This bit is based on my own meandering experience.
All therapists are not created equal. Just like you might really get along with one boss, and dislike another, even though the work is the same, this is true for therapists as well. Find one you are comfortable with.
Styles of therapy vary between behavioral (Change the behavior, change the person), cognitive (how you think about things changes your behavior), and Attachment based programs. It’s a wide sliding scale and any therapist will use tools from any of the areas of therapy.
For myself, Emotion-focused therapy worked best. It is heavily based in attachment theory, and works very well for couples-therapy as it turns one towards the attachment instead of focusing on the issue. If you’re both attached, and focused on that attachment, you’re not focused on the religion and who said what/when.
Another type of therapy I think everyone should go through once is called “Lifetime integration therapy”. Part of how it works is not cognitively understanding it and so I won’t go into much detail, but it helps to smooth out “Rough patches” in one’s past.
Therapy costs between $100 – $160 an hour, but most work places have a rider on the insurance that covers up to 50% of therapy.
I know I was taught that taking my problems to a therapist was a “worldly” solution, or that therapists were evil and sent from the devil to push people towards divorce. I want to add my voice that this is just one more lie from church members. Therapists are caring, kind, and want to help people with tools they are trained in. Not every therapist is a good match, and not every therapy as effective. As with any professional, choose wisely, but also like other professionals, therapists are no more or less evil than your plumber, your car repair man, or your doctor.
People tend to jump up and down and get excited by the idea of not having to pay an extra 10%, but rushing in this area can be harmful to relationships.
Realize your spouse has some input on how money is spent. They’ll see this as needing to be a joint decision. Splitting the money 50-50 makes the most sense for the most people, but remember, this is a negotiation. If you begin being willing to split 50-50, you’re likely to get less. Sometimes showing the history of tithing, and that “10% of the gross” was not always the case can be helpful in bolstering the opinion.
So now you have somewhere between 5-10% (depending on spouse) extra income. Where to spend it?
Well, odds are, if you’re a member, you’re retirement account is a bit thin. Most LDS people are actually robbing their future to pay tithing, in that they feel like they have as much money as those around them, but are not saving for retirement. Increasing your 401k contribution would be a good idea.
As well, saving for a “Broken car” fund, “Kid’s college fund”, or even a “Vacation” can smooth your consumption, as we say in economics, or help you not have to eat Ramen for months because of a basic “life incident”.
Now you’re probably going to have a coffee/tobacco/alcohol expense that needs to be attended to. If you put this in your grocery budget, it can reduce you from steak to ground beef pretty quickly. In Sweden, people spent about 10% of their gross income on cigarettes, coffee, tea and alcohol. I’m not kidding. So be careful because you can give your money from one god to another. Budget, spend wisely, consume wisely.
Donations. You now may find any number of donations that can match what you thought your money was going towards in the church.
Fast offering dollars could go to the Utah Food bank (or similar in your area), where a $10 contribution feeds $27 worth of local hunger (Because of matching donations by companies) instead of $0.50 (Only about 5% of fast offering funds help local hunger)
You can donate to Kiva in place of the PEF. The idea of the perpetual education fund is great, but serves to keep people locked into the church by turning the church into their bank and only to return missionaries. Kiva loans to anyone who has demonstrated ability, and helps real people regardless of belief to bring up the economic standards in third world environments. And when they pay their loans, you can RELOAN the money. Yeah, you see exactly what your money goes to help with, and continue to help people into perpetuity.
Want to be as politically involved as prop 8, but without the negatives on the LGBT community? Try the ACLU.
Doctors without Boarders can help heal real people in really bad situations
In short, there are Lots and lots of charities you can spend some of that money with to actually help real people. Just check a site like “Charity Watch” to make sure they are legit, and not paying themselves huge bonuses.
Something like 50% to savings, 25% to “fun” and 25% helping your neighbor of your new increase is probably a good idea. Balance. Moderation. Peace.
