Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
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11-12-2016, 05:04 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
(11-12-2016 03:27 PM)Closet-Heathen Wrote:  Of course they all know that I don't go to church anymore, but that's about the extent of what they know. My husband is a wonderful, loving man in most every way, but I have no idea how he will react if I "come out"... Sadcryface

So this was like 40 years ago for me now, but I never told anyone I was atheist back in the day (I do now just so I don't have to talk to people). Instead I was studying dualism at the time and just casually remarked that the promise of a postmortem preservation of identity was utterly untenable bullshit. (I didn't phrase it quite that way.) Never even mentioned religion. Guess they just kinda assumed I was an atheist. Mom still prays for my sorry soul though, so that's nice.

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11-12-2016, 05:10 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
I told my future wife before we got engaged.

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23-02-2017, 11:49 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
(31-10-2015 10:18 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  I was reading through jason_delisle's coming to terms with what life can be life as an atheist sometimes as he visited a Christian forum and considered why an atheist may respond negatively to pervasive religiosity without that atheist being a bad person. That thread is moving too quickly for me to keep up with, but it triggered me to update the forum with a discussion I had with my wife this week about evangelical atheism.

Some might remember my wife as the person who on learning of my deconversion sent my sister a message saying she wished I told her I was gay.

Well time has passed. Years in fact. Things are going OK between us. She hasn't followed me on my journey exactly but the difference of opinion between us on most religious issues is actually fairly small now. So I feel like we have passed through those early days where religion's ugly hooks threatened to split our family apart. But we've never reflected on those days together until recently.

She mentioned something about me no longer seeming like an evangelical atheist. It was the first time I had been offended by something she had said for a long time. I might have used the word "bigoted" to describe her statement. She clarified that at one point once only I had "asked her pointed questions about her faith" and "provided links to resources". This was enough for her to decide I was an evangelical atheist, or to use Jason's term "Flamboyant atheist". She was also worried that I was watching a lot of YouTube dealing with religious and atheistic subjects, which feed directly into her negative view of me and my behaviour.

So we had a long chat and I told her for the first time what was going on in that period. That I never bring up the subject unless she asked. That I kept it secret from literally everyone else in my life. That for about two years there I thought it was about 50/50 whether she would leave me over it.

I think it was Jen Peeples who said religion pretends to be very family focused, family oriented, pro family, a basis for family, a basis for relationship... when it's really the other way around. Religion uses family relationships as a weapon to control behaviour. It's so hard to come out when you know your mother will pray every night and cry about your damned soul destined for the pit of hell. It's so hard to come out to a wife who you think will leave you, and who in fact has been trained by the church to block anything to have to say from her mind and simply label your attempts to be the slightest bit understood as " evangelical atheism".

Evangelical is the very opposite of what I was at that time. I held my tongue at every turn. I came here to vent. I went to YouTube to hear new arguments and to figure out how to think about moral issues without the cloud of dogma over my head.

We probably see someone in this forum pop up once a month or so looking for support over their spouse threatening to leave them over their deconversion. Well I'm not looking for support here exactly. I'm more just documenting a point in time past that stage that maybe can come if your relationship holds together through the rockiest stages. As such if you have a story of getting through that stage and your perspective having made it through. I'd welcome those stories being posted here in this thread.

That was an excellent read and a very well thought out post. I'm new to the forums so I realize this post is coming long after the original thread was made.

I went through a similar situation in my first marriage. I'll be the first to admit that I got married way before I should have. I was 22 and my ex-wife was 20. When we married she knew that I was an atheist so it was no secret that I hid from her (or anyone for that matter). She was a believer but not what I would consider a "practicing" believer. We were married for four years. About two years into our marriage she found Jesus. And when I say she found Jesus she FOUND JESUS. It became a huge problem in our marriage. I didn't help matters by me being militant about my non belief. I should have handled it in a much more productive way but I didn't so I take full responsibility for that. But I was 24 and not mature. It was a point of contention that eventually led to our demise. My non belief status and her full blown evangelical shift was a chasm we would never be able to bridge.
I've been a Professional Firefighter for 23 years now and work 24hr shifts with 48hrs off. I remember vividly not wanting to come home on Sundays and would rather just stay at work because I knew the argument that would inevitably ensue. And it always did. If I didn't go to church with her she would be angry all day and if I did go to church she would be angry because I wasn't listening to the message. I was in a catch 22 situation that I couldn't get out of. Damned if I do and damned if I don't. Had I been a bit more mature at the time I might have been able to express my feelings in a much more productive way but I wasn't mature so for lack of a better word... I was a dick. I resented the fact that she knew what she was getting when she entered into this marriage but two years in she changed the terms without my consent. At least that's how I looked at it. We divorced in our fourth year of marriage. Ironically she is now on her third marriage now. Getting a divorce was an eye opening experience to me. But in a way it was one of the better things that happened to me. It forced me to reflect on my actions and how I handled the situation. I wasn't innocent with the breakup of our marriage but neither was she. It was both of our faults.

I stayed single until I met my current wife at age 30. My wife is six years younger than I am but we share a lot of the same views and have common interests which helps immensely. She also knew that I was an atheist while we were dating but seemed unfazed by that information. You can imagine my skepticism due to my first marriage but we've been married for 16 years now and it has never been an issue from day one. I would consider my wife more agnostic if I had to put a label on her. But the mistakes I made in my first marriage I was determined not to replicate with this one. I matured somewhat in the time period between my first and current marriage. Some would argue that I'm still not mature and they might be right lol. But I've learned that actually listening to your partner is one of the most important things that you can do for them. Marriage is a dance you perfect over time. If you don't have mutual respect for their beliefs, passions, interests, etc... then it makes it real hard for that union to remain a union. I'm very happy to have found someone that I can share my life with. Someone that gave me a beautiful daughter and has helped me through hard times when I couldn't help myself. It doesn't take a belief in a higher power to find that. It takes a belief in yourself and the person you hold dear to your heart.

I get to decide what my life looks like, not the other way around.
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02-03-2017, 02:29 AM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
(11-12-2016 05:10 PM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  I told my future wife before we got engaged.

i had a guy chasing me and at the time i really didn't want a boyfriend so i told him i was an atheist thinking he would stop chasing me. I blurted it out and stomped off in my blaze of glory. He didn't stop chasing me. That was about ten months ago. We live together now. He does love me . He's what i call a casual/costume Christian . He doesn't go to church doesn't pray doesn't read his bible and obviously has no problem sleeping with the devil. lol. I debated the flood once but he just gawddidit thru everything. We don't go there anymore. He told me a stupid Christian joke recently and i was like, "Really? Youre gona tell an atheist that kind of joke?" I adore him. He's a good guy.
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02-03-2017, 03:07 AM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
I was blunt and honest with my wife since we started dating, she is Christian Orthodox (we used to live in Greece, a theocratic country), I told her I dont believe in god and I see the whole religion thing more as a cultural enterprise, after having a few civilized discussions she was cool with it and still is to this day.

We still got married in a church as it did mean a lot to her at the time and as I honestly didnt care I went along for the ride. I'm lucky that with me being quite outspoken about my religious beliefs, she supports me and has accepted a lot of my views, although I don't aim to bring her to the A side, I believe she's half way there already, if she does choose to let go of religion I want it to be of her own free will.

My parents are another story, deeply entrenched in the cultural background which Christianity has steamrolled over everything,EVERYTHING, are another matter. I have accepted that I will never be accepted and as long as they steer away from religious propaganda we can have an argument free discussion.

What I was adamant about is that we keep all the religious mumbo jumbo away from my kids. Luckily my wife was cool with that, everybody else wasnt so they just had to suck it up.

Although it is a social stigma in many countries I believe that we should be outspoken and not apologize for our beliefs, just as theists do not feel they should apologize for theirs.

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer. - Mahatma Gandhi
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16-01-2018, 11:30 AM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2018 11:33 AM by eclectic.)
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
For me, there was no one point in time that I became an atheist. When my wife and I married almost 30 years ago, we were both very devout Christians. We even had a "gospel presentation" (minus the altar call) at our wedding. Over the years, I was very involved in teaching Sunday School, leading Small Groups, Promise Keepers, Maximized Manhood, Precept Studies, Exchanged Life, and other Christian functions. Yet, there were certain things about Christianity and the bible that were always pebbles in my shoe and I tended to share those things with my wife. These thorns in my side caused me increasing cognitive dissonance and my reaction was to dig deeper into the faith and the bible to try to resolve them. For my wife, she simply trusted that God would work these things out in his time and in his way or that they didn't affect the faith that she had. For her, Christianity has been (and continues to be) about being a loving, good person. For me, I wanted it to make sense. I didn't think that morality or compassion came through living according to the scriptures.

Eventually, there were too many straws on this camels back and I lost my faith. But I never woke up one morning and said, "I'm an atheist." Rather, there were just beliefs that I lost along the way until I felt like there was no baby in the bath water. So I find myself in a strange place where I've lost the beliefs, but I still hold to many of the same values that I had as a Christian. Values such as (as the apostle Paul would say) love, kindness, humbleness, unselfishness, truthfulness, perseverance, hope, faith (as in being faithful or true). And I try to live these values out in our marriage. My wife would, of course, consider these to be "fruit of the Spirit." I would consider them to be values of compassionate humanism. So we might disagree as to their source, but agree as to their value.

She knows that I am an atheist. But she doesn't seem to care or worry for my soul or fate. She gives me the freedom to be who I am, where I am. I do the same for her. We are at a place where (most of the time) we can state what we do or don't believe, our reasons for it, and then simply leave it there, without forcing, coercing, or guilting the other. I sometimes wish she were an atheist, so that we could discuss more things. But I love her for who she is, not for who I might want her to be. This is why and how we make it work. We are friends. We don't always have to agree. I lost my faith. I lost some of my hope. But I didn't lose my love.
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16-01-2018, 11:43 AM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
At work.




Big Grin
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