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Husband making me choose between him and the church


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#1 zuko725

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:11 AM

I just posted a previous thread a couple days ago about the problems we have been having.

http://www.lds.net/f...ts-divorce.html

Basically this has come down to an ultimatum. My husband came home from work this morning and simply told me that not only does he not believe the church is true, but he really really does not like it. He said nothing about it feels right to him and that it is wrong.

We were getting ready to start looking for a house and we were hoping to start a family within the next couple years and he told me that he doesn't like the idea of having mormon kids who are going to be raised to feel sorry for him and who will be raised to believe they won't be sealed to him and that our family won't be together. He doesn't believe this and he doesn't want our future kids, or me, believing this.

He more or less told me I needed to choose between him or the church.

I am compeletly stuck. How am I supposed to choose between the two things I love most in this world? I can't quit going to church (again). It's true, I know it's true and I want to live my life righteously.

But on the other hand, my husband is the love my life. Apart from this snag, he's a great guy. We've planned a future together and he feels so right. I don't feel like leaving him would be the right thing to do either.

I can't stand the idea of not going to church anymore, but I can't walk away from my marriage either.

I think I'm going to try and talk to my bishop tonight and see what kind of advice he can give me. Of course I'll also be doing a lot of praying as well. Any advice or input from anyone else out there would also be hugely appreciated.

#2 Windseeker

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:39 AM

The ultimatums and threats with divorce are emotional abuse. You need to consider what the ultimatum will be next time and the lives it will affect when you have kids. This is not a normal loving relationship. I feel bad for you but people change in marriage.

You will never hear from the Church that you should leave your spouse because he chooses another religion.

#3 SpringGirl

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:39 AM

There was a new convert that went through the same thing. The husband and wife had been married for years, way before she joined the Church. She was about to go through the Temple when her husband told her he didn't want her to go to church anymore. The Bishop told her not to let the Church break up the marriage. That will most likely be what your Bishop will tell you.

Your husband can never make you stop believing. Hopefully one day he will come around.

#4 NeuroTypical

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:57 AM

he doesn't want our future kids, or me, believing this.

He more or less told me I needed to choose between him or the church.

It seems like you've got a choice to make then. I would suggest that you do not consider kids at all, until you've both reached an agreement both of you can live with for a very long time.

I'm sorry. :(
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack, to sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

Ohhh....
If I were a rich man...

#5 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:57 AM

The ultimatums and threats with divorce are emotional abuse. You need to consider what the ultimatum will be next time and the lives it will affect when you have kids. This is not a normal loving relationship. I feel bad for you but people change in marriage.

You will never hear from the Church that you should leave your spouse because he chooses another religion.


I concur. His concerns are valid--frankly, you did kind of pull a bait-and-switch on him by marrying him when you were inactive and then suddenly "Mormoning up"--but his response to the situation is also extremely concerning.

At the very least, don't make babies with him until you have this resolved.
This is one of those days that the pages of history teach us are best spent lying in bed.

--Roland Young ("Uncle Willie"), The Philadelphia Story


#6 Eowyn

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:12 AM

Who has he been talking to that's undermining his marriage?
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

#7 SpringGirl

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:12 AM

I agree with not having children until you make a decision.

#8 Windseeker

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:56 AM

So what does that mean to choose him over the church?

If you choose him, how do you predict he would react in the future:

- if he discovers you reading the Book of Mormon
- finds out you attend church or a church activity with relatives or friends
- discovers you allowed visiting teachers
- you making friends with members

It just seems when you are forced with an ultimatum, even showing the least interest in or positive reaction to anything that involves the church might be a potential deal breaker in his eyes.

It's very controlling and should be a major warning sign of things to come.

But he can change, I did.

