In this episode I talk all about my experience being married to a non-mormon, how I got to a peaceful place with that and how it's impacted our family in such a positive way. I teach how your spouse leaving the church doesn't actually mean anything major. How we can control our results but deciding what we want to think about them leaving, and how we can continue to have an incredible marriage.
You're listening to the modern Mormon, Episode Number 10. Hey there, I'm Kami Satterlee. And I'm the modern Mormon. I'm an Advanced Certified life coach who's dropped the all or nothing approach to life, and religion. I can't wait to show you how. I've got you, girl. Let's go. Hello, beautiful souls. I am super excited about today's topic when your spouse leaves the church. And I'm super excited about this, because this used to be like the most devastating thing to me in my entire life. And now it's actually one of the things that I love about my family. So I'm going to talk about all of that, and how we can get to that place. But first, in my previous podcast, I talked a lot about a faith crisis or a belonging crisis, basically, when you're going through a transition in your faith, like everything that comes with that. So today I'm going to discuss when your spouse leaves the church, this can also be applied to a spouse simply in a transitional phase. Okay, so I've done a lot of coaching on this topic, as this is my niche in my business. And personally, I'm married to a non member, so he never actually left the church. But there are a lot of similarities for sure within this topic. So if you married your spouse in the temple, or for me, you had the idea growing up that you were going to marry in the temple, the perfect plan, right? The return missionary in the temple, or maybe you actually did that, whatever it is, you have this expectation. And when things don't go according to plan, this can be so discouraging. It can be detrimental to a lot of our experiences in life, especially our marriage. But it doesn't necessarily have to be okay. So when this happens, the reason that we have so many negative emotions a lot of the time is because of the unknown. There's a lot of worry, a lot of what ifs, what does this mean for our family? What does this mean for our marriage, right? So it can be hard to keep your faith, it's hard to carry on and hope for the best. In our religion, we talk about faith and how in faith is so important that we need to have faith over fear. But in these circumstances, a lot of times it is fear based, and that can overpower our faith. So in the beginning phases of this, there is a lot of grief, there's a lot of, you know, letting go of what you thought was going to be your life, what you thought your marriage was going to look like in your family was going to look like. And this is such an important process, because you had all these ideas and expectations of what you wanted your life and your marriage and your family to be like, and it's not going to be what you thought it was going to be. And so there is a period of time that you need to kind of mourn the loss of that. And allow yourself to feel those emotions feel that discouragement, feel that sadness, even the anger, and you need to really give your space yourself space and time for that. If we try and push past all of that, without fully processing those emotions, it can lead to resisting all of those emotions, okay? So separate yourself and your identity from all the emotions that you're feeling this will help during this process. So if you're feeling sadness, or anger, you can be angry without acting out anger, okay? So when I say allow it, just allow the anger to be there, walk around with it, notice it have the awareness of it. That's how we process that emotion. When we resist or we fight against it, or we avoid it, we can overeat, we can overwork, okay, we can also, you know, lash out at our husband during this time and have really intense conversations. I don't think that's necessarily necessary in all of this. Because what you're actually fighting for, is complete opposite of what your behavior is. So if you're angry, that he's not having faith, if you're angry that he's leaving all of your beliefs, that kind of goes against everything you actually believe. When I married my husband, I used to use his behavior to kind of victimize myself, like, God, I am doing all the things you want me to do. But look, you're not blessing me with this perfect life in this perfect marriage. So now I'm going to be a victim to that I'm going to use his behavior to victimize myself, and feel sorry for myself, and a way of Look what you've done God, like I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to do, but you're not holding up your end of the bargain here. When we victimize ourselves, what happens is we then put ourselves in a negative state of mind, and continuing this pattern can lead to depression. And from that place, we're not actually working on ourselves and bettering ourselves or even supporting our spouse in that time. So that can have a really negative effect on your marriage. Okay, so during this grieving period, a lot of thoughts are going to come up thoughts like he promised me forever. He's changed. It's not fair. How can we be a forever family, that's where the worry, the doubt the anger come in, okay. Temple marriages, although they're eternal have always been a personal thing, it's never been a guarantee that you're going to have this eternal marriage just because you were married in the temple, right? It's not this and this is done. So all of a sudden, it's ago, what happens during a faith transition is the focus becomes so