Life Example

Giving Each Other Room to Grow – Rosa’s Story

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In marriage, giving each other room to grow as a person is very important.  Everyone comes into marriage with their own beliefs and background.  Trying to mold together is essential, but remember that you are still two individuals also.  Learning to value each other’s beliefs can make a really strong union. Today’s inspiring story comes from Rosa at http://www.notpinterestworthy.com/.

From Rosa on how they are giving each other room to grow:

My husband and I married very young at 18 and 23, and we married in a high-demand religion. While I struggled for many years to comply with the requirements of our church, I believed that I was doing the right thing. We had been married for 20 years when I started to really examine the truth claims of our faith, and I had a very significant change in belief. To say that this turned things on their heads is an understatement. There is no context in our religion for a mixed-faith marriage, and it was certainly not something that either of us would have chosen. Still, we had invested several decades in this relationship and have 7 kids, and I was determined to walk through this experience with our marriage intact. Two years later, though sometimes still a challenge, our marriage is thriving.

There are a few foundational things that I think came quite naturally to us that have helped us weather this shift. First, we have a deep respect for one another. My husband thinks I’m pretty smart, so it was very hard for him to completely dismiss my concerns. Though he has his own feelings about faith and religion, he can see why I see it the way I do. For my part, I would never try to push, pull or pressure my husband to a conclusion that wasn’t his.

Second, we were both deeply committed to the survival of our marriage. I was a child of divorce myself and my husband’s parents had a very rocky marriage. We had both seen siblings and loved ones throw in the towel and knew what the alternative was, and we both made very conscious efforts to have a healthy marriage. Finally, we have always had a strong and healthy emotional and intimate connection, and sex has really helped to soften the blow when we’ve faced hard conversations.

We have made a few critical choices at specific junctures in our marriage that have helped us get through situations that I’ve seen kill other relationships. Because faith is such a foundational issue, I made a concerted effort to not turn our world upside down. I didn’t go find new friends, get a bunch of piercings or change my entire wardrobe. While we navigated other changes, I tried my best to reinforce the fact that I was still the same person my husband had always known.

This has been critical in his ability to manage the fear that comes with navigating a mixed-faith marriage. We have both become more comfortable with differentiation or the idea that we can still be close to people who aren’t exactly like us. It has also been quite important to turn toward each other to protect our bond over taking outside advice that might not be in the best interest of our marriage. (If you need help, seek a professional counselor that will go bat for you both!)

But, probably most importantly, we both had to come to a place where we believed that we could be successful regardless of our circumstances. Really, the only thing we had to do to make our marriage thrive was to believe that it could and commit to maintaining the habits that moved it in that direction and getting rid of those that were not conducive to a healthy relationship.

Please visit http://www.notpinterestworthy.com/ for more interesting stories.

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