Shoulds

There is a Brene Brown quote I love – “Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are.”

When my faith transition hit it caused so much confusion and shame. This was NOT how things were supposed to happen. This was NOT supposed to happen to our marriage and family. This was NOT what I wanted to have to deal with.

All of these ‘should’ thoughts caused me a great deal of suffering. They also kept me in the problem focused mode. I was fixated on the problems. What about tithing? What about garments? What about a temple marriage in 20 years for one of our kids?

When I could let go of the fear and drama around what was NOT supposed to be happening and just accept what was happening then things started to improve.

I believe the improvement came because of the ability to change my focus from the problem to the solution. Letting go of what was NOT supposed to be happening and accepting what was happening helped me shift from the problem to the solution.

I teach my clients a communication tool that helps with focusing on solutions instead of problems

Difficult Communication Exercise:

1. Let go of the need to be right, or prove your point.

2. Start with “What are you thinking about (insert topic)?” Fully hear your

partner. Note: You don’t get this luxury and that is OK.

3. Re-state the facts that you can both agree on.

4. Reduce the issue to one statement:

• You are making the facts mean:_______________________

• I am making these facts mean: _______________________

5. Now only talk about the solution. Do not discuss the problem, this is very

tempting, only discuss possible solutions. You will be surprised how much

easier it is to find solutions when discussing the problem is off the table.

One reason this exercise is so helpful is because of the 5th step – ONLY talk about the solution. We are very much used to taking about the problem and all the ins and outs of the problem. We are much less practiced in only taking about the solution. Try it. Its fascinating and difficult but ultimately really helpful.

Ready to focus on solutions? Ready to let go of the problem mindset? Ready to stop fighting against your reality? Your marriage ? Your spouse?

I am a life coach who helps Mormons in a mixed faith marriage. This is my jam. Let’s talk about your mixed faith marriage. I offer a free call where we can discuss where you are in your marriage, where you want to be and how to get your there. There is a way forward.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL!

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

What Ifs

A faith transition can change our close relationships dramatically. So often our relationships are intertwined in our religious practices and when we try to extricate the religion part, the relationship has to shift and readjust.

This is super scary, it often causes what I call the ‘what if’’ spiral.

I want to make a change in my religious practices because of my shifting beliefs BUT:

What if he leaves, what if he hates me, what if my mom rejects me, what if I am wrong, what if I am right, what if this never gets better, what if my kids get screwed up, what if ….?

We get in this cycle and it loops and loops. We do NOT like any of the answers our brain give us. They will leave, they will be hurt, they will not understand, they will be upset, they will be messed up.

Is it any surprise that we tip toe around church issues and that we do not make any changes? Is it any surprise that we do not share what is going on, or that we pretend everything is fine? Maybe we continue to try to fit our round self into a square hole just to avoid the WHAT IFs. We stay stuck. We do not change. We maintain the status quo.

We are essentially afraid to face an unknown. We don’t really know how they will respond or react. We THINK we know – maybe we are right and maybe we are wrong. We are still too afraid to really find out the truth about them and ourselves.

We don’t want to know the truth about their love (is it conditional or unconditional?)

-Do they love me or just the role I fulfill for them?

We don’t want to know the truth about ourselves.

-Will  I have my back?

-Can I love me without the validation of others?

-Can I face rejection?

We also do not give them or ourselves a chance to show up.

We do not give our loved ones a chance to show their love.

We play small, and ask them to play small in this relationship.

Here are some alternative WHAT IFs to consider:

What if this helped us grow closer?

What if this created more connection?

What if this helped me develop more confidence and self respect.

What if this made my life better?

Are you stuck in scary what ifs? Are you looking for some help to move forward? I am here to help. It can be essential to have someone looking over your shoulder and helping you see where you are getting in your own way and sabotaging your own marriage and happiness. That is what I am here for. Let’s connect.

Just click on this link to sign up for a free, no obligation call where we can have a real conversation about your mixed faith marriage.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

Stress

Stress – what you feel when you think you cannot have what you want or need.

Lot’s of people in a mixed faith marriage would agree their marriage is stressful.

