I was talking to a client this week and she told me she used to believe that all mixed faith marriages were destined for failure. I have noticed this is a common belief in LDS marriages. I know I used to think it was 100% true.
The recent article in the Liahona titled, “Maintaining Hope and Keeping Your Marriage Strong if Your Spouse Leaves the Church,” is an great example of changing this common belief and begins to open the door to the idea that great mixed faith marriage is possible.
I would like to crack that door open a little wider.
As a certified life coach that specializes in helping Mormon’s in mixed faith marriages, I have seen that the belief – you can have a great mixed faith marriage – can alleviate a lot of suffering. And the belief that a mixed faith marriage is destined for failure or is not as desirable can cause a lot of pain. I have also experienced it in my own mixed faith marriage.
I want to sell you on the idea that a mixed faith marriage can be a great marriage. It can even be just as good as a same faith marriage. Here are three reasons why a mixed faith marriage can be a great marriage:
Everyone is welcome. When my husband and I are able to accept each other and our respective faith journeys with love and compassion we are creating a marriage, and by extension, a family where everyone is welcome. There are no black sheep. Not every one need to make the same decisions and have the same life experiences to be loved and welcome. I can hear some of you saying this can also happen in a same faith marriage. You are right, it can. The concept of everyone being welcome can also make a same faith marriage great. It can help make any relationship great.
You communication skills will be amazing. This is one of the powerful byproducts of really opening up in your mixed faith marriage. Really good communication skills do not take elaborate techniques (although they may help). What creates really good communication skills is just a lot of practice and trying again and again. Developing the skill to be open and honest and share what you are thinking and feeling in the face of possible rejection and judgment is a real skill. Developing the trust to share your deepest fears and concerns around church and religion can give you the foundation for an amazing marriage. If you can talk about faith and religion (and listen) with honestly and vulnerability, you will have the skill set to tackle anything your life and marriage can present.
It is fun. You read that right. A mixed faith marriage can be a lot of fun. I learned this when we stepped into our mixed faith marriage due to my faith transition. The mixed faith marriage meant we were different and that gave me permission to be different. I do not mean that I started doing crazy out there stuff like throwing wild parties and going to bars. All I mean is I started to consider things that I enjoyed doing instead of just things I was supposed to do. That small shift helped me to increase the fun and enjoyment in my marriage.
I am not advocating a mixed faith marriage is better than a same faith marriage. I am advocating that it can be just as good and that a faith transition does not mean it is the end of a marriage. Often a faith transition can mean it is the start of another phase of your marriage and that phase can be great.