"Faith" is destroying my marriage
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default "Faith" is destroying my marriage

My wife and I will be married 17 years next month. When we were first married, she was a Catholic and I was a Baptist. As both of us were only semi-regular attendees at our respective churches, this wasn't that big of a deal. Over the years, as I familiarized myself more with the Bible, I came to the realization that the whole Judeo-Christian belief system just wasn't for me. Now, I consider myself to be an agnostic with leanings toward Deism. I'm content with my beliefs, such as they are, and am perfectly happy to let others believe whatever they like, so long as they don't become obtrusive and tell me how wrong I am for not sharing their religious views.

My wife, on the other hand, became disillusioned with the Catholic church several years ago and began attending a non-denominational Christian church her sister had joined. I have attended the church numerous times over the years, and although they are rather informal, they don't do anything weird or over the top.

The problem is that within the last couple of years, my wife has become increasingly belligerent with her piety. She accuses me of worshipping idols (I collect action figures, but haven't added to the collection in over a year and they are kept in a separate room in the garage), she constantly points out to our children (ages 16 and 7) how evil sexuality and violence are (she considers underwear commercials pornography, and Tom and Jerry cartoons to be ultra-violent). When I'm not home, and often when I am, she only allows the kids to watch religious programming on TV. She is also threatening to withdraw the kids from school and homeschool them because the public school system is too "worldly" and "anti-Christian". At this time of year, even mentioning Halloween is equated with engaging in Satanism.

Last night, after I left for work, she took two whimsical cement gargoyles I had in our courtyard garden and smashed them in the driveway because she considers their presence to be idolatry. She also threw away (but didn't smash) a small lion statue that she had purchased last year for the garden. The loss of the gargoyles isn't really the issue. I paid $2.00 for the pair last year and although I liked them, I'm not going to die if I don't have them. The problem is that she is now acting out destructively with her "faith". I'm trying to shield our kids from this as much as I can, but I can't be home 24 hours a day to do it.

I've tried recommending marriage counseling, but she absolutely refuses to go to any counseling that isn't primarily faith-based with heavy emphasis on becoming a godly couple. I feel that her increasingly judgemental piety is the prime source of divisiveness in our marriage and going to a faith-based counselor is similar to going to a bartender to seek help with a drinking problem.

I'm at the point now where divorce is beginning to look like a viable option. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might proceed with getting this train back on track, or am I fighting a losing battle?
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

If I were you, I'd probably try to talk to someone on my own that is from the church she goes to...just to get a feel for whether they think her behavior is 'right on the money' in their opinion and their thoughts on mixed relgion marriage and how to compromise w/o going against one's own beliefs....see how they roll first then figure out what to do next w/your wife.
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Old 10-09-2009, 05:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

Thanks for your responses. I don't suspect the church is directly the cause of her behavior. I have attended services there a couple of dozen times and it is a very normal, modern/progressive church. They are very friendly and open, and I have never had any sense of it being a controlling or cultlike place. Quite the opposite, in fact.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

Consider a mental health evaluation for her.

Religiosity is not the same thing as piety.
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

I agree with Mommy22. Can you engage in a dialogue with her about what her faith means to her? If she is focused on "doing it right" she is missing the best aspect of Christianity....that Christ did it already and we can choose to accept it and enjoy a relationship with God or choose not to accept it. Still God loves.

Is it possible her reaction is based on her fear that your lack of faith is the influence she is trying to drive out of her house?

Since you have rejected Christianity in favor of a philosophy, you may need to let her know that her actions signal a disrespect of you and your beliefs. It could be helpful to see if the church she attends has a group for those who have questions about faith. Maybe not because you need any more information, but to give you and her some common ground for a discussion.