It's not just non-members that do this. But for me the change didn't come quick enough and she was well on her way out the door. I thought I had changed and then I caught myself pulling the divorce card on my current wife and I quickly repented. It's likely it's a bluff and if your tired of it, you might want to surprise him one day with papers and see if he wants to go thru with it. It may be the last time you ever hear about it. :disclaimer:

...Well I guess it would be either way..heh :whistling:

For sure your man is a controller and if he want's to ever be satisified he is going to have to change. NOT YOU.

If he doesn't change I promise you, no matter what decision you make it won't be the last time he threatens you with divorce.

#9 prisonchaplain

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:02 AM

I'm not LDS and I'm not a bishop...so I can offer counsel contrary to what has been predicted for you. Your husband is asking you to choose. That's absurd. You've already chosen. He needs to choose--accept you as you have grown to be or leave. The passage I quoted in the other string directly relates. Paul predicted that this kind of thing would happen. If the unbelieving spouse chooses to leave--let him go. You cannot hold him. We are called to live in peace. If this happens, you are not under bondage. In evangelical churches we take this to mean that you are free to remarry, since you have been abandoned.

From my perspective, attending church is not letting the church come between you and your marriage. If the issue were time, it might be reasonable to curtail some activities. However, he's asking you to stop believing what you believe. There's no fixing that.

My cautious advice is to tell him that you cannot change what you are, but that you will do your best to love and respect him. If he cannot accept you as you have grown to be then that will be his choice. His concerns are valid. His reasoning is...well, reasonable. But you are who you are. He'll either reconcile himself to this or he won't--but expecting you to abandon your cherished religious beliefs is, imho, obscene.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#10 Anddenex

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:28 AM

Bishops are counseled not to direct any person toward divorce -- their first hope is to keep a marriage together.

In light of this, divorce is a personal responsibility before the Lord. This way, people are unable to put the blame on any bishop for their choice (e.g. "The bishop said it was OK").

I agree with others who have shared his ultimatum is truly unfortunate and it is a control tactic. Once control is established, the other person will continue to use other means to control your behavior for their peace -- this is true selfishness.

I agree with others, wait to conceive any children until this issue has been resolved.

I also agree with PC, and provide you with this counsel. There are two great commandments. The first is the love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Remember the order -- love God first -- love neighbors second.

It appears you need to sit down with your husband, with all your love, and directly approach his controlling behavior. I repeat Windseeker's words for thoughtful consideration:

For sure your man is a controller and if he want's to ever be satisified he is going to have to change. NOT YOU.

If he doesn't change I promise you, no matter what decision you make it won't be the last time he threatens you with divorce.


Remember, you have been given one of God's greatest gifts, and have been told "Receive the Holy Ghost" -- receive it. Allow the Lord to guide your efforts.

#11 Irishcolleen

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:37 AM

It sounds like he might be afraid of being treated like a second class citizen if you are LDS. You might reassure him that you will respect him and raise your children to respect him regardless of what faith group you belong to. If there is no reason for him to believe that you or your children will be taught to look down on him or be treated as unworthy, you need to let him know.

Ultimatums are wrong and the word divorce shouldn't be in a married couple's vocabulary. He needs to know that. But, you also need to address any fears he may have.

Edited by Irishcolleen, 06 March 2013 - 10:41 AM.


#12 applepansy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:45 AM

I'm sorry you're going through this.

You're received great advice so I won't add anything to is other than to repeat "Do Not Bring Children into this marriage UNTIL this issue (being control issues) is resolved."

I wish you all the best.

#13 zuko725

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:27 PM

Well thanks again everyone for all the advice.

I just wanted to point out that his ultimatum is apparently off the table. When I tried to imagine what it would be like if I actually quit going to church, I started crying. My husband apparently seemed to realize how much leaving the church would hurt me and told me he was sorry for putting me in that position. He told me he realized he was being selfish and he believes the best thing to do is to "man up" and try harder to tolerate my beliefs.

I'm not so sure how well that's supposed to go.

