How Can I accept them? I don’t respect what they believe or think.

Many clients come to me and ask, “How Can I accept them? I don’t respect what they believe or think. I cannot accept this.” 

We then usually talk about the emotions respect and acceptance.

Respect and acceptance  are not just something that happen – we create them.

We create them with the how we think about the other person. 

You may not respect their beliefs, ideas, ideology, way of communicating or life choices. But are those things and choices the person? Is the person worthy of respect? Why? Why not? 

Sometimes we cannot respect another person for whatever reason. Then be honest with yourself and decide what that means for the relationship. 

Sometimes we can respect them and just don’t like their decision or change. Be honest about that too. 

In my relationship, I respect my husband for his loyalty. I respect him for his commitment. I respect him for his courage. 

At the same time I don’t necessarily like his beliefs. I don’t need to like his beliefs in order to respect him. There are so many aspects I can respect about him. Sure there are gong to be areas where he is less than perfect and harder to “respect”. But it is still my choice. I may choose to respect him because it creates a result I want in my relationship. I may choose to respect him and not agree at all. 

Acceptance is similar. Just because I accept that there is a faith transition doesn’t mean that I have to like the reasons behind it. Just because I accept where my spouse is on a certain topic doesn’t mean I have to agree with that stance. 

Acceptance and respect are not condoning. They are just choosing to accept what is actually happening and see that person as a person worthy of respect. 

Being able to accept the changes to the relationship and respect the other person (even if you do not agree) can really help release a lot of pressure in a mixed faith marriage. 

I have noticed when a spouse feels disrespected , it is not at all uncommon that they are not respecting their  spouse in return. You see our spouse cannot actually make us feel respected or accepted. When we struggle feeling respected and accepted. it is usually because we are not respecting and accepting ourselves. It is not uncommon that our spouse may very well respect us, but we are unable to feel it and believe it because of the lack of self acceptance and self respect. 

Do you want to talk about where you struggle with acceptance and respect? Let’s talk! 

 

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

Boundaries

I have heard their is a need to establish boundaries in a Mormon mixed faith marriage. This may be true and this may not be true. Here we are going to talk about when a boundary is a good idea and how to set one and when we are really just trying to punish or control another person or reacting to our pain and hurt. 

A boundary only needs to be set if you have a boundary violation. A boundary violation occurs when someone invades  your physical, mental or emotional space. This is very rare. 

When a boundary violation occurs you can choose how YOU are going to respond. The purpose is not to change the other person to but be clear on what you are going to do about the violation. 

here is an example from a MFM of things that are not boundaries:

-We have to all go to the same church together. 

-You can’t read scriptures to the kids. 

These are not a boundaries, these are threats. 

These are designed to get the other person to act in a certain way. 

We cannot control other people. Period. That is why these do not work and only cause more frustration. 

We often say things like this because we are scared, frustrated and hurt. 

In fact in this situation a boundary is not even needed because there has not been an encroachment across a boundary. 

A request may be more acceptable. 

You can make these requests, such as:

-I would prefer if we all went to the same church together, but understand you get to choose how you spend your time on Sunday

-I would ask you don’t (or do) read scriptures with the kids, but I cannot stop you. I only ask we discuss it further so we can at least understand where we both stand. 

When a boundary really needs to be set to protect yourself physically, mentally or emotionally then here are my recommendations:

  1. Start from love – set a boundary from love not fear, frustration or hurt. 

  2. State what you are gong to do and do not expect them to change at all.

It may look like this:

-This marriage is so important to me that if you are going to yell at me, I am going to leave the room. 

The most important things with an effective boundary is to come from love (not control or frustration) and make sure you follow through with what you are going to do (in this case leave the room).

Common mistake:

I see many people say they don’t want others to talk to them about church (whether for or against)  and they need to set a boundary – meaning tell the other person to stop and desist. Unfortunately, this is not an effective boundary. In this situation say you have an in law who wants to talk to you about your faith transition or your spouse’s faith transition and you are not comfortable with that here are a few things to consider:

-You can request they do not discuss church.  

-You cannot control what they talk about, but you can let them know you are not interested in having this conversation and if they persist you will leave the room. 

-Act from love for them and for the relationship and love for yourself. 

