Married to a Christian
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02-08-2015, 08:52 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
(02-08-2015 06:32 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Update: Well, things got worse.

She just told me that it's super important to her that the girls be raised Christian and that they are too young to understand abstract concepts. She wants me to wait until they have been confirmed (so, eight and eleven years from now for the two girls) to tell them that I don't believe. She told me this is a deal breaker for her and that if I can't do this then we can't be together.

Also, irony time: it's our twelve year anniversary today.



I'm pretty pissed about this, both because of the obvious, but also that she even admits this isn't particularly fair or symmetrical. This is something I really can't do. Fuck. I'm beginning to think this is the beginning of the end.

So it's OK for her to have the children brainwashed, but it's not OK for you to have them educated? Consider

She has made an unreasonable demand and you should point that out to her.

However, as others have said, it seems to be about something else.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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02-08-2015, 11:00 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
This idea is not a compromise, it's doing things the way she wants to do them and you just sit in the corner like a bump on a log.

That said, I have no good advise. What a tough, miserable position you've been put in. Hug I wish I had an answer for you.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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02-08-2015, 12:37 PM (This post was last modified: 02-08-2015 12:40 PM by Takelababy.)
RE: Married to a Christian
As a kid in Sunday school, in the early grades, I had no concept of this Jesus, a stranger, who loved me. Talk about not grasping an abstract concept. I found it creepy that this man should love me. I didn't know the word pedophile at the time but I knew it was wrong. Has your wife thought the full consequences of her turning the home into a single parent family, and what it will do to the girls?
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02-08-2015, 03:25 PM
RE: Married to a Christian
I've been thinking about this over the day -- and it occurs to me -- you're being maneuvered into a no-win situation.

If you comply with her stated wishes - at some point will she point you out to the kids - and say "dad's been living a lie!!" ???---

And - if not that --- will she later make some other outrageous demand that again puts you into a compromised position?

Star Trek nerds call this one the "Kobiashi Maru" scenario...... One you can't win fairly.

Sorry you're in this one - but it's going to take somebody a whole lot smarter and more diplomatic than me to come up with a solution.....

Have you got Henry Kissinger's phone number by any chance???

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02-08-2015, 03:59 PM
RE: Married to a Christian
This issue has also been on my mind. This is blackmail.

Were you and your wife to split up, and I hope that doesn't happen, she isn't going to be able to silence you when you have the kids.

I think counseling may be in order to get some insight from someone not so close to the situation.

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02-08-2015, 04:44 PM
RE: Married to a Christian
(02-08-2015 06:32 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Update: Well, things got worse.

She just told me that it's super important to her that the girls be raised Christian and that they are too young to understand abstract concepts. She wants me to wait until they have been confirmed (so, eight and eleven years from now for the two girls) to tell them that I don't believe. She told me this is a deal breaker for her and that if I can't do this then we can't be together. ... This is something I really can't do.

Why can't you? This atheist had to promise the Church to let my Catholic wife raise any children in a Catholic education before they would marry an atheist and a Catholic in front of a Priest in a Church. Having been raised in a Lutheran school myself from K-9 I realize that there is nothing more effective at churning out atheists than a parochial education. I kept my promise and let all 4 of them be raised Catholic. They are 4 fine young atheists now. The more you know about religion the less likely you are to be fooled by it.

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02-08-2015, 05:02 PM
RE: Married to a Christian
Jeez Robby. So sorry. She has no right to do that. I guess the real question is do you love your kids enough to stay in a marriage where you are second fiddle and can be threatened? That is what this is. She is putting the church ahead of her marriage. To be fair though, she IS doing what Jesus says she should do.

I am sort of with Girly on this. The more you know, the more ridiculous it becomes. You love your wife and you can show your kids by staying that you don't need religion to be a good person. In fact, being godless is making you the better person. I think it will be better in the long run because she has at least said that you can tell them eventually (hopefully, she won't back out of this one). Until that time, show them by example. I am personally glad that I stood up to this before we had kids so that they always have seen that I don't go to church and I don't believe. I never had to say anything. At 5 years-old, my oldest son knew I wasn't into church. When they have said out loud that they don't believe (my 8 and 5 YO have told me directly), I tell them thay they shouldn't say such things at this time of their lives since they are way too young to understand what they are saying in either direction. Just listen to what they have to say and see if it makes sense to them.

Q Robby: Has your wife said that you can't talk to your daughters about anything? I am asking because my kids know they can ask me if they have a question but I do my best to just answer it. Does your wife forbid you from even talking about it?

"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."
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02-08-2015, 06:00 PM
RE: Married to a Christian
Hug That is really a hard situation to be in. As OC said (and as you know from your former christian days) the church stresses that God and Jesus come first before our wants, needs, or desires. This is probably why your wife feels well within her right to give you this type of ultimatum. Of course, stepping outside of all of that, she is in no way being fair to you.

I also think there is a line between flat out lying to your kids (telling them you believe in something you don't) and choosing not to say anything regarding your nonbeliefs at this moment in time. Even if you choose to stay silent in terms of your disbelief, you can still teach your children science, anthropology etc. and that it is okay to question and analyze. You can still do all of that from the periphery. Realizing religion is all BS on your own is much better than someone telling you not to believe in such and such anyway. Education along with the desire to question and analyze is death to any religion.
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03-08-2015, 06:02 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Thanks for thinking about me, everyone.

