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Ex-christians Living With Christian Spouses


Serendipity Rose
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I have been more of a religious humanist than a chrisian but I have lived in the middle of Christianity all of my life. I grew up in a Southern Baptist household. I have felt, most of that time, that christianity wasn't consistent with my values but when my husband and I got married I agreed to go to his catholic church with him and became catholic. A few years ago I began to hate going to church (those values sure started getting wonky in 2008, didn't they?) and I finally told my husband that I had come to the realization that I didn't believe in god. Surprisingly he was ok with it but still seemed to expect me to go to church with him. Instead I found the Unitarian Universalist church and I love it there. He seemed to think that if I didn't believe in god I should believe in something. Whatever. I do. I believe in humanity.

 

 

After a few weeks of going to UU I asked my husband how he was feeling about me going to a different church. After all, we had been going to church together for 20+ years. He admitted that he had hoped that I would change my mind after a while. I told him I wouldn't. We haven't really discussed it since then and that's been over a year ago.

 

So I have read several forums where men talk about leaving Christianity but their wives remain and it seems that it works out somewhat. But I haven't really read many, maybe not even any, accounts of women who left Christianity and their husbands stay in christianity. I'd love to hear from both sides but I'm wondering if it is more difficult for women. I've done a little research on why women seem to be more religious than men and it seems that we have evolved to be the community providers.

 

These are my issues:

 

1. Though I've mostly gotten over it, it seemed really strange for me to not go to the same church and seems even stranger should I not got to church at all now. I'm very involved in our UU and our freethinkers group meets there regularly now because I am there. But there are times that I think that I might not want to go to church. For now UU is good for me.

 

2. My in-laws have always thought I was the odd one anyway. I haven't come directly out to any of them but they are my friends on facebook and I probably say too much there already. They are soooo conservative, but catholic. I don't feel like I'm really part of the family any more. They aren't mean to me, they are, well, distant. They get me even less now.

 

3. We can't talk about religion or politics.

 

Granted, my relationship with my husband isn't the best. Our communication has been weak since the beginning. Not the fault of either, but both. That's another story and another situation. I'm mostly interested in hearing how others have been able to live with a religious spouse. I know some people are able to talk and joke around about their religion and atheism. I have a hard time imagining that happening with us but if we can't get to that point, I'm not sure what we have left.

 

Am I making any sense here?

 

 

 

 

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You make perfect sense to me, and there are quite a few of us women here married to Xian husbands.

 

We don't talk much about religion either and we get along ok. It's been a year and he is just now figuring out how to love and respect me even though I'm a flaming heathen. But definitely have lost a sense of intimacy.

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It's good to know I'm not the only one. :)

 

Sometimes I am just fine with it and other times I wonder how this is ever going to work. His entire family is entrenched in catholicism and I don't think he really has a problem with religion. In fact, he's just not a thinker. Catholic churches don't require you to think much about religion really. It's all laid out for you. Just follow the rules, which for the most part aren't that strict.

 

I'm very active in our freethinkers group. My husband knows where I'm going and what I'm doing. He's not thrilled about it and I guess I'm careful to spend time with him, too, and not ignore him. But I need to be around people that I can talk freely with. Sometimes hanging out with them seems a bit weird. Lots of the guys come without their wives but I think I'm the only woman that is still married to a religious guy in the group. We have super awesome group and they are all very welcoming. Maybe I'm just wishing I could share the awesomeness of freethought when I come home from our meetups, but I can't.

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Maybe I'm just wishing I could share the awesomeness of freethought when I come home from our meetups, but I can't.

 

Wow, does that statement ever hit home with me!

 

DH and I were both raised catholic, but by the time we started dating, we both were agnostic, leaning toward atheism. Back then, I thought, "We've both been exposed to religion and both rejected it. Good match." Fast forward more than a dozen years and two kids, guess what? Some jacka$$ at his work got his bornagain hooks into my otherwise very intelligent husband. Suddenly I was "of the devil" (you know--being catholic--even though I was an EX-catholic). I won't go into all the gory details here, but for a few years, it was not a pretty ride.

 

Two things led to a real improvement in our marriage. First, I finally realized that my happiness depended on me, not him. Believe me, that took some hard work on my part! Then, in the interest of my own happiness and sanity, I finally told hubby that if he didn't stop trying to convert me, I was going to divorce him. If, because of his religion, he could no longer love me for who I was -- the same person he married -- then our marriage was over. He said he loved me, didn't want a divorce, so the preaching stopped. (Otherwise I would've been out of here.) When it's just he and I together, we get along fine. He even laughs when I jokingly refer to his religion as his all-consuming hobby. But bring another xtian into the mix -- give him an audience -- he gets on his pulpit and I leave the room.

 

We've now been married over 30 years. Like you said, I wish I could share the awesomeness of freethought with him, but I can't . That's part of that sense of intimacy we've lost.

