There are other mental or personality disorders that can make relationships as close as that of the marriage covenant difficult and unfulfilling, I am referring to a spouse who is on the aurism spectrum, previously referred to as Asperger's Syndrome. Without a thorough understanding of this disorder going inro marriage, it's easy to see it as eccentricities or even positive qualities like unusually talents or abilities. It's only within the close confines of marriage that the inability to change or significantly modify the negative, self-centered traits that accompany this condition becomes apparent. The problems this causes may never seem to rise to thresholds spoken of in this article, but the hollowness and devastation to all the lives attached to that person are just as real. Neglect and emotional absence are as real and as destructive, if not moreso because of their subtle erosion, than outward abuse or infidelity. You can't counsel or repent away the hardwiring of some mortal conditions, and it behooves us all to take a good long look at the red flags that may pop up early in a relationship before making it a marriage. Even a strong, stable individual will eventually suffer from a lifelong marriage with "vitamin" deficiencies not provided in a partnership where one half is missing in action.
I'm the child of a woman too broken down to divorce. She was a concert, leaving behind her childhood abusive family. I think that is why she couldn't see through my abusive dad. He is a narcissist. But I've only recently begin to see that. He broke her down and he broke me down, and he used her to help break me down. But marriage is supposed to be eternal so she never let herself acknowledge anything was wrong until shortly before she died. With much assistance from his abuse. I didn't learn those details till years after. In the meantime, according to these standards, I've actually gone through a similar process that has resulted in me breaking all contact with that birth family, a divorce, if you will. I so much wish she'd been strong enough, brave enough to do so herself.
"One challenge associated with this third principle is that sometimes individuals struggling in a destructive marriage get so worn down that they lose a sense of self-efficacy and an ability to trust their own judgment."
I find it interesting that almost all of the increased risks noted for children of divorced parents are evident in my siblings.
On another note, regarding the recurring comment about spouses who have had blessings reinstated despite behavior contrary and the wondering how various leaders ok'd that, the thought occurred to me that in the parable of the wedding feast, some make it in but aren't 'wearing the wedding garment'. I know it's easy to assume that refers to temple garments, but I think it symbolizes the spiritual coverage of covenants kept. But God sees through what clouds man's vision and He catches the ones who have lied their way in. So maybe they can play the rules in mortality, but they won't get away with anything before God.
Eve, you are mistaken. No permission of the first spouse is needed. It is up to the Church leaders to decide.
Thanks, David for sharing your experience. The mental illnesses that I have witnessed destroying marriages have much more severe symptoms which are either diagnosed after the divorce, sometimes after multiple divorces, and either not treatable at all by medication or only partially treatable. I have seen people who called to tell their spouse about just having sex with another, spent all the money, tried to isolate the spouse from their family or friends, developed problems with alcohol or illegal drugs, faked suicide attempts, disappeared for a time, verbally attacked their spouse repeatedly at home, became physically violent, manipulated the opinions of ward members and the bishop about their spouse and made the spouse's life a literal vision of hell. With borderline, sometimes ALL of these behaviors are happening. Oh, they may also decide to change their sexual orientation or develop eating disorders or become a kleptomaniac. It is a terrible affliction and is never just one of these problems, but a bunch together. I have not seen any Church advice for dealing with it. It is especially hard if the spouse if being gossiped about by ward members because of the lies told by the mentally ill person.
Bipolar has a better prognosis because there are drugs that often provide help. But several friends I know have been married and divorced five times each, one I think eleven times. The trauma inflicted on the ex-spouses and children are tremendous.
Eve, I spoke with my stake president about the issue of a sealing taking place where the first spouse objected because of the affair of the couple. The Church asks for a letter from all ex-spouses in any divorce but really pays little attention to the objections of the former spouse. No, you do not need permission. The First Presidency approved my ex-husband's sealing to the woman he got pregnant while married to me over my clearly stated objection in the letter I wrote prior to their sealing. And no, I had never received so much as a word of apology from her although the words "I am sorry" did pass my ex- husband's lips at the time of his excommunication. This was followed for the rest of his life by verbal attacks on me and attempts to blame me for his actions. Indeed, shortly after his sealing he called to brag about his now being sealed while I was still not remarried. Seems what really went wrong was any real checking to see if he was repentant before he was rebaptized and given his temple blessings back. Amazing to me because he had to speak with a general authority.
