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Kayvex

Marrying a Recent Convert- Temple vs Civil War

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Hello everyone! My first post. I read the rules, so I hope this is all good in here!

 

I have been dating a man for a little over three months. He is simply wonderful in every way. He came from a pretty bad environment, and has a hard past behind him thanks to circumstances caused by his family, yet came out a virtuous, honest, and loving man. He recently joined the church, and we have been attending together since. He's suprised me endlessly with his faith, loyalty, and dedication to both me and to God. After some intense prayer... I've found a strong inclination that this is the man I should marry. We've had a lot of discussion, ranging from our own personal preferences of media, hobby, and lifestyle to how we'd like to raise our kids and more personal matters such as personal relations (I am a born-in-the-church virgin, he is not, but I feel it's very important to discuss one's expectations with their potential spouse in an appropriate way so no one is blind sided by any sexual expecations or lack thereof). We match perfectly, and we get along so very well.

 

So far, we have been doing great. I personally believe we have exceeded expecations thus far for control and respect of each other. He is, in all terms, absolutely perfect and patient with me. I had some issues as a young woman, due to a forced sexual encounter with a man who didn't respect my small sixteen year old self, that led to many years battling pornography and problems with depression and OCD. To this day I am a parasomniac, suffering from vivid nightmares and problems with "fall-asleep-everywhere" syndrome. Cars, floors, everywhere is a sleeping place. Luckily, my sweet boyfriend is respectful and caring when I have my "fits", and quietly holds on to me until I wake up. I couldn't ask for a more patient and loving potential spouse.

 

The problem is, the wait...

A year is a long time... it's how long we've got until he can get his endowments. And as someone who suffered from pornography years ago, I KNOW temptation is a strong thing. It's only a matter of time until it starts to try and creep. I've always been told to avoid long engagements for this reason.

I also have an issue with the definitions of temple worthiness. I believe the temple is INCREDIBLY serious.... I fear if we wait until he can get his endowments, our minds won't be in the right place. Not that I see us not being worthy (I'm sure with enough incredible force, prayer, and mass fasting we could make it...) but I also don't want to rush. The temple sealing is an incredible commitment that even I as a lifelong member don't fully understand. I often don't feel worthy of such blessings, even though I haven't done anything wrong!

 

I'm also concerned for his health... He is a type 1 diabetic, and I fear that if something happens to him in the next year, I won't be able to be sealed to him in any life... And just the thought breaks my heart...

 

However, civil marriage brings it's own issues... My family, would, FREAK. They have always pushed the temple as the one-and-only, and they aren't wrong to do so. The importance of sealing ordinances and eternal families is BEYOND the importance of mortality. The year between our civil marriage, if we have one, would be a year of my family "rending their clothing" at the idea that I might never ever be sealed to them. While I'm personally not worried about his comittment (as the promise of an eternal loving family is really what caught him on the gospel in the first place), it might cause bitter ties in my family. They may even go so far as to wonder if we broke the laws of chasity.

 

I've tried talking to the bishop... Actually, two bishops!

My singles ward bishop is still green, new to the field. He gave rushed, textbook answers, not understanding that I have experienced powerful and spiritual feelings about this situation. I appreciate his love and compassion, but... He just didn't help.

My old home ward bishop (the man who helped me through my youth) simply hasn't had a response. I texted him, since he's a bit far from me, and I suppose he just doesn't know what to make of the situation. We are urged not to delay the temple sealing, but some situations are just kinda wonky, like this. He told me he'd circle back when he could, but he is busy and may not know quite what to tell me!

 

We also have some friends at the hobby store we met at who happen to also be LDS, who did the civil marriage and are waiting to be sealed... Everything seems well and good, kinda against everything I grew up being told about how temple marriages are THE ONLY WAY...

 

It's starting to really chew on my poor boyfriend. I want to have this figured out before getting engaged. He is willing to fight for either way, and knows that God will give me the answers I need. But it hurts him to not be engaged, and he's very excited about the gospel and starting a life with me. And I admit, I'm excited too!

