Sunday, November 17, 2013

Marriage and my relationship with the gospel

When I first started this blog, my good friend Rachel commented on my testimony post and said this, "I believe that testimony is a relationship that developes bit by bit. Just like a human relationship builds over time and through shared experience, so do testimonies grow over time."

I really, really like this idea.

Think back to the time before you were married. Do you remember what you thought marriage was back then? Now have a good laugh, because I'm sure you think your pre-married self was pretty naive. Or is it just me?

I had so many theories about how to have a happy marriage. I come from divorced parents, so my ideas were mostly theories. I just couldn't understand how people who loved each other enough to get married could ever say truly hurtful things to one another. I believed that there was sort of a formula for a happy marriage. That formula included simple things like praying together, going to church together, having weekly date nights, writing each other love notes, always kissing hello and goodbye, etc. I believed that if I satisfied this formula, things would flow smoothly.

Well, I still believe that following that formula will make it pretty likely for things to turn out well.  But that doesn't mean we won't go through trying times where we really wonder what the hell we got ourselves into. Am I the only person who has wondered what I was thinking!

As marriages progress, we learn more about each other. Our bond deepens, for sure, but marriage is HARD. As we grow closer, we learn things that aren't so simple to understand. In the beginning, your partner is all good things. That's the Primary stage of the gospel. It's all simple and sunny and happy and straightforward. Then you get to the point where some things just don't make sense. That's like the first time you and your spouse have a real fight. You know, the kind where you get in the car and go for a drive because you just can't be in the same physical space as that person. You are physically angry. And it makes you question your relationship. You start thinking you're not the couple you thought you were. But you come back and you make up, and things are actually better after that--better than before the fight, because you dealt with some things, you got to know each other better, and you recommitted yourselves to each other. The struggle makes you grow. That's normal marriage crap and that's normal testimony questioning. It makes you stronger.

But for some couples, there are worse times. Way worse. (This isn't me and my husband, just for the record.) Some couples deal with very serious problems. The kind of problems that make them want to quit. And sometimes they do quit. This is like being inactive. You can't be around each other anymore.

For many of those couples, the spark never returns and they move on. But for some, they are so deeply tied together, that they never can truly quit each other. This is like me and the Church. I tried to leave, because things just didn't work out. But I can't get away from it. It's too much a part of me. So I had to come back and "work things out". Working things out involves compromise. For me and the Church, that compromise means that our relationship can't ever be the way it used to be. In order to move forward, our relationship needs to change. And while I would certainly prefer that we had never broken up, and that our relationship had continued in its honeymoon bliss, I would rather be together like this than not be together at all. Does that make sense?

So at this point, all I can do is hope that my relationship continues to grow. I can work to make it as good as it can be, but I also have to accept that it won't be what it once was. It's a new relationship.


  1. I can see that it's been awhile since you updated your blog but I am so intrigued by your posts. I am also someone who was raised in the church, graduated from BYU, married in the temple, and then lost my testimony in the church. I tried to make it work for awhile anyway but it was too difficult. I'm not the kind of person who can sit back and say nothing while people are spouting beliefs that I find harmful but I certainly don't feel that my perspective is welcome either. That said, there really is much about being a part of a Mormon community that I miss. I looked for a way that I could email you but couldn't find it. If you're interested I would love if you could email me and share how you manage to still feel a part of the church community without also feeling pressured to be untrue to yourself. My email is

  2. OMG..... I have been telling my husband for quite some time that I am like 90% Mormon, 10% Agnostic, give or take some. I just stumbled upon your blog. And I LOVE it! I am a returned missionary, living in Utah (from Chicago), married with 3 kids, ya know, the formula. And it has taken me a long time realize that I am partly agnostic, while being an active Mormon. And I am still working on coming to terms with it, but thank you for your blog! Ah! Refreshing! Thanks. (I am excited).

  3. Okay so apparently there is ALOT of us that are just now finding you and seriously you are like a breath of fresh air!!! I am right there and have no idea what to do with my children! I will be devouring your blog tonight! Thank you for being brave and posting!!!

  4. You speak straight to my soul, sister! I wish you were still blogging, but I respect you for taking care of you. I couldn't find a contact email anywhere but I'd love to hear where you're at today, active or not. :)