 

Good luck and much happiness to you.

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the "Not Feeling Happy" Thread.

 

Hey Rose,

Here is a link to a recent thread that I started that will give you a good indication of my experience. Rehashing it is exhausting, so I'll just share the link.

 

I think about it everyday though, because I have to constantly montior what i say to my kids...

 

And i really love my husband, but it is exhausting.

 

:shrug:

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I've deconverted in the last year. Formerly, we were both fundamentalist christians. I stopped going to church about four or five months ago and we are having a very diffifcult time. I went back to church this week because I'm trying to keep the peace but that is NOT a permanant solution to our problems. We've never been terribly "intimate" but my deconversion has highlighted everything that is wrong with our marriage. For us, my deconversion has been a big blow to our marriage and although I want us to work it out (especially since we have kids) I'm not sure if we can anymore. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.

 

I hate that I can't talk to him about things I learn. I hate that he feels so threatened by me.

 

And I do think it is harder for us women when we deconvert.

 

freedom

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I've deconverted in the last year. Formerly, we were both fundamentalist christians. I stopped going to church about four or five months ago and we are having a very diffifcult time. I went back to church this week because I'm trying to keep the peace but that is NOT a permanant solution to our problems. We've never been terribly "intimate" but my deconversion has highlighted everything that is wrong with our marriage. For us, my deconversion has been a big blow to our marriage and although I want us to work it out (especially since we have kids) I'm not sure if we can anymore. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.

 

I hate that I can't talk to him about things I learn. I hate that he feels so threatened by me.

 

And I do think it is harder for us women when we deconvert.

 

freedom

 

Hugs to you Freedom.

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Maybe I'm just wishing I could share the awesomeness of freethought when I come home from our meetups, but I can't.

 

Wow, does that statement ever hit home with me!

 

DH and I were both raised catholic, but by the time we started dating, we both were agnostic, leaning toward atheism. Back then, I thought, "We've both been exposed to religion and both rejected it. Good match." Fast forward more than a dozen years and two kids, guess what? Some jacka$ at his work got his bornagain hooks into my otherwise very intelligent husband. Suddenly I was "of the devil" (you know--being catholic--even though I was an EX-catholic). I won't go into all the gory details here, but for a few years, it was not a pretty ride.

 

I'm not worried about my husband becoming a fundy protestant, but I see something similar going on with the core group of catholics he hangs out with. In our conservative area even the catholics are turning quite fundy. Where my husband had been quite liberal, he has become more conservative both socially and politically. I think a big part of my problem is that I feel like I am ALWAYS on the lookout for his family or friends to tell him I either need to come back to catholicism or he needs to leave me. I feel like I am living in this state of unknown future and it is disconcerting.

 

 

Two things led to a real improvement in our marriage. First, I finally realized that my happiness depended on me, not him. Believe me, that took some hard work on my part! Then, in the interest of my own happiness and sanity,

 

It's good to hear this from someone else. I go back in forth in my own mind, sometimes feeling guilty that I am involved in so many things with our freethinkers and with UU, without him.

 

 

This is what I love about this forum and some others that I frequent. We can openly and honestly discuss real-life problems and help each other through it. Unlike in religion where you have to continuously hiding parts of yourself that would be deemed unacceptable thought. Thank you so much for sharing this with me!

 

 

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the "Not Feeling Happy" Thread.

 

Hey Rose,

Here is a link to a recent thread that I started that will give you a good indication of my experience. Rehashing it is exhausting, so I'll just share the link.

 

I think about it everyday though, because I have to constantly montior what i say to my kids...

 

And i really love my husband, but it is exhausting.

 

:shrug:

 

Wow. Being a non-confrontationalist, that is exactly the scene that I avoided by going to church with my husband for 20+ years. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself.

 

Still today, even though my kids are 18 and up, I fear being accused of being a "bad" influence on our kids. My 21 yo son deconverted at the very same time I did only he was in another city away at college. He's asked me how he could tell his Dad he doesn't want to go to church when he comes home to visit. My youngest has always hated church and I believe has always been agnostic. Instead of confronting my husband we choose to go the easy route and we all go to the UU church. lol My 21 yo does occasionally go to church with his Dad though.

 

My oldest son has always been an emotional and religious guy. Another reason why I stayed in church. With no support groups like this when my kids were little, I supported him and even encouraged him to pray. I saw prayer as a way to work things out with you own mind. Of course he became very involved in church and has had that influence so he continues to be a moderate catholic. I think I worry more about offending him and his views on my influence on his brothers than I do my husband actually. As a mother it is vitally important to me that my kids come to terms with their own spirituality or lack of on there own accord. But I know very well that he has the influence of the priests and others at the church and they are likely to see me in a very different way than he would on his own.

 

If I had it all to do over again, I would have taken my kids to the nearest Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship right from the start.

