My husband thinks I'm too churchy

Dear Dr. Elia,

My husband has accused me of being "too churchy." His attitude is that you can still get to heaven without listening to General Conference, missing church or other activities to go camping or vacationing, not attending the temple and just living good.

I must admit that I am a "Molly Mormon." I try to serve others regularly in and out of my home. I fast every month, attend the temple alone, conduct family prayer and scripture study by myself. He has totally missed the boat! Our religion is my whole life!

I don't want to have such negativity in my home. I want our marriage to be a celestial one and for our home to reflect the life of Christ. Our children are at a tender age now, and I want them to be strong in the gospel. What can I do to help our marriage?

Melinda

Dear Melinda,

You bring up an interesting topic that unfortunately seems to afflict quite a few LDS couples. The idea that doing what you believe necessary to follow our Savior somehow makes you "too churchy" seems rather odd. Your best comment is when you say that "our religion is my whole life!" Being a member of the LDS faith by definition makes you live your religion on a daily basis. This is not a Sunday-only kind of church.

The main issue afflicting your marriage is lack of spiritual intimacy! I would encourage you to have a heart to heart discussion with your husband. You can also do it in front of a third party like your Bishop, if you think it will have a more desired outcome. The success of the discussion will be greatly influenced by the tone and spirit in which it will take place.

Spiritual intimacy involves a mutual desire to grow spiritually both individually and as couple. Having a meaningful scripture study and a heartfelt prayer would be a good place to start. Read your Patriarchal blessings together because there are treasures waiting to be discovered for both of you! It is important for you not to come across as self-righteous or "holier than thou." Since you have no control over his behavior, the best approach is one of love, patience - even long-suffering, as it says in the scriptures.

You might want to ask him about your children. Does he want them serving missions and getting married in the Temple? If not, then tell him not to change a thing because they will most likely follow the path of least resistance. If, however, he'd like for them to do those things, then it will fall upon him to make some significant spiritual changes in his own life.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear a word you are saying." Kids spot hypocrisy a mile away . . . so how does he want to be remembered by his kids? As for you, stay true to your values. Be strong, faithful and continue to choose the right! You will never regret it; besides, by doing so, you will fulfill your stewardship as a mother. As for your husband, at some point in his life, he will need the Savior's help. Eventually life will bring him to his knees. I hope he chooses to do the right thing without pain causing him to reconsider his relationship with God.

Dr. Elia

---

Dr. Elia Gourgouis, PhD, is a nationally known speaker and marriage expert, and is the author of The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving! (buy here)With over twenty years of experience, he coaches LDS couple throughout the United States and enjoys speaking at BYU Education Week and Time Out for Women. He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.

To get more relationship and coaching advice from Dr. Elia, visit www.AskDrElia.com, www.LDSCoaching.com, or call 303.523.6396.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com