The end of a family?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
28-10-2011, 11:07 AM
The end of a family?
Would appreciate some insight into my situation:

I've been an atheist for 2+ years after spending my entire life involved in Christianity. It was an easy decision for me after looking at the evidence and I have a more positive worldview/outlook on life now that heaven/hell/faith, etc. are no longer in the picture I am a productive member of society with a great job and am well respected by my peers. Sounds great, right?

I'm also married to a really incredible woman and together we have three fantastic young children. My kids love and respect me and I absolutely cherish my family. Our extended family relationships are solid and non-dysfunctional.

Everyone in this family circle is a Christian. My Dad is a pastor and faith is central and important to all. They all know my position and despite their heartache, I haven't experienced much in the way of non-acceptance, which I am thankful for. But the relationship between my wife and I is close to ending. She simply can't come to terms with my 'beliefs' and is terribly afraid that our children will walk away from faith as I did once they are old enough to understand. Our relationship has been strained for a long time and is quickly deteriorating. We have also moved to a new state in the past 6 months and the lack of friendship/support, especially on her end, has made things more difficult.

I simply don't know what to do. Divorce is a terrifying option, as I know how badly it would impact my children, and I dearly love my wife. I recently offered to try to be more receptive to faith again and see what happens, but at the end of the day we all know what that outcome will be. Has anyone gone through this experience before? What am I not considering? Your thoughts and insights are much appreciated.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-10-2011, 11:21 AM
RE: The end of a family?
Wow, what a hard situation to be in! I wish I had some words of advice, but I don't and I didn't feel right reading without replying. Hopefully someone will come along who has something helpful to say. The only thing I can think of is to just be patient and keep telling her that you love her.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-10-2011, 11:32 AM
 
RE: The end of a family?
(28-10-2011 11:07 AM)Strobelite Wrote:  Would appreciate some insight into my situation:

I've been an atheist for 2+ years after spending my entire life involved in Christianity. It was an easy decision for me after looking at the evidence and I have a more positive worldview/outlook on life now that heaven/hell/faith, etc. are no longer in the picture I am a productive member of society with a great job and am well respected by my peers. Sounds great, right?

I'm also married to a really incredible woman and together we have three fantastic young children. My kids love and respect me and I absolutely cherish my family. Our extended family relationships are solid and non-dysfunctional.

Everyone in this family circle is a Christian. My Dad is a pastor and faith is central and important to all. They all know my position and despite their heartache, I haven't experienced much in the way of non-acceptance, which I am thankful for. But the relationship between my wife and I is close to ending. She simply can't come to terms with my 'beliefs' and is terribly afraid that our children will walk away from faith as I did once they are old enough to understand. Our relationship has been strained for a long time and is quickly deteriorating. We have also moved to a new state in the past 6 months and the lack of friendship/support, especially on her end, has made things more difficult.

I simply don't know what to do. Divorce is a terrifying option, as I know how badly it would impact my children, and I dearly love my wife. I recently offered to try to be more receptive to faith again and see what happens, but at the end of the day we all know what that outcome will be. Has anyone gone through this experience before? What am I not considering? Your thoughts and insights are much appreciated.

I've run into a similar situation and at the moment things have become more normal.
At one point my wife forbid me to speak of my deconversion to her friends, family and our kids.
I waited to the tempers calmed down and told her that i love her unconditionally and its a shame she love me only conditionally.
I expressed to her my love for her was just that a love for her and not for her beliefs. I could care less if she became a scientologist, Muslim or what ever. Thats her choice to live that part of her life.
She and i have a splendid relationship and told her how sad it would be for us to end it all over something as silly as religion. She loves me back, i know and we have agreed to an armistice. Thats as much as i can hope for now. We've agreed to not talk about religion (although i never brought it up, she did). I will go on as before loving her unconditionally and hope thats enough.

Its really sad when people put this fairytale love of a guy they have never met above REAL love for people they know and can see,feel and experience.

My wife wont talk to me about it because i know TOO much about the bible and the arguments. She is a very part time church person but was led to the lord during her last divorce.

Out of respect to her, i dont really get involved locally with atheist associations n stuff. Thats my gift to her, even though she has no idea of the gift....because the way i am built, i would be president of such an association within a year!!

All in all, i have left it up to her. THe last big fight we had that she made my Non Belief an issue i told her SHE has a big decision to make, not me. I agreed to marry her for life. If she wants out over such stuff, then she has to make that decision.
She's agreed our love is bigger than such petty nonsesne and we have worked it out.

I cant speak to your situation directly, but it sounds like you were in a similar spot as i was....i wish you the best. Ultimatly i left it up to the wife to call the shots. If she broke up our family over this..then i would have seen it as a shallow relationship and not worth the love i was putting in. Yeah, it would have hurt badly.
If your wife's love is conditional due to which pretend pals you have and its a DEALBREAKER, then SHE is faced with a tough choice.