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We've never been terribly "intimate" but my deconversion has highlighted everything that is wrong with our marriage.

 

Same here Freedom. I think most people would look at my and my husbands relationship and ask why we don't just go our separate ways. It's never that easy.

 

I think I am staying in our relationship much for the same reason I stayed in religion for so long. I didn't have a horrific experience with religion. My parents were conservative but before all this crazy fundamentalism became the "fad".

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There are a number of here who are struggling in the same way. When I joined last year I was still in my marriage, but left soon after, the deconversion was the final straw with me, not so much him. I think it would have just been another thing for him to bash me over the head with, along with all the other things he disapproved off.

finally admitting my non belief allowed me the freedom to ask myself why I was staying, and I couldn't find any reason out side of the christian ones that kept me there in the past.

I wish you all the best, think about your self as well, you are important, not just your children and husband, these things will work out, and you do need to put your happiness into the mix.

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I was the first to leave xtianity then my wife followed about five years later. She still believes in a god but not the xtian god or the gods of other religions. She has her own idea of god and I'm OK with that. I never insisted my wife had to believe what I did. We were both Pentecostal at the time, I was formerly Southern Baptist. There's more to my story but I don't want to hijack your thread here. I just wanted to point out that my wife never ridiculed my decision to leave christianity and she stayed with me through thick and thin. We have a bond born out of hardship and personal tragedies common to both of us. We get along great. Always have. We both have very bad chronic disabilities that makes intimacy problematic, mostly for her. Shit, she even told me I could have girlfriends if I chose to do so. I have not because I have too much respect for her. Nothing can come between us.

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There are a number of here who are struggling in the same way. When I joined last year I was still in my marriage, but left soon after, the deconversion was the final straw with me, not so much him. I think it would have just been another thing for him to bash me over the head with, along with all the other things he disapproved off.

finally admitting my non belief allowed me the freedom to ask myself why I was staying, and I couldn't find any reason out side of the christian ones that kept me there in the past.

I wish you all the best, think about your self as well, you are important, not just your children and husband, these things will work out, and you do need to put your happiness into the mix.

 

Thank you for that reminder Darklady. Our relationship may or may not come to the same conclusion because my husband has never ridiculed my disbelief or me for that matter. We are good to each other in spite of our lack of communication.

 

Another issue I have is that I no longer have either parent. Even when you are in middle age, losing your last parent leaves you an orphan and it is a lonely feeling. What little relationship we have, it's the only one I have right now. So it's not just my husband and kids I'm thinking of.

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I was the first to leave xtianity then my wife followed about five years later. She still believes in a god but not the xtian god or the gods of other religions. She has her own idea of god and I'm OK with that. I never insisted my wife had to believe what I did. We were both Pentecostal at the time, I was formerly Southern Baptist. There's more to my story but I don't want to hijack your thread here. I just wanted to point out that my wife never ridiculed my decision to leave christianity and she stayed with me through thick and thin. We have a bond born out of hardship and personal tragedies common to both of us. We get along great. Always have. We both have very bad chronic disabilities that makes intimacy problematic, mostly for her. Shit, she even told me I could have girlfriends if I chose to do so. I have not because I have too much respect for her. Nothing can come between us.

 

I'm glad to hear you have a great relationship, Heretic. I can't deny that my husband and I have similar bonds. You can't be married for more than 20 years and not have some stories that you lived together. I'd love to hear your story. Have you submitted a testimony?

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I'm glad to hear you have a great relationship, Heretic. I can't deny that my husband and I have similar bonds. You can't be married for more than 20 years and not have some stories that you lived together. I'd love to hear your story. Have you submitted a testimony?

Yeah I have a testimony on this site.

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My wife and I have been through much together over 18 years for my deconversion to spilt us up I'm happy to say. I have been deconverted for 5 years about and things were harder in the beginning then they are now. My wife has actually gone more extreme in her fundamentalist faith as well. However we get along great. I hope it always stays this way. When I first deconverted my kids were younger, and i was not sure I was going to be able to be myself (deconverted). I chose to totally be myself even with the risks and it worked out for me.

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  • 2 months later...

*sigh* Update on my situation is, there is no update at all...

 

Change can be crap. Maybe this is why more women stay in religion than men.

 

I've come to realize that the reason I didn't leave the church sooner was that my husband and I don't really have anything else in common. But what am I to do? I'm back in school, haven't worked a full-time job in 20 years and my youngest son has Asperger's and I really don't know if he will ever be able to get over his anxieties and get a job.

 

I don't expect anyone to have answers for me but I don't know who the hell else to whine to. Have you ever felt completely alone while you were sitting right next to the person you agreed to spend your life with? This would be a lot easier if he were just an absolute jerk. Now I feel like I'm the one being the jerk. *bigger sigh*

 

Thanks for listening.

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*sigