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August 19, 2022

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ReefnutFebruary 17, 2016

I got engaged to my husband at 17 and married soon after my 18th birthday. Second thoughts over the years about my choice of eternal companion? TONS!!! We even went to the brink of divorce at one point. But I knew the grass would not be greener on the other side and tossing aside years of shared history would not make either of us happier. So we got marriage counseling, sought the peace and inspiration only temple attendance can provide, and promised each other not to use the "D" word until we had done everything the marriage counselor asked us to do. Gradually, as we began caring more for the other than ourselves, there was reason for hope and our marriage left the critical care unit and went into recovery. Months turned into years and the marriage eventually left the hospital altogether -- healed. We even served a 2yr mission together, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years before. We celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary next month with a marriage on solid footing. If someone is struggling with the "should I stay or should I go" question in their marriage AND the issues are NOT addiction, abuse, or adultery, please get professional help and read the books that helped me make the decision to stay. It was one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. Gary Thomas, "Sacred Marriage: What if God Intended Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than Make Us Happy?" (Thomas is not LDS and so doesn't get the eternal potential of marriage, but his advice for marriage in the here and now is spot on.) Dr. Laura Schlessinger, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" and "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage" (Classic, no-nonsence, take-it-to-the-bank, practical Dr. Laura advice.) James L. Ferrell, "The Peacegiver" (A marriage is really 3 people: husband, wife, and Christ. He can heal our hearts and homes and marriages)

PeteFebruary 15, 2016

I stayed in a horrible marriage to an awful woman for more than 20 years. She drove my kids and many of my relatives away. Few wanted to socialize with us. I stayed and followed the counsel of this article until I just couldn't take it anymore. When word of my decision to divorce spread, I was ostracized by my LDS community. After nearly 30 years of supporting others in the church through countless trials, all I got was a few emails telling me how wrong I was. So much for compassion. So much for behaving like a follower of Christ.

Ken MadsenFebruary 15, 2016

Only one regret? I had been mean to a grasshopper as a young child! I’ve had countless regrets ever since. Many things I’ve done, or not done have lowered the trajectory of my mental abilities, talents, education, employment / financial, and spiritual self. I’ve confessed of things, only to repeat them again. I gave my heart to the Lord concerning my choice of companionship, believing that I had chosen the right young lady. I required no miracle of confirmation from the Lord—unless I had chosen wrongly—in which case, I would require a definite miracle from heaven. I soon found that my numerical street address and apartment number (Salt Lake City is very numerical), was the same as my future wife’s year, month and date of birth. I wish I could say we never argued with each other or never questioned our future together, yet such is life. Together, we often do enjoy great happiness. We expect to reach our 33rd anniversary this year with as much love and joy together as ever. Even now, we still find subtle examples of God’s approval as unexpected treasures along our way. My point is, let us choose this day to be the best that we can be, despite our past regrets. If we give our whole heart and soul to our companion, the Lord will surely bless us for it. Our poor way-fairing man (or woman) of grief may, or may not turn out to be as the Son of God, but who we become is entirely within us to determine today.

KathrynFebruary 15, 2016

Two other helpful articles on this same topic: 1) Richard Paul Evans shares his experience climbing from rock bottom in his marriage: https://meridianmag.wpengine.com/how-i-saved-my-marriage/ 2) Spencer Condie relates the story of a woman who determined she had married the wrong man: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1993/10/a-mighty-change-of-heart

JanetFebruary 14, 2016

While I appreciate your columns and the insight they offer, I wonder if Meridian would get a psychiatrist to write for all the families where mental illness is the culprit. After spending almost 30 years in adult singles wards I can attest to the terrible suffering and high percentage of LDS divorces caused by severe mental illness such as bipolar or borderline. I have watched mentally ill people enter the wards, remarry, redivorce, and remarry as many as 11 times. I have watched the children of the mentally ill spend decades in therapy trying to understand why they were treated with so much abuse. I have watched the children of the mentally ill too traumatized to trust and marry themselves instead choosing to live together outside of marriage. When I approached my bishop to help a sister who suffers from bipolar disorder, he told me there was nothing he could do. Is this true? Is the Priesthood powerless against these diseases? Or are they unwilling to purify their lives to the point they possess it's power? How can anyone in the Church believe that the Holy Spirit will solemnize their marriage for eternity but leave the mentally ill and their families with broken promises and dreams.

CyndiPFebruary 13, 2016

I appreciate your article very much. I am always reassured that my divorce was simply the only way to go. My ex-husband lived a gay lifestyle before we met. His father pushed him to marry me as a way to go straight. I was almost 30 years old. I never ever thought I would marry in the church/in a temple. He married me in the temple. We have two wonderful grown boys. I was a single mother for years but I still tell my ex-husband that I am grateful he married me. I still believe no man was ever or will ever again marry me. I am grateful I had the opportunity to marry in the temple and bear children even though my ex-husband eventually packed up and left one Saturday afternoon without any warning.

JeffFebruary 13, 2016

This article is dead on. My wife was were this sister is at for years and kept quiet only telling me bits and pieces. I was willing to work on anything. She implied she was too but had really checked out always focusing on the negative. She knew I would not want to end our marriage unless she was unfaithful. So she cheated on me with multiple men. It hurts so bad. I plead with the sister in this article and all like her. Figure it out before you destroy everything. Even if you figure out you have to end it do not cheat.