 

So, what advice do you all have?

 

A civil marriage would help us focus on the temple as a couple, get us going on our lives (and get him out of his horrible and less then kind parents' house), and also elliminate that long wait period that could cause risk for sexual temptations (as we are very attracted to each other... always have been for the year we've known each other, even before we were dating. We just have control and our respect and love outweight our lusts). But it could traumatize my family, and may spread negativity through my clan.

 

A temple marriage would get us sealed right away, made to spend a wonderful eternity fighting reality and all that it brings together. My family would approve without a doubt. But it may be that doing so could be too rushed, without proper purpose and spirit in mind. It also puts the risk that if he gets very sick from his illness between now and then that we may never make it to that point (I'm not sure how likely or unlikely that situation is currently, and won't know until his next check-up in February. Last Check-up he had some kidney damage....). Not to mention the temptations a year-long engagement brings....

 

Any thoughts? Anyone here have a civil marriage first? Thanks everyone!

 

Tl;dr. Civil or Temple?

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Kyvex the church is full of people with options and no stewardships.

 

To those without Stewardships you can safely ignore them.

 

Civil marriages get  a bad rap in the Church.  While there is reason for this, many ignore the possibly of the Lord using Civil marriage and a stepping stone to a Temple marriage, and completely turn their noses up at anyone taking that path.

 

I can't tell what path you should go because I am one of those many without Stewardship over you.

 

All I can tell you is to listen to those with Stewardships and follow the council the Lord gave Oliver Cowdery on how to receive revelation from God.

 

D&C 9

But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.

 

You state you have received spiritual promptings, and you also seem to have a good grasp of the issues (aka Studied) so now it is time for you to make a choice and take it to the Lord.  He will either confirm or deny your choice and you will then know the path the Lord would have you take

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He is a recent convert.  Wait the year.  See what happens.  It sounds like you both have had pasts, and are in some ways still dealing with them.  It is important that you get those dealt with before you move forward into something as important as a marriage.

 

You should wait a year not only to be ready to marry in the temple, but also to get to know the person you are contemplating as a spouse.  After a year you will have a better understanding who this person is, and how committed they really are to the gospel, and the lds lifestyle.  

 

You have found someone on a spiritual high, and are getting caught up in it with him, but make sure it lasts before you commit. 

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Kyvex the church is full of people with options and no stewardships.

 

To those without Stewardships you can safely ignore them.

 

Prettymuch this.

 

But I will, in lieu of expressing a useless opinion, share my own experience:

 

My wife and I had a civil marriage.  Neither of us was anywhere near Temple readiness yet but we knew that we'd need to help each other get there as a team, a solid, formal team.  So we got married by a justice of the peace.  (A Church marriage would have been better, but meh.  That's how I married my first wife and that sure didn't go so well...)  

 

Having been married outside the Temple before getting sealed does nothing at all to take away from the experience or the value.  In fact, with all the wonky marriage laws going around this country, that may become the norm in the future should churches who refuse to perform gay marriages lose the ability to perform marriages at all.  In that scenario, the timing of the Temple sealing truly would be separate from the temporal marriage for everybody.

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My first impression is that there are a lot of issues and thus it would seem inappropriate to "rush" to marriage. Marriage should be done as unimcumbered as possible. It shouldn't be influenced by any duress. Even "easy" weddings are difficult to manage.

 

The concerns about his health is a good example of a reason "not" to marry, as harsh as that sounds. It certainly isn't a reason "to" marry. The list of exception issues appears to be long. Those issues WILL be addressed with time and thus time is the appropriate thing to apply right now.

 

I do trust your spiritual promptings. Marriage to this man may be the best thing ever to happen for you both. But you want to start off on the right foot. Even if you were to go with a civil marriage, it sounds like time is needed.

