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joedude

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My wife and I were married 5 years ago.  I wasn't active at the time and she didn't know what it meant that i was a member of the church.  We've had a plethora of problems revolving around my activity in the church.  I get stressed, get involved in problems, stop going to church, feel bad and start going again.  She gets upset when I go to church, do any activity, read the scriptures, pray or anything.  Every time I try to talk to about it, I end up feeling guilty.  I try to limit my activity in the church as much as possible to minimize problems.  I've prayed a lot about this and I still feel that I do not know what to do.  If I do what God wants me to do, she'll get furious, make me feel like the worst person in the word (and I will feel bad) and then I'll feel guilty that I'm not being a good husband.  If I try to be a good husband and do what she wants, I'll feel guilty that I'm not doing what the Lord wants.  Either way, I will feel terrible.

 

What should I do? She isn't interested in therapy.  Reading the scriptures and praying doesn't help much (especially if I do it at home) and my Bishop's council wasn't very helpful.  At this stage, I feel extremely lonely and trapped.

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If relenting to your wife is the only way to keep peace in your marriage, then, in the short term and for the foreseeable future, as important as I think activity in the Church of Jesus Christ and commitment to the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is, I say doing what's necessary to keep peace in your marriage takes priority.  You can always fast and pray that your wife has a change of heart.  At some point, you may have to consider whether and how long you can continue with that status quo, but you also need to be fair to and respectful of your wife: even though you know commitment to (and activity in) the Church of Jesus Christ ultimately is best for both of you, she wasn't expecting this seemingly earth-shattering change of paradigm.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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At first she would go to church we me in the beginning, and we even had a family home evening once, but then I would get into "problems" and stop going to church. My transgression didn't bother her, but I was a poor example. I would then get active again and start the repentance process, but it put a bad taste in her mouth, as she felt I was out too much.  Things such as keeping the sabbath day holy, tithing, and others, were unusual for her and she didn't like it.  Add this to the stress of marriage and activity/inactivity over the period of 6 years gave her a very bad impression of the church.  She feels that I lied to her, because when we first dated I would do whatever (with respect to the word of wisdom and the law of chastity) but now I'm trying not to.  Everytime I try to express my concerns, she gets upset, because she feels I'm victimizing myself.

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I agree. This isn't going to get resolved without know why she is so mad about your church involments and maybe even your faith? Could she feel like you are putting her secound or not giving her queal time? Hard to say. Only she can and that is where a key part of the solution lays. With her sharing why she is so mad and reactive. Is there momenst where you can get her to calmly talk to you about this? If not, than she may have deeper issues than just your church and faith. Also, was the church and faith apart of your life when you guys first met? If not, then the addition of the church and faith seems to have riggled her a wee bit. If so, how was she at the begining? Bottom line, she needs to share her issues with you. Best to you. I've been there and I am no lobger with my wife.

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We've talked a lot about this.  She is a very difficult person.  I feel that she is just angry about how this marriage has turned out.  She didn't know I was a member the first year or so we dated.  We got married because she got pregnant and I felt it was the right thing to do.  I felt that going back to church was the right decision, but it has been very hard for her.  She isn't very forgiving, and I haven't been a very good member of the church.  She reminds me often that I'm not religious, worthy, spiritual, etc.  We've talked about divorce many times, but since I have a son, it isn't something I want to do.  I feel the issue is deeper.  I think she does see the church as a threat.  To make things even worse, almost 2 years ago I joined a dating website because I felt the marriage was over.  She discovered the correspondence and is not willing to forgive.  Although, she doesn't bring it up, it has seriously affected her.  Every time I tell her that I love her, or something similar, she gives me a look of sarcasm, as if she doesn't believe it.  Most of the time she is very civil and kind, but every now again, she'll get upset, and attack my religious beliefs, because she knows it will hurt.  If I start paying tithing and get more involved (I have been going every Sunday for nearly 4 months now) in church, she will retaliate, and it will hurt.  I don't see how I could feel worth as being a good member of the church, husband and father if she were to attack me fervently. 

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Wow...she sounds alot like my ex. Vety agery person. Joining the dating sight while still married to her was wrong and I can see how that could of really hurt her. However, if you have made every effort to explain to her why and seek forgiveness from her, than I think she has anger issues beyound what she is sharing. Maybe beyound wht she even knows. Anger is a twisted monster so hard to clearly see for what it is alot of the times. I can't give you any advice you don't already know. She needs to speak to a couselor. She clearly seem sto have anger issues. I also would sugget that despite of her, you continue to seek support and couseling for yourself. It will help you with responding to her and how you feel about yourself. Best to you.