Boundaries done right are some of the most loving things we can do for others and for ourself. It shows our respect and that we really do care about this relationship. The relationship matters enough that we are willing to be uncomfortable to make it better and remove the resentment that happens when we don’t set boundaries. 

REMINDERS: 

A boundary is not about getting the other person to change or modify there behavior. The purpose is to be clear about your response to the violation. 

Set a boundary from love not fear or pain. 

Boundaries set from love not fear  are often just a form of manipulation or punishment. 

Do you need help figuring out boundaries and requests. Do you need help figuring out how to keep the resentment out of a relationship? Let’s talk  

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

How to Feel Better About Your Mixed Faith Marriage

Our relationship we have with others is just the accumulation of thoughts we have about them. Our thoughts about what they say, how they act, what they look like. Out thoughts about their choices, their accomplishments, their haircut. Our thoughts about what they eat, what they wear, and how they spend their time. Our thoughts about their mission (or lack of it), their scripture reading, their church attendance, etc. 

Many times my clients tell me that they don’t want to ignore reality and what is really happening in their marriage. I always wonder what that even means. We are interpreting reality through our thoughts all day, every day. WE tell ourselves what is happening in our relationship. Others have their own version and we have no control over that version. We have ALL the control over our own version. 

I have had this experience with my husband at the end of a week:

Me: What a great week, we really connected and I loved it. 

Him: I don’t know what you are taking about, we fought all week. 

(This conversation is also just as likely the other way around.)

We both experienced the same conversations, the same hugs, the same dinners AND we both had opposite experiences. This is because we had very different thoughts about what we experienced. We thought our own thoughts about the relationship and came to different conclusions.

Sometimes my clients will say, if my partner is not happy I need to know that so I can do something about it (which usually means so I can feel bad too). I wonder if feeling bad that our spouse is feeling bad helps anything? Look at the example I provided. Feeling bad along with my husband does not help him feel better. Said another way (you cannot get sick to help a sick person feel well or get poor to help a poor person get rich). 

I often ask my clients, what do you want in this relationship? Is what you are currently thinking, feeling and doing going to get you that result? You really have the choice to think and feel something else. This is not delusional, at least not any more delusional that the story you are currently telling yourself that is getting you your current results. 

Write out the current “story” of your marriage. What are all the thoughts you are having? What is the theme? Do you like it? Do you like how you are showing up right now? Do you like the results in your marriage? If you do not and want to change, I recommend starting with the story which is a list of thoughts you are having. What else could be true here? What else could you tell yourself instead? 

Are you ready to create a new relationship? If its time, let’s talk. It only takes one willing person to make big changes. 

 

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

Consequences

You are probably aware of long and short term consequences. When you eat a cupcake in the short term you get pleasure in the moment, but in long term gain unwanted weight or get a sugar headache. Perhaps you do not like those results. Perhaps what you really want is a healthy body and the short term pleasure prevents what you from getting what you really want (a healthy body). 

This happens in our mixed faith marriages too. We indulge in short term pleasure and disregard the long term consequences. Just like with a cupcake when we do this we rob ourselves of what we REALLY want. 

Short term pleasures in our marriage usually looks like indulging in defensiveness or angry outbursts because you feel justified. There are probably lots of things to justify your anger and frustration. It can feel good to “let it rip” and yell and be angry or tell them off. Acting on our anger can be a dopamine hit just like the sugar rush from the cupcake. BUT does it provide what you REALLY want for your relationship. 

Side Note: Anger is not in and of itself a problem – it is another human emotion and acceptable. We all experience anger. Acting reactively out of our anger can often be a problem. 

What if instead of saying snarky things, withdrawing or getting passive aggressive what if we  listen and/or  show compassion? What might be the long term consequences of that behavior? 

Let me give an example:

Your partner wants to show you a Instagram post about something they feel strongly about. You are not so interested. For the believing spouse maybe its a post about reading and praying more, for non believing spouse maybe its  a quote about a historical discrepancy. 

You have a choice here. You can have your justification cupcake and let them know just how annoying that behavior is or you can listen (really listen and try to understand them – not talking about agreeing with them or pretending to listen or mentally rolling your eyes). 

What are the consequences of those choices? What one will really create the marriage and relationship you want? 

We know too many cupcakes are a problem, so to is too much mental eye rolling. We seek the short term gain of venting our frustration and forget the longer term benefit of genuinely listening and seeking to understand. 

Is is time to get some help and learn what keeping you from choosing to listen and understand? Does it feel like the defensiveness just comes out without any control? I help my clients become emotionally responsible so they don’t find themselves in outbursts but can choose to show up as they truly want in their marriage. 

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

 

Us versus Them Mentality

There is a way our brains process and categorize people and events in our lives that I call the  ‘us versus them mentality’. Our brains are efficient and love to put people, events, and circumstances in categories. For example, good or bad, rich or poor, old or young, right or wrong, member or nonmember, active or inactive and on and on.

When our own spouse in now in the ‘other’ category, our brain can struggle with how to reconcile the seeming differences. Sometimes at this point we tell ourselves, “This is too big of a difference” or “We are not not the same page” or “we cannot bridge this gap”.  In  reality it is just our brain being efficient ( read lazy).

When our brain tell us that there is no solution here, it is just saying up till this point it has not needed to find a solution here (when you were both attending church there was not need to figure out how to manage one partner staying home).

In reality there are solutions to many mixed faith marriage issues. We need to not let our brains off the hook and keep looking for solutions. The brain is totally capable of doing this. It just prefers to use its default neural pathways first (us v. them mindset). If we refuse to believe that the gap is too big to bridge we put our brain to work to find solutions. When we refuse  to believe that this can’t work if we are not on the same page with church and we have to create new neural pathways that show us that it can work.

This takes time and discipline, but it is how some of  the most amazing things in our world have come to be – when people  refuse to buy into the current set of limitations their brain is telling them.

Yes, a mixed faith marriage can be wonderful. Yes, there are solutions to the problems you face within your mixed faith marriage.

Are you ready to retrain your brain and find some of those solutions for your mixed faith marriage? Let’s talk.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

Courage

If I could name one ESSENTIAL emotion to make a mixed faith marriage work I would name: Courage.

It takes courage to tell your partner the truth about your faith transition. It takes courage to listen to your partner tell you the truth about their faith transition.  It takes courage to deal with the changes and shifts in the relationship.

Above all, it takes courage to feel the emotions that come up in a mixed faith marriage.

Wait, you may say, why does that take courage and why does that even matter? Arn’t dealing with the in-laws and  the bishop and coffee bigger issues? No, they are not.

When we are not dealing with the anger, sadness, betrayal, fear and uncertainty (all pretty common emotions in a new mixed faith marriage) we are usually creating more problems for ourselves.

If you are like most humans, we are rather skilled at avoiding or distracting ourselves from our emotions. We watch TV, eat cookies, go shopping, work, clean, scroll on our phones – all in an effort to NOT feel an emotion.

When we avoid the sadness, anger, betrayal, fear and uncertainty that comes out eventually and usually when we are least prepared.

Does it seem like you can’t communicate without anger? This may be unprocessed anger or sadness.

Do you feel stuck in your choices? This is probably the unprocessed emotion of uncertainty.

If we exercise our courage and just take the time to FEEL our emotions, they will process and we will be able to then deal with the issues with a clear mind and not one flooded by emotion.

Often we don’t really feel our emotions because we are scared about what we will feel. Maybe it won’t go away, maybe we will lose our control. Maybe it will hurt too much.

When we really just feel our feelings – the vibrations they make in our bodies, we learn that we CAN handle it. We learn that it is not such a big deal. We learn that it will not kill us. In fact our resistance to emotion is often what causes us to suffer, not the actual emotion.

This is why courage is key. We need courage to process our emotions.

Once we have processed our emotions we are now in a position to solve our problems. Our pre frontal cortex is back in control and we can now make the decisions we need to and decide how we want to show up in our marriage. Emotional outbursts will not happen (they are actually scarier than processing emotions) and as a result things will change.

Courage takes learning. It doesn’t always come on its own. Let’s talk.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

Baby Blessings, Baptism, Ordination, Temple Weddings

What to do when your kids hit on of the many rites of passage in LDS culture?

Do you let them get baptized (or whatever it is)? Do you stay silent and keep your recommend?