Her behavior sounds like she is focused on the wrong stuff.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

I like the advice of the moderator... contact someone at the church for some 1:1 counseling. Discuss some of the issues you guys have (which are really her issues) and see what they say. I don't think her behavior is religious or pious. I really think she needs counseling. But anyway, I'd start with individual counseling from her church and go from there. You can make it sound like you are seeking counseling for yourself, but really, you are needing feedback from her place of worship on things that she is going through. Does that sound sneaky? Anyway, that's what I would do. Best of luck.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

The biggest problem you are facing started at the beginning of your marriage. I don't mean that in a bad way but the Bible speaks about not being equally yoked. If she is a believer and you are a non believer there is going to be problems. Kind of like a die hard Republican hooking up with a die hard Dem. There could be disaster looming in the future. Who's right, mom or dad???

Can't life be a PITA at times

2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

All that being said, some people can go a little overboard. I know of a lady that makes her husand read the Bible 8hrs a day on his day off or he is sinning. (a little extreme in my opinion)

maybe you guys could see a Christian counselor and come to some common ground and meet in the middle somewhere. Stranger things have happened.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

My wife is a very religious christian, and I am not. We make it work.

If I were you I would go speak to the minister of her church by yourself. Explain to him in a one on one setting what is happening and request his help. He will likely see your marriage as a sacred union and want to help you preserve that.

While you speak with him you can gauge how well you think he can help you. If it is a moderate church likely he will be a great resource for you.

Your wife is being difficult, but not not nearly difficult enough IMO - to even start to consider a D.

Good luck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush View Post
My wife and I will be married 17 years next month. When we were first married, she was a Catholic and I was a Baptist. As both of us were only semi-regular attendees at our respective churches, this wasn't that big of a deal. Over the years, as I familiarized myself more with the Bible, I came to the realization that the whole Judeo-Christian belief system just wasn't for me. Now, I consider myself to be an agnostic with leanings toward Deism. I'm content with my beliefs, such as they are, and am perfectly happy to let others believe whatever they like, so long as they don't become obtrusive and tell me how wrong I am for not sharing their religious views.

My wife, on the other hand, became disillusioned with the Catholic church several years ago and began attending a non-denominational Christian church her sister had joined. I have attended the church numerous times over the years, and although they are rather informal, they don't do anything weird or over the top.

The problem is that within the last couple of years, my wife has become increasingly belligerent with her piety. She accuses me of worshipping idols (I collect action figures, but haven't added to the collection in over a year and they are kept in a separate room in the garage), she constantly points out to our children (ages 16 and 7) how evil sexuality and violence are (she considers underwear commercials pornography, and Tom and Jerry cartoons to be ultra-violent). When I'm not home, and often when I am, she only allows the kids to watch religious programming on TV. She is also threatening to withdraw the kids from school and homeschool them because the public school system is too "worldly" and "anti-Christian". At this time of year, even mentioning Halloween is equated with engaging in Satanism.

Last night, after I left for work, she took two whimsical cement gargoyles I had in our courtyard garden and smashed them in the driveway because she considers their presence to be idolatry. She also threw away (but didn't smash) a small lion statue that she had purchased last year for the garden. The loss of the gargoyles isn't really the issue. I paid $2.00 for the pair last year and although I liked them, I'm not going to die if I don't have them. The problem is that she is now acting out destructively with her "faith". I'm trying to shield our kids from this as much as I can, but I can't be home 24 hours a day to do it.

I've tried recommending marriage counseling, but she absolutely refuses to go to any counseling that isn't primarily faith-based with heavy emphasis on becoming a godly couple. I feel that her increasingly judgemental piety is the prime source of divisiveness in our marriage and going to a faith-based counselor is similar to going to a bartender to seek help with a drinking problem.

I'm at the point now where divorce is beginning to look like a viable option. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might proceed with getting this train back on track, or am I fighting a losing battle?
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

Guybrush-

Most people in the world belong nominally to a religion, but don't take it too seriously. When people do start taking it really seriously, especially to the point of legalism, it may well be a sign (a "sign"!!!) that they are trying to fill a hole in their psyche with a man made idea. So maybe it's a prop. It is also a way of dipping out of taking responsibility for making decisions or having certain feelings. God "made me" do it. I heard "voices".

If she has a tendency towards OCD, then the OCD can latch onto anything it sees as a way of avoiding guilt.