much on that spouse who leaves, we take our focus away from our Savior and our relationship with Him. And then we hyper focus on our husband or spouse, whatever, I'm focusing on the husband this time, their thoughts, their behaviors, and whatever happens, you know, and whatever's going on with them. That's where the hyper focus comes in. And then what happens when we hyper focus on something, then it expands, right? So what I teach in coaching is when we are judging or critiquing, we're worrying about somebody else, what we're actually doing is mirroring that person's behavior. So if you don't like what your husband is thinking and doing and his current behaviors, you actually become everything that you are upset about, which is so fascinating, right? Our minds want to just accuse our spouse of doing something, but we are usually doing the exact same thing. So for example, he made promises to you, and that he was going to marry you and be with you forever. But didn't you promise in one way or another, you may have said this or not, but to love Him through anything. There's so many other examples I can come up with in this situation where we are actually doing the very thing that we are so angry at them for doing. And I love this actually, this actually brings me so much relief, to be able to break it apart like this, because it's so heavy when you are accusing and judging somebody. But when you can loosen it up, and you can see that you are actually, in so many different ways doing the same thing. It can kind of make you have compassion for them in this situation. So my situation was different. When I married my husband, because he was a non member, it wasn't that he was, you know, had left the church. But having had a baby prior to marriage, the Church teaches that, you know, you should make a family out of the situation. And so that's what I did. But I did that with an expectation that God would somehow make our family eternal. And if I did the right things that he should blast me, he should bless me and make Steve somehow Mormon or something like that. And then when he didn't, there was so much resentment towards God. And that's kind of what pushed me over the edge and why I started, you know, doing other things, and then slowly stepping away from the church. But I used to, like I said, victimize myself in situations. So for example, if my husband would drink, I would just be a disaster on the floor. Like, how could you do this to me, God? How can he drink in front of me all the things like it was so dramatic, which is funny, because like, now, I mean, we just went out last night, I ordered a sparkling water, he got a Moscow Mule. I didn't even have a thought about it. Something that once would just cripple me. God did not promise eternal life, if everybody was on board. That's not the way the plan works. It is such a personal thing. Regardless, if you are in the temple with your husband, whether you're sitting in church with your husband, it's almost like he's just your comfort blanket. Our brain just kind of goes on default. We just do the things but we never actually question why we are doing them. Or if we truly want to be doing what we are actually doing. So there came a point, when I asked myself, did I marry Steve, for Steve, or the idea of what Steve could be? And I think this is such an important question for anyone going through a spouse leaving the church or in some type of transitional period. If you married because you love them, then use that love to be the driving emotion through all of this. If you're stuck in these negative emotions, you're actually depriving yourself of feeling love. So we create our emotions through our thoughts. We, this is what I teach in my coaching. We think that the fact that our spouse left the church is why we aren't feeling love. But the truth is, we aren't feeling love because we are making that circumstance or them leaving mean so many negative things about them about our marriage or future together, the eternities all of it. So in coaching, I really like to start here with my clients after they have gone through that grieving process and they no longer have the super intense emotions, they may still have sadness, anger, those things, but they're not things that need to actually be sat and processed through. I like to build a new and improved picture of what their life could be. So instead of living like miserably ever after, they can create in their minds what their happily ever after, could look like. So we look at possibilities. I like to really dive into truths, and even the doctrine of the Church what it actually teaches verse What our brain has created and created through culture and just kind of living the day to day life, like all of a sudden, our entire lives have been flipped upside down. And it is not what we thought it was going to be. So it can feel almost like it's out of control. So I love to break apart the circumstance. For example, like how incredible is it that your spouse is being authentic to themselves, then leaving the church means that they are, you know, being fully transparent, they're being fully open and honest with you. So many people don't do that they continue living the teachings, and going through the motions, but they're doing it out of obligation, they're doing it just kind of because they've always just done it. And they've never thought otherwise. Imagine the surprise, in the end, when they truly didn't even have a testimony. Talk about a letdown in a marriage. When we can fully understand that we fight against the reality of all of this of this whole situation, we want it to be different, because we believe we think that if