Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
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23-02-2018, 10:16 PM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
It started as doubts/questions (that a good Christian just ignores), then a year or two of being "angry at God" for seeming to actually do nothing really, to wondering how can we really trust the Bible?? I didn't know as much as I wanted about the history of it, how it was compiled, why certain books are left out... Which got me to Bart Ehrman on YouTube and then everything crashed quickly after that, just a couple months.

The problem is the first period of that has all been private, and my wife has seen just the aftermath of those couple months. For her my "questioning" is abrupt.

Funny though, she's typically been the more lukewarm Christian, and I've been (certainly outwardly) more involved. I thought she'd receive this better.

Quick backstory (many many details I'll spare): Christian college, Christian radio dj for 12 years, worship leader 4 different churches over 16 years.

So, hence, holy shit my head is still spinning. And she's probably confused as hell.
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23-02-2018, 10:33 PM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
I'd like to recommend a wonderful book to you. It's called "Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary" by Kenneth Danials If you have a Kindle you can download it and your wife won't know exactly what your reading although it would also be a great book for her to read. Daniels was a missionary and strongly religious and involved in one of the evangelical churches. It's one of the best books I've read on the deconversion process and he writes his story in a calm insightful manner. He describes some of the same emotions you have written about. I really recommend it.

https://www.amazon.com/Why-Believed-Refl...B003UNLMRY

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23-02-2018, 10:49 PM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
(23-02-2018 02:37 PM)skyking Wrote:  I'm going to come off all preachy and will make no apologies about it; lay off the booze if you can. It will not add a single positive thing to this crisis you are facing.
Several members here have been down this path you are on, and you can either search out some of the threads here in personal issues, or they will be along to give their help. Hang in there.

This. So much this. I went through something similar with my wife of 15 years maybe 5 years ago when I came out (minus the drinking). It was really hard to deal with and I really didn't know what would happen to is. This place has helped me get through some dark times, but it gets better.

My advice is twofold: 1) cut the drinking to a bare minimum or even stop for the near future as that will only give her a scapegoat. (I.e. satan = booze) You do not want to give her literally any reason to blame for your apostasy. That feeds into 2) just keep being a nice guy and keep your chin up and show that you not only don't need god to be happy, but that you also don't need it to be a nice guy. In my experience, nothing perplexes a christian more than an atheist that they can't pin a vice on to explain their atheism. It will drive them nuts by your meare presence.

I hope this helps a little. Hug

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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24-02-2018, 07:07 AM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
Shit mate, this in particular makes it more difficult...

(23-02-2018 02:27 PM)tjo252810 Wrote:  She said, "I KNOW prayer works. And I've HEARD God speak to me" and some other things. She said "Well don't drag the rest of us down with you" (our kids). "My faith is strong enough that I don't need to question things"...

You and I know for as fact that prayer doesn't (and cannot) "work" as religionists attest to. And nor do gods "speak" to human beings. Ultimately it's all bullshit.

Obviously the atheism v. theism problem lies with your wife, but because she's been successfully indoctrinated by the notions of her God, and the inerrancy of her Bible for decades, unless she experiences some sort of science-based epiphany (unlikely), then it's gonna be virtually impossible to alter her wider stance or core beliefs.

I agree with Thump who said that you both "don't need to agree on this in order to see that your relationship survives". Very true. You need only to agree to disagree about this one single thing in your lives; religion, or the lack thereof. I'm sure that there's a tonne of other things that you've disagreed about—without any repercussions—over the years. You love football and she hates all sport; you relax by playing video games and she relaxes by reading; you like Metal and she loves Country... you get the drift. Thing is, many so-called differences are simply an individual's state of mind, and one that doesn't of necessity negate the other's state of mind—within a partnership.

If I were you, I'd tread very gently in the near-term. Make a conscious effort (bite your tongue even?) to avoid potential inflammatory language, or claims that seem, to her, confrontational. Most of all, don't take the piss out of religion generally, or her personal religious beliefs—that's like putting out the fire with gasoline, as Bowie said.