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She is indeed an angry person and she does admit it.  She has a very short temper and has ended many friendships because something simple that they did that bothered her (to me it seemed like something simple, obvioiusly, to her, it was a big deal).  At one time she was willing to seek counceling, but not now.  She even gets upset when I go to a therapist and often has criticized me because I wasn't "getting better." I have often told her she needs to address her anger issues, but she has no interest in doing so.  It has gotten to the point now that I can't even talk to her.  Everytime she says anything remotely critical (weather intentional or not) I take it way to seriously.  I can't just "not take it so seriously" and even trying to clarify her criticism often brings more criticism.  Again, it is a very difficult situation. 

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Even if she doesn't go to therapy, you need go to therapy on your own.  You have a very complicated picture and you very much violated her trust when you looked into dating.  You need someone to help keep you realistic and focused on regaining that trust, imo.

Edited by calmoriah
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When she criticizes you for attempting to live your religion, perhaps you can tell her that anyone who professes to adhere to certain standards of living (especially when those standards spring from religion) who doesn't live up to those standards ... which, to a greater or lesser extent, includes all of us ... is a hypocrite.  But Christ is capable of saving even hypocrites.

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I have been in and out of therapy over the past few years.  It all came down to "I can't do this because of my wife"

I can't say this because of my wife" "I feel this because of my wife" blah blah blah.  It did indeed help, and my hope was to get to the point to were should could criticize me and I could be understanding of her, without taking it personally.  I understand the things in my brain, but not in my heart.  It's hard for me to do these things without having her on board.  By the way, just by talking about this with others helps.  It's not so much advise I seek, but understanding. 

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Hello JoeDude...

 

You say you're not looking for advice... so I won't actually give any.... what I will do is offer my opinion and you can take it for what it's worth.  I hope you'll find something of value.

 

First, I don't understand why she is so angry about your Church attendance.  Does she realize that the Church standards of behavior... when lived faithfully... make a person's behavior better in so many ways.  Just what is it that she finds so detestable about the Church?   I would think she would be thrilled to have a man who strives to honor his priesthood, plus live the gospel.  You say you haven't been a very good example... That could be changed, and in my opinion should be changed simply by starting to live the gospel.  Be an example.  Does she understand the importance of marriage and family in the Church. 

Does she understand the principle of the Law of Chastity, whereby members are to adhere to absolute fidelity within marriage? 

 

What would happen if one day you sat down with her, took her by the hands, looked her in the eyes and told her that you love her and how important she is to you... that you want to make her happy... that you want to make your marriage better... that you want to be a better person for her, and part of that is your participating in your faith because it's important to you and it encourages you to be that type of person...  

What would she do?  Get mad?  How could she? 

In my opinion, if she refuses to calmly talk with you, she has deeper problems... and definitely needs some type of counseling...

In my opinion, if you started to faithfully live the gospel, plus prayed, even fasted, you just might be surprised at how the Spirit can work within the home.

 

I wish you well... and I hope you will continue to attend and participate in Church.  My situation was that I had been married 29 years when I reactivated (after 30+ years of being inactive).  I was fortunate that my husband was very supportive although he would not attend Church with me.

I simply continued to be active, including attending the temple... the only thing he told me was that I wasn't as much fun anymore....

 

GG

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At first she would go to church we me in the beginning, and we even had a family home evening once, but then I would get into "problems" and stop going to church. My transgression didn't bother her, but I was a poor example. I would then get active again and start the repentance process, but it put a bad taste in her mouth, as she felt I was out too much.  Things such as keeping the sabbath day holy, tithing, and others, were unusual for her and she didn't like it.  Add this to the stress of marriage and activity/inactivity over the period of 6 years gave her a very bad impression of the church.  She feels that I lied to her, because when we first dated I would do whatever (with respect to the word of wisdom and the law of chastity) but now I'm trying not to.  Everytime I try to express my concerns, she gets upset, because she feels I'm victimizing myself.