When asked if i would go back to church with her, i told her flat out NO. There is nothign there i have not heard and also CHURCHES dont save people, they just take your $.

She seems fine these days, but i know she gets sad when she knows her 'soulmate' will burn in hell after i die. Thats a silly cross she must bear, i wont borrow such trouble.

If i had advise to you, its to tell you wife that you love her more than life its self and that will never change and your love for her is unconditial...and would appreciate the same in return.
If she is unable to love you unconditinoally, you got much bigger problems.

Best of luck,
D
Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Denicio's post
28-10-2011, 12:03 PM
RE: The end of a family?
I think it's tough to have a relationship where one person doesn't believe in god and the other person thinks their spouse is gong to hell. I'm really not sure how you get past that. The "armistice" idea sounds great and if you can make it work than I'd go with that. But, if your wife believe, I mean really believes, in the christian faith and all that entails, I think you've hit an impasse that you may not be able to overcome.

Denicio makes the point about not wanting to end his relationship "over something as silly as religion." I agree with his sentiment, but for true believers, religion is anything but "silly". It dominates how they view the world, how they interact with people, and how the manage relationships.

Sorry I don't have any great advice but I think you need to be honest about the problem you have here. If your married to a woman who really believes in god, Jesus and salvation, then she must also believe you turning your back on all that means you are eternally damned. Asking her to look past that is going to be impossible.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes BnW's post
28-10-2011, 12:19 PM
RE: The end of a family?
Thanks, appreciate the responses. It really has been me that has changed. We were married in church, made covenants to God and was told (by my Dad, who married us) that our marraige will last if it's built on 'the Rock'. So, I'm the one who's upset the entire perfect balance here and I get that. I firmly don't believe in the Covenant/rock, etc. stuff, but she does.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-10-2011, 12:25 PM
 
RE: The end of a family?
(28-10-2011 12:03 PM)BnW Wrote:  I think it's tough to have a relationship where one person doesn't believe in god and the other person thinks their spouse is gong to hell. I'm really not sure how you get past that. The "armistice" idea sounds great and if you can make it work than I'd go with that. But, if your wife believe, I mean really believes, in the Christian faith and all that entails, I think you've hit an impasse that you may not be able to overcome.

Denicio makes the point about not wanting to end his relationship "over something as silly as religion." I agree with his sentiment, but for true believers, religion is anything but "silly". It dominates how they view the world, how they interact with people, and how the manage relationships.

Sorry I don't have any great advice but I think you need to be honest about the problem you have here. If your married to a woman who really believes in god, Jesus and salvation, then she must also believe you turning your back on all that means you are eternally damned. Asking her to look past that is going to be impossible.

Just know there are many Atheist out there that have Christian spouses.

One of the guys that does the podcast called "Irreligiosity" apparently has a super uber fundie wife...but they get along fine.

Life is not easy. Period. Just getting thru life can be tough. Toss in a kid or two, financial stuff and you have a harder life...then complicate things with supernatural things and its just a swampy mess.

My situation has improved. We had a very hard discussion about all of this...and when my wife really went at me i said "But have you considered MY feelings about this?". It seemed a lot of what she was bothered about was how she looked in the situation. I told her my decision did not come easy and in many ways its like loosing a loved one. I struggled with it and my rational brain has brought me to the point of non belief. I stated that i expected a bit of respect for my struggle and decision.

Now if you cant get a mutual respect and you end up with ONLY conditional love, then you got problems that may be impossible to overcome.

At the moment the Denicio household is fine and we have come to a mutual agreement and understanding. Yeah, the problem might arise again, but i cant worry about that, i can only deal with the real and the now. A good heart to heart discussion is in order. NOT about how the bible is flawed and the rest is make believe, but about love and respect. If she's not willing to consider your plight, then you have a lop sided situation and it does not bode well for you.

D
(28-10-2011 12:19 PM)Strobelite Wrote:  Thanks, appreciate the responses. It really has been me that has changed. We were married in church, made covenants to God and was told (by my Dad, who married us) that our marraige will last if it's built on 'the Rock'. So, I'm the one who's upset the entire perfect balance here and I get that. I firmly don't believe in the Covenant/rock, etc. stuff, but she does.

Yeah, my wife would say over and over "But when we met, i thought you were a christian, i cant believe i am now married to a guy who does not believe in god, you have changed so much" Then she gets into the Morals without god stuff.