BluewaterFebruary 13, 2016

Joseph Smith (Quoted by Pres Monson) said you can't have both doubt and faith in your head at the same time. One or the other must depart. In the same way, you can't always be wondering 'what might have been' AND focus on the good your husband does and see the bits of good in your life now. One or the other is pushed out. I have seen the value of this in my own marriage and that of a couple of my kid's marriages---Let the 'what ifs' go and force yourself (if need be) to only think about the good things that 'are'....Gratitude is a natural and easy way to invite the Spirit into your life and thoughts and heart. And focusing on whatever good your husband is, or does, and whatever bits you can say you share with him that are good can help you pull out of this place you are now I know because I've done it---And as Pres Benson said inviting the Spirit and the Atonement into your marriage can heal it. If your husband didn't love you or wasn't trying hard ( things you say he DOES do) it would be much harder, but at least you have those 2 things on your side. Good Luck

Feel that tooFebruary 13, 2016

I too have felt that way many times but I don't give up! I feel like I have been a great benefit in his life in helping him become who he has the potential to become! I have felt that any other partner may not have stayed the course but I have decided long ago to not give up! It's been a long hard trip but there is light at the end! Don't quit 'Been There Feel that'!! There will be celestial rewards!!

MaryBethFebruary 13, 2016

When I got married several years ago, my grandmother was in attendance. She had been married and divorced several times and so she gave me advise. She said, "Just stay married to this man, he is a good man, because if you divorce him, you will just be changing one set of problems for another set, trust me, I know, I have done it 5 times." It will never be perfect, just see the good in your spouse and enjoy the good times.

MikeFebruary 13, 2016

I worry that my wife married the wrong person, not me. She deserved so much better than she received, but she stayed. She was shown that when she tried to let go of me, she was letting go of her covenant with the Lord. That was her "iron rod." It took many years, but I finally learned that when I wholeheartedly and consistently feasted on the scriptures, communed in prayer, and worshiped the Lord, I was a better husband and father. Those things change my focus from me to us.

ICanRelateTooFebruary 13, 2016

The older my wife and I get the less we seem to share similar interests. The hardest and most taxing on me is her lack of interest in doing anything Gospel related. Often our marriage is hot and then cold. I'm so thankful for this article and especially the quotes from Elder Faust and Ekder Bednar. It all affirms that not giving up on us, while my greatest burden, will be my greatest accomplishment. Looking at it through the eyes and expectations of my children has also helped me a lot. We are about 10 years from being empty nesters and it's going to be interesting. I so desperately want to serve missions and she most certainly does not. I hope someday I can be grateful for this challenge and that eternally we look back upon it with fondness.

Des SchaeferFebruary 13, 2016

For the lady that has been married for 33 years to a good man. I hope you can find a reason to stay..not out of guilt ( tore us up when our mom divorced our dad after children grown..he died soon after and I always wondered if it was from broken heart) nor pity nor obligation.I hope you can start serving him but looking what you can do to make life happier for him.You are only one in the world in this unique position..to bring comfort to " one good man" You've heard Love isn't a feeling..its a choice? Do you remember the story of the Little Prince? All the roses in the Universe were the same But the one rose He watered served and spent time with was the one he loved.We grow relationships. Another thing is you might not be happy with yourself.Ask God what you can do to see through His eyes your true self.No one else is in charge of our happiness..it is all owing to Our attitude which must come from Hope, which comes from turning our lives over to our Saviour..ask Him how to better love yourself and thus your husband.Your grown children need this example of true love and service Not long suffering.Now abuse and mental illness a challenge nor should children be at risk..but you say yes a good man.Take notice of what he does to gain that trust. ..

JudyFebruary 12, 2016

Many excellent points brought up. I am seeing many long term marriages struggling and crumbling under tremendous strains. It takes both parties to make efforts. I have seen miracles happen as couples turn their hearts to the Lord. I have also seen where one needs to stand up for themselves against abuses perpetrated upon them - not heaping abuse in return, but realizing they are valued children of a loving Heavenly Father not deserving of such treatment. This world indeed can make relationships difficult. It is so important to work on becoming more Christlike in our marriage and family relationships.

Response to "been there feel that"February 12, 2016

Dear Been there Feel that, I am the youngest in my family and my mom felt the same way and when I left the house my parents divorced. It should not be view as my kids out out of the house so divorcing now is not hard on the kids. There is so much more life ahead still and family togetherness still to be had. Splitting holidays and the awkward ness at family functions when both have to be there (i.e. Weddings,Grand baby blessings, and baptisms ect) are only the tip of the ice burg of the downside... My mom is not happy now like she thought she would be, she has had two more failed marriages and is now alone with half her kids and grandkids not Speaking to her. My dad remarried and is just ok. My siblings hardly ever get together now too. All because my mom was selfish and thought she could have done better and that she could remarry a rich guy and be happy but instead put both of them in way behind money wise and a family shattered... Find a way to serve your husband each day and something you can enjoy together!

Been there feel thatFebruary 12, 2016

Well, as each year of my marriages passes (33) I feel more and more the same way. We don't fight, we just don't love each other. He's a good man, I just don't love him. In 3 years my last child graduates and then I will make the decision to stay or not.

RobinFebruary 12, 2016

Thank you for the gentle reminder that love is not only a feeling - it is an action. This article by Elder Lynn Robbins also is a powerful reminder of these truths: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2000/10/agency-and-love-in-marriage?lang=eng Another great article is this one about loving our spouses: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2005/01/falling-out-of-love-and-climbing-back-in?lang=eng

CharlieBrown2292February 12, 2016

Comments that should be printed, framed, and hung into every Latter-Day Saint home. This to me stands as THE authentic road-map to a lasting marriage and family, the alternative often resulting in "vanity and vexation of spirit." (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

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