If it were me, I would not pay her lip-service too often. The more you humour her, the more entrenched she will become. One way forward would be to talk to 2 or 3 members of her church about it, and after that maybe even her paster. Then you can think about asking her paster to talk to her. At the same time, you will be able to make an assessment of the church. The approach I have just outlined - talking to 2 or 3 brothers, and then the minister, is the sort of thing the Bible recommends in similar situations, if I recall correctly.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

She needs to chill. I'm sorry you are faced with this...it has to be an incredible turn off. Definitely talk to someone about this...independently. I am seeing a therapist who is a Christian, but has remained professional regarding her "opinion" and focuses completely on helping me and my hubby make the marriage work. Probably finding someone who is licensed would weed out the "heavy religious" ones that would probably turn you off...and in some way agree with you wife.

Believe it or not...you wife is hurting not helping her family. She has made an idol out of her religion. Which sounds weird...but I've seen countless people around me do it. It is almost as if they become irrational and anything you do/say to show them an alternate reality only makes them more resolved.

She needs to re-read I Corinthians 7.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I might be wrong but I think even a faith based counselor will tell her that it is better to stay married to a non believer - then to be this overt the top aggressive and cause a divorce.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Guybrush View Post
My wife and I will be married 17 years next month. When we were first married, she was a Catholic and I was a Baptist. As both of us were only semi-regular attendees at our respective churches, this wasn't that big of a deal. Over the years, as I familiarized myself more with the Bible, I came to the realization that the whole Judeo-Christian belief system just wasn't for me. Now, I consider myself to be an agnostic with leanings toward Deism. I'm content with my beliefs, such as they are, and am perfectly happy to let others believe whatever they like, so long as they don't become obtrusive and tell me how wrong I am for not sharing their religious views.

My wife, on the other hand, became disillusioned with the Catholic church several years ago and began attending a non-denominational Christian church her sister had joined. I have attended the church numerous times over the years, and although they are rather informal, they don't do anything weird or over the top.

The problem is that within the last couple of years, my wife has become increasingly belligerent with her piety. She accuses me of worshipping idols (I collect action figures, but haven't added to the collection in over a year and they are kept in a separate room in the garage), she constantly points out to our children (ages 16 and 7) how evil sexuality and violence are (she considers underwear commercials pornography, and Tom and Jerry cartoons to be ultra-violent). When I'm not home, and often when I am, she only allows the kids to watch religious programming on TV. She is also threatening to withdraw the kids from school and homeschool them because the public school system is too "worldly" and "anti-Christian". At this time of year, even mentioning Halloween is equated with engaging in Satanism.

Last night, after I left for work, she took two whimsical cement gargoyles I had in our courtyard garden and smashed them in the driveway because she considers their presence to be idolatry. She also threw away (but didn't smash) a small lion statue that she had purchased last year for the garden. The loss of the gargoyles isn't really the issue. I paid $2.00 for the pair last year and although I liked them, I'm not going to die if I don't have them. The problem is that she is now acting out destructively with her "faith". I'm trying to shield our kids from this as much as I can, but I can't be home 24 hours a day to do it.

I've tried recommending marriage counseling, but she absolutely refuses to go to any counseling that isn't primarily faith-based with heavy emphasis on becoming a godly couple. I feel that her increasingly judgemental piety is the prime source of divisiveness in our marriage and going to a faith-based counselor is similar to going to a bartender to seek help with a drinking problem.

I'm at the point now where divorce is beginning to look like a viable option. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might proceed with getting this train back on track, or am I fighting a losing battle?
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Faith" is destroying my marriage

MEM11363 brings up an interesting point. Likely a faith-based counsellor WOULD advise her to stay with you and to be loving and respectful towards you (as it says in the Bible - "wives, respect your husbands"). It may be a good place to go in order to bring her zeal back to a place where she is a merciful and loving representative of her faith.

Talk to the pastor if you can. Discuss the issue with your kids and see where their perspective is on this. Assure them that you are interesting in helping your wife and keeping your family together.
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