Here is a list of issues and taking points provided by people in a LDS mixed faith marriage.
It’s not about what to discuss, but how they do it. Listen to each other, each others feelings and opinions are not about you, leave space for disagreements, validate each other. Don’t let hate for or against the church consume you.
Reevaluate each partner’s life goals and see if they are in alignment.
What are your shared values, what is still important to both of you?
Commitment to each other.
Is a mixed faith marriage going to be a deal breaker?
We don’t actually know what’s on the other side so arguing doesn’t help.
Boundaries for both parties.
I really struggled/struggle with trust. He didn’t tell me for YEARS and let me make decisions without all the information I needed to make informed decisions.
My active believing wife has made a conscious choice to not be an investigator of Church History beyond the Essays, or of Biblical scholarship to seek to understand how and why my faith crisis was so deeply wounding and painful.
It feels like abuse when a person makes a conscious choice to do something that they know is painful for another person.
But also, I am an extroverted person. I speak publicly about the Church and my faith transition. My wife is an extremely private person. She is an introvert.
She doesn’t want attention drawn to her. She doesn’t want other people to think they know her or her story.
So, while her choice not to be an investigator sometimes feels like abuse to me, sometimes my choice of advocacy and support sometimes feels like abuse to her.
Feeling disconnected from each other and our support group, tithing, expectations for kids, how to spend family time
At first, it was me processing out loud all my hurt with the church and I think it often felt overwhelming for my husband. He didn’t always agree with my conclusions so it was hard for him to say something validating in those moments. But once I decided to not go to church, a lot of that stopped because I was no longer attending and getting “triggered” for lack a better word. At this point, the main issue is figuring out how to heal relationships with family members who have really struggled to accept my faith transition. I’ve been surprised to see how people blame my husband for not keeping me in the church. So he is not immune to the criticism even though he still attends.
Main thing was the raw emotions on both sides. Very difficult to process the hurt feelings and anger. After that, the normal things like tithing, alcohol, parenting the kids.
We’re pretty respectful of each other’s choices, but we struggle with making decisions with our kids. He’d prefer they have no connection to the church and I want them to have the choice to participate if they want.
1) Communication. This is obviously a huge issue for most couples, but I think it’s even harder when such strong emotions are on the line.
2) Compromise. ABM husband feels he can’t give an inch because of the church’s teachings regarding perfection, parents being held responsible for their children’s mistakes, etc. He wants them baptized and 8yo and I do not. It’s just really hard.
3) Feeling like our relationship has such serious ups and downs. It feels unstable. It makes me scared. When we’re doing well, I wonder when the next problem will hit.
Boundaries and compromise have already been mentioned, but more specifically, figuring out what things are ok to say “no” to. I know it’s not my job to control my spouse and vice versa, but how much say do we get in the other person’s choices? (i.e. alcohol in the home, ministering/missionary visits, etc.)
I believe that the most challenging thing right now is not being able to speak about the Church. We have a great relationship unless anything about the Church is brought up, and then there’s this red mist that can violently shut down the conversation. It doesn’t make sense that anyone should feel the need to defend the Church in that way, so we don’t talk about the Church in our marriage. I think this is also likely what the Prophet and Church leaders want – at the very least, they haven’t come up with a better way to help couples address differences in the way they see the Church.
How to raise our kids, and me feeling silenced because he doesn’t want me to give our kids the impression that it’s okay to not believe in the church. I have a hard time letting him do all of the church things, but I also feel like I don’t get a say in it because I’m the one who changed my mind from when we had initially agreed we would be raising our kids in the church. Basically, anything about raising kids has been the hardest for us.
The Mixed Fatih Marriage Podcast addresses many of these issues. Here are some episodes that might help: