Turtle

Married a nonmember

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I have been married to my spouse 12 years now. We have 4 kids together. He is not a member. I have been a member all my life but chose to attend his church. My kids and I have been going to to his church for 12 yrs now. Now that I am 30 I feel an empty piece that is missing within me. I have not given up on my beliefs towards the Mormon church. I want to come back to church. But my husband says I will only break up our family. He is against my will to go back to church as LDS. Hes always have been against it. What do i do? Do I risk my entire marriage ? Pls advise any advice.

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1 hour ago, Turtle said:

I have been married to my spouse 12 years now. We have 4 kids together. He is not a member. I have been a member all my life but chose to attend his church. My kids and I have been going to to his church for 12 yrs now. Now that I am 30 I feel an empty piece that is missing within me. I have not given up on my beliefs towards the Mormon church. I want to come back to church. But my husband says I will only break up our family. He is against my will to go back to church as LDS. Hes always have been against it. What do i do? Do I risk my entire marriage ? Pls advise any advice.

I don't know what to say, other than it is frankly basically a form of abuse to constrain religious choices of a spouse.  Your spouse has no right to dictate your religious beliefs. 

If you do choose to go back to church and your marriage breaks up, the real reason for the breakup is because your spouse is being abusive and controlling, not because you chose to go to a Mormon church.

I am not saying what the proper course here is - I honestly don't know.  However I think a good starting point is to call behavior that is out of bounds what it is and realize that your husbands behavior is not righteous.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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1 hour ago, Turtle said:

I have been married to my spouse 12 years now. We have 4 kids together. He is not a member. I have been a member all my life but chose to attend his church. My kids and I have been going to to his church for 12 yrs now. Now that I am 30 I feel an empty piece that is missing within me. I have not given up on my beliefs towards the Mormon church. I want to come back to church. But my husband says I will only break up our family. He is against my will to go back to church as LDS. Hes always have been against it. What do i do? Do I risk my entire marriage ? Pls advise any advice.

You made a decision 12 years ago to go to his church.  You also married a non-member.  12 years and 4 kids ago that all seemed like a good idea.  Now you feel something is missing.........

You will not like my advice, but here it is:  Your marriage is first, your children are second.  You are reaping consequences of your bad decisions.  Do not sacrifice the sanctity of marriage or break up your family by planting your flag on this.  Once your kids are grown, do what you want.  Until then sleep in the bed you made.  If you are going to his church and he is an otherwise righteous man and good provider/husband, then you have no reason to go against his wishes.  

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Hmmm. I think I don't quite agree with either of the first two answers. On the one hand, your marriage is sacred, and you are duty-bound to protect it. You have gone along for over a decade, so you can't expect your husband to be happy with you changing course midstream. On the other hand, one's conscience is sacrosanct; any loving spouse understands that and ultimately must support the exercise of it.

I think you proceed with much caution, but proceed nonetheless. Help your husband to understand that this is a matter of conscience, of you doing what you deeply feel is right. I don't know, this is tricky territory. Be gentle and loving, but do what your heart tells you is right. That's my advice.

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I agree with both mdfxmd and my two cents:  You can't expect a spouse to be ok with a 180 degree turn after after 12 years.  If the situation were reversed and you both were attending the Mormon church for 12 years and he suddenly told you he didn't want to go anymore and wasn't going to - I'm sure that would be a huge upheaval in your life (and honestly, many many marriages have broken up over such).  So while it's unrealistic to suddenly turn the table on your spouse and children after 12 years when they are happy where they are; this is where I agree with my two cents.   You certainly can attend both.   My friend has a similar compromise in her family.  It works out very well for the most part and they've been married now for about 24 (?) years.

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3 hours ago, Turtle said:

Do I risk my entire marriage ?

No.

But you do talk about it, discuss, share, find ways to love and support each other, compromise, and sacrifice - like mature adults who love each other.  And if one or both of you is lacking in the ability to do one or more of those, you focus on that stuff. 

That's a really, really, really tall order for a lot of couples (mine is no exception).  

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4 hours ago, Turtle said:

I have been married to my spouse 12 years now. We have 4 kids together. He is not a member. I have been a member all my life but chose to attend his church. My kids and I have been going to to his church for 12 yrs now. Now that I am 30 I feel an empty piece that is missing within me. I have not given up on my beliefs towards the Mormon church. I want to come back to church. But my husband says I will only break up our family. He is against my will to go back to church as LDS. Hes always have been against it. What do i do? Do I risk my entire marriage ? Pls advise any advice.

