Is Divorce a Good Option in my Case?
I have been married for 20 years to my husband. We were sealed in the Temple 14 years ago. Over the past 5 or so years, my husband has slowly became less active. He tells me that he still has a strong testimony of the Gospel but feels the members are very judgmental.
My husband has pierced his ears and body recently. I am really struggling with this. We have teenage children and I feel this is sending a negative message to them. My children are not aware of his body piercings, but obviously see the 2 earrings in each ear.
My question is this... My husband told me today that he likes lip piercings. I do not agree with the piercings, I do not like the piercings, and feel like everyone is judging our family as well as my husband. When I told him how I felt he told me that I am trying to force him to be what I want him to be instead of what he wants to be. I am considering leaving my husband because I feel that we are heading in different directions with our lives. Am I wrong to be this upset over piercings?
I think we have to look first at what he is feeling. People wanting to do things that make them look unusual are searching for an identity. He doesn't feel like he has an important role in society or your family life. He also would have the feeling that his opinions aren't listened to in church. When people start to get on they begin to look at their lives and wonder just who they are.
I don't know enough of your family situation and his job and calling situation to give absolute advice. However don't nag him about the piercings, as this will only further make him feel he has no role as decision maker in the home. He needs to feel your appreciation toward him. But you'll have to feel it if you want to be successful. Think of all his good points and the help he has been to you over the years.
Divorce is an ugly word, and it will pass down to your children the attitude that they can just leave a relationship when they aren't completely satisfied. The eternal family concept will fade in their minds.
As to members being judgmental at times, we all know that. Look at the Jews at the time of Christ. He got crucified. I'm sure your ward isn't that bad. I have spent years in Protestant churches, scouting, ambulance services, YMCA and business and other organisations. The church is better than any of those. It has to be remembered that the church is like a big family. And families can be got at by Satan to find fault with one another - As you mention with the piercings. There's a tendency for self-justification among all people. You have to remember that out of hundreds of members in your ward you obviously are going to get someone's back up. In fact I've seen it even in small branches. It is sad that this exists. Yet you need to help him understand that the answer isn't to run away, but to be an example of not joining in such squabbles. They need his help. As he hopes to one day be as Heavenly Father he needs to know how to deal with these problems.
I agree with you about the piercings. But while there is some vanity in this, it isn't something to divorce him over. Give him time.
I'd also suggest that you start asking him church centered questions. This will demonstrate that you value his religious opinion. Also increasing family times together would be good for him to feel his role as a Dad. Getting him to give your family religious instruction would be a good idea to keep his mind on the spiritual along with him feeling his role. Try to make a God out of the man you've got and even if he doesn't get there you will improve yourself.
Hang in there, is my advice.