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What is it like to be on the gospel path with your spouse—attending church together, serving faithfully in your callings, and raising your children with the gospel as your guide—only to have them announce abruptly, or over time, that he or she no longer believes?
In recent months, I have interviewed individuals who have been there. And it’s incredibly challenging. For starters, there are often feelings of betrayal and heartache over the spouse’s rejection of temple covenants, and devastation at the lost dream of creating a gospel-centered home together. And then there are the painful day-to-day realities of how you’ll integrate prayer, church attendance, family home evening, scripture study, and gospel discussions into your home and family.
Despite the challenges, many who have been there and are striving to maintain their marriage say that there is a way to go forward. If you or someone you love is experiencing these challenges, here are some suggestions for navigating the road ahead:
Allow Yourself to Grieve
When we face trials, we sometimes push ourselves to be strong and stoic. But the heartache is there and needs to be attended to, or else all that held-back emotion may become a depressing, even destructive force in our lives. Prayerfully look for ways you can grieve without becoming consumed by it. Think about writing in your journal regularly, talking to trusted friends, or memorizing scriptures that bring solace. Allow yourself the tears and exercise an extra measure of compassion for yourself when you are feeling low.
Keep in mind that these feelings of grief may be reoccurring. One woman, whose husband left the Church many years ago, said “The grief still hits sometimes when he refuses to come hear a child’s sacrament meeting talk, or when I want to invite the missionaries over for dinner but have to negotiate with him first.”
Allow yourself to feel the grief when it comes, but then seek for the light and power that will dilute your heartache and allow you to make the most of your situation.
To read the full article on LDSLiving, click here.