 

I don't want to interject my personal experience as applying to you, but I do relate to a lot of what you are going through. Hindsight tells me I should have handled my own marriage differently and things would have been easier overall. That doesn't mean my marriage was a mistake, just that I could have taken an easier road to get to the same space. Hindsight is 20/20. If I could benefit you with my experience, I would say to go the temple route and obsorb the risk and pain that sacrafice brings. Sacrafice brings forth blessings.

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As per Estradling75 I have not stewardship over you or any potential decision that you may or can make. I suggest that you have a third option.

 

I wouldn't marry this individual at all. Recent convert (this is a good thing), bad past, type 1 diabetes. this is just scratching the surface....No I say run far, far, away. Aside from being a recent convert the red flags abound.

 

Omega

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As per Estradling75 I have not stewardship over you or any potential decision that you may or can make. I suggest that you have a third option.

 

I wouldn't marry this individual at all. Recent convert (this is a good thing), bad past, type 1 diabetes. this is just scratching the surface....No I say run far, far, away. Aside from being a recent convert the red flags abound.

 

Omega

One year of real life will probably tell the story on this one.

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Advice #1:  Don't worry about what anybody else outside you, your future spouse, and your God (represented by his Bishop/Stake Pres/Prophet) wants.  Your parents are not the ones getting married... you are.

 

Advice #2:  The challenges you're going to face in a marriage is a lot more complicated than holding off on having sex for a year or so.  If you can't even face up to that challenge, you're going to have an extremely difficult time making this work...

 

Advice #3:  Your decision to marry somebody should hinge totally on what YOU want to do for somebody and NOT what he does for you.  What I mean by this is - if your reason to marry him is because he is patient enough to hold you while you fall asleep in the bus, then that's not enough to build a marriage on.  Your reason should be things like - "I want to marry him because I want to dedicate my life to bringing him closer to God" or "I want to marry him because I want to build a home with this person.".  Now... expand that... "I want to build a home with this person because he holds me while I sleep in the bus..." is stil not good enough.  But if you can say, "I want to build a home with this person even if he decides tomorrow that he doesn't want to hold me while I sleep in the bus anymore"... then you're ready to marry the person.

 

If you can't say that right now, wait the year and see if by then you can say that truthfully.

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I'm a big believer in blooming when you're ready. 

 

Listen to your feelings on things.  Don't rush (or delay) if you don't feel it's right (and what God tells you is right).  God's opinion on this is the most important, not your folks.  

 

A couple of myths:

    "If I don't get sealed to my husband I won't be sealed to my parents".  False: the sealing to your parents is completely separate from the sealing to your husband (or lack there of).  

    "If I don't get married in the temple right away my marriage is guaranteed to fail".  TOTALLY false.

 

Other random thoughts:

 1)   Hypothetical situation: If he's been a member for 3 months, and you get engaged in 3 months (6 months of dating), and you plan a wedding 6 months out (a short engagement).  3+3+6 = 12.  It's really not that long.

 2)   Planning a marriage is much more important that planning a wedding.  Take your time with that.

 3)  Listen to what Anatess said above.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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    "If I don't get sealed to my husband I won't be sealed to my parents".  False: the sealing to your parents is completely separate from the sealing to your husband (or lack there of).  

I'm glad you said this, as I forgot it was one of her topics. I'm constantly amazed at the amount of misinformation in the Church. We seem to interject small things like this when we don't stick to the manuals.

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I'd put wedding plans on the back burner for now. Focus on the relationship , focus on getting each of you in the best place.

With all due respect, your reasons for either seemed a balance of conveniences and opinions. Nothing inspired. It's not about pleasing your parents or sex or getting your boyfriend out of his mom's house (not that those arent considerations, just not your main deal). It's about commitment to God and each other.

That being said, I truly believe it's the sealing that matters, whether you sign the legal marriage documents at that time or earlier.

Don't rush things, and if a wedding comes up you will be in a better place to decide.

Edited by Backroads

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I thank you all for your suggestions and ideas. There's a lot of good stuff here I need to think on. But there are some things I'd like to clarify, as some assumptions are being thrown a bit here and there.