they would just come back to the church, then everything would be better, right? What are we actually wanting, what we are actually wanting is to have a different emotion than the one we're currently feeling. Deep down, we may think, you know, obviously, we want them to be a member of the church. But we think if they would just change and not do what they're doing, then things would be better. If we could just change the circumstance, that would get us there. But remember, your husband leaving the church is not what is causing the negative emotion, okay, that is just the circumstance, what's causing your negative emotion are all of your thoughts about him leaving the church, it's all of your thoughts about the what ifs, what's going to happen, the scary future, it's a bunch of worry, okay, you want it to change, you want to change the circumstance, because then you don't want to think and have to feel what you're feeling. But that is actually optional. And when we can just accept what is once you fully come to a place where you can accept who your husband is, and what he chooses and decides, then everything starts to change for the better. Your husband doesn't actually need to come back to the church, for you to feel good about this entire circumstance, he doesn't need to come back for your marriage to be incredible. He doesn't need to come back for you to build your testimony and to have a strong knowledge about what you actually believe. All of this can be done on your own. And if you're worried about his future, and what it looks like, just remember, God said he take care of it. And I think that's what Jesus Christ did. He paid the price even for any behavior that your husband chooses to partake in. Once we can actually accept what is and we start to feel peace around that, then we start to get real with ourselves in our beliefs. This is actually why I love being married to a non member, because it forces me to have to really question and to grow my testimony and choose whether I want to believe something or not. So we get comfortable knowing our spouse is with us, like I've talked about before. In our spiritual, spiritual journey books, when they aren't there, we have to rely on our own faith to keep us going. And that's when life gets real. When we're forced to question our beliefs, where the circumstance and what we make it mean, it's we get to question whether that's going to make us or break us. For me personally, being married to a non member, I believe has been the absolute greatest experience. In getting to know myself I would say, all of my coaching all of my you know, personal growth, all of it getting certified is because of my man. He has brought so much opposition in my life but allowing me to question and truly choose my beliefs. Growing up LDS I never did this, it was I just relied on like my parents and you know, I can see how growing up you can rely on your spouse in your family, to kind of just get you going and get you by. But in order to grow your testimony, when you don't have that there, you can only rely on you. When we think of God's plan. When we think of why we came to this earth, the power and blessing of agency from a place of not this picture perfect LDS family that we have this home, we can see what a gift it is to have this experience. Having a spouse leave the LDS Church lets you experience God's hands in watching what unfolds with it. We get to exercise our faith and really grow our faith versus not. And it's so amazing to watch the power of God in your life when you stay committed to the things that you actually believe. One example of this is you get to love your spouse 100% for who they are. I don't ever have to judge my husband and it's so much easier not to judge him when I don't have these high expectations of him being you know a member of the church. I just get to love him for who he is and not what he does. True unconditional love. You get to build your testimony and experience this berat each day you choose faith, attending church alone, going to the temple, abstaining from activities on Sunday, but then watching, like your husband choose Sunday funday. It sounds terrible, but I promise you that it from someone who has actually lived it, and I can testify that my experience is so much greater, I would say than most. And that may sound a little, you know, self righteous or whatever. But this is the way that I look at it. When I made the decision that I go to church no matter what, like Steve typically doesn't go with me, it is so intentional. When I go that I want to sit in the front row I look around, there's people that are sleeping, you know, people are so frustrated with their kids is this all like normal behavior, of course, I'm not judging these people. But I actually think it's so comical, how focused and into church that I actually am. And I would never be this way, if it wasn't for my situation. I have never gotten so much out of church in my entire life. And it's not always just this pleasant Oh, I'm learning and growing experience. I mean, those negative thoughts will creep in. Sometimes if I'm sitting there and they say something that triggers some type of eternal family or something, I will have a thought that instantly brings me into a victim type of feeling. And mode where I just kind of feel almost frozen in that I instantly will direct my brain to whether my husband is here or not, has no effect on my relationship with my Savior. And you can do this with any circumstance, whether it's temple attendance, whether it is, you know, even just personal prayer, a lot of times these negative thoughts will creep in, and you'll want to almost be paralyzed by the