Dear Angela: I’m happily married but still thinking about my ex, help? | The Ask Angela Column

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I’ve been very happily married for 5 years but I still have deeply hurt feelings from the way I was treated in a relationship that ended 7 years ago. I assumed once I found the right one they would eventually fade away but I still think about this relationship fairly regularly. I don’t want to. I feel like maybe I just never got the closure I needed but I don’t know how to make that happen now. The guy and I aren’t in contact and I don’t think it would be appropriate to contact him anyway. What do I do? – Ave

Dear Ave,

Thank you for your question and I want to begin our conversation by asking you to ask yourself some questions.

1. What are these deeply hurt feelings that you have? Why are they painful for you now?

2. Did the person you were with 7 years ago change the way you viewed yourself? If so, in what ways?

3. What do you think would make you feel better?

Think about these, and respond, I’d love to talk with you about your experience. Break ups, even when they are for the better, are extremely difficult. I know I have a relationship from 10 yrs ago that I still consider from time to time and regret choices that I made. And honestly, that’s okay. We remember that we loved someone, we remember that we hated someone, we remember that we were hurt, we remember that we had fun, we remember, remember, remember…the challenge is to put those memories into the proper place in our minds and hearts – so that they don’t torment us in the present and block us from progressing forward.

Before I share my thoughts on how to do this, I’ll turn the topic to Ask Angela readers. What advice would you give Ave about navigating the feelings she’s experiencing?

Love,
Angela

How to make all family feel included at a Temple Sealing

An Ask Angela article came out this week where I addressed this question. You all have responded with some really sound advice via email. Sharing them below – got any more you’d share? 

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My mother-in-law was not LDS but we invited her to come to the temple with us and there was a lovely waiting room within the building.  It was a hushed and sacred place for her to wait and the temple workers all made her feel welcomed and loved.  Although she was hurt that she could not attend the actual sealing, we exchanged our rings in the garden with her present since exchanging of rings is not part of the temple ceremony.  

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Since exchange of rings is not part of the temple wedding, two of my granddaughters have had ring ceremonies at their receptions.  They had it set up to include a typical archway to stand under.  After they walked down the aisle, the Bishop presided, had them say what they wanted to say to each other, and then exchange rings, after which he said “I now present Mr. and Mrs. ______” and then they proceeded with the rest of the reception.  It was very tasteful and allowed the flower girls, ring bearer, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and others to share in an important part of the day.   It in no way lessened the sacredness of the temple wedding.

The music, by the way, was something other than “Here Comes The Bride”.  

I am sorry that “WeddingSue” was upset because she felt like a servant.  We always set up everything before we went to the temple and did it as a family, not as something those who couldn’t attend could do while waiting.  I hope they worked it out and she realized she was a valued participant and not being ‘punished’ for not being a member.   

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Angela,
We just finished three days of  temple missionary training and this very subject was addressed. Many of the temples have a beautiful waiting area with volunteers available to visit with non-members who are unable to go inside. Questions can be answered about temples but the main purpose is to make those people feel welcome even though they cannot go inside. They can then participate in photo sessions on the temple grounds and enjoy the excitement of the wedding day.
“Helping out” at the reception would certainly make one feel like a servant, so maybe the bride and/or groom should just invite non-members to enjoy the evening and mingle with family members and guests.
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As I read this I thought back to both my children’s temple weddings and thought about how uncomfortable it was for some who were not LDS. While they were wistful about not being able to view the ceremony, they did understand how sacred it was to us because we explained it kindly in the invitation.

Instead of asking them to help with the reception, which I agree with the person who wrote to you, seems like a lame compromise, I would make them feel special by perhaps pointing them out as special guests, honored and treasured as anyone else included in the celebration.

Be thoughtful about the seating, include them with friends and other family. Some here (California) have a separate ring ceremony as the reception begins which everyone gets to observe and participate in. We had a ‘rogues gallery’ of friends and family on one wall of the reception hall – everyone we could get photos of were included in the collage. Including a non-LDS couple in the wedding lineup is thoughtful and inclusive too. All these things indicate that they are loved and their presence is as essential to their happy day as those who were in that sealing room.

Just a few thoughts. I hope they help.

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Dear Angela: I’m a Lutheran, man of science, and university student and I’m losing my faith

BackToFaith

I was raised lutheran and I am confirmed in the church, but recently I have been struggling with my faith. I am just going to speak my mind so I can get help. I am very smart, I am maintaining a 4.0 GPA in a top 10 university, and I am a man of science. I am also a man of logic, and facts. However, science cannot explain the essence of who we are, and I do believe God has something to do with it. However there is no hard evidence, and it is very hard for me to believe in something that I can’t see. Has anyone here had a similar experience to me? Please help me regain my faith.

Lutheran Man

Dear Lutheran Man, 

We’re all human and so I think many people will be able to relate to the feelings you’ve described above. Something that has helped me when I encounter doubt is to think about the things that are tangible about God. When I list what I’m grateful for, I can see where He has blessed my life. When I read through old journals, I can see how He’s helped me through difficult times. When I pray for guidance, “should I take this job?” “How can I learn to be a better writer?” “How move on from this breakup” and a million other prayers that I’ve prayed – I can feel real inspiration coming from a loving source – My Father in heaven. 

Even though we don’t see God with our physical eyes, there is still beautiful evidence of Him all around us. 

Hope this helps!

Love, 

Angela

Readers: How do you strengthen your faith when you encounter doubt? Share in the comments or twitter #backtofaith @askange_column.

 

 

Dear Angela: My Christian friend keeps trying to convert me. I love the relationship but hate this part of it. What do I do?

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I have a dear friend who is Christian. I’m Agnostic. I understand how much his faith means to him and gives him comfort, etc., and I respect that, which I’ve told him.

I’ve made it clear that I am an Agnostic  and spiritual but . Is not Christian. Unfortunately, it seems that he’s on a mission to convert me. I’ve told him many times that I respect how much his faith means to him, but that I don’t share it.  

I think it’s time to tell him I don’t want to discuss it any further and to please stop trying to “help me find my God,” etc.
But, I worry it’s going to be a friendship ender. Since he’s convinced that his God is real and that I’d be happy if only I “knew Him,” etc., I worry that he won’t give me the same respect I’ve given him regarding his religion, with an equal respect of my lack of one.

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of acceptance of non-believers. What can I do to save this relationship?

Dear Agnostic Friend, 

Say this,

“I love you and this relationship means a lot to me. It’s important for you to know that I feel uncomfortable when you do X, Y and Z because it feels like you’re trying to convert me to your religion instead of respecting where I am in my spiritual journey. Is that your intent?”

Then listen to his response…He’ll likely say because he cares about you he’s sharing what’s precious to him – and I think that’s great – what you want to communicate is not necessarily “don’t share with me” but rather, understand that our opinions are different and I want to feel respected even though we’re different.

I know nothing about this man but if he’s a good guy that you’ve been friends with for a long time, I’m confident that he’ll hear you out and make moves to adjust to your needs. 

Stay kind, give him a chance to talk, and reinforce how important this relationship is to you, this conversation will go just fine. 

 

Love, 

Angela