Communicating With Believing Family Members: Marriage On A Tightrope Podcast
I recently sat down with Kattie and Allan of the “Marriage On a Tightrope” podcast to discuss ways to tell your family or loved ones when you or your spouse have experienced a shift or transition in your faith. This can be a very sensitive and painful subject for families, so it’s important to broach it in a way that shows respect.
Sometimes, a couple is living a mixed-faith marriage but almost no one else knows that one spouse is no longer believing. At some point, it’s likely necessary to share your new beliefs with extended family. When telling parents, for example, it’s best to be clear, simple, and direct. There is no need to dance around the issue. Simply say something like “Allan no longer believes in this religion and has decided to leave the Church.” Also, be sure to communicate love by saying something like “we are telling you because we love you enough to tell you what’s really going on.”
Sometimes, a family member will grill you for answers and want to know more. This may be because he/she is truly trying to understand, or it may be because he/she is trying to defend the faith and change your mind. As an adult, you get to decide the flow of the conversation and what you’re willing (or not willing) to talk about. Opening up about your changing perspectives can sometimes be helpful, but remember that you do not have to justify your beliefs to others.
For more on these ideas, listen to the audio above or read my articles on these ideas:
Left the Church? 25 Things NOT to Say to a Believing Loved One (& what to say instead)
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.