 

 

We've talked a lot about this.  She is a very difficult person.  I feel that she is just angry about how this marriage has turned out.  She didn't know I was a member the first year or so we dated.  We got married because she got pregnant and I felt it was the right thing to do.  I felt that going back to church was the right decision, but it has been very hard for her.  She isn't very forgiving, and I haven't been a very good member of the church.  She reminds me often that I'm not religious, worthy, spiritual, etc.  We've talked about divorce many times, but since I have a son, it isn't something I want to do.  I feel the issue is deeper.  I think she does see the church as a threat.  To make things even worse, almost 2 years ago I joined a dating website because I felt the marriage was over.  She discovered the correspondence and is not willing to forgive.  Although, she doesn't bring it up, it has seriously affected her.  Every time I tell her that I love her, or something similar, she gives me a look of sarcasm, as if she doesn't believe it.  Most of the time she is very civil and kind, but every now again, she'll get upset, and attack my religious beliefs, because she knows it will hurt.  If I start paying tithing and get more involved (I have been going every Sunday for nearly 4 months now) in church, she will retaliate, and it will hurt.  I don't see how I could feel worth as being a good member of the church, husband and father if she were to attack me fervently. 

So you dated for a year where she didn't even know you were a member, then she got pregnant, you got married and then you brought the church back into your life?  I'm not surprised that she's angry, the LDS church is not a go to church on Sunday kind of religion and coming from a no religion back round it could seem very intrusive and time consuming.  I'd be way peeved if my husband all of a sudden decided that he was going to devote that amount of time to a church after giving no indication that that was in our future.

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Hello Joe,

 

This medium is very difficult to address this type of very complicated situation.  You have asked some questions and made some statements and I would like to add some comments to those provided above:

 

  • Our priorities in life should be God, Spouse, Family, and then Church.  God is always our first priority.
  • I don't put a lot of value on what was done yesterday, but I place an inordinate degree of importance on what we do today.  Going to church is a way of learning to be a better servant of Christ (a better husband, father, friend, and brother) and its primary importance is to renew our covenants by partaking of the Sacrament.  If we have time limitations on Sunday; go to church and partake of the Sacrament.
  • A good marriage can be incredibly difficult when communication is poor, when there is dishonesty, and both spouses are not united in walking a single path.  Think long and hard about why church is important to you and share that with your wife.  As long as she understands that you are trying to start anew, to be a better man and a better husband there will be hope.  Where there is agreement grow from there; build on it by allowing her to see your example.  Take things one step at a time.
  • Forgiveness is vital for you and for her.  You have followed in the footsteps of millions and millions of people before you.  You don't need to beat yourself up because of poor choices in the past.  You have chosen to honor your commitments and taken responsibility for being a father.  Leave off on the computer unless she is in the room - in fact, put the computer in a location where she can see what you doing.  You need to decide if you are committed to her or not.  If you are committed then you need to demonstrate that in both word and deed.
  • Don't stop dating your wife; make sure you take time each week for a date or to spend time together for just enjoying one another.
  • Ask her to accept your choice to read scripture or to pray or to help others or to attend a meeting.  Let her know that you are requesting her support in your choices.
  • Rome was not built in a day and you will not build a wonderful marriage in a day either.  It takes time and effort.  
  • Tell her you love her and kiss her every day.  Tell her you want to be a better man and that you are trying. You will make mistakes, but you will get up and keep trying to be better.

You are human and you are no worse than any of us or anyone that you have met.  We all get up and put our pants on the same way.  The beauty of Christ is that he is always ready to forgive completely and that he stands at the door and knocks.  The great thing is that you have responded and are beginning to have him as a guest in your life.  Make him a permanent friend.

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Hello Joe,

 

 

 

  • Don't stop dating your wife; make sure you take time each week for a date or to spend time together for just enjoying one another.

Do this every day not once a week, every couple should be able to squeeze 30 to 40 minutes of us time in their daily lives. Cultivate flashes of us time though out your daily living, looks over the diner table, while your bathing the kids, driving to a destination.  Enjoy each others company at all times. 

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You have a number of problems in you marriage not the least of which is communicating.  The church could certainly help if you were both on board but since you are not you need to find another way to work on them.  Perhaps marriage counseling.   Once you get some of those problems cleared up then come back to church. 

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Hello JoeDude;;;

Here are some rhetorical questions to consider... and these are general questions for any marriage...

 

Are you happy?  Is your spouse happy?  Do you work together in a mutually respectful and caring manner to address and solve problems that may come up?  What is it that is causing these problems?  Is one or both spouses exhibiting behavior that causes tension in the household?  Anger?  Flying off the handle?   Being unwilling to discuss what causes the problem or outburst?  What gives a person the right to bring that kind of behavior and atmosphere into a marriage, particularly if they are not willing to discuss issues, or to seek help/counseling?

Is this the way a marriage should be? Is it the way one or both spouses want the marriage to be?  What can they both do to improve the marriage?  If one is unwilling to face and discuss the problems or issues, what is the next step? 

