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post #46 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 03:13 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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I'm not looking for a theological debate. I'm interested in hearing thoughts on how to make things work in the marriage and with raising children. I grew up in a religious setting. 10 years ago I met my wife with the premise that I was a christian albeit in need of work, and with aspirations of becoming a better christian. After the birth of our son 7 years ago I started having doubts. I started reading sources, listening to podcasts, and thinking outside the comforts of pro christian views. I've always had some doubts but was nervous of venturing away from pro christian sources to find my answers.

So here I am today. A solid atheist. I've never felt better nor more liberated in my spiritual views - well lack there of. However my wife is very much a christian and wants to increase our christian activities - like go to church more etc.

Here's the rub: our kids. At this point I'm ok with them going to church and believing in things like Noah and the bible. In fact I think it paints a better picture for questions on death - oh grandma is in heaven and we'll see her again someday. I think theres nothing wrong with these views...for now. But i've made it crystal clear to my wife that when the time comes when they are in early teens (or sooner) and they develop deeper cognitive abilities and question things, I'll not hold back my knowledge or what current history, archeology, science etc... has to say about things.

This is very challenging for my wife. Our marriage is rocky as it is. This puts more stress on it. Has anyone out there overcome such a difference in views. I feel like I betrayed her in a sense because when we met and during the first part of marriage I was very much pro christian and wanted to become a "stronger" christian. She married me under those conditions. I can no longer fulfill that. This isn't some mid-life crises either- You could sooner convince me that the Mormon, muslim, hindu religion is real. I'll never again believe in the bible. so it's not a phase. I think she hopes (and prays) that i'll return to faith. That will not happen. Id rather not divorce over this since I'm in this for the kids. But I dont want a hostile environment either.

I was sort of hoping that civilized discussions could ensue and she'd maybe listen to my side. She's never been one to explore the real history or reasons behind her beliefs. She's in the camp that the bible is real because it says so and God made it. The few little talks we have were disastrous resulting in her being offended. I think she's threatened by my views and is perhaps worried that it could impact her fragile faith. Secretly I was hoping to deconvert her to avoid this whole mess but instead it becomes an argument with her getting pissed.

For me, growing up, my folks were similar. My mother more to going to church. My father not so much. My father leaning towards agnostic. Even agnostic a few days before he passed. At any rate, both parents helped provided a balance of simply accepting and asking the hard questions. Our mother took us to church every Sunday. At the age of 15 our mother said it was up to us to continue going to church. Make your own mind up concerning church and the faith. My father still on the fence.

****my parents raised 5 children and stayed married for 56 years until death really made them part. This difference in faith the marriage survived.*****


People are permitted to change their views. In your case, both of you need to grasp that some things you are just not going to see eye to eye on. Respect each other for that. Understand you kids will have the best of both perspectives. Dad, "Hey, I can explain this through science." Mom, dad does not know about this. Mom, "Hey, I have no explanation for this, must have been God." Sometimes we simply have to accept occurrences that we have no good explanation for. This is hardly worth getting a D over. It appears you are making it harder than it has to be.

This concerns me:
Quote:
I think she's threatened by my views and is perhaps worried that it could impact her fragile faith.
This is a belittling statement. You make it appear she is childish and you the worldly one. Do not ever put your wife down nor her belief no matter how skewed you think they are. I'm betting she has more common sense in her little finger than you in your entire body.


This is simply wrong:
Quote:
Secretly I was hoping to deconvert her to avoid this whole mess but instead it becomes an argument with her getting pissed.
You want to smooth this over? Act like an adult and stop the belittlement. I sense the conversation one is looking down his nose. Acting superior is not the answer. Understand and accepting that something are just as they are is the best avenue.

And let's face it, some things in this world we simply cannot explain. I think Big Foot is real. My W laughs at me when I watch "Big Foot. New Evidence." but she does not make me change the channel. I do not attempt to make her believe. It is part of life, acceptance and understanding that make marriage work.


“You're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.”
― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

Last edited by Yeswecan; 04-16-2015 at 03:22 PM.
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post #47 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 12:16 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

I haven't read every post on this thread, but my two cents:

Your children have free will just as you and your wife do. At this point you shouldn't have any problems exposing them to religion. In time they will either accept the fairy tales of religion or reject them. Their journey to enlightenment may in fact be what leads your wife to the truth.

I was raised as a Catholic and later attempted to practice various forms of Christianity. I myself have come to know that it is the man-made revealed religion that I have the real problem with. Unlike many Christians, Muslims, or Jews, I do not need to believe anything. I KNOW that God exists there is no faith or belief required.

At the center of every moMEnt of my life is ME!
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post #48 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 01:00 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

You might want to consider a Unitarian church; many mixed-faith couples select that faith because Unitarianism is welcoming to both Christians and non-Christians.