Howdy!  I am also Mormon lady married to an Evangelical guy.  We have a great family, beautiful daughter, and this has been the happiest 5 years of my life.  

This biggest thing in any marriage is to have mutual respect and communication.  That applies just as much to inter-faith marriages.  Have you tried communicating with your husband about the emptiness you're feeling?  Have you asked him what his specific concerns with you attending LDS church?

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Thank you all for your great advice! Going in my marriage we never really agreed on the topic "church". I was young n naive and kinda just went with the flow... Even after these 12 years I still  feel that I should go back to the LDS gospel. My kids actually love attending my parents ward. My 12 10 n 6 yr olds are asking when are they going to get baptized? I feel guilty that I got that chance but not them. I want them to fully understand the meaning of being baptized n  the holy spirit to move them. I feel that this is a now or never situation. I tried my husbands church but just never gave my %100. I want to get the chance to be able to seal my family in the temple, to have an eternal family n to see them on the other side as we cross over. At my  husband's church it is %80 his family, so I feel that it's harder for him to let go. I stayed, tried it, I am very active, i have multiple callings,  but still not satisfied . I may sound selfish or whatever but I feel that it is now  my turn to lead to set an example for my husband. I  wish I had the guts 12 yrs ago to say n follow thru this, but honestly I didn't? n this is my consequence. 

Edited by Turtle

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1 hour ago, Turtle said:

Thank you all for your great advice! Going in my marriage we never really agreed on the topic "church". I was young n naive and kinda just went with the flow... Even after these 12 years I still  feel that I should go back to the LDS gospel. My kids actually love attending my parents ward. My 12 10 n 6 yr olds are asking when are they going to get baptized? I feel guilty that I got that chance but not them. I want them to fully understand the meaning of being baptized n  the holy spirit to move them. I feel that this is a now or never situation. I tried my husbands church but just never gave my %100. I want to get the chance to be able to seal my family in the temple, to have an eternal family n to see them on the other side as we cross over. At my  husband's church it is %80 his family, so I feel that it's harder for him to let go. I stayed, tried it, I am very active, i have multiple callings,  but still not satisfied . I may sound selfish or whatever but I feel that it is now  my turn to lead to set an example for my husband. I  wish I had the guts 12 yrs ago to say n follow thru this, but honestly I didn't? n this is my consequence. 

You feelings here are 100% understandable.  What did your husband say when you tell him about it?  What's his hesitance with you attending LDS church?

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2 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

You feelings here are 100% understandable.  What did your husband say when you tell him about it?  What's his hesitance with you attending LDS church?

Everytime I would bring up this certain subject it would just lead into an argument. I feel now that we are older now and how he witnessed my words/action by being a faithful attendant at church n just always being there he is not as harsh as before (when we would argue). He kinda put his guard down by %20 out if 100 I would say. It's just %80 of his church is his family. His Uncle is the Pastor n his Aunt is the 1st lady. They helped us grow as a couple and a family. And always pushed us. I feel that he owes it to them by staying. His only issue with the LDS church is that he does not agree that we are the True church. I told him to find out for himself but he is too stubborn n will not give in or open the Book of Mormon

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7 hours ago, Turtle said:

Everytime I would bring up this certain subject it would just lead into an argument. I feel now that we are older now and how he witnessed my words/action by being a faithful attendant at church n just always being there he is not as harsh as before (when we would argue). He kinda put his guard down by %20 out if 100 I would say. It's just %80 of his church is his family. His Uncle is the Pastor n his Aunt is the 1st lady. They helped us grow as a couple and a family. And always pushed us. I feel that he owes it to them by staying. His only issue with the LDS church is that he does not agree that we are the True church. I told him to find out for himself but he is too stubborn n will not give in or open the Book of Mormon

Turtle,

I'm not LDS, but I attend an LDS church with my family.  Has your husband been to an LDS church?  If you're asking him to convert, that is a mistake in my opinion.  Just ask him to support you.   He doesn't NEED to believe LDS is the true church.  It doesn't matter.  He can worship in his way AT LDS church.

