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The Wife And My New Beliefs


HoustonHorn
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A few months ago I posted here a thread something along the lines of "scared to tell the wife." Basically I was at a point where I saw myself going away from Christianity and didn't know how to tell her. What frightened me the most was that many here said that it might be the end of our marriage, and I didn't know if I was willing to risk that for the sake of a couple hours of frustration on Sunday mornings. We did have a couple of conversations about religion and I told her that I was having doubts. Plus, it's kinda hard to hide doubts while reading 'Misquoting Jesus'.

 

A few weeks ago I filled out a hospital form that wanted to know my religion and I listed 'Baptist'. I knew as I was doing it that I wasn't doing it for me, but for her. The only time they would use that information is if I died and at that point I figured it would give her a little comfort and I wouldn't care anyway.

 

Another form came over our desks that asked for religion and I put 'n/a'. She saw it and asked if I still considered myself Christian which I replied that I didn't know what I consider myself. Accurate, but I left out the part where I know it's not Christian.

 

And I stopped going to church with her about 2 months ago. I told her I couldn't anymore, and that it wasn't helping my doubts. She's kept going by herself, which really does hurt me emotionally, but has skipped a couple of times for fairly petty reasons.

 

I really think, although it may be naive hope, that she is starting to doubt as well. But I'm afraid to push the issue. I know how much it irritates me when others try to push their beliefs on me, so I don't want to do that to her. But I also want to find out where she is in her beliefs. And it's a much farther trip from where she is to non-Christian than from where I started. She grew up in a fairly fundamental family where mine was just sort of spiritual. As an example, every time I've gotten in to my mother-in-law's car there is relgious music playing. Last time I rode with my wife in her car she had Limp Bizkit playing. So I think there is some separation there.

 

I also learned from my mother last week that they had a discussion of beliefs a few months back. Problem is, the beliefs that my wife shared with my mother don't fit in with the denomination she is a member of.

 

I guess I'm asking for suggestions from anyone who has been where I am. I know that religion can be a major stumbling block in a marriage, especially when the couple is at almost opposite ends of the spectrum - I'm agnostic, not atheist, and she's not a raving fundamentalist, but has many literalist beliefs; so we're not total opposites on the religion line.

 

She's been, outwardly at least, pretty accepting of this whole process and it hasn't seemed to cause any problems in our relationship although I've got to imagine she's had thoughts going through her head that she just hasn't shared with me.

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I guess I'm asking for suggestions from anyone who has been where I am. I know that religion can be a major stumbling block in a marriage, especially when the couple is at almost opposite ends of the spectrum - I'm agnostic, not atheist, and she's not a raving fundamentalist, but has many literalist beliefs; so we're not total opposites on the religion line.

 

She's been, outwardly at least, pretty accepting of this whole process and it hasn't seemed to cause any problems in our relationship although I've got to imagine she's had thoughts going through her head that she just hasn't shared with me.

 

I haven't been where you've been, but I'm going to give you some advice anyway...

 

It seems to me that your wife is being very tolerant of your beliefs, and that you are being tolerant of hers. That's a very good sign.

 

My advice is to act in ways that make it clear you are still the "quality person" that she has been married to the whole time, not to bring up your views unless she asks, and see where things go.

 

If you're okay where things are now, no reason to rock the boat, though you should note that deaths or other major events in families often tend to ramp up how strongly people believe.

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Open communication is always best, if possible. Ignoring the "pink elephant" in the corner will not make it go away..

 

My husband is a believer, but not in your usual sense..he's very casual about it. When we watch certain shows, I take that opportunity to bring up what he believes. An example is last night. I was watching a show called "Antichrist". It was on National Geographic or Discovery channel..

 

It covered various beliefs about end times, prophecy..and the like. Many points of view were presented. I used that opportunity to ask him what he thought, believed, etc. Which then led to further discussion. No arguments, just intelligent discussion and I didn't belittle what he thought nor did he belittle what I thought.

 

I learned alot about what he had been brought up to believe..and not believe. (none of that rapture/tribulation/Left Behind scenario crap)

 

I didn't try to convince him not to believe what he believed, just wanted to learn what he really felt/thought.

