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I Was a Good Mormon Wife ... Until My Husband Stopped Believing in God

Sean and I had the perfect life. Then his faith started to crumble -- and mine did, too.

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“It’s OK, Maren. It’s OK. I’m here,” he said as he stroked my hair, whispering into the darkness. What felt like an end, though, slowly opened up into something else.

Over the next few days our usual mile walk turned to four as my brain tornadoed through discovery, my conversations stopping mid-sentence with “Whoa, then that means …” Whoa, we suddenly have 10 percent more income. Whoa, our weekend free time just doubled. Whoa, we can try alcohol, coffee and tea — the trifecta of forbidden drinks.

The sad whoas came, too. Whoa, will my father ever talk to me again? Whoa, what will my friends say? Whoa, we are going to die.

My transformation consumed me for the next month, and we stayed up late talking every night. When I shed my garments for slippery Victoria Secret panties, my self-esteem skyrocketed, and our late nights shifted to other things. We were finally adults, taking our firsts together, learning about each other without barriers.

Ironically, the Mormon Church teaches that marriage can only thrive if God is an equal part of it. But when we left God out of it, we were free to love each other completely, to share the burden of our grief as two individuals with no one else.

It’s been seven months now, and I don’t know what the future holds. I have never been more uncertain in my entire life. But one thing is clear to me. Whatever happens, wherever we go, Sean will be at my side, holding my hand as we face it together — and alone — for the first time.


Maren Stephenson is currently working on her third book.

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