It might be because you are thinking:

I need more understanding from my spouse. (You are thinking, “I do not get enough understanding,” or “They refuse to understand,” and this causes stress).

The church has caused me so many problems. (You are thinking, “I need a life not impacted by the church.”) As this is most likely Impossible, it hurts and causes stress.

The feeling of stress is caused by the thought you have (I need more …. I don’t have enough…. I should ….) It is NOT caused by your circumstances (existence of church, spouse refusing to listen to a podcast or read an article).

If it were caused by the church then everyone would feel the SAME about the church. This is NOT TRUE. You own marriage shows you that!

Your stress is not caused by your circumstance it is caused by your thought about your circumstance.

If you are stressed, it is because of what you are thinking about (church, relationship, mixed faith marriages, faith transition, etc)

What are you thinking? Is it helping you? How do you want to feel?

If you are always telling yourself you are stressed out  or your marriage is hard  or this is not working – What is that going to lead to? Most likely, you will find evidence of how you are always stressed out  or how your marriage is so hard.

Do you do this? Is there a lot of stress surrounding your relationship? Is it hurting your relationship or just making you exhausted? You can change all that. 

Coaching is all about mind management and how your mindset really creates your reality (like your stress level). If you are ready to create a new mind set and solve your stress once and for all, we need to talk.

Click here to schedule a free call with me. We will have a real conversation about your mixed faith marriage and your level of stress.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

Loneliness

Its sadly ironic that loneliness can be a chronic problem in a mixed faith marriage.

A believing spouse may be lonely attending church  and church activities alone.

A non believing spouse may be lonely without the community or belonging in a group – even if it a group of 2 (the marriage). It can feel lonely to not have your beliefs accepted.

You may be:

Lonely in believing or in not believing

Lonely in parenting / teaching

Lonely in conversations

Loneliness can be compounded by certain beliefs.

-We should be together for _____(Sundays, church, meal time, )

-We should be on the same page here.

Not feeling safe to talk can also be create the feeling of loneliness.

Talking about the church may be like walking on eggshells.

-I don’t feel safe taking about church with my spouse.

-I don’t have anyone to talk to about this.

-I can’t talk to my spouse about this.

Here are some things to consider if you are feeling lonely in your mixed faith marriage:

1. What are you making it mean that you feel lonely? Is it a problem? Why is it a problem? Loneliness doesn’t have to be a problem, it can be a normal part of a transition.

2. Notice when you are lonely – is it a certain time of the week? Is it after certain conversations? Is there a pattern? Often we find we are in a pattern of loneliness. For example: I noticed I feel lonely most often when we are actually together but in disagreement over teaching the kids.

It can be helpful to notice the pattern so that you can do something about it, it brings it into the conscious level instead of letting it lurk in the “unknown.”

3.  CONNECTION – Loneliness is basically the lack of connection. Focus on building connection instead of on your loneliness. How have you created connection before? What have you said or done that helped create connection? Do that agin. Try something new. Take responsibility for your connection or lack of it instead of blaming your spouse or the church.

We like to blame the other for our loneliness, but that only causes us to feel more disempowered and usually more LONELY.

Lonely in your relationship? Want connection, but not really sure where to even begin? Does it feels like the gulf is just too big? Is it just too scary? Not safe? Let’s talk. This is exactly what I help my clients with. I can help you, there is a solution here.

Just click on this link to sign up for a free, no obligation call where we can have a real conversation about your mixed faith marriage.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

Ups and Downs of a Mixed Faith Marriage

I live in Michigan. The weather is a permanent topic of conversation. The weather can be such an emotional roller coaster. Last weekend it was 60 degrees, now is is 35 degrees.

I think mixed faith marriages can feel a lot like this (at least like the weather  in Michigan). We may have a GREAT weekend were the marriage feels like a spring day, full of hope and promise, just like the 60 degree day last weekend. Then one week later we are both hurt and confused. In essence it is snowing (again) and spring is gone and summer feels like a joke.

Sometimes it feels like spring is slow in coming, and sometimes it is. Sometimes there are a lot of snow storms.

What if this wasn’t a problem but just part of the “season” of life?