 

We've been married 19 years. Our beliefs are quite different, but the ability to discuss them has brought us closer..and besides, after 19 years, we need interesting topics of discussion.. :lmao:

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My wife watched me go through the birthing-of-an-Ex process...and was hopefully, almost joyously expecting that when the process was complete...I would be the next firebrand that turned the world upside down for Jesus.

One day she looked up from "Changing Spaces" and realized that I was a long way from starting a new cult...and then, the lights flickered on...and she asked "Do you believe...blah blah blah"...(all the certain signs of whether one has entirely abandoned Christ/God or not)...and when I answered that I believed none of them...she was left with a long way to go...if she wanted to catch up.

The worst part of it was...I hadn't found "The Truth"...so she could just jump to the next solid foundation...and without that...she feels lost.

Based on my experience...I wouldn't give your wife more than enough to find her own progressive exit. I think that's what you're saying that you've done...but...

Good Luck

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My hubby was well ahead of me in dumping the Church but about 2 years behind in walking down the Pagan paths. He spent a fair while doubting (and what this forum could have done then!) and in an almost agnostic state. He really didn't understand my Pagan ideas at first (and me being a newbie I couldn't explain too well either) So while he never told me that I was headed for "Hell" he sure didn't understand some of what I said and did for a while. Oh yeah, and this was all while we were still dating, and not even engaged yet.

 

My advice, be supportive, be a good spouse, and don't belittle her ideas. Help her research things if she asks, but don't push and don't preach. I like the idea of using TV programs (or books) to spur discussion, but remember to make it two-way and not turn it into anti-evangelizing.

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Houston,

 

I, too, am married to a believer. But I have reached the place of surrender. I've come to the place where if he never changes, I will still be OK. My peace of mind cannot depend on another person, not even my spouse.

 

It's been a year for me, and we seldom discuss the issue. I would be shocked if my husband ever leaves the faith. I would probably faint or drop dead. But we are happily married. I don't need his validation to believe--of disbelieve--anything.

 

When it comes down to it, how is it different from him liking red and me liking blue? It is just a personal preference. He isn't trying to push christianity down my throat, and that's enough for me.

 

Good luck to you.

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Open communication is always best, if possible. Ignoring the "pink elephant" in the corner will not make it go away..

 

My husband is a believer, but not in your usual sense..he's very casual about it. When we watch certain shows, I take that opportunity to bring up what he believes. An example is last night. I was watching a show called "Antichrist". It was on National Geographic or Discovery channel..

 

It covered various beliefs about end times, prophecy..and the like. Many points of view were presented. I used that opportunity to ask him what he thought, believed, etc. Which then led to further discussion. No arguments, just intelligent discussion and I didn't belittle what he thought nor did he belittle what I thought.

 

I learned alot about what he had been brought up to believe..and not believe. (none of that rapture/tribulation/Left Behind scenario crap)

 

I didn't try to convince him not to believe what he believed, just wanted to learn what he really felt/thought.

 

We've been married 19 years. Our beliefs are quite different, but the ability to discuss them has brought us closer..and besides, after 19 years, we need interesting topics of discussion.. :lmao:

 

It came on History channel. Fascinating isn't it?

 

But about the HoustonHorn's problem.

 

What do you value more? Your wife or your beliefs? Or both equally? You need to tell your wife what you stand for and what you think, if it's that important to you. If you two loved each other you would represent the highest values for each other. You don't want to be with someone who damns you do you? So come out and say "This is who I am" and she will probally still love you, because ending a marriage over something like this is foolish. In order to say "I love you" you must first learn to say "I"...

 

...Do you live in Texas?

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I think we're in a place pretty close to what Lorena described. She goes to church Sunday mornings, I don't. And we don't really talk about it. I almost feel that I shouldn't be the one to bring it up, although I can't explain why.

 

The blue / red comparison is a good one :grin:

 

What do you value more? Your wife or your beliefs? Or both equally?

Her. My beliefs are almost an absence of beliefs rather than something strong. It wouldn't make sense to pick something abstract over her.

 

...Do you live in Texas?

Yup. A little too close to Joel Olstein and his stadium for my tastes, but what 'cha gonna do?

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