A faith transition can mean many things for your marriage. Sometimes the transitioning spouse will keep attending church but just not believe anymore, sometimes, they will change churches, sometimes they will become agnostic or atheist. Sometimes they will do all three!
Many people struggle with the idea of being an atheist or agnostic or having a spouse who is atheist or agnostic.
Let’s talk about some of the concerns surrounding choosing a different faith or no faith.
Attends LDS Church But Does Not Believe
This is probably part of every transitioning spouse’s experience at some point. Maybe you are still attending, maybe still holding a calling but do not subscribe to all the tenants. This was me for at least a year. I was teaching primary and just sort of coasting. I would teach somewhat modified lessons then cringe – sorry believers -through singing time and sharing time.
Concerns – I think the transitioning spouse have the most concerns regarding this faith status. The concerns may be:
-I am not being authentic
-Maybe I can’t make this work
-This isn’t sustainable
-I don’t like this
-I am afraid to make a change
Attends Another Church After Leaving The LDS Church
Some transitioning spouse’s seek another church and find fellowship and spiritual connection in the new church.
Here are a few possible concerns/issues that could arise:
-How to deal with tithing?
-The family should attend church together (alternate Sundays or attend both each week)
-Tug of war with the kids that could look like lobbying of the kids interest and engagement in the respective congregations.
Agnostic – claims neither belief nor disbelief in God.
The LDS church require a lot of its members. Often a transitioning spouse feels a little burned out from religion and takes a break that may last a very long time or never end. Sometimes they become agnostic.
This can be challenging to an active spouse. It is one thing to leave the LDS church and it is another to leave church altogether.
Atheist – disavows a belief in God
This used to be a bad word in my vocabulary. It was so incomprehensible. I remember my sister told me she was atheist and I has a little panic attack. This can be very painful for some spouses to learn their transitioning spouse is an atheist or considering being an atheist.
How to deal with any of these Choices and Changes
The same way we deal with any choice or change whether its a new house, new job, new baby. We adapt. We adjust. We become familiar with the unfamiliar.
I can hear you.
I can’t adapt to my spouse being an atheist, that is against all I believe.
My spouse should be able to deal with this change, they are being rigid and stubborn.
I want to suggest that we cannot control our spouse’s and their choices (to stay, to leave, to believe in God or not). We can control what we make it mean and how it impacts how we show up in our marriage.
What are telling yourself about your spouse’s faith choices? Is it helping you show up gently? loving? combative? defensive? hurt? compassionate? avoidant?
When we make their choices a PROBLEM it usually means that we are not adapting. We are fighting reality. We are fighting what is actually happening in our marriage. We are making a challenging transition ever more challenging.
We are afraid that if we accept the change it means we like it or agree with it. That is NOT what it means. It just means we are not fighting against our reality. We are not trying to change and control our spouse and their decisions.
Where are you and your spouse?
What do you think about that place?
If you are struggling with that place. We should talk. Let ’s find out what is going on that is making the transition ever harder than it needs to be.