Many of my clients have kids that are around baptism age. There is the perpetual question – What to do about the baptism?

This is never an easy question.

I have seen it result in stalemates, frustration and passive aggressiveness (that last one was me when my daughter was baptized).

I think the most helpful tool for a partnership to use is to seek understanding. Often if both partners feel completely understood then what actually happens is much less important.

I would recommend the difficult conversation exercise I have taught before. I will go over it here as a reminder.

This exercise works well when one partner leads the way  – your partner does’t even need to know what is going on, but they will feel understood.

1. The leader asks – Tell me your thoughts about (child’s name)’s baptism (or 8th birthday).. The leader follows up with:

Tell me more about….

Help me understand your view point here…

2. The leader listens and doesn’t share their viewpoints (that is not your luxury for this exercise)

3. Leader says:

Here are the facts as I see them:  (STATE THE FACTS – things EVERYONE would agree about)

examples would be:

Our daughter turns 8 on July 25.

My parents have asked about a baptism date.

Our daughter has stated her opinion as ____.

The Primary president has called us twice .

4. Leader says:

You are making these facts mean (summarizes partner’s viewpoint)- Our daughter doesn’t have the capacity to make this decision yet

I am making these facts mean (summarize your viewpoints)- Our daughter wants this and this matters

5. Leader says – Now we understand the issue, let’s talk about solutions.

ONLY focus on solutions (this will be challenging – but rewarding).

Once you understand your spouse (this is different than thinking you understand)  you will be in a better position to problem solve.

This is a simple exercise AND it really works. Try it out. See what happens.

You may have to bite your tongue a few times in the process. I always do!

The best part of this exercise is that it helps you let your spouse know you are willing to hear them and understand them. This is often the most important part of a decision making process.

Do you need more help? This is just one of the many exercises I teach to my clients. Are you ready for coaching?

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com

Inner Work for Outer Success

Most (okay, really all) the really effective work we do in our marriage is inner work. We think it is work between us and our partner but it is really the work inside us and what we think and feel about our partner.

When we focus on the inner work (managing our thoughts, processing our emotions, etc) we become independent. Our success is dependent on ourself and not on getting them to change.

When we focus on changing the marriage (this usually means we are focused on changing our partner) we become dependent. Our happiness and success are dependent on someone else.

When we are independent we show up as a partner, willing to engage and willing to try. We know that we are not perfect but that we are in control of how we feel. Independent people do not need to control others, they just accept them as they are. The differences are not a threat.

When we are dependent on the marriage and our spouse, we do not show up as partner, but as a dependent (meaning someone not in control).  We look to the other person to make us happy and make us feel better. This leads to resentment and disempowerment because no matter how much they love us, they will always fall short of perfection (usually very short).

Let me give you an example:

I used to be a dependent in my marriage. I expected my husband to take care of my emotions. When I was sad, he needed to make me feel better. When I was happy, he needed to celebrate with me. When I was angry, he needed to be angry too. This never worked all that well. Once we entered the  mixed faith marriage phase it deteriorated even more. He didn’t want to be angry with me and didn’t want to celebrate what I was learning. I was on my own emotionally and I didn’t like it. I wanted him to be there to emotionally hold me up, even though he never did it “right.”

When I started to learn that I was in charge of my emotions and he was in charge of his emotions, I didn’t like it very much. It was much easier to blame him when I wasn’t feeling good. Now I had to take responsibility for feeling sad, frustrated, irritated  or whatever. At first it was hard. Then I started to realize that it was very empowering. If I wanted to feel different, I didn’t have to wait for my husband to come along and say just the right thing. I was in the driver seat of my life.

Can you guess what happened in my marriage when I was no longer blaming him for not being perfect at managing my emotions?

I no longer had to get him to say and do just he right things and I no longer had to get upset when he did not. I could just LOVE him exactly as he was.

Doing the inner work was more effective at changing the marriage then the outer work had ever been.

When I work with my clients I like to focus on the inner work because once we can come to the relationship as an independent partner versus a dependent one we come with the ability to give an accept love without fear and without hesitation.

Are you ready to do the inner work? Let ’s talk.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach
BrookeBoothCoaching.com
mormoncouples.com@gmail.com