When I fight the weather, it doesn’t help change the weather. I have learned the same thing happens in our marriage. Getting upset that we are still figuring out our mixed faith marriage does nothing to actually help the mixed faith marriage.

It is so interesting how I make a spring snow storm feel terrible. I also make a disagreement over church feel terrible.

We may not have any power over the snow or over if we are in a mixed faith marriage but we do have so much power over our choice to fight it or accept it. Whether we see it as a problem or just the weather.

I help my clients reframe so much of their thinking around their mixed faith marriage. When they are able to do this, it opens them up to so many solutions and ideas that they just were not able to access before .

When we are fighting against what is happening in our life, we will always loose.

If this is you. We need to talk. You may not like snow in April, but that does’t mean it needs to be a problem. You may not have chosen a mixed faith marriage but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great marriage.

Let’s arrange for a free call where we can talk about your mixed faith marriage and see if we can’t figure out how to make it great.

Talk to you soon,

CLICK HERE to schedule a Free call with me.
Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

What is the impact of feeling stuck and disempowered in your mixed faith marriage? 

What is the impact of feeling stuck and disempowered in your mixed faith marriage?

Do you think of the challenges in your marriage as insurmountable or impossible?

Do you think:

-This isn’t worth it

-This will be too hard.

-I don’t know what to do.

-This can’t work.

These thoughts are going to cause you a lot of marriage problems. Let me explain.

All marriages have issues and things that need to be worked through. You can dread doing the work or you can accept it and even find some level of interest in it.

When we avoid challenges or think we do not like them we are doing ourselves a disservice. Life is a series of challenges. They are the parts that actually make life interesting. They make life worth living. They are the part that take our creativity and compassion.

Next time you have a challenge in your marriage. Tell yourself – Nothing has gone wrong here. This is just part of being married and being a human with a spouse. I can handle this.

See what is different this time.

It may not be “easier” but it may be more fun or least more like a puzzle and less like a torture chamber.

Is it time to look at your mixed faith marriage and its inherent challenges differently?

As a life coach I help my clients to deal with their challenges in a way that does not deplete them or the relationship.

Lets talk. I offer free calls to those who need help with their mixed faith marriage.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

My story – Part 1 or 2

My story – Part 1 or 2

Like so many of you, I was born and raised LDS and my family had all been LDS for generations. I loved being Mormon. It made me feel special. I was a serious student of religion and was very careful to be obedient and follow not just the spirit of the law, but also the letter of the law.

My motivation was that I really wanted to be happy and safe. I believed the world was a dangerous place and that the only way to be really happy was to follow the straight and narrow, so I did.

I earned all the recognitions, attended all the activities and kept all the rules.

When I was in my mid to late 30s I started to seriously wonder why I was not happy. I did everything right. I went to BYU, served a mission, married in the temple. My husband was bishop. I taught early morning seminary. I had four kids and stayed home with them. Where was the happiness? Why was I so discontent? Why did I kind of hate my life?

I started to consider going to back to work. I had earned my law degree before having my kids and had always wanted to pursue that (but told myself I should stay home with the kids).

I found a job and started working after 10 years of staying at home.

It was SUPER SCARY. There was so much guilt and shame and at the same time –  DEFIANCE. I knew that how I was living my life was basically that quiet desperation kind of living and it had to end.

I loved working. I loved using my intellectual capacity beyond reinventing gospel topics and a lesson.

I started to see other areas where maybe the church wasn’t teaching things that ultimately helped me be “happy.”

I then had my feminist awakening and that changed EVERYTHING.

I had always considered myself a feminist or sorts. I was teaching institute at this time and I brought it up a handful of times in class. This landed me in a meeting with a member of the stake presidency who was concerned about this and he also discussed how I needed to focus the class more on the young men preparing for missions. This did not settle well with me and I was promptly released.

Eventually, I decided that the in order to be in integrity with myself and my values, I needed to step away from church.

It was really intense and scary and there were so many uncertainties, but I felt like it was the best decision for me.

I felt really good about my decision and that I was even led by God throughout the whole process. However, it was excruciating for my husband. He claims to have been blindsided and was deeply upset over my choice.