 

Things to think about...

 

GG

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Joe,

Your situation reminds me of my parents. My mother had borderline personality disorder and was against organized religion. After my dad converted to Christianity, she went through periods of attending church with him and other periods where she attacked him for just reading the Bible.

From what you've said, I see a lot of red flags that are potential signs of a disorder like BPD:
 

  • She gets angry easily, even when you're doing something simple like praying
  • She uses guilt and criticism to shame and manipulate you
  • She has ended many friendships for trivial reasons
  • She refuses to go to counseling and criticizes you for doing so

If your wife does have BPD or BPD traits, she is attacking your involvement in church because she's extremely insecure and she's afraid it will take you away from her in some way.  And no amount of reasoning will break through that extreme emotional reaction; she would have to work through it in counseling.

 

I agree with other posters' advice that you need to continue in counseling and do what you can to restore her trust after having gone on the dating site.  But I urge you to read about BPD and related disorders and see if that sounds like your wife.  If so, a counselor experienced in working with people with BPD can help you in learning how to deal with her.  There are also forums to support people who are in situations like you are; I recommend http://outofthefog.net/%C2'>do not tell her you think she has BPD.  If she feels you are saying there is something wrong with her, she will go ballistic.

 

Since you have a son, I would be concerned about how her behavior is affecting him and will affect him in the future, especially if she is verbally abusive and/or does turn out to have BPD or BPD traits.  Please, please, please protect your son and get him in counseling if he shows any signs of being angry, withdrawing, etc.  If your wife does have BPD or BPD traits I can practically guarantee he will be affected by it and will need counseling.

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1)  Of course she is confused and distrustful.  You went on a dating site, while you were fighting about your wanting more church involvement.   You describe to us HER getting pregnant, as though you had nothing to do with it.   You describe your having honorably married her as though someone should thank you.   (Okay, I'm reading but that is what it sounded like.)   You say you want to live the gospel, but you live outside the covenants.   Of course she doesn't believe you (and probably wonders what you are doing when you are supposedly at church.    And she is probably scared that you won't want her anymore when you get churchy.

 

2)  Couples who do not share faith have to work to separate the issues of different faith from other things.

 

3)   You need to distill your covenants to the most basic form.   Much of how you think of the church is tradition not doctrine and covenant.   You need to attend your priesthood meeting and sacrament meeting, and pay tithing on your own increase, prayer morning and night, fast monthly and donate fast offering, be honest, chaste, and regularly serve others, and provide for your family.  Other than those things, everything about your faith should be negotiable, and even in some of those things you can be flexible.  For instance, you make 2000 a month and now you want to pay tithing of 200 and FO of 15 per month.  Maybe you will have to quit eating lunch and give up your own spending money to do that, since it isn't really fair of you to say $200 has to come from the family funds now.    Or maybe you want to prayer morning and night and bless your food, and your doing those things makes her uncomfortable.  So you do your scripture reading and prayers somewhere she isn't.  

 

4.  Because of your own failings/sins, she doesn't trust you and she fears that your faith will leave her behind.  That process is the same whatever faith you or she are in.   You become completely transparent.   You repent of thinking of her as less than because she got pregnant out of wedlock and other things that are underlying your judgment of her.   You shoulder the responsibility for living in such a way that she knows she comes first in your life, and forever --- quit thinking of this grass greener stuff, it won't be---for as long as it takes for her to see the Love of God in how you act.   So when your quorum leader wants you to help someone move on Saturday, you tell him you have family obligations.   Then you go home and tell your wife that you need her to agree that you can spend ___ hours a month helping the quorum and can you schedule that (maybe needing to give up your hobbies or other enjoyments to do so).   Then you return to your quorum leader with whatever parameters you negotiated and say, "I'm available for whatever you need, HTing, moving, babysitting for RS for 3 hours between 8 and 12 on the fourth saturday of the month,  and 1 hour a week.  What would you like me to do for you during that time."  And you take your son with you to do all the service that it is safe to take him.   You tell the bishop, I can do give you ______ commitment, and still be okay with my spouse.   And if your spouse ever calls you while you are in those hours and says she needs you, you say, I'm sorry but I must go to my wife."   If you start living and acting like she is first, she will feel more safe.

 

5.   Talk to your wife about the values you still share.  It is a safe bet that whatever your different faiths, you still agree on lots of things to teach your son.   You can plan your Family Home Evenings and activities around the values you still share.   (It will be a good idea to learn more about your wife's faith tradition too.  You need to respect her faith just as you want her to respect yours.)