Start small.  What time is his church?  If they aren't at the same time, ask if you can go to both.  Don't make him sit through Principles and Priesthood.  Ask if you can go, attend Sacrament, then leave.  He can participate in Sacrament.  He can even call it communion if he wants.  He can do what my family does is not participate in Sacrament.  Nobody in my ward says a thing to me.

If his service is the same time as Sacrament, ask if you can split the times.  One day a month go to Sacrament.  Get your children involved in mutual (maybe?  I'm not sure what that is, honestly).  Ask him to help with service projects.  These are all ways you can participate in LDS and still respect his belief.  This shouldn't be a "one or the other" scenario.  It should be an opportunity for mutual respect and support.  Compromise. 

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This is a tough road you have chosen, and remember that through the hard times you did choose this, so at all costs avoid blaming your husband or being frustrated with the in-laws etc.. You must not let this spin into anger, frustration, or discord. 

My remarks are based on the assumption that you want your family to stay together even if they do not join the LDS church. Now here are my thoughts on what to do. In this situation there are many relationships and situations to consider:

1. You attending: If you want to go to the LDS church then you should be free to make that choice. It is your choice, not his, although you must be as kind and gentle as possible. Keep in mind that this may come at a cost. He may resent your choice for a long, long, time. It may create a wedge in your relationship that does not heal. You know your husband best so you can probably guess what is going to happen. 

2. Your children: This situation is even more tricky than the first and I would not tackle it right away. If your children ask to attend with you, and your husband disagrees, then have them continue to attend his church. Don't force your children to chose between you and your husband's church, this may create a wedge in your family. I know this is hard, but you must first focus on getting yourself back to church and you simply can't face every situation now. My suggestion, if one of your kids continues to ask to go to the LDS church, work it out with your husband first behind closed doors. You must present a united front to them even if this rips your heart out. Work it out together. That may mean they continue to go to his church until they are 18 years old. 

3. Your husband converting: If you go back to church he will have to make all sort of changes so I would not focus on this at first either. There may be times when you can approach him and ask him to read the Book of Mormon or have discussion with him about your faith, but you should almost never push him. Just as you should have the choice to attend the LDS church you likewise need to give him the freedom to attend his church. If one day he gains a testimony it will likely throw a wedge between himself and his family so this has to be his choice.

4. In-laws acceptance: You may never get this. If by some miracle your children and husband join, the best you could probably expect is grudging consent from the extended family.  

There's my two cents. It's a tough road. Trust on and hope on but be loving and kind. If you want your marriage to be eternal then keep it together while in this life, otherwise it will never make it in the eternities. 

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12 hours ago, Turtle said:

Everytime I would bring up this certain subject it would just lead into an argument. I feel now that we are older now and how he witnessed my words/action by being a faithful attendant at church n just always being there he is not as harsh as before (when we would argue). He kinda put his guard down by %20 out if 100 I would say. It's just %80 of his church is his family. His Uncle is the Pastor n his Aunt is the 1st lady. They helped us grow as a couple and a family. And always pushed us. I feel that he owes it to them by staying. His only issue with the LDS church is that he does not agree that we are the True church. I told him to find out for himself but he is too stubborn n will not give in or open the Book of Mormon

Previous posters already great answers to this.  Again, the key is respect and communication. You need to be all-for-nothing-right-now.  In fact, as a person in an interfaith marriage I would highly advise against that.  You're both part of this marriage, and you need to respect both faiths.  I'll break this down into a few parts.

You respecting him and his faith -- You need to love him as he IS, not as a potential Mormon.  Do *not* bug him about reading the Book of Mormon or doing anything LDS-y.  Respect his choice to be how he is now and love him now.   If he chooses later chooses to read or participate, that's fantastic (trust me, I get that desire in my own marriage), but he needs to do it out of the desire of his own heart, not to make you happy.

Him respecting your faith - He should indeed respect your faith and by no means forbid *you* from attending or reading or anything else.  You have the right to follow Christ as your heart desires. The kids are another conversation.