Update: We ended up talking quite a bit, later in the day. A few things:

1) She's not asking me to fake being Christian, but she doesn't want me talking about my beliefs to the girls. It's still lying by omission, and it still bothers me, but at least it doesn't involve her telling me to fake it. So, if the girls ask, I'm supposed to say "I'll tell you when you're older".

2) Surprisingly enough, she wanted me to wait until they were in confirmation class, which is when they're supposed to start questioning if they really believe what they say. So, she's actually okay with them questioning... but not until after they've been thoroughly indoctrinated. She's fully aware that if this belief system is shown to be optional to the kids when they're young, that the indoctrination might not take.

3) The main issue for her bringing this up is because its important to her that we be able to raise the kids like this together, and she feels abandoned by me. Now, I think those feelings are legitimate, although the problem is, I didn't choose to stop believing, so this is something that sort of just "happened" to her. There's really no one or nothing for her to be mad at.

4) Ultimately, this whole thing comes down to her needing to figure out how to be happy and accept that I don't believe. She full-out believes that I'll go to heaven when I die; it's not like she's stuck with the burden of knowing someone she loves will go to hell. It's one of those things my dad said repeatedly when I was a kid "Even if you can't control the situations, only you can choose your attitude". This is something she has to figure out. I know she's talked to her pastors and I think a few other people at church. I'm not sure what they recommended her to try, although none of them dislike me or feel I'm "to blame" on this.


(02-08-2015 06:39 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  I have to wonder - is your wife's obsession with this a possible indicator that she has her own doubts???

It's possible, but I don't think so. She's the type who is comfortable dumping any part of Christianity that makes her uncomfortable, and she claims to "know" God exists through "feeling" him. She knows it's not something she can rationally show me, which frustrates her, but she doesn't appear to be doubting anything.


(02-08-2015 06:52 AM)morondog Wrote:  She... would rather you *lie* to your kids? What does Jesus think of that idea?

Heh. I didn't think to ask her about that. She did bring up the parallel to Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (in that I've lied to them before), and I told her that if I were the only one raising them, I wouldn't have told them about any of those three. It's one of those things I went along with because it seemed important to her.


(02-08-2015 07:04 AM)julep Wrote:  I don't have a clue what to recommend, but if my husband had backed me into the corner this way I might very well call the family together and announce my atheism outright to the kids and see what happened after that.

Well, my six-year-old already knows I don't believe in God, although she doesn't really know how to parse that because she can't really contextualize her own beliefs at this point. She can parrot what she knows she's supposed to in terms of basic Sunday school stories, but it's not like she has any concept of theology.


(02-08-2015 07:04 AM)julep Wrote:  A less oppositional tactic to try first would be for you to talk to your wife's pastor and ask him or her whether her position seems reasonable. If the pastor agrees with you, then perhaps that could be conveyed to your wife.

Well, I guess she's already talked to them. I don't think they suggested this though, so I don't know what they'd say. Technically, the Bible does forbid leading children away from Jesus.


(02-08-2015 07:45 AM)Anjele Wrote:  Is she being pressured from the outside? Like her parents or members of the church to make this ultimatum?

I don't think so, but I didn't ask her about that. I don't think her parents would do that. Her family is pretty tolerant of other people. Also, her other two daughters aren't Christian, either (well, the Jury is sort of out on the older of those two). I think it's something she's somewhat used to.


(02-08-2015 08:52 AM)Chas Wrote:  So it's OK for her to have the children brainwashed, but it's not OK for you to have them educated? Consider

She has made an unreasonable demand and you should point that out to her.

Years ago, she made it pretty clear that she understood that the children merely acknowledging me not believing was detrimental to them growing in faith. I agree.


(02-08-2015 08:52 AM)Chas Wrote:  However, as others have said, it seems to be about something else.

It seems to be mostly stemming from her being frustrated and depressed that I'm not Christian, and this is super important to her. Sadly, it's one of those things I can't really control. She's going to have to learn how to deal with this one (or not) on her own.


(02-08-2015 05:02 PM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  Q Robby: Has your wife said that you can't talk to your daughters about anything? I am asking because my kids know they can ask me if they have a question but I do my best to just answer it. Does your wife forbid you from even talking about it?

I'm basically supposed to tell them "I'll tell you when you're older". That being said, when names like Poseidon come up (which they do), it is a good teachable moment to let them know there are other religions out there. I have already been doing this. Talking about other religions neutrally in context with Christianity is probably one of the best things I can do, even if I'm not telling them directly I don't believe. I can just tell them that two out of three people on this planet don't believe. Consider
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03-08-2015, 06:34 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Something I just thought of:

If she gave you the ultimatum now, what happens if you wait like she asks then you start to talk about it? There are a couple of outcomes (yes I know this list isn't exhaustive):
1) they stay the course so she is happy
2) they sort of question but still tow the line so she's happy
3) they really question and maybe end up in the diest realm which she is then not happy
4) they renounce it altogether in which she really isn't happy

What is she going to do if 3 or 4 happen, threaten you again? Will the same threat apply when you start talking about it? Is she going to insist that you not discuss your thoughts without her being there? If she feels you went "too far" will you be on the couch? I know that these are some odd questions but she threatened to leave you over religion. As I see it she has poisioned the well with her threat and these are some things that she needs to address as a result.

"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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