Discretion is the better part of valour in cases such as this.

—Good luck. Thumbsup

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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24-02-2018, 08:35 AM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
The thing is that you really haven't changed. You still love her the same, you love the kids the same, you are the same person she married.

That's where your emphasis should be,

And yes, booze is not at all helpful here!

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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24-02-2018, 10:29 AM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
I can't really compare my situation to yours, as while I wasn't an atheist when I got married, I also wasn't particularly religious and my wife knew that. I told my wife that I didn't believe in god about 8 years ago, basically we don't talk about it that much, she goes to church & I don't, she used to bring the kids to church, but when they told her that they didn't want to go anymore, she didn't force them (except for Christmas & easter then out of respect for her, the kids & I all go...because marriage is about give and take). She did insist that they go to Catholic school but this has had no real effect on them, by the end of grade school both my sons were telling me how silly the bible stories were.

It's mostly a none issue, because our morals & values haven't changed and we agree on far more things then we disagree so if it comes up at all she's the one that brings it up and I tell her honestly what I think.

I can only suggest that you don't bring it up unless she does, remind her that your morals & values haven't changed and if you think that coming out as full blown atheist is going to be harmful, you can dial it back a bit by saying that you're just having doubts, remind her that there are religious leaders that have had doubts (like mother Theresa) and that you're just working through them. Let her get use to the idea of you just doubting for awhile & seeing that other then that you are still the same person. Then maybe come out later, if you think she'll be more accepting but there really is no rule about having to come out atheist, I mean other then this forum my atheism doesn't really come up in my real life.

I hope you find some use in what I've written.

A friend in the hole

"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are." - Captain Picard
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24-02-2018, 10:40 AM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
So your story sounded very close to my own. My wife and I have been together for ruffle 8 years, She is a Christian and I am an Atheist. When we started going out religion and god's weren't really a discussion that we where haveing but when the day came that she did find out I didn't accept her god she reacted very simalery to how your wife reacted. Whenever the topic came up no matter how calmly I would present it she would reacted as if it was a personal attack on her.

However as the years have gone on we've talked a little more openly from time to time making the conversation (slightly) easier to have. So upon reading your post and us being in a simaler position I desided to read it to my wife. I felt that she would give better insist on what was going on from your wife's mind. We had a 3 hour converstation and this is the base line postion of her advice.


SENSEIble:
1: First he needs to do is cut back on the drinking. It's harder to accept a drunks position.

2. Sit down and have a one on one conversation. Do it without the kids around when you have alone time.Explain you understand it's a touchy subject and your fears. Bear your heart reassure her that you still love her and your children. If emotions get heated, remain calm take a break, and say you would like to continue the talk when you can talk and not yell.

3. Find a compromise. Maybe his doesn't go to church on Sundays. But It would be nice to have the family together for Easter and Christmas. Maybe they try different churches to get different worldly perspectives.

4. He needs to know that she's going threw emotional ride right now, and she needs to know Religion doesn't depict the individual.

5. Worse comes to worse. She can talk to me. Set up a time on the forum and we can use the both of your screen names or something to share thoughts.


I know you are a good man (she directed this at me) you take care of me. And are there for me when I need you. Thou you can be an asshole sometimes. Different people have different beliefs but as long as they can see eye to eye on the the majority of values. There's no reason they can't be with each other.


Wanted to thank you for this post cause it allowed me to have a deeper conversation with my wife on the subject matter then we been able to have in the past. How things work out.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Plato
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24-02-2018, 06:29 PM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
I was reading some of Caught in the Pulpit because someone who is mentioned in that book sent me a message so I thought I'd better see what they were on about, and I found the chapter on the seminary professors very interesting. I already knew there is a significant disconnect between academic theists and the laity, but this passage may be of interest to you (emphasis added):

"Portia, too, teaches Old Testament to first-year students at a seminary that takes in students from a variety of Protestant denominations, ranging from Unitarian Universalist to Pentecostal. ...
    "Many students in their first semesters are actually shocked to learn that not all Christians believe that God sent Jesus to Earth to die for their sins. Although that is one common belief within the Christian church, it’s not necessarily. . . the norm for all Christians.
"...