I knew that the church has served me well and at the same time felt hurt and betrayed. I would describe my relationship as bitter sweet with the church. I know it does no much good, and know it is not perfect too.

The marriage was another issues. Religion was interwoven into the fabric of my marriage. I was unsure of how to move forward.

It kind of felt like I had jumped from the frying pan in to the fire. The faith transition seems to have calmed down and I had clarity about my beliefs and now how to deal with the mixed faith marriage?

What about family, judgment, friends, family reunions, kids, temple weddings in 10 years, coffee, garments? I was paralyzed by it all.

Does this sound like you? Or your spouse?

I eventually figured out the mixed faith marriage thing. It took time, effort, love, and a few tears, but it worked!

I can say today my marriage is better than ever.

Next week I will tell you more how we navigate those waters.

In the meantime reach and and set up a call to talk with me. Coaching is a tool that works for mixed faith marriages. I offer a free call and we can go through a simple exercise to learn more about your mixed faith marriage.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

My Story: Part 2 of 2

In this part I will tell you about the mixed faith marriage and how it unfolded for us.

As I mentioned last time my choice to step away from church was very challenging  for my husband. I don’t blame him. I had a pretty good idea  why. This type of thing isn’t supposed to happen. We are not supposed to be the empty chair at the table or the broken link in the chain. The reason he married me was because I was such a straight arrow. He wanted a classic Mormon family.  But that didn’t change the fact that I was no longer attending and we had a marriage and family and we needed to renegotiate some things in our life and marriage.

To be honest we did nothing at first. It was just a big elephant in the room. We were both still very fresh in our pain. I was still figuring out my faith and where I stood and he was probably in a bit of shock and denial. Both were perfectly normal. This is a significant loss and grief and all its phases are to be expected. Don’t expect things to be easy. Here are some phases we experienced:

Denial Phase:

For the first few months. We just survived. We went to work, made dinner and drove the kids to their activities,  and paid the bills. That was about it.

Eggshell Phase:

Then we entered the egg shell period. At this time, we were able to dip our toes into some deeper conversations. They rarely ended well. Feelings were tender and raw and easily hurt.

We failed a lot in reaching out to each other.

Reconstruction Phase:

After a year or so, I think we both realized that we were committed to the relationship more than we both realized at first. Sure church was important (and it still was to my husband) but our relationship was also important and we were both willing to stick it out and wiling to work on it. We maybe didn’t agree with the others choices or decisions, but we realized we still deeply loved the other person and that was appearing to be enough.

Part way through all this we went on a trip together to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We laughed about how it was our second honeymoon and the start of our new relationship.

Throughout the process we reached out for help in books, therapy and with coaches. We both felt the BEST help was from our coaches.  It was key to our success. Now I am a certified coach who helps people in a mixed faith marriage.

There is help. There is a way through. It is good on the other side. Let’s talk and see how to help you navigate this season in your life.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CALL WITH BROOKE

Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach

Quiz

How emotionally resilient are you in your Mormon Mixed faith Marriage?  

Take the QUIZ to find out. 

5- I believe; 4 – I want to believe it; 3- neutral; 2 – I don’t think I believe it ;   1- I don’t believe 

1. I can make impactful improvements to my mixed faith marriage even if my spouse isn’t interesting in getting help.

 5      4       3      2       1

2. I am emotionally responsible and take time to acknowledge and process my emotions as they arise. 

 5      4       3      2       1

3. I am capable of creating something great in this marriage even if I am not exactly sure what it will look like. 

 5      4       3      2       1

4. My spouse and I can both have different beliefs and still respect each other. 

 5      4       3      2       1

5. I am always comfortable sharing what I am experiencing in my faith journey with my spouse. 

 5      4       3      2       1

6. I understand that others get to make their own decisions and so do I about the church. I am fine with their choices to stay in or leave the church and I am fine making my own choices to stay in or leave the church. 

 5      4       3      2       1

7. I am fine speaking to others about my faith transition (like others in the ward or extended family). There is no shame or concern about their opinion. 

 5      4       3      2       1

SCORING: 

35 points: Super Emotionally Resilient. You have got this. Keep doing what you are doing. 