Always remember the LD motto: "Sex isn't important!!!"
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post #49 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 08:17 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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This is a belittling statement....I'm betting she has more common sense in her little finger than you in your entire body.
Pot.....kettle.....?

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Originally Posted by Yeswecan View Post
And let's face it, some things in this world we simply cannot explain. I think Big Foot is real.
The correct answer when we don't know something is, "I don't know," not "let me offer this unfounded, half-****ed explanation." Personally, I think it is LUDICROUS to state "Big Foot is real." I understand some people believe it, but whether it's true or not is a very real consideration as to whether it is reasonable to believe it, right? It's like saying Elvis is still alive. There are things that, if they are not true, are ridiculous to believe. Yes, there are grey areas, but in the end, IMO, atheists treat ALL such areas as, "unless there is a good reason to do so, I do not believe." In that way, there is no such thing as "belief," there is knowledge, and lack of knowledge. To believe, by definition, is to hold something as true without sufficient evidence (essentially, belief and faith are equivalent).

A believer and an atheist have a VERY hard time co-existing. It goes far beyond simply "religion" or "is there a god." It has to do with HOW someone thinks and sees the world, sees every question. When one person operates on evidence and knowledge, and another person is willing to operate on faith, belief, construed "evidence," etc..., and those two people are trying to run a household, their economics, raise children, it can be a significant source of friction.

One last note on "belief" - as a critical thinker (IMO, the real "cause" of why I am an atheist), I am still willing to "believe" certain things, but the question becomes, what are the implications of that belief? One may believe there is a Big Foot. Ok, what are the consequences? Maybe none, maybe I simply have the belief, nothing more, ok, so who care if it's actually true? What if it leads me to quit my job, neglect my family, spend all my time in the woods with a video camera? Clearly, holding the belief now has implications and, IMO, now the truth of that belief is vital, and we must pursue that truth in the same way we would anything else, which is to say, the generally accepted scientific method. Evidence, scrutiny, peer review, etc...

This is why I am an atheist: because there is no greater implication than that brought on by belief in a god, so whether or not it is true is of utmost importance. The FACT is, belief in a god completely falls apart under the type of scrutiny, under the levels of proof, that we require for ANY other topic. Moreover, religion frequently specificaly calls us to abandon our demands for proof (Joel Osteen tweeted, "The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts."). We purport that a religous belief should be immune to criticism, to questioning, when we don't afford any other type of belief such a luxury. I don't understand that, I can't understand it anymore. If someone is going to attempt to direct my life and sanction my afterlife based on some belief, they better be able to support it with facts, they need to prove its true, and let's face it, no religion will ever be proven "true," not the way we talk about any other truth, and there's no reason religion shouldn't have to use the same definition of "true" as anything else.

I'll wrap up with a simple, wise notion I recently heard: It can't be that every religion is "right," there are too many conflicts for that to be true. Religious doctrine requires you to pick the onr right one, no "bonus points" for believing in A god, but the wrong god. So what's more reasonable, and more likely: that just ONE of them is right and it's the one you picked, or that the reality is, they're all wrong? The old adage is, everyone is an atheist as regards thousands of other religions and gods; atheists just go one farther.
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post #50 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:20 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

intheory - thank you for the feedback. I know I can come off as abrasive on this topic, I try to be simply "informative" (maybe, albeit, with a passion, lol), so in that spirit, I'm glad you found it enjoyable in some respect. No, I don't follow Joel Osteen, haha, I believe I came across that tweet because it was highlighted by an atheist-type page for its flying straight in the face of critical thinking. If I actually saw all his tweets, I'd probably have an aneurysm by about 9am every day!
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post #51 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:36 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

"I know I can come off as abrasive on this topic"

There is the point of this thread. You talk of friction in your previous post, well, friction can only be heightened by abrasion, right? It is all in how things are presented and how they are received.

Two people with different world views can coexist just fine, as long as they are willing to coexist.
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post #52 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:46 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

Sure, they can, but marriage is quite a large step beyond "coexist just fine," even with willingness. Extreme example: one person believes in "faith healing" and wants to pray over a sick child, while the other wants to go to a doctor. Those opposing views can't coexist, not in my opinion. Yes, extreme, but every day life could be littered with smaller, yet numerous other examples. Would you want to have those ideological back and forths all the time?
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post #53 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:54 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

I think that is what people do everyday, while not as extreme as your example. What if I feel that debt is ok and she doesn't? What if I want a new car, what if she wants to go on vacation, what if she wants to spend more time with her family, and on and on and on and on it goes.

Marriage is about working together, no one ever sees eye to eye on everything.

If you make a mountain out of every thing, you will waste your days climbing mountains.
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post #54 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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This concerns me:


This is a belittling statement. You make it appear she is childish and you the worldly one. Do not ever put your wife down nor her belief no matter how skewed you think they are. I'm betting she has more common sense in her little finger than you in your entire body.