 

- We have known each other for more than three months, and have been "dating" for almost a year. By three months I guess I really mean seriously considering a long-term investment beyond just being close friends or a casual couple. Three months has been the time of us discussing, praying, and carefully considering the idea of being married for eternity.

 

- I love this man for many reasons. This forum didn't seem like the appropriate place to swoon over every great aspect of him. I could write a novel on his loyalty, respect, love, patience, sweetness, caring, honesty, dedication, and more... But that isn't what my dilemma is over. I do not have any doubts of his faith or of his integrity. I have no doubts about who he is. He has told me everything, including things he thought I wouldnt accept.

 

- The past is indeed past. The problems I had years ago are not who I am today. It's been years since I've suffered the effects of depression or self-loathing, which is more than can be said for most human beings these days. I am a very happy, confident, and composed young woman. In fact, the trials I faced due to sexual assault helped me dominate what has proved to be genetic issues with mental health. I know that the future could hold anything involving these issues, but to fear them now would simply make the situation worse.

 

-And speaking of past... It may be because I am defensive of my boyfriend, or defensive of most of the people I know. It is not fair to declare someone by the bad situations they were forced to be in. He did not choose to have parents of low values, or to be a diabetic. It isn't fair to put those cards against him. Will there be concerns? Of course, but that is real life. I grew up in a home where my mother was constantly ill, and while it was difficult at times, my father and mother still loved each other very much and taught me hard work and dedication. It is NOT a deal breaker, it's just a hurdle. I have many friends who have suffered incredible things, sometimes by their own mistakes, who have turned out to be wonderful people. And he hasn't even chosen unwisely in his life, it was merely circumstance. He loves God, he loves the gospel, he loves his friends and respects them as he should.

 

-This post is a post of logical reasoning. If I were to follow what I emotionally feel I'd marry him tomorrow, but that would be silly. Even if I choose civil marriage, I'm not marrying him asap. We're not even formally engaged yet, and I have a new job I need to focus on establishing first. And we are constantly growing as a couple

 

Our relationship is strong, we have many commonalities and even the things we don't share in common or agree with we can comfortably preform on our own without any issues. We both love videogames and enjoy them together, but I personally have a reptile hobby while he has an artist hobby. Separate, but respectful of each other.

 

My concern is, that for the first time in my life, I can't seem to find the spiritual inclination I always have from the Lord. My prayers have always been answered. I know from prayer and temple experience that this man is right for me, but I don't the when or the how. I know God is simply trying to drive me to make my own choices, and that He takes care of me no matter what happens. I'm just trying to weigh every possibility.

 

To pretend that temptations won't be there and won't make things difficult would be foolish.

To automatically assume strength and capability would be arrogant.

I know we can do this either way. Challenges are natural and normal. If we base our relationship in God, we can complete any task we work together as a team to accomplish.

I know many of you have been wronged, and have experienced rough things that sometimes it seems like trials make certain things impossible. And I understand that.

 

But I have been guided here. Everything that has happened to him and I have made us very excellent for each other, and God has a hand in that. I just don't want to rush or, in the opposite case, delay a good thing when we could be a good team for each other to boost each others faith.

Thank you all for your help, I truly do appreciate the honesty, blunt or not :)

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I would also like to note that the temple is VERY important to both of us. We have discussed it, and he states he would not have joined the church were it not for the promises of eternal families that it brings. But I want to be completely and utterly worthy of such grand blessings, as well as him. You don't just float into a temple sealing, you fight for it. I want to fight the right way for the right reasons

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He'd personally like to get married sooner rather than later. He is very excited about having a life together and being able to do things that couples that are married get to do. Being a convert, he is still trying to let go of how other couples of different faiths handle things... There is a hierarchy. You meet, you date, you love, you mate, you live together, and then maybe you'll get married, is how modern society does things.. And that's just not it works for LDS members. He has always wanted to have a permanent wife, and always took that bond very seriously even in past relationships (where his loyalty-to-a-fault was sadly abused I personally would say)... But it is hard that we have basically hit our roadblock, and even though we can still learn about each other, we can't do much else at this point to further our relationship. I honestly don't know how it doesn't frustrate him beyond belief considering he is a convert. There's also a lot of other factors including his job situation and his family that would be positively affected by us getting married civilly. However, he has stated he is completely willing to wait if that is what God intends and what is most comfortable and secure for me.

