Are you going through faith transition?
Have you told your spouse?
It is no joke to tell your spouse you are experiencing a faith transition. Here are three mistakes to avoid.
- Do not tell your spouse anything.
- Do not tell them they are wrong, weak minded or delusional.
- Do not tell them its their fault.
Are you afraid your spouse will be disappointed and maybe even angry if they knew you were questioning your LDS beliefs? Are you certain there is no way your spouse will understand what you are thinking and feeling? Perhaps there is even the fear that they will leave you or perhaps even worse, emotionally leave the relationship?
In the Mormon culture it is a BIG DEAL to experience a faith transition. As any member can attest you promise to be faithful and true FOREVER, or in Mormon parlance – endure to the end. If you don’t, you loose status, loose callings, loose trust and may be marginalized by your community. But perhaps the worst thing of all is these very same losses may happen in your marriage. It is one thing if Sister So and So or Bishop Whatsit is disappointed or thinks you have failed on the ‘covenant path’, it is another thing entirely to have your spouse view you as a disaster, failure or possibly even a threat to the family’s happiness and salvation. Especially when you feel your reasons are well founded, well reasoned and maybe even guided by the spirit.
Clearly this is challenging ground to cover. How to do talk about your faith transition? How do you make changes in your marriage, family life, or Sunday schedule without causing irreparable breaches? At the same time how can you NOT make changes and spend the rest of your life feeling like your personal integrity is being compromised.
One of the most helpful tools I’ve used in my marriage as I have navigated my faith transition is what I call ‘Difficult Conversations.’ This is a tool I learned from Life Coach Brooke Castillo. The steps are:
- Let go of the need to be right, or prove your point.
- Start with “Tell me what you feel about (insert topic)” or “What are you thinking about (insert topic)”. Fully hear your partner. Make every effort to truly understand their thoughts and feelings. Note: keep releasing the need to be defensive or disagree. Do not expect to get the same luxury to tell your side.
- Re state the facts that you can both agree on. Facts do not make anyone right or wrong, they are common ground.
- Reduce the issue to one statement.
- You are making these facts mean: _______________________________
- I am making these facts mean: __________________________________
- Now only talk about the solutions. This may take some time. It is worth it. Do not discuss the problem, this is very tempting, only discuss possible solutions.
Being able to have difficult conversations is critical but only one tool in a whole toolbox. Click here to sign up for a FREE mini course – How to Develop a Strong Mixed Faith Marriage – that has more tools and tips on how to maintain a strong and healthy marriage in the midst of a faith transition. A new chapter of the mini course will arrive in your inbox each week until you have received all 10 chapters. The mini course is packed with tools and exercises to help you address your specific situation.