It's like no matter what we choose to do.. it's going to hurt. If I were to leave the church (which I simply can't and I won't) I would hurt (he said knowing I'm unhappy would make him unhappy), if we split up we will both be hurting, if he tries harder to "tolerate" the church being a part of my life, he's unhappy and that makes me sad.

There's simply no easy, pain free solution.

I'm going to talk to the bishop this evening and my husband agrees that this may be a good idea. I know the bishop can't tell me to do and what not to do but I'm hoping there's something he can say that will help.

I still can't shake the feeling that we'll get through this and be okay though (not sure if I'm just feeling this way out of stubborness or if I'm feeling this way for a reason.. ) We spent the entire morning talking and I think our plan (as of right now) is to just keep trying to figure a way around this. I've also decided that I will NOT be the one to enforce a divorce. I believe we can find a way to work through this. I can respect his non-belief and I'm okay with going to church alone. If he decides he can't handle being married to a "mormon" than he can be the one to file and leave. I won't be the one who gave up.

Regardless, I know I have Heavenly Father on my side and I know things will somehow turn out okay. I just wish this wasn't so painful :-(

#14 zuko725

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:31 PM

Also to SpringGirl.. the couple you mentioned who was in a similiar situation.. how did they turn out?

#15 rameumptom

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:34 PM

Tough choice. My Mom demanded that of me a couple times as a teenager when I joined. Of course, she settled down afterward each time and didn't push it too far.

Martin Harris had a wife that always caused him fits in regards to the Church. Eventually, he left her. Heber C. Kimball noted that had she been his wife and told him to choose, he would have said, "Be gone and be damned!"

Before you get to that point, consider these suggestions:
Perhaps you can explain to your husband that the Church helps you to be a better wife and mother, and see just what areas he has struggles with. If it is that he does not like men coming by the house, perhaps you can live without home teachers visiting the house, but seeing you for a few minutes at church on Sunday. If it is some other area, then discuss it with him, and see if you can accommodate his concern. Hopefully he isn't against the whole thing, which gives you no room for compromise.

Iit is a tough choice. You will have to decide what is of most importance to you. That said, if you follow the Lord, he will reward you.
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#16 Backroads

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:02 PM

I'm glad he's backing off from the ultimatum. That is a bad sign.

You will have some big decisions to make in the future should the marriage (hopefully!) work out. Are you two willing to compromise on the kids' religion? Are you both willing to keep in check any potentially hurtful remarks about the other's spirituality or lack thereof?

Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?


#17 mrmarklin

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:27 PM

A person who would give you such an ultimatum is the love of your life???

Can someone - anyone explain this in a rational manner to me????

I really have a hard time with this.

OP, I hope you never have children with this man, because you are heading for a life of big problems.

#18 prisonchaplain

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:56 PM

When they married neither was LDS. The wife was inactive and would go out to drink with him. Now she's active, and he has decided to have nothing to do with the religion. He knows enough about the doctrines to realize that his wife and future children will have strong feelings that he is holding them back and keeping them from an eternal best. He believes they will pitty him, look down on him, and may even hold against him his lack of faith. Additionally, he enjoys drinking, and now his main drinking partner considers it a sin. He's wrong to be issuing ultimatums, but is it really so hard to understand how a very young, perhaps somewhat immature, man would have serious struggles with these circumstances?

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#19 Praetorian_Brow

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:16 PM

Sometimes I think the dire predictions people toss around are for the sake of justifying their irrational fear, rather than offering sound advice. I don't believe its constructive to offer advice about ending a marriage, even if it is not ideal. Another thing, sacrificing someone for an ideal seems to be a common theme that ends in more tragedy, rather than any constructive progress.

If anything, the husbands ultimatum was a test to see how much she believes in her new path. You love him and as long as you two don't beat each other, then stay together.

#20 Yaya1967

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:41 AM

In response to the advice from prisonchaplain...This is outstanding advice. He does not have the right to ask you to be other than who who you are. You seem willing to accept him as he is. He owes you the same courtesy.




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