Aunt / Uncle -- they sound great!  I'm so happy they've supported you thus far in your marriage.  True family love is not based just on a person's faith, and you can indeed continue to embrace them and love them in your life, regardless of which faith path you take.  Regardless of your faith path, you can continue to invite them over, go swimming, and have a great time.  Same with rest of the family (yours and his).  Don't make this about "going to my church is supporting my family and going to yours is supporting your family".  Family is family, regardless of faith.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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12 hours ago, Turtle said:

His only issue with the LDS church is that he does not agree that we are the True church. I told him to find out for himself but he is too stubborn n will not give in or open the Book of Mormon

Well, then if the infidel won't allow himself to see the light, you must burn him at the stake.

Or maybe try having more respect for his religious beliefs than your own words imply you do.

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From learning of my mistakes,

Love is the PRACTICE to accept someone for who they are, not what you want them to be. 

Marriage is the PROMISE to accept someone for who they are, not what you want them to be.

If you spouse loves you, then they should accept you for your own beliefs. 

If the person can not accept you, then do they truly love you?

Pray to Heavenly father for advice.

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I would take a deep breath and try a gentle approach. Small steps. Perhaps start reading the Book of Mormon. Attend a meeting that does not clash with his church. Once you start making some good choices God will help you and the Holy Ghost will start making suggestions. Have faith. 

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Hello @Turtle, a random guy on the internet providing some thoughts for you to ponder, reject, accept, whatever you choose. I was trying to take some time finding some prophetic words regarding interfaith marriages, and members who chose to marry outside of their faith, but could not find what I had read a long time ago.

1) As a baptized member of the Church we are to stand as witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in places. I am sure you remember the Young Women's theme. In light of this you made a choice, our age at time of decision becomes moot in this context, and I would draw your mind to the following verses of scripture (these are sufficient):

* Doctrine and Covenants 121: 41-46 (our communication efforts)
* Alma 31: 31 (just this portion), "O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength,"
* Mormon 9: 21, 27-28
* 1 Nephi 1: 5 - A continually prayer with all heart on behalf of your husband and children
* 1 Nephi 8 (the whole chapter)

2) I agree with @DoctorLemon that not allowing your spouse to believe as they choose is a form of abuse, and the only thing that will cause divorce is yours and his decision. Whom you worship, if both worship in sincerity, will not cause divorce unless one or both parties becomes un-loving, impatient, self-serving, etc... Yet this is not easy because this was the life you chose, and something he appears to find difficult.

3) In light of Doctrine and Covenants 121, remember any effort to "compel" a person to believe the way you want them to believe is unjust, and is not motivated in righteousness. On my mission a young lady brought her boyfriend to our discussions, and when he mentioned something contrary to our teachings (which showed he was not ready to be baptized or for the discussions) she would begin crying. If she continued I was going to kick her out of the discussion (I didn't care if she hated me after it). The irony, at school (college campus I was serving in) I saw her at school and I approached her and said "Hello." She turned and lowered her head, and then scurried off in another direction. Go figure. Her intent was purely selfish, no matter the desire being good (to be married in the temple).

4) What you are feeling, regarding coming back to the Church is definitely inspired by the Holy Ghost, your Heavenly Father , and Jesus Christ reaching out to you. This is not something to be ignored, it is to be followed through wisdom and patience, while trusting in the Lord's grace and mercy. I would make sure, at this moment in your life, to remember to not invert the two great commandments anymore. Put your love of God first, and then your love of your neighbor second (just in case I am being misunderstood, this is not a statement for support of divorce). This is where the Tree of Life vision is good for you. This will be a personal mist of darkness that will overshadow your path back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How did Lehi, Nephi, Sariah, and Sam handle the mist, and what helped them to find joy and happiness?

5) As always, the first step is to pray in faith, and then to act with patience and long suffering with the hope that first he will allow you to worship according to the dictates of your own conscience (while allowing him the same), and then allow the Spirit to work in his heart that hopefully you two will be sealed and your children. You must always remember, you made this choice. The Lord knew you would make this choice, therefore, the Lord then has prepared a way through this mist, may you "NEVER" give up.

6) This is between you, the Lord, and your husband -- no one else. Trust that God knows you. Trust that God knows your husband, and be an example of the believers in thoughts, words, and deeds, with charity toward your husband.

The Lord bless you.

Edited by Anddenex

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12 years is not that long really. I also had four children in under 12 years of marriage and an inactive husband, he stayed inactive for many years and is only just now after 35 years becoming semi active. What you do for yourself and your children effects eternity and the lives of many yet unborn children. You definely should go to church and invite your children to come too. They are your children as well as his. It may be hard at first, but you can get through it and if your husband loves you, he will get through this too. The blessing of you going to get your endowments can really help your marriage now, if you haven’t already done this. We must be true to ourselves or we live a life of misery when we feel false to ourselves.

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On 10/27/2017 at 5:39 PM, DoctorLemon said:

 a form of abuse

 

On 12/6/2017 at 9:27 PM, Anddenex said:

I agree with @DoctorLemon that not allowing your spouse to believe as they choose is a form of abuse,

 

Be careful of these words.  Abuse is a very heavy accusation.  If my husband decides to become a Satanist I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  If my husband decides to join Warren Jeff's religion, I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  If my husband decides to join the Westboro Baptist Church, I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  Abuse?  Really?  He is my husband.  I am duty-bound by my marital covenant to keep my family together according to how I understand righteousness to be.

Therefore, in cases like these where one spouse's idea of righteousness veers from the family's established mores and tradition, accusing the mores and tradition as ABUSE is wrong.  The proper direction is to comply with the established mores and tradition while patiently working on conversion.  When Christ gave the command that those who do not leave their spouses, children, etc., for Christ is not his disciple, he does not mean you need to break up your family immediately to follow what you believe is Christ's path.

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5 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Be careful of these words.  Abuse is a very heavy accusation.  If my husband decides to become a Satanist I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  If my husband decides to join Warren Jeff's religion, I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  If my husband decides to join the Westboro Baptist Church, I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  Abuse?  Really?  He is my husband.  I am duty-bound by my marital covenant to keep my family together according to how I understand righteousness to be.

Therefore, in cases like these where one spouse's idea of righteousness veers from the family's established mores and tradition, accusing the mores and tradition as ABUSE is wrong.  The proper direction is to comply with the established mores and tradition while patiently working on conversion.  When Christ gave the command that those who do not leave their spouses, children, etc., for Christ is not his disciple, he does not mean you need to break up your family immediately to follow what you believe is Christ's path.

The word "abuse" was used correctly, and abuse is a heavy accusation. From the examples given you have clearly misapplied what was said as "abusive."

We proclaim Article of Faith #11, and yet we have missionaries who seek to persuade people to change their lives through Christ and his restored gospel. Not allowing people to believe as they choose is a form of abuse. If we seek to persuade, convince, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love we aren't abusing anyone. What you are referring to and what I said are two different constructs.

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6 hours ago, anatess2 said:

 

 

Be careful of these words.  Abuse is a very heavy accusation.  If my husband decides to become a Satanist I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  If my husband decides to join Warren Jeff's religion, I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  If my husband decides to join the Westboro Baptist Church, I am going to try to put a full stop to it.  Abuse?  Really?  He is my husband.  I am duty-bound by my marital covenant to keep my family together according to how I understand righteousness to be.

Therefore, in cases like these where one spouse's idea of righteousness veers from the family's established mores and tradition, accusing the mores and tradition as ABUSE is wrong.  The proper direction is to comply with the established mores and tradition while patiently working on conversion.  When Christ gave the command that those who do not leave their spouses, children, etc., for Christ is not his disciple, he does not mean you need to break up your family immediately to follow what you believe is Christ's path.

Perhaps a better refinement of my statement would be I have noticed a disturbing pattern of religious control correlating with relationships that are definitely abusive in other ways.  Maybe the act of earnestly trying to prevent someone from joining FLDS, for example, is not abusive in and of itself (and I would certainly be sympathetic if your husband was trying to join FLDS and you were fighting like mad to keep him out), and maybe OP's relationship really isn't abusive - maybe it really is wonderful and her husband is a really nice guy who simply doesn't understand the Church yet.  In such a case, perhaps dialogue is the best solution - just talking with the husband, educating him, addressing his concerns, and being patient with him.

That said, when I hear talk of religious control, it does send up a red flag because I have personally observed religious control several times in relationships of people I know.  These relationships that I have seen have been positively abusive (religious control was one of many different ways where the husband attempted to control the wife, alongside verbal abuse, control of money, preventing the wife from seeing friends, random rules designed for the husband to maintain control, etc.)  These are the types of relationships that are unhealthy and fundamentally should change.  

Edited by DoctorLemon

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