Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Truth

Most of my posting on this blog is about my kids, family events, or the random thoughts that spew from my head. But every so often, I feel the need to chronicle something a bit more serious. This will be one such post. Feel free to click away if you aren't in a serious mood.

I have thought for a long time about writing on this subject. I haven't yet for various reasons - it may come as a surprise to some of my family/readers, I don't know what to say, or even a little fear of being judged. But here it goes...

I am an active member of the LDS church. I go to church, I fulfill callings, I try my best to teach my girls about Jesus Christ. My wonderful husband does none of those things. He has been "inactive" for several years now. He only goes to church when I request it as a favor to help with the kids. He doesn't do any of the primary answers and has no desire to change. His belief system is quite different than mine.

As you can imagine, this has been a challenge in our marriage. The beliefs that I hold so dear, the ones that guide my life, he doesn't share. It wasn't always this way. When we first met, and married, we were on the same religious page. Over time, his beliefs have changed and we have had to deal with that as a couple. In some ways, it has made our marriage much stronger. In others, it has nearly ripped us apart. I have gone through a series of emotions dealing with this - anger, embarrassment, apathy, doubt, and finally acceptance. It has taught me to truly respect others with different views, not just begrudgingly tolerate them. I have learned that we all have struggles and that marriage takes work. I have learned that as long as there is love, respect and communication in a marriage, you can overcome anything.

I have had to examine my own beliefs and decide how I feel about them. It takes much more effort to live my religion by myself. JM is incredible supportive and encourages me to live my faith - for this I am lucky and grateful. Having dealt with this for many years, my concerns surrounding it have shifted. I used to be embarrassed to go to church alone. Now I worry that my girls will be excluded because of their father's inactivity. I used to be jealous of women with church-attending husbands. Now I worry that my husband will be misjudged based on one aspect of his person. I worry less about myself and more about the impact of intolerance on my family.

My husband is intelligent, funny, sensitive, curious, loving, caring and a great provider. He is a wonderful husband and father and I love him immensely. So here is my shout-out to anyone else who has a wonderful spouse/child/parent/friend who doesn't believe like you do. It doesn't have to be the end of the relationship. It is an opportunity for both people to grow and deepen the relationship. Even though this is not something I would have choosen for my life, it has made me a better person and for that I am grateful.


Kristina P. said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share this, Jessica. I know several women in the same position, actually, and I've always wondered how I would handle a similar situation.

Jillene said...

I really appreciated this post and your courage in sharing your feelings. My husband was inactive when we met and didn't have any interest. I was already endowed and wanted a temple marriage so bad. But it just wasn't in the cards for me at that time. A lot of people looked down on me (including my Bishop's wife and she judged me very harshly) but I knew that he was the one for me. I prayed and prayed that he would gain a testimony and that we could be sealed. He came to church with me but totally couldn't do the tithing thing. He just didn't understand why. Then one day his truck broke down. We were SUPER poor at the time and it was going to be $189.00 to fix. There was no way we could afford that. 2 days later I was cleaning the apartment and I found the little purse that I took on our honeymoon. I decided to look through it just for memories and guess what I found?! $189.00. He has never questioned tithing since and we were able to be sealed on our 1 year Anniversary.

For some--it takes a short while and for others it comes faster. My whole thing was I didn't want to push him because I didn't want him to change for me. I wanted him to gain his own testimony so he didn't regret it later. I think you are doing the right thing. Just keep praying for him and being a good example like you already are. Heavenly Father knows the desires of your heart and I know that He hears and answers our prayers.

Your husband sounds like a very loving and caring man. He sounds like he treats you very well and is an amazing father and right now that is what is important. The way he believes dosen't change any of that. You will be in my prayers Jessica. (P.S. sorry about the novel)

UK Yankee said...

Thank you for being so brave to post this! It's very hard when the person you love the most doesn't love the thing you love the most. But it can be an incredible faith-building experience if you let it, and you are definitely being that super woman!

I hate going to church alone; I feel like a giant 3rd wheel with all my coupled-up friends. And I do worry what they think of P, since none of them really know him. There were people that questioned my decision to marry him when he wasn't a member, but I wish they knew him like I do. In the meantime, I pray, I have hope and faith, and I try to be patient!

I think you're amazing, girl! Keep doing what you're doing, you are fantastic!

Erin said...

My dad has been inactive my whole life. I know how hard it was and has been on my mom. I am grateful for the experiences I had because they sealed my own testimony, and also because it helped me to not be judgmental about anyone and their situation either. Good for you for staying true to yourself, and I wish you and your husband the best!

Emilee said...

This is almost the exact blog post that has been in my head for about a year. For various reasons I haven't written it,but I am with you word for word. It is a great adventure, that's for sure.

Jamie said...

Don't worry about your girls Jess. I grew up in a home where I had the same thing. My mom took us to church every Sunday while my dad stayed home or went Skiing or was drinking. I'm in the same boat you are with Derek. It's hard, especially since we live in Utah, but don't worry. Heavenly Father will bless your life (and the rest of our families) because of this trial we are facing. You're never alone! <3 ya!

Mary said...

Are you sure you didn't write this about my life? My hubby goes to church with me if he isn't working, but only stays for sacrament...and 'prefers' that home teachers and visiting teachers don't come to our house. But I love him, he loves me, and he is a great man...isn't that all that really matter?!?
My dad is Catholic and unfortunately I was treated differently for it, and even worse when my parents got a divorce. But, there were certain people that stood by me, and I came out of it a strong, independent woman who truly understands my divine nature...there is hope for your girls!!!

I'm Oma said...

This is the exact situation that I find myself in. MY DH, whom I love beyond words has decided he does not need church. Everything that I had ever thought was going to happen...is not, because of his decisions. I struggle, too.

Riddle Girl said...

I think you are fantastic! Thanks for writing this one.
The only problem with not seeing your sweet hubby at church is that we don't have the opportunity to get to know him as "easily".
Maybe he needs to start a blog so I can get to know him better. (I really feel this is how I have gotten to know you better.)
I think there are more people out there in your situation then you know. Mine was a little different since I started off with a non-member. But 8 years later...look what happens.
The best advice I got was...Just treat him as if he were a member. Give him all of the love and respect that you already do and in time...hearts soften. (So I guess in your case just continue to treat him as if he were an active member.) He is still the patriarch of your cute little family and he will always hold those keys to guide your family.
And I think we all go through times of tested faith. Trust me...I will never judge your hubby. In fact...I admire that he does come and support you when you ask him to. I know that can be tough for someone who wants to distance themselves.

Rachel said...

With you two as parents your girls can't go wrong. You are such an amazing person, love you!

Snarky Belle said...

This brought tears to my eyes. They were good tears. Raising two beautiful daughters in a home filled with love and laughter, that is what matters. I think you and husband are both amazing people...and I don't use that word "amazing" lightly. You are wonderful examples. Thank you.