If you are listening to this episode right when it airs, it’s the week of Valentines Day, and I thought that called for a special episode all about relationships–specifically how to navigate the most important relationships in our lives when one of us is experiencing a shift in religious belief. This can feel disorienting, devastating, and sometimes insurmountable for a marriage or a partnership–but I want you to know that this is not insurmountable. You can still have a strong, connected, healthy family, even if you have different religious beliefs. There is so much hope, and today’s guest is going to teach us some tools we can use to support our partner if they are going through a faith transition–and to support ourselves through this uncertain time as well.
Kattie Mount is a mom of four and the co-host with her husband Allan of the podcast Marriage on a Tightrope. She has presented at dozens of conferences, been a guest on many podcasts, and has hosted several meetups and retreats about strengthening your marriage when one or both of you is on a faith journey. She has also partnered with a therapist to provide a space where hundreds of couples have gone through a workshop to help strengthen their marriage, and I can’t wait for you to gain tools and hope from her today.
3 Takeaways on How to Support Your Partner Through a Faith Crisis from Kattie Mount
- Shift the way you talk about your beliefs to focus on what’s personal instead of what’s communal. Kattie calls this utility-based belief instead of truth-based belief. So instead of saying “We believe this because it is Truth” say things like “I believe this…” or “For me this belief has been incredibly hopeful because…” And remember that you can continue to focus on the values you share with your loved one, even if you no longer share the exact same religious convictions. Some of those values might be service, honesty, compassion, adventure, or hard work.
- Share in the discomfort of your loved one. A faith deconstruction has likely been an incredibly difficult experience for them, whether or not they felt comfortable sharing the extent of their pain with you. Do your best not to blame or judge them for their shift in belief but instead share in their discomfort, while also allowing yourself to process your own. Of course you are going to have your own feelings of sadness and grief to sort through, so find a trusted third-party that you can talk to about your feelings so you don’t have to dump that on your partner. A therapist is a great person for this kind of processing, as well as a dear friend or family member who you know loves both you and your partner and wants the best for your marriage and for your entire family unit.
- Support your partner in their journey. Take breaks from the heavy and hard topics to just laugh with them and reconnect with them. Believe them when they tell you about their difficult faith experiences, and allow them to have their own journey. Differentiation in marriage is incredibly hard work, but it will ultimately bring you closer as you realize that you don’t have to be or believe exactly the same in order to hold deep respect, admiration, and affection for each other.
>>>Are these tips about supporting someone through a faith crisis helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.
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