Wife Can't be with an Atheist
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28-10-2015, 01:12 AM
Wife Can't be with an Atheist
Hey,

So.. I've been meaning to come here - but unfortunately i I've been spurred due to an unfortunate recent event. About 6 months ago, my wife and I had a pretty bad fight about me losing my religion. We both left with different understandings. I was still sliding away, she thought I was fine.

I do Podcasts for a living, and tonight I came out as a full blown atheist. I just went through the information. She was hurt pretty bad. The phrases:

* I don't know that We can be together
* I can't talk to you when it comes to God Anymore
* What is going to happen to our kids?

She wanted to talk about it and my reasoning, then got mad when I gave my reasoning. Stuff commonly seen in her retorts.. 'Well just because science can't prove it..', 'Well if my connection with god is reproducible, so is your love for me! So.. '

I don't know, it's less then 2 hours since we had the fight and 2 am in the morning.. I know it just needs time and she needs to come to grips - doesn't help when I want to sleep.
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28-10-2015, 05:05 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
Welcome to TTA.

I'm guessing you're asleep now and won't see this reply until your morning.

The problem seems to be a fundamental difference regarding views of identity.

You see yourself a person who has beliefs (or lack of) whereas she seems to see you as a set of beliefs that inhabit a person.

If you want to save the relationship, it's a case of convincing her that you are the same person who has changed beliefs ... not the other way around.

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28-10-2015, 05:12 AM
Wife Can't be with an Atheist
Just give in to Jesus. Be filled with the Holy Spirit brother and you will know the truth.
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28-10-2015, 06:17 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
(28-10-2015 05:05 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Welcome to TTA.

I'm guessing you're asleep now and won't see this reply until your morning.

The problem seems to be a fundamental difference regarding views of identity.

You see yourself a person who has beliefs (or lack of) whereas she seems to see you as a set of beliefs that inhabit a person.

If you want to save the relationship, it's a case of convincing her that you are the same person who has changed beliefs ... not the other way around.

Thanks! I've always been a fan of the Podcast, even when I was a Christian (Ironically). I left a note for her to find in her stuff when she is on her way or gets to work letting her know who I still was and that I loved her and was still searching.

I'll be honest though, barely two words to me today and she didn't want a hug. I'm trying not to become bitter - As probably most everyone here knows..nothing has changed but my opinion on one specific Topic..


(28-10-2015 05:12 AM)KUSA Wrote:  Just give in to Jesus. Be filled with the Holy Spirit brother and you will know the truth.

It did cross my mind to have a conversion all of a sudden and just never bring it back up.. I don't think I could be that dishonest to her, or myself.
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28-10-2015, 06:25 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
Wrong place for sarcasm, KUSA! Tongue

Sorry to hear what you're going through, brother. One of my primary complaints about religion is that it destroys people's relationships, like that.

I would focus on the "proof I love you" question, first and foremost. Knowing the biological makeup of "falling in love" (neurochemistry) does not make it any less spectacular than knowing how nuclear fusion and the diffraction of light work makes a sunset no less beautiful.

Also, tell her that she is free to raise the children as she sees fit, take them to church, etc (most of us are atheists despite, or perhaps because of, what we learned from church!) but I'd point out that if God the Creator of the Universe is real, then God is likely not so petty as to punish people for sheer, honest disbelief, and that it will help the children more than harm them to see that people often have differences of opinion. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "Question with boldness even the existence of God, for if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind-folded fear."

I mean, does she really think INDOCTRINATING the children is better than letting them choose on their own, given all the information?

Additionally, put her into your shoes: point out to her that if you had both been atheists to start out and she recently became a Christian, how would she feel if you started telling her you might want a divorce because she had changed to the "wrong" beliefs? Is that love? Perspective may do her a lot of good; it's often hard to leap outside the cage of one's own perspective.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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28-10-2015, 06:35 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
(28-10-2015 06:25 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Wrong place for sarcasm, KUSA! Tongue

Sorry to hear what you're going through, brother. One of my primary complaints about religion is that it destroys people's relationships, like that.

I would focus on the "proof I love you" question, first and foremost. Knowing the biological makeup of "falling in love" (neurochemistry) does not make it any less spectacular than knowing how nuclear fusion and the diffraction of light work makes a sunset no less beautiful.

Also, tell her that she is free to raise the children as she sees fit, take them to church, etc (most of us are atheists despite, or perhaps because of, what we learned from church!) but I'd point out that if God the Creator of the Universe is real, then God is likely not so petty as to punish people for sheer, honest disbelief, and that it will help the children more than harm them to see that people often have differences of opinion. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "Question with boldness even the existence of God, for if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind-folded fear."

I mean, does she really think INDOCTRINATING the children is better than letting them choose on their own, given all the information?

Additionally, put her into your shoes: point out to her that if you had both been atheists to start out and she recently became a Christian, how would she feel if you started telling her you might want a divorce because she had changed to the "wrong" beliefs? Is that love? Perspective may do her a lot of good; it's often hard to leap outside the cage of one's own perspective.

I figured Kusa was either being sarcastic or a troll, I do podcasts - so it didn't really bother me either way.

Yea, I've told her all those things and now its come down to her just need or wanting time. I've told her I intend to go to church with her to. I doubt I'll get much out of it - but I'm not against going with the family.

