Former Christian but wife still believes - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Former Christian but wife still believes

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.

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post #2 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 04:49 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

IMO, let her go her way with her belief, and you go yours. It's up to you if you go to church "for the kids", but I wouldn't - and when they're old enough, I would explain my position and let them choose for themselves to believe or not, and in what. Focus on your marriage aside from the religious aspect, and see how it goes. She may begin to think or talk to you about it, or else shut you out - be prepared for either, I suppose.

Love is an ideal thing; marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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post #3 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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IMO, let her go her way with her belief, and you go yours. It's up to you if you go to church "for the kids", but I wouldn't - and when they're old enough, I would explain my position and let them choose for themselves to believe or not, and in what. Focus on your marriage aside from the religious aspect, and see how it goes. She may begin to think or talk to you about it, or else shut you out - be prepared for either, I suppose.
Yes absolutely - I agree that they can chose their own belief system. I'll not harp on them. I'll simply answer questions. But here's the thing. Staying for the kids makes financial and logistical sense. We are not at each other's throats on a daily basis. With combined income and one household, we can provide a fantastic life and opportunities for the kids - opportunities that would not be possible with split households. I'm talking sports, education, etc... Things that will equip them with a much better shot at the rat race they'll deal with when they get older.
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post #4 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 05:15 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

Staying together makes sense if you still have a marriage that works. Staying only for the kids is usually a mistake, IMO - they will learn how to have a loveless and dysfunctional relationship if the marriage isn't decent.

Love is an ideal thing; marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

CELIBACY IS NOT HEREDITARY.
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post #5 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 09:04 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

Yes billions of couples over centuries have overcome this.

I hope you continue to stand for the vows you made to your wife. Likewise her vows she has made to you.
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post #6 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 11:43 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

With kids involved, allow your wife to teach them whatever she wants and if the kids ask you what you think, do not lie to them. You shouldn't undermine you wife and tell them that their mother is wrong, but instead this is a good exercise to show them that belief in religious teachings requires faith; some have it (their mother) while some do not (you).
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post #7 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 11:52 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

My SO's parents were/are religious, and he ended up an atheist when he started questioning what he was being taught. Decades later, he feels his parents wasted years of his life teaching him that religious mythology was real history.

Point being, kids have minds of their own and they will use them, if they are so inclined, regardless of what religious teachings they receive, or don't receive. Teach your kids to think, and they will.

So, explain to your wife that you are teaching the kids to think, to learn about history, archaeology, physics, astronomy, etc. Religion is her department and you are content for her to teach her beliefs. Ask her to trust that your kids will hear all the lessons and will develop their faith and beliefs for themselves. If she trusts in God, then she should trust that he's looking out for her kids.
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post #8 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 07:48 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

Sorry OP, but your story does not seem to hold water. When I read what you say, it makes me doubt that you were ever a Christian. So what I see here is a story line more like: I lied to my wife that I was a Christian - then, tried to become one, but just never really understood it. So here I am - I am an atheist and my wife is a Christian and wow- what about my kids?

Maybe I am wrong??

Can you explain to me OP what you think a Christian is? or, to put it another way- what is required for someone to be a Christian?
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post #9 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 07:56 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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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.
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)

"Love is chemicals masquerading as choices!"
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post #10 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 07:58 PM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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My SO's parents were/are religious, and he ended up an atheist when he started questioning what he was being taught. Decades later, he feels his parents wasted years of his life teaching him that religious mythology was real history.

Point being, kids have minds of their own and they will use them, if they are so inclined, regardless of what religious teachings they receive, or don't receive. Teach your kids to think, and they will.

So, explain to your wife that you are teaching the kids to think, to learn about history, archaeology, physics, astronomy, etc. Religion is her department and you are content for her to teach her beliefs. Ask her to trust that your kids will hear all the lessons and will develop their faith and beliefs for themselves. If she trusts in God, then she should trust that he's looking out for her kids.
Well,l if the wife had no concern if her children would spend eternity apart from her when the family has all passed, then your idea would be ok. Problem is if his wife is a Christian, she believes there is a Heaven and a Hell (which is a place separate from where she is heading as a Christian). So what you are talking about is eternal life and death - you really think a true christian would let an Atheist lead her children astray?

Also - you believe that his wife should just let God worry about what happens to her children?? Really - should his wife simply stop feeding her kids as well - because if God really cared he would just have angels send down food?

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post #11 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Aspy- that's a good question since being a Christian means many different things depending on the time and place you were born and the particular denomination or church you attend. I was of the flavor that Christianity isn't a religion but a relationship with Jesus. I read the bible and prayed somewhat regulary and attended one of the non-denomination mega-church but raised a Presbyterian. I know it's not uncommon for Christians to accuse the deconverted of having never been a Christian in the first place. I assume that has something to do with once the Holy Spirit enters you it never leaves therefor you never had it to begin with. I assure you I was perusing a stronger faith and wanted to be a stronger Christian when I got married. I only wanted to marry a Christian woman so I could raise our kids with the same beliefs.

That was before. Today I don't believe in what the bible has to say and certainly don't follow it. I can't reconcile that the God of the bible is real - logically or historically. There might be a god - I can't disprove that. But I know now that what I was taught and believed my entire life was false and based on a cultural tradition - with good intentions to be sure.