"Liberal Christians have no difficulty saying what they don’t (any longer) believe, but they find it hard to express a positive version of their message that can compete with the forthright, even defiant, claims of the literals. When asked whether her students believe in a supernatural God, Portia’s difficulty with the question is more expressive than her actual words:
    "That’s not always a question I ask students. ... I think part of the reason they struggle so much is that they probably still don’t have good language for what they do believe, so all they know to talk about is what they no longer believe. So you’ll get students who say, “Well, I don’t believe God’s the big father in the sky.” OK, great, fine: What do you believe about God? ... And most of them—I believe this—most of them actually still believe in God, still have a place for Jesus in their understanding, but they don’t have good language. They don’t have good. positive language.
"She is confident that her students are wrong when they claim that nobody in their home congregations believes what they now believe.
    " ... Not everybody in a congregation believes the same thing . . . . I teach in churches some on the weekends, and preach. And often I’ll go to larger Protestant denominations, where people can pay me to come. So I’ll get a really intelligent adult who’ll come to me after and explain to me that they don’t really fit in here because they don’t believe what everyone else does. Then the next person in line will tell me that same thing. And then the next person will say the same thing. And I think you’re right: I think people are scared of having the conversation." (Caught in the Pulpit)

If you're going to have a conversation with your wife, I think you'll first need to find the language to express what you believe. Hardly any Christian actually holds to the old Orthodoxy any more and would have been burned at the stake for heresy in the Middle Ages. The Christian doctrine has changed with fluidity thought the millennia.

You can certainly be a Christian and reject that the Bible is the word of God: "I think the Church is to blame a bit for the confusion the students have to go through, in that it does not make clearer that the Bible is a human document." (Caught in the Pulpit). You can be a full-on deist if you want. I think if you can have a conversation about the huge diversity of creeds that different Christians have that sometimes even contradict beliefs other Christian groups have, then your beliefs won't be so shocking.

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24-02-2018, 06:45 PM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2018 08:55 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
(23-02-2018 02:27 PM)tjo252810 Wrote:  That did not go well. I honestly have NO IDEA what to do from here. I guess I can keep being honest and risk my entire marriage!! Or, for her sake, leave it alone go through the motions and I guess just be a bad Christian?

No, not for her sake, for your own sake. 'Cause you're losing your damn mind over inconsequential shit and whatnot. The fuck's wrong with you? Step back and take a look, man. That's my advice.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem. - Camus
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24-02-2018, 06:53 PM
RE: Help!! Conversation with wife went HORRibly!
(23-02-2018 10:16 PM)tjo252810 Wrote:  It started as doubts/questions (that a good Christian just ignores), then a year or two of being "angry at God" for seeming to actually do nothing really, to wondering how can we really trust the Bible?? I didn't know as much as I wanted about the history of it, how it was compiled, why certain books are left out... Which got me to Bart Ehrman on YouTube and then everything crashed quickly after that, just a couple months.

The problem is the first period of that has all been private, and my wife has seen just the aftermath of those couple months. For her my "questioning" is abrupt.

Funny though, she's typically been the more lukewarm Christian, and I've been (certainly outwardly) more involved. I thought she'd receive this better.

Quick backstory (many many details I'll spare): Christian college, Christian radio dj for 12 years, worship leader 4 different churches over 16 years.

So, hence, holy shit my head is still spinning. And she's probably confused as hell.

Yeah, it surprised me how badly my ex-husband took my coming out to him as atheist. He was always the one who would never go to church - just me and the kids would go. I was always the more involved one. But maybe it takes that sort of involvement and dedication to get at the truth. I really did care whether what I believed was true or not, and I guess he didn't.

Anyway, as you can see by the fact he is my ex-husband now, things didn't end well for us. But to be fair, there were far more problems in my marriage than just the "unequally yoked" thing. I hope things go better for you.

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