There is plenty to be said by people far more acquainted with the substance than I. Exmodrinks exists to fill this need.
I know I know. Suddenly this whole world of opportunity opens up. I’m not going to go into the fun aspects. I’m sure you can figure that out.
Many individuals struggle with church teachings in sexual areas long after they no longer believe in Joseph Smith or Golden plates.
Part of it, is that society and social pressures continue. Others struggle because they skipped dating/kissing as teens. Still others stayed virgins into their thirties, only to find out that people still in the dating pool want someone with some experience.
Some helps that I found:
It may sound trite, and like a scam, but I found “DoubleYourDating.com” to be immensely helpful in understanding why women like certain guys, why they seem to prefer “jerks”, and how to approach women in general. Further, I’ve been able to use similar tactics in business meetings and in the professional world. They put a lot of information into free youtube videos, and I think that just watching a few of those can really help a guy understand how “being funny” and starting a conversation with confidence can help the dating world (or women too. No Chauvinism here.)
Laci Green‘s sex+ is amazingly helpful in understanding a positive view of sexual relationships and she’s an exmormon herself.
And since this is the internet, we will need to cover the difference between porn use and porn addiction. As well as probably give a nod to sex.reddit.com’s ability to answer questions to curious individuals using throw-away accounts.
So you no longer have the lifetime goal of taking your temple-bride on a retirement mission to spread the gospel in Southern Africa. That can be depressing…
But you can take a woman/man you love to Southern Africa to help put in water infrastructure after you retire.
Goals in the church all hinged around major life events. The 18-22 year old time frame for boys to pass an initiation rite to manhood is a very real aspect of our culture. Military service, the peace corps. or some other selfless, difficult task can buy street-cred in our society, and help boys to really feel that they’ve become men. It may seem old fashioned, but this kind of “Rite of manhood” can really help men become better and do more throughout their lives. Of course this is a generalization, but the reason the mission was shifted to 19-year-olds was to piggy back on rites of passage already working, not to create a new thing.
Similarly, women; I know that the church focuses on baby’s a lot. But the rite of passage to womanhood being “Having a baby” is older than history itself. The church simply co-opted what was already working (those biological clocks and need for family attachment) to push its message (Including Joseph’s need for lots of women). However, this effect is very real. Women having a child make different decisions, focus on different aspects of life, and are far less risky in their behavior than those who have not. It isn’t the be-all, end all, but having that child, or adopting that child, or nurturing that puppy or whatever is very important to a feeling of completeness. Don’t fight it, just learn that it’s innate and leverage it. That’s not to say you all need to have babies, or there aren’t exceptions to this rule. Of course there are. It’s to point out that very natural, normal biological needs were co-opted by the church because they exist.
Similarly, it has been shown that male rats find more cheese in mazes when they have young to feed. I’ve found in my own life that having children pushed me to seek more raises, train harder, and find better jobs. Another very real effect to be aware of.
You’ve heard it a million times. There is no success to make up for failure in the home. And women should stay at home. Is there anything to that?
My experience is that children need attachment. Children who have attachment, even to nanny’s or a great mentor do as well as children with parents in the home. Now that the church is removed, one should not immediately assume that dumping kids in day-care is the ideal solution. Look for something where the children have the same people day-after-day. If you stay at home (still a good option) realize that farmville can be as damaging to relationships as swapping kids in various daycares.
Consistent rules and expectations make for successful kids.
Oh, and have your kids pee before bed, and they’ll have fewer nightmares. (The need to pee triggers the brain to try to wake them from deep sleep causing them to have more night terrors). As a kid who was traumatized by nightmares, and still having occasional night terrors, I swear this helps.
As with most of this series, all of this is very heavily impacted by my own experience. A natural bias is for me to talk about men, and how things work for my kids. This is just my attempt to pass on a bit of what I learned in the hopes it helps someone. Doesn’t work for you? No biggie. Find your own way.
You have a full universe to explore, and no wrong answers. Find your own answers, and best wishes on the journey.