situation. But embracing it, allowing it and even like finding ways that it serves you is what's going to get you through it. So when I embrace my husband, and his choices, our relationship grows, and it has grown so much. He has grown spiritually through my example. And our conversations are deeper and more meaningful because of where he's at in his life and his experiences. My husband, not being a member has brought us closer, but it's also brought me closer to my Savior, I believe my faith is the reason that he will someday choose this. And that might be somewhat hopeful, but me thinking that propels me and keeps me focused in the direction that I want to keep going. He is the reason I believe so strongly in this church. His experience has allowed me to just, you know, truly think about and choose each one of my beliefs. And I guarantee that you and your spouse are complete opposite and a lot of ways if not most ways, if you're anything like Steven I Why on earth do we believe we need to be the same, and on the same page spiritually. It is such a personal thing that we want to force the other person almost to think and believe as we do, because we think in some way, it will be better for us as a couple. Well, that's never been a good thing in any other circumstance in our life. I think about parenting and I'm like, I'm more of the softy. Tell me what you're thinking and feeling. And he's more of the disciplinarian where it's like, absolutely not, you're done. And we balance each other, and we complement each other so well in different circumstances. It can be the same with our spirituality. If you are just doing the cookie cutter, you know, member of the church stuff, then you're not really having those deep, meaningful conversations. But when you are on opposite ends, it is so much fun to hear someone's perspective on something that's completely different than yours. And then when I hear that, I think about that, and I apply it to my life. What do I want to think about that? Do I agree with what they're saying? Or do I see it differently. And we've been able to bounce off ideas, and it's really affected all the other areas of our life. I know it's definitely affected the way that he does business and the way that he views other people. And the way that like I said, we parent, it is just been so awesome. If you are currently going through this situation, if your spouse is thinking about leaving the church, if they have left the church, if they're in a transitional period, you may have thoughts that it's just awful, like it's never going to get better. But you know that you can think and believe it's better just as it is. It can also be easier. I get up and get ready and go to church and I'm on time I don't have to worry about him. If you have littles at home that you need help to get ready, that's okay, too. But you can almost look at it as it's just our time now. It's a time where I just sit down with my kids. And I call it just us time. And when they go I say no, we're gonna go have justice time. And they'll ask, well is dad going? It's like no, because it's just us time. If dad wants to join and just us time, that's fine, but he usually doesn't because it's just us. And I love looking at my kids during church and I take time and I wink at each one of them. And that also helps me in deciding like no work. Hear and we want to be here. Like I got you. If you are worried about your children's experience through all of this, and how that's going to affect them, your kids are going to experience so much diversity, even in their own home. I'm actually jealous of the way that my kids get to be brought up in the world. I love that at the dinner table, we ask questions like, what do you think about that? Do you want to believe that, because there are two different sides, we discuss all sorts of things like doctrine, and, you know, religion, but also just life in general. And they know more about our brains and beliefs than I ever did growing up. And they are consciously choosing what they actually want to believe. And I love this so much. We're talking about, you know, the beliefs in the church and whether they actually want to get baptized right now. And, you know, I got baptized at eight, but I didn't actually know what I was doing. It was just kind of what you do, right? Where my kids I feel like when they get baptized, they're doing it because they actually want this for their life. Every child and every person gets to choose and will choose at some point what they want to believe, holding space for them, and meeting them where they're at, can, can and will make all the difference in the example you set for your beliefs and Christ's love. My husband knows God loves them, because I love him. He is coming around and praying and things that are spiritual, because I hear him, I listen, I validate his thoughts. mirror the Savior, stay true to what you do know and believe. And when your brain wants to run wild and feels out of control by the thoughts, the doubts, the worry and the fear, bring it back to the one who's in charge, and give it to him. He promised you It wouldn't be easy, but that it would be worth it. This is my niche. If you or someone you know could use as support, please sign up for a free mini session for my Instagram page. I promise you can get the peace and love and all the things that you want in your marriage. And if your spouse leaves the church, and I can help you get there. If you're ready to drop the all or nothing in your life, than I would be honored to be your life coach. Head over to the modern mormon.com to start your journey in becoming the confident authentic and best version of you.