26-34 points: Sometimes Emotionally Resilient. You have done some serious work. Good for you. There is some more work to do that can help create a great mixed faith marriage. A coach may be the perfect fit to get you to 100%

16-25: Not So Emotionally Resilient. There is room for improvement. You will benefit greatly from coaching. 

Under 15 points: Need Serious Improvement in your Emotional Resiliency. I have been there. You can develop the skill of emotional resilience. You will benefit greatly from coaching. 

Reach out to me and let’s schedule a free call: CLICK HERE for a link to my calendar where you can schedule your call. 

Strengthening Your Mixed Faith Marriage – Mini Course

WELCOME!

In this course you are going to start on the MOST IMPORTANT
part. DO NOT underestimate these tools. I have tons of tools I
teach my clients, but these two are my favorite, because they are
so simple and easy to implement.

If you really do this mini course, it will change your mixed faith
marriage. I know, because it changed mine.

The Manual
For each relationship you have in your life you have a
corresponding manual. A manual is an unspoken set of
instructions you have for a relationship, it is basically your set of
‘should’ and ‘should nots’ for your spouse.

When your spouse does not follow your manuals (which happens
frequently), you get upset, frustrated, annoyed, and resentful.
Manuals cause suffering in a mixed faith marriage.

Here are some manual examples in a mixed faith marriage:

-A spouse should always stay faithful to the church.
-Couples should attend church together.
-A mixed faith marriage is not ideal.
-If you loved me you would support my decision (to stay or to
leave).
-We should be on the same page.

These thoughts HURT.

They hurts because your reality is different than your
expectations.

When you want your spouse to follow your manual you wish they
would be different than who they are. You are not accepting them
as they are today. You are not offering them what you probably
want the most in your relationship – love and acceptance.

Are you willing to abandon your manual and love and accept your
spouse for who they actually are today and as opposed to who
you wish they would be? Or who you think they should be?
Recognizing and abandoning manuals can have some of the
most profound impacts on healing strained relationships and
strengthening healthy relationships.

Take some time and write out your manual for your spouse. Write
out all the things they should or should not do. All the things they
should or should not say. Put it ALL on paper. Be honest. Do NOT
filter yourself.

NOTE- You may be tempted to skip this exercise. I get it, it can be
uncomfortable to see where you are judging your spouse. Its ok to
be a little uncomfortable.

My Manual for my spouse:
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

How do you act towards your spouse when they do not follow
your manual? (The purpose of this exercise is not to beat yourself
up but to see what your manual is creating in your relationship.)
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Do you like how you act? Why or Why not?
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

What are some things you can drop from your manual for your
spouse?

What You Can Control?

However much you try, you literally cannot control what others do
or say or think. You cannot control their choices and beliefs. You
cannot control if your spouse choose to believe or not believe in
the church.

You desperately want to control your spouse’s beliefs. You want to
control what they say and what they do. You want to control them
because you think this will help you feel better.

This is setting yourself up for failure. Remember – you cannot
control another person.

The solution here is to focus on what you can control. You CAN
control what you think about your spouse’s beliefs, choices and
words. You CAN control the stories you tell yourself about
their beliefs, choices and words.

What story are you telling about your mixed faith marriage?
Write it out here:
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Is it scary? This is why you are feeling scared.

Is is sad? That is why you are feeling sad.

Are you the victim? That is why you are feeling disempowered.

How to do you feel when you read your story?
I feel ______________________________________.

Is this a feeling you want to feel? If not, why are you choosing to
tell that story?

You have other choices.

Is there another possible way to tell this story?

Rewrite the story about your mixed faith marriage where you are
the hero and not the victim:
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Now, tell yourself this story and drop the first one.

CONGRATS! You finished the mini course! These two of my
favorite tools that can be used over and over.

They are simple, but if used regularly they can be the foundation
of a radical transformation in your marriage.

If you are ready to learn more and get even more support let’s
talk. Email me at mormoncouples.com@gmail.com and ask for a
free call. There is no obligation. On the call we will go through a
process about your marriage and begin to create a whole new
way of interacting in your mixed faith marriage.

Wishing you the best!

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