 

6.   It may take a long time with lots of patience before your wife feels safe and hopeful in your marriage.   And you may have to wade through behavior and reactions that are unpleasant.   Remember your choice to marry was and is honorable.   Your marriage is worth the work.  Your wife is  a precious child of God, whatever her faith and shortcomings.   You have made mistakes.  You can afford to take the high road no matter how long and hard.

Edited by rpn
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... If your wife does have BPD or BPD traits, she is attacking your involvement in church because she's extremely insecure and she's afraid it will take you away from her in some way. ...  

Easier said than done, but whatever you can do to persuade her that your involvement in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will make you a better husband to her and father to your son can't hurt.  I recognize the potential for BPD complicates things, but perhaps this site will be of help:

 

http://www.faceseast.org/forum/

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Always be careful unless a threrapist directs you otherwise to confront her on something (rarely works for anyone, which is why I would only do it with instructions from a professional) to discuss issues from the POV of your own responsibility, what and how you can change.

Attempting to tell others what rules they should be following is not generally effective, even with children. Works much better to let them create the rules and just (as a parent) veto or accept them or as a spouse tell her if you are comfortable or not, whether you think you can work with it or not.

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  • 5 weeks later...

JoeDude

 

I just came back from visiting with my brother who has the EXACT same issue.  I have an uncle that has just given in to his wife and not only had to stay "inactive" but then had to stop visiting with family, with his parents and would not be intimate unless this occurred.

 

I would like to share some things, I hope it will help for truth always sheds light, vice versa and there is always, always an answer with Christ.  I am on a second marriage.  I got divorced from a man that committed adultery and other serious things, but I stuck with him, astonishingly so.  I am the type that would never ever do such a thing.  It was my high school sweetheart, I had 3 children, and then had 7 before it finally ended.  

 

For me, once adultery is committed, there is no relationship unless there is such a born again experience that occurs that the person becomes a new person from the experience and you create a new relationship, which is impossible without direction and total help from God.

 

This person ended up suing me for custody of the children and 3 weeks ago after 6 years of me being the Defendant, he just got custody of my children and although warned by a Stake President, by Blaine Yorgansen in a blessing and other signs and other options from Heaven, I lost because of the system which I can talk about in another post.  I was the ideal mom, and wife.

 

My point and we can discuss any time, is that we do not exist for another person, we exist for our own joy, our own measure of creation and we get to share that with another person, who values our existence too.  I am not saying to get a divorce, for I am attempting to make it clear the consequence for that, although I should have done that after the adultery when there was not a change.  There was no more adultery, but there is always guilt when a person steps on another's free agency and breaks the eternal principle of "compulsion" as is in D&C 121.

 

Remember Christ makes it clear that He does not come to bring together but to divide asunder, mother with daughter, man and son, and sometimes husband and wife, but there is a way to give a chance for united because that is also what Christ does through effectual prayer, fasting and real desire.

 

We must ALWAYS choose Him though, because of the damage it will do to your wife if she is allowed by you, or enabled to break God's law by your submitting to this rather than to your own dictates of conscious, which could be the very thing that will bring oneness in the end.

 

This is a process, may I start with the principle of expressing, or communicating your desire and need.  I assure you, if you give in to another's control in the least degree, you have placed yourself in bondage, instead of a "slave" of Christ as Paul states.

 

I don't want to make this too long, so I will stop with this and can join in any discussion about this.  There is a way to soften her heart, give more information, to assure, to love, and to still stay integrity with what God requires from His covenant people.

 

I lost my temple recommend when my husband cheated on me by a bishop who said I was also under condemnation, and another bishop brought my husband back into the church when not ready.  It was my devotion to Christ that solidified myself in the marriage until there was nothing I could do any longer, and the choice was made for me.

 

Partaking of the sacrament is too great of a blessing to pass up.  Guilt is an evil gift, and we can not allow it to be the reason we do anything, or our spirits just know and rebel against this, and we get ill, and "spiritually and emotionally die". 

 

There are sweet options to have you do the "gentle persuasion" long suffering, and other attributes we learn from only situations like this.  She just does not know, as I did not know I was enabling abuse by staying with someone that had no care for my life, feelings, or exaltation.  You are the only you, inside this marriage, and out. 

 

You exist for an eternal purpose.  It is Christ that you are seeking, not just the church, and He loves your wife and will help.

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This is a very complicated situation, but I would go by what the scriptures say and that is to put God first.  She will be mad, but be consistent about your activity and maybe she'll become less negative about it? 

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