The problem now is there are countless damaging things religion can so to a person. It can riddle them with guilt - especially if they are gay. I'd like my kids to have the Christian view but more importantly I want them to have a skeptics view - something that if was available to me long ago I certainly wouldn't have "tricked" my wife into marriage. I would've been an athiest and looked for an atheist partner. My kids will have a perspective that may or may not cause them to doubt biblical beliefs. This is a good thing. But I worry that my wife will see my views as a threat to the children because of eternal damnation and all that. Not something that is real, can be seen, nor tested. Something purely made up and with different meanings based again on the interpretation of the same book. This concerns me because she will be protecting the children in her mind. That could be a problem down the road. Right now it's not because I think the heaven idea and story is great for young minds - I don't want them worried about the idea of death at their age.
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post #12 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Oh and if a wife made it to heaven but her children went to hell. Is the wife really in a place of peace and happiness everlasting knowing she would never see her children again and knowing they are suffering eternally? Seems to me that would be hell for both the mother and the child
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post #13 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:14 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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Oh and if a wife made it to heaven but her children went to hell. Is the wife really in a place of peace and happiness everlasting knowing she would never see her children again and knowing they are suffering eternally? Seems to me that would be hell for both the mother and the child
You know, you make a very good point. But, for me I see the pain being here on earth knowing that my child has rejected Jesus, who I view as my creator, the Grace that a loving God has given them as a free gift. And further more, knowing that here on earth, my child will one day be absolutely alone - with NO HOPE- except for the Hope of a death that results in separation from God forever. I will admit, Heaven is a mystery for me and all that I know about it is what Jesus stated. Also, all I know about Hell is that it is a place NOT in heaven - and that it is not a place one should desire to be - for all I know it is something like Africa - where people are starving or something - but, I do not Know. So I focus on Heaven. As a matter of fact, I tend to HOPE that people that go to HELL will actually get another chance - but, that sure has not been promised - so I am one to just focus on my final destination. Kind of like when one plays golf - if you have a long narrow fairway - if you worry about the rough and trees - or out of bounds - your brain is going to hit it to one of those bad locations - but, if you can focus on a point down the middle - chances are you will hit it down the middle.

I see that you attended Church, studied the bible, and have intellectual knowledge about religion. But, you have missed the point as many others do. It is like wall or silencer is placed in some peoples brain - and they just cannot receive the free gift of Grace that God gives - and the result of this Grace is Faith in Jesus. I am not saying that that wall will never be broken down for you - but it seems to me that the older one gets, the more knowledge that one acquires, the harder it is to become a believer through faith.

I know that I cannot change your mind. You and I could debate all year long about science. I will tell you that Scientists do not have all the answers - and you will say these scientists are brilliant - and yes they do. And on and on we go. I know you have no desire here to engage in a discussion like this. So all I can do is pray for you - that you will keep searching, keep learning, and even keep praying for God to lift the wall.

One more thing - there is only one Christian Church and the members of that Church are members of the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is in Heaven but extends down to earth and the residents here on earth are just visitors here. And the only thing required to be a citizen of that Kingdom is to bow down before Jesus and proclaim that he is the Only Begotten Son of God - that he was born of a virgin, he lived a sinless life here on earth, he fulfilled what was written in the Old Testament, He was unjustly convicted in a court of law, he was crucified, buried for three days, and most importantly (and this is what separates Jesus from the prophets) Jesus defeated death and came back to life - he appeared to his followers - and they give witness to this fact - and that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God - and he will judge ALL and holds the keys to the KINGDOM.

You may say there are thousands of religeons - but if any one of these varies one bit from what I have stated - they are not part of the ONE CHURCH ESTABLISHED BY CHRIST.

Last edited by Aspydad; 04-08-2015 at 10:41 AM.
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post #14 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:54 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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Well,l if the wife had no concern if her children would spend eternity apart from her when the family has all passed, then your idea would be ok. Problem is if his wife is a Christian, she believes there is a Heaven and a Hell (which is a place separate from where she is heading as a Christian). So what you are talking about is eternal life and death - you really think a true christian would let an Atheist lead her children astray?

Also - you believe that his wife should just let God worry about what happens to her children?? Really - should his wife simply stop feeding her kids as well - because if God really cared he would just have angels send down food?
All I'm saying is both parents could be devout Christians and their kids still might choose not to be Christians when they are adults. That's something any Christian family faces because kids do have minds of their own and will use them to think and make their own choices, not always the way their parents want. So if his wife teaches her faith, that's the best she can do and the rest is up to God.
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post #15 of 79 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 11:47 AM
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Re: Former Christian but wife still believes

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All I'm saying is both parents could be devout Christians and their kids still might choose not to be Christians when they are adults. That's something any Christian family faces because kids do have minds of their own and will use them to think and make their own choices, not always the way their parents want. So if his wife teaches her faith, that's the best she can do and the rest is up to God.
You are correct that we all have a choice that no one else can make. as a matter of fact - no one on earth knows if any one else is really a believer as we do not have the power to look down into someone soul - there is only one judge.

I do know this - my job is to share the truth with my children (which I have done) and to protect them from EVIL. As Jesus' Word states - woe unto those who cause my children to stumble.

You are incorrect in the conclusion that your husband will never accept Jesus as his lord and savior and thus enter into the kingdom. It is never too late!!!

Now wouldn't that be bad for him if he came to believe and you never did?? I mean him in heaven and you not. And please, do not try to tell me that that could never happen.

I actually think this happens more than any one knows - one spouse dies, the other is down on his knees - and BAM - he sees the light. Oh how God will rejoice - but, how bitter sweet for the husband as he would have gained eternal life in the Kingdom - but, the wife is not there.

It is a falsehood to believe that there is not sadness in Heaven as I know that Jesus weeps for all lost souls, but at the same time rejoices for all Who WHERE LOST but chose to turn back to HIM.

Last edited by Aspydad; 04-08-2015 at 12:59 PM.
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