Another who has been there - for Bobbi. When my first wife filed for divorce after 14 years and 7 children, I was totally overcome and cried for 2 weeks being unable to produce at work, but I remained employed - a great company! I moved and became friendly with a divorcee with 5. We shared many events being well chaperoned! After 3 months during a Stake Conference I received personal revelation directly into my head (most unexpected!) such that 10 days after the end of my first marriage I married again. The financial, spiritual, emotional, and social responsibilities kept us fully occupied for the next 18 years after which time I was told "get with counseling or get out " I did "get" and after personal consultation and years of group counseling, I discovered I was afflicted with a control addiction, but the counseling was successful - I have become a recovering controller I also discovered we had irreconcilable world-views that created much tension such that our son went to live with his sister-in-law. After 23 years of marriage, much prayer, counseling and wise assistance, I filed for divorce with hope the friendship would heal. It has to the blessing of being friendly friends to the level that today she will tailor my slacks! During those 23 years her 3 sons and our 3 children served missions and her daughter married a returned missionary. Of my original 7 only my oldest daughter is fully active with the youth. During those years of trial, we received much assistance from our ward and stake leadership. With the help of the Lord I look back to note her daughter provided 3 missionaries, one son has a son on a mission, another son has a daughter in Saratov, Russia (totally new mission rules), our 3 served missions, and my daughter has a son serving in New Zealand. And there are more in preparation. All possible because of personal revelation. Bonnie, my wife's tough love dictim to get with counseling was one of the greatest blessing of my life. Addictions are truly powerful and require tough love to conquer. One counsel session left me spiritually and physically shattered whereupon about 30 of the group wrapped themselves around me! What a powerful expression of love and caring. I pray that something I have shared will be of value to you.
Josephine, it's my understanding that they would still have to get permission from the first wife. Sounds like something went wrong.
23 years ago our bishop said "Man is that he may have joy. If you aren't happy in the relationship you should move on." I detested such a statement by a bishop who I felt like was playing in to my wife's desire to divorce. What a pathetic response. My wife thought pastures were greener elsewhere from early in our marriage. It didn't help she kept contact with old boyfriends. She pushed for (and got) her divorce. She married an old flame but later divorced him when the illusion was uncovered that he was not the man of her dreams. What a mess resulted. I know several other men and some women who experienced poor counsel from ecclesiastical leaders. Far too often then jump to conclusions that the marriage should be ended when in reality the couple just need to buckle down and make it work. I wish ALL bishops and stake presidents would read this letter.
Does anyone know why the Church allows couples whose affair broke up the prior marriage of one of the spouses to later be sealed in the temple? This decision has devastated me and destroyed my faith in the judgement and goodness of the Brethren. Especially since my bishop at the time of the divorce promised me it would never be allowed.
So many of the people I know who are divorced have later been diagnosed with mental illness such as bipolar or borderline. What role do you believe mental illnesses play in divorce in an LDS marriage? The statistics for mental illness imply that about a fourth or a third of LDS marriages are ending because of the mental illness of a spouse. Any advice for how to deal with this? Please be realistic.
I see the example of the father falling out of belief of the Church but the mother rallies and keeps the children going and believing the Church but when the mother is the one that looses her testimony the children seem to all follow the mother and the entire family is effected. That is the situation I am in. I am having a very hard time to understand how an active Father can faithfully continue when by his faithfulness brings extreme division in the family structure. I am totally lonely, tired and afraid. I am 23 years older then my wife and I am past my retirement age and still have a 13 year old son at home who now is totally inactive and will not have any means to live alone but the stress on me is also killing my health what's left of it. This is my second marriage which has been 21 years and my first lasted 20 years, my first wife was excommunicated and my three older children left the Church with her. My children of my second marriage, two step son's and my two sons are totally inactive leaving my only daughter and I the only active and she also went on a mission and returned.
I very much appreciate this article, and can vouch for the truth of these principles. I spent many years in a difficult marriage, went through 3 separations as well as counseling. I believe the final decision has to be arrived at by counseling with the Lord. No amount of counseling by Bishops, Stake Presidents, friends, family, or LDS Family Services can provide the clarification and clear direction that comes from the Lord through the Holy Ghost.
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