2. That's a tough situation and unfortunately not all that uncommon. LDS Inc. is so invasive in its members' personal lives if either party is devout it forces them to take sides between church and spouse -- because it demands that church comes first, notwithstanding any of the meaningless rhetoric about the importance of families.

    I went through my divorce when I was the believer and my former husband was not so devout. Our issues transcended religious differences, however. We had a problem with lack of respect, which is (IMO) the most important and fundamental requirement in any healthy relationship.

    I had an awesome RS president back in those days who had gone through her own divorce several years previous. Her advice to me that I believe is still excellent: Try doing everything to make it work. Once.

    My own personal philosophy now is much less noble: If it's not fun anymore, what's the point?

    Good luck, dear.

  3. Actually I like Cog Dissident's advice a lot more than mine. I think if both spouses are committed to making it work, it could, but if not...

    Good luck!

  4. CD and Koda, you both gave valuable insight! I especially like, "Try everything. Once." I didn't know they let divorced women become RS presidents. Or maybe that's just for bishops. Gah. I really don't care anymore.

  5. Hey. Sounds painful. I lost faith before my husband. I asked him straight out if he was ok with being married to an unbeliever. Fortunately, he deconverted not long afterwards and although the first few months were rough it is now better than before.
    I'm lucky.
    This site helped me a lot.