Are Families Forever when your Spouse Doesn't Believe in the Gospel?

In a church that emphasizes eternal families and a culture that stresses “no empty chairs,” confusion and heartache can arise in a less than ideal family unit. Satan stirs within those aching hearts the fear of an eternity of aloneness. What of the patriarchal order, of eternal marriage, when the threads begin to unravel in the “Families Are Forever” cross-stitch sampler?


This is a difficult one, especially if a couple originally entered into matrimony on the same page and sharing the same goals, and then somewhere down the line one spouse decides that he or she no longer believes in the same destiny.


The decision to sever any or all ties with a disbelieving spouse should be done with prayer, fasting, and with the counsel of an inspired church leader. The pain associated with living with a partner who once held the same views, positions, and beliefs in the same principles cannot be understated. Platitudes often serve the messenger more than the receiver.


Obviously, such a decision is not to be taken lightly, nor is counsel or advice given on the subject. With that in mind, the following are some thoughts on this challenging situation.



The Apostle Paul recognized the power of a righteous example of the faithful spouse, coupled with love. He counseled,


If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy...For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?


God will sanctify our difficult days, and with our obedience can sanctify our spouse. What power!


We have been promised that because of and through the Atonement, everything that was unfair in this life will eventually be made fair. At times it is hard to imagine how all can possibly be well. But the grace of God covers everything.


So how does the patriarchal order work in a situation such as this? A faithful member can still enter into and keep covenants made in the holy temple. Even if the marriage is dissolved, the covenants made in the temple are also with God and cannot be dissolved except through unfaithfulness to those covenants. For instance, any children born in the covenant (to parents after they were sealed in the temple) are still sealed to these parents, even if the “parents’ temple sealing to each other is canceled.” individual’s termination of temple covenants through unfaithfulness or divorce does not cancel out the faithful spouse’s covenants.


What are your thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comments!





The following was taken from the book We Are Adam by Ramona Siddoway currently available at opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to Ramona and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.