This is simply wrong:

You want to smooth this over? Act like an adult and stop the belittlement. I sense the conversation one is looking down his nose. Acting superior is not the answer. Understand and accepting that something are just as they are is the best avenue.

And let's face it, some things in this world we simply cannot explain. I think Big Foot is real. My W laughs at me when I watch "Big Foot. New Evidence." but she does not make me change the channel. I do not attempt to make her believe. It is part of life, acceptance and understanding that make marriage work.

Its not acting superior. I'm more knowledgable about the source of her beliefs than she is. I want her to understand the why/when/how of her christain faith. Because as it is - it's only faith that she has. I want her to have knowledge and truth. She only knows what she has been told in church - cherry picked happy feeling bible verses and surrounded by a bunch of "Amens" in the crowed. She has never ventured past that. I have and that's why I know longer believe. Standing where I am it's as absurd as beliving in santa clause. I want her to at least explore something outside of what she was told is real. She's not a hard lined Christian. we dont and never have even prayed before meals. Our children are puzzled when we go somewhere where the tradition of prayer before meal is done. They are confused. This is awesome. I want them thinking this is strange and not normal. So my prediction is that in 10 years we'll have 2 atheists. Hell even the church knows that statistically if you cant convince them before the age of 12 or so (I think that's the stat), then they are likely never going to be a paying - errr donating member of the congregation. So I have a few more years to hold out.

When I made this post it was after a blow up about religion. Now things have calmed since the topic isnt brought up anymore. I think it's going to be fine. We pretend its not an issue. The kids dont attend church and only hear about God from my Mom and when we (mostly wife) mentions it in some topic of conversation. So, I think I stressed over nothing.
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post #55 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 07:38 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

That is great!

I am not acting superior, I AM SUPERIOR!

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post #56 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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That is great!

I am not acting superior, I AM SUPERIOR!
I guess it's hard to put into words. She's ignorant. I guess that's it in a nutshell. She is ignorant about Christianity's history. I was also ignorant. I know more about it now than I ever have - the more i've learned the more I was appalled by what I once believed. So yeah, I guess I'm superior to her in knowledge and history of her believe system.
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post #57 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 06:22 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

It seems like your biggest challenge with this might be to make sure that your perspective doesn't erode your respect for your wife. Even if you don't respect her beliefs, you will need to retain respect for your wife or your relationship will start to fall apart.

Focus on everything else about her that makes her your dream girl instead of on where you think she falls short.
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post #58 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 11:40 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

What it sounds like is that you are going to fall out of love with her if she remains ignorant (your word). I don't know if you know you are coming across that way, but there is really nothing that sounds like love in your words about her. Also, you are trying to police her mind and you have decided for her what she "should" think, and you are angry at the thoughts she does have since they don't live up to your standards of what thoughts should be for an adult. Because of your detrimental disrespect to her as a person, I'm gonna say, no, there's most likely no way to work this out.

Just admit you no longer respect her and are quickly falling out of love with her...it will save you a lot of time.
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post #59 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-24-2015, 09:07 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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I guess it's hard to put into words. She's ignorant. I guess that's it in a nutshell.
Which goes back to my original post in your thread. Your bigger problem, beyond issues of faith, is that you question things and she questions nothing:

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Herein lies your real problem.

Forget your wife's "beliefs"...

The fact that she questions nothing, and YOU do, is the real issue. It's hard to reconcile naiveté.... (and I happen to be a Christian)
IMHO, that's what is really bugging you.

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post #60 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-24-2015, 09:39 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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So nobody here in my situation then Huh?
I was for a while. Christian for 25 years, decoverted slowly after a few years of marriage. Coming out to my then Christian wife about it was kind of rough, but she took it ok and over the course of a couple years she also lost her faith. yay! We do have a 9 year old daughter and we don't really teach her anything one way or the other. She has some vague beliefs in god thanks to her grandparents hauling her to church occasionally and we don't encourage or discourage those. We just want to teach her how to think and be rational and the rest should take care of itself. I want her to make her own decisions, not be spoonfed what I believe (or don't).

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No, it does take FAITH to be an atheist = especially if your not quite sure if God exists or not - lets see:

If you don't believe God exists - you have FAITH that somehow, against all odds ( I mean huge) that life would just magically appear from NOTHING. Take whatever Theory you like (non of them ever proven by the way) and its all the same - Atheist has FAITH that we are just here by LUCK.

Say you do believe a God created us - you have FAITH that this GOD - that created a UNIVERSE LARGER THAN YOU CAN FATHOM - cannot have willed the Bible to be written by man in such a way that HE is considered the author. Because I tell you - the only way you can make that claim is if you KNOW - and I can promise you - UNLESS YOU ARE A GOD - you DO NOT KNOW.
You know nothing about anything. Of that much I am certain. No faith required.
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