 

I guess I just wish revelation was a simple thing. I know that's a whiny request to make, but I'm so used to knowing what to do, I've been spoiled! :P

 

EDIT:

 

When I say "things couples get to do", I mean... paying rent together... And doing daily routines.

He is psyched to do dishes, and file taxes, and have a joint bank account, and choose furniture for our living place, etc. etc. It makes me excited for mundane things, all that enthusiasm he's got.

Edited by Kayvex

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These are words to consider carefully as you ponder a very important decision, as provided in the first chapter of next years Priesthood and Relief Society manuals, "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church Ezra Taft Benson."

 

The great test of life is obedience to God. “We will prove them herewith,” said the Lord, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25).

 

The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.

 

The great commandment of life is to love the Lord.

 

“Come unto Christ,” exhorts Moroni in his closing testimony, “… and love God with all your might, mind and strength” (Moroni 10:32).

 

If someone wants to marry you outside the temple, whom will you strive to please—God or a mortal? If you insist on a temple marriage, you will be pleasing the Lord and blessing the other party. Why? Because that person will either become worthy to go to the temple—which would be a blessing—or will leave—which could also be a blessing—because neither of you should want to be unequally yoked (see 2 Corinthians 6:14).

 

You should qualify for the temple. Then you will know that there is no one good enough for you to marry outside the temple. If such individuals are that good, they will get themselves in a condition so that they too can be married in the temple.8

 

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All the years i served as a Bishop I did encourage a few couples to get Married outside the Temple first. Boy did I take some grief over the one couple I told that too. Wow!! I had my reasons for telling them to do so.

 

I can only imagine! Being a bishop sounds like an incredible calling... both difficult and rewarding. I knew my family ward's bishop before he was called and he was a completely different man. Some of the highest respects I have are for the bishops in my life

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I've known several couples who married civilly rather than wait a year over baptism, sealing clearances, etc. Each couple made it promptly to the temple. Perhaps this clouds my judgment. I just don't think a "we married in the temple" guarantees a great marriage.

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I found myself thinking of your situation as I was pondering things last night. I knew you were unlikely to find anyone on the Forum who would condone anything other than temple marriage, sacrifice, etc., even as I posted to you. I only wish to reiterate or clarify my point.

 

You can marry outside the temple and have a happy wonderful life following a path to the temple. The clarifications on your circumstances show you to be level-headed and your boyfriend to be a great catch. I have little doubt you will do well regardless of the path you choose.

 

Your parents/family will always accept your final decision. Yes, they will object to anything other than the temple, but you will find them supporting you through the process.

 

One more caveat: if you pick a hard row to hoe, you can't complain when the going gets hard. You need to stick with it. I eluded to my own marriage. We accepted difficulties when we went into it and things were hard, but we've made it.

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One more caveat: if you pick a hard row to hoe, you can't complain when the going gets hard. You need to stick with it. I eluded to my own marriage. We accepted difficulties when we went into it and things were hard, but we've made it.

 

Oh and right you are with that one. I do appreciate your personal experience though, if theres any other advice to give I'm willing to hear any of it! Marriage is hard, that is how I was raised to see it. Love is work, and even as love and passion dwindle it's important to remember what brought you there in the first place.

 

If you, and anyone else has a moment, I would appreciate prayers, positive thoughts, scriptures if you got em. What I've learned is that it really does come down to me doing what needs to be done. Just need to know what needs to be done!

Thank you all so far for your inputs, it's great to hear from other LDS members. Hard to talk to other LDS folk sometimes, I'm a bit shier in person!

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