The kids did come up and she stated what happens then. And I told her the truth, I would challenge them at their equivalent age if when they come to me. My 5 year old when start talking to me about God and I'll ask her if she really thinks thats true - that it really exists.. She says Yes and I say alright. She tells me that she'll see my mom (who died about a month ago) in Heaven and I tell her that if she believes that, she may very well.

At 15 or 16, the questions will start getting harder for them - but I do stand by that everyone should believe what they want.

Unfortunately when challenged on this stuff, I was just to logical and couldn't emotionally connect with God - apparently.

It's things like this that make me wonder how people can say People become atheists to rebel - This is not what I would call a good day.
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28-10-2015, 06:50 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
Unfortunately, the description of our motivations found in Romans chapter 1 is not very flattering, and they tend to believe that sort of thing. You just made yourself into a minority. You must commit yourself to being a better and more loving husband, a warmer and more in-touch father, and basically doing twice as much to prove yourself deserving as a regular "good-person-Believer" (as they see it) would have to do, just like minorities in the workplace must often struggle to meet the standards which are easier for the WASP. It is a point of privilege they enjoy, and there's really no getting around it.

Since you go to church with the family (which I applaud, actually), you might try sounding him out to see if telling the pastor the truth, if you think he's a decent person and not a religious bigot, will help him to counsel you both through it. Many would not be pleased with a Believer who starts thinking about divorce/separation based on religious differences.

Unfortunately, the Bible is of two minds (as usual!) about this. There are Pauline verses which suggest that one should not be with an atheist, and ones that say that the husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and that she should not leave him.

1 Corinthians 7:12-14 ESV

To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

2 Corinthians 6:14-17 says "do not be unequally yoked" with nonbelievers, but it does not say specifically that he is talking about marriage, even though this verse is commonly used against atheist marriages. From the broader context, it is clear that he is talking about the Christian place in society, not about marriages. It is necessary for the Corinthian church to hold themselves apart from society and be holy.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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28-10-2015, 06:57 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
My wife and I went through something similar, although we never fought about it. Instead, she (as she told me years later) seemed to quietly panic to herself when I told her I was an atheist (actually, she panicked years before that when I told her I believed in evolution).

If you are open to advice about what to do, it's probably best just to give her time and avoid that topic until she is comfortable bringing it back up. As for kids, that's tougher. The way my wife and I discussed it was that if church was important for her to take them to, then she could. But I wasn't going to go and I wouldn't refrain from telling my kids about me and my beliefs if they asked. That is the only fair solution as far as we could tell, because we are both parents.

Fast forward a few years later, and my wife is all but atheist now (I think she'd prefer to say agnostic but she told me the other day she doesn't believe in god). I'm not saying that this is inevitable, but if she loves you then she will accept you. And if she doesn't then it (as bad as it sounds now) probably shouldn't be a relationship that should continue.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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28-10-2015, 11:12 AM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
(28-10-2015 01:12 AM)Losoyo Wrote:  I do Podcasts for a living, and tonight I came out as a full blown atheist. I just went through the information. She was hurt pretty bad. The phrases:

* I don't know that We can be together
* I can't talk to you when it comes to God Anymore
* What is going to happen to our kids?

She wanted to talk about it and my reasoning, then got mad when I gave my reasoning. Stuff commonly seen in her retorts.. 'Well just because science can't prove it..', 'Well if my connection with god is reproducible, so is your love for me! So.. '

I don't know, it's less then 2 hours since we had the fight and 2 am in the morning.. I know it just needs time and she needs to come to grips - doesn't help when I want to sleep.
That really is sad man. I'm sorry you are going through this.

I'm only going to respond to the bolded part for now...

I am guessing you were bringing up the point that the feelings you have/get about/from her god are reproducible in other contexts and don't qualify as objective evidence of a deity? I think her retort is both right and wrong. I don't believe in soulmates or that "true love" is a magical sacred bond that can only happen once. So in that sense I think that yes, it is possible that one day you will love another woman in a similar way that you love her now. But just because it is possible doesn't mean it will happen. If you value the love you have between you, I am sure you will work to preserve and develop it. If she stops wanting to preserve and develop it, that is where the problem will be. Additionally, even if you do love another woman some day, it isn't a direct "reproduced" feeling. You can't replace somebody else in your heart, you can only build a spot for somebody new. This would be a new love, and not a replacement or a reproduced love.

I worry that her definition of love includes magical thinking, possibly links with a god, and possibly a "once in a lifetime bond". While that can be romantic, in reality love is (while incredibly hard to define) essentially just an intense bond of devotion, adoration, attachment, and desire to protect/make happy. And just like any feelings these can change. And just like any relationship, without proper maintenance, a marriage can change as well.

My point may have gotten lost in all that, but what I am trying to get at is if she is defining love in a magical way then your rejection of magic might threaten her definition of love. But love doesn't need to be defined in a magical way for it to special.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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28-10-2015, 12:10 PM
RE: Wife Can't be with an Atheist
Lot's of people here are in a similar situation. Reaffirm that you still love her and your children and that you are still a dedicated father and husband and that you are still the same person, the only thing that has changed is your belief in god. Then give it time and be patient. Sorry you are going through this.
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