I assured her that one thing is certian about me, i WILL change and continue to do so. Change does not mean i am gonna go to strip clubs, rape, pillage, eat babies and other things of evil doing. It means as a human i will grow and expand, but it does not mean i will love her any less or more due to my change. It has not and will not change my love for her. I love her for who she is and for what WE are, period. There are no sub bullet points to why i love her nor are there condition of my love for her.
You BOTH have to WANT the relationship to work.

D
Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Denicio's post
28-10-2011, 03:41 PM
RE: The end of a family?
Denicio has made a very important point - whatever happens with your situation will be the result of your wife's decision not yours so you might help her understand that. Help her to understand that your reasons for being with her are about everything, except religion. You love her, you are there to support her, you are married to hernot any religion.
Having just relocated, your current isolation could very well be magnifying this already strained situation, so it might be best to steer clear of confrontation, unless she brings up the subject. Religion has caused her to fear things she can't control, and isolation can reinforce those fears; she might feel her religion is the only thing she has -but you need to remind her that she has you.
Denicio is currently going through it and seems to be keeping things together by taking it all down to the one basic truth: love. In the end, that's really all there is, or ever was.
Be cool, keep reason. I hope more people chime in with more educated advice and though I feel like I'm meddling, I can only say one true thing; This too shall pass.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
29-10-2011, 04:05 AM
RE: The end of a family?
This is the example how ones faith can destroy whole family. Ask your wife is her faith more important than you and your whole family. And I do not mean "her faith" as if she is suppose to become atheist, but in a sense that she wants you to be religious, or she can not be with you. If her faith is the most important thing to her and if she puts it in front of her family and happiness, then there is something wrong there and it is not you. You can save you marriage if both of you are willing to make compromises, by what you are saying, you did that, now it's your wife's turn to make some compromise. Maybe you can even talk to your father, if he is a pastor, but understands you, he can help you here. Family IS more important that religion.

[Image: a6505fe8.jpg]
I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
-Hunter S. Thompson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Filox's post
29-10-2011, 07:37 AM
RE: The end of a family?
(28-10-2011 12:25 PM)Denicio Wrote:  Just know there are many Atheist out there that have Christian spouses.

One of the guys that does the podcast called "Irreligiosity" apparently has a super uber fundie wife...but they get along fine.

Life is not easy. Period. Just getting thru life can be tough. Toss in a kid or two, financial stuff and you have a harder life...then complicate things with supernatural things and its just a swampy mess.

I'm aware of how tough married life can be. This coming Wednesday will be my 14th wedding anniversary. My marriage is great but it's not perfect. We suffer from all the things you describe. All relationships will face challenges. Every couple will have issues that can break them apart. But, there are degrees and some challenges are tougher to overcome than others.

Look, I'm not in any way suggesting that you and Strobelite should start filing for divorce. And, I'm glad that your situation seems to have stabilized. Having watched some of my friend's marriages fall apart, I can verify that divorce sucks. And, it's even worse when there are kids. But, I do think that this god/no god issue can be one of the toughest to overcome. I guess it depends on how evangelical the 2 parties are about their faith or non-faith. I think having an atheist and a believer can work, but if you have someone who is a real fundamentalist, it's going to put an ongoing strain on the marriage. How can it not? I sincerely wish both of you the best of luck, though.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes BnW's post
29-10-2011, 08:56 AM
RE: The end of a family?
(28-10-2011 11:07 AM)Strobelite Wrote:  Would appreciate some insight into my situation:.....
..... Has anyone gone through this experience before? What am I not considering? Your thoughts and insights are much appreciated.

Sounds like my situation; out of State - away from old friends/family, three kids, etc.
Two years ago, my wife found my copy of "Atheist Universe" (by David Mills). She didn't say much but later asked "Do you believe in God", and I told her no. We haven't had much discussion about it since. We weren't that deeply religious anyway. I was raised Catholic, she Baptist - I never felt comfortable around the Baptist types anyway.
She likes to think she's a devout X-tian but rarely gets out-o-bed early enough to take the kids to church. She'd probably say she doesn't want to go alone, but I think she'd rather just sleep in. That aside, our marriage is on-the-rocks anyway,
We're sorta stuck to a bad mortgage and don't have alot of options financially.
I don't advertise my 'disbelief' to the kids beyond an occasional 'jab' at the tv/radio stories about how "God saved me from that Earthquake" and I ask (rhetorically) "Why did he make it happen in the first place?" (hopefully make them think about it at least).

Anyway, everyone's situation is different. For us, we're stuck together and religion doesn't come up too much anyway (which is ok by me). Except for the Mother-in-Law, and that's another story.

btw: I still don't know what she did with my copy of "Atheist Universe". I always thought she might read it and then we'd talk about it but, like I said, it's been two years. And personally, she's the type that I think needs religion anyway - maybe that's your wife too. If so, just leave it alone.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: