Married to a Christian
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29-07-2015, 05:53 AM
Married to a Christian
I've been married for almost twelve years. I stopped believing in God somewhere between four and six years ago, depending on how you want to count it. It's one of those things my wife didn't like, but she's largely "lived with it". It's something we don't talk about often.

She's been visibly stressed for a while. Because she quit teaching to start writing full time, we don't have money to put the girls in day care during the summer. They stay home with my wife while she tries to write during the day. As you can expect, that only works so well. She got super stressed a couple of days ago and says that she doesn't really want to "be a mom". We spent some time talking yesterday, and she started explaining how she feels.

So, a bit before we had our first kid, she tells me I talked her back into having kids. Around the time our first kid was born was when I first started having serious doubt issues with Christianity. She wanted to raise the girls Christian and I didn't object. Luckily, my wife is a fairly liberal Christian, so she doesn't believe in stuff like hell or Satan and agrees with me on most ethics. She even believes I'm going to end up in heaven, with maybe a bit of egg on my face for having been wrong. Still, she wants me to go to church with them to "help out with the kids". I think this also includes a side of "hoping I'll come back into the fold", but we'll see what she says once the girls are old enough that she doesn't need help with them for one specific hour a week.

She tells me that prayer at dinner is hard because while I sit there quietly each time, our youngest asks why I'm not praying. Apparently this semi-frequent reminder is tough on her. Also, she started saying something about not having an "easy" way to teach our kids morality, which I think she back peddled from as soon as I started pushing her on that. Her initial argument was something like "because you don't pray at dinner, I can't tell our kids killing is wrong" or some bullshit. This quickly got amended to "you not praying reminds me that you're not Christian".

My wife describes this as I chose to be atheist now that she's trapped with kids.

This is the shitty position I'm in now. I get my wife's frustration. We get married as Christians and I stop believing and she feels "trapped" because this happened after kids. That being said, we've been compromising for years on how to handle this. I don't think she realizes that she's getting most of her way on this one, too. Really, the only two things she isn't getting are:
1) I'm not Christian.
2) I don't pray at dinner.

That's it. I go to church with her, she raises the kids Christian, and I don't fight her on this. I wish I could get her to realize how unfair she is being.
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29-07-2015, 06:23 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Undecided Sorry man.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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29-07-2015, 06:26 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
It sounds to me as though your wife is stressed out and unhappy (need to do more kid wrangling, less money, risky new career) and lashing out at you because you're the safest target. She also may be using a kind of magical thinking to deal with her situation, in her case this thinking being, if only my husband was still a believer, everything would be okay. She's dealing with her unhappiness by telling herself that it is coming from you, not her. And IMO she's wrong about the cause of her unhappiness, but the unhappiness itself is real and needs to be dealt with.

A personal story: I was feeling similarly stressed out and trapped about seven years ago. My autistic son was going through a very difficult phase, and my life had contracted to my at-home work, my music students, and taking care of my son, while my husband had his job that took him outside of the house, and a couple of weekly social activities. I'm a musician and had stopped performing, and that made me miserable.

To get out of that hole, my husband and I agreed that he would cut back his social activities a little and I would look for a group to play in for one night a week. At first, frankly, I was even more stressed out and wanted to quit and go back to being safely miserable, but I kept at it, and things got better and better.

My advice is for you to remind your wife of the compromises you are already making for her, but also to see if there is somewhere in the week where you can help her find free time to go do something with other adults, if she doesn't have this already.

At some point you might make the point that asking you to give up your beliefs for her is emotional blackmail that won't have any good effect. You aren't asking her to stop being a Christian or preventing her from telling your kids about her beliefs, and she should know first-hand that the two of you are raising intelligent kids who are going to be able to make up their minds for themselves. (And she ought to trust that her god steered her to the right father for her children, if she wants to get all woo-woo about it.)
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29-07-2015, 06:28 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Sorry Robby. That sucks.

"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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29-07-2015, 06:36 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
It's a difficult situation -- but one you should over time prevail over ---

Tell her that you can't lie to her - and if you did -- she'd know it. If you started praying at dinner - how could she ever trust you - knowing you were lying about a belief in prayer?

Honesty isn't always easy.

Go gently.......

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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29-07-2015, 07:00 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
I'm so sorry Robby. Like julep said, she is probably feeling frustrated with life in general and is taking it out on you. I am sure in her mind, everything would be solved if you were Christian. Sadly this is often Christian mentality--belief in God solves everything.
Hug

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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29-07-2015, 07:47 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Thanks, everyone.

Yeah, the more I think about it, what it seems like is she's starting with some very legitimate feelings, but she's rationalizing and creating phantom problems to find something to blame. While her situation is crappy, it's not something I willingly inflicted on her. It just sort of... happened. This is almost certainly where the wording "chose to be atheist" came from.
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29-07-2015, 07:48 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Sorry man, that must be really hard to deal with.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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29-07-2015, 08:06 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
Sorry Robby. The religion/no-religion thing can obviously be divisive and being home with the kids day after day can be mentally draining. Maybe you both need to work on something that brings the two of you together. For example you could take the initiative and suggest to her that both of you work on a plan or strategy for teaching the kids morality since it seems that both of you under the surface are closer on that issue. Working on something like together would make her realize that you are part of a team and you really are quite similar.

In our house, instead of prayer before supper, we all take turns in saying what we are grateful for that day. If you did something like this, it would involve all of you and maybe your wife wouldn't feel like it was she and the kids... and you could try a little humanism on your kids: "today I am grateful for all the farmers that work hard to produce the food for our family..."
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29-07-2015, 10:04 AM
RE: Married to a Christian
(29-07-2015 08:06 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  In our house, instead of prayer before supper, we all take turns in saying what we are grateful for that day. If you did something like this, it would involve all of you and maybe your wife wouldn't feel like it was she and the kids...

We actually did that for a while, and it was her idea, not mine. I'm not sure exactly why we stopped. I think we just slipped out of the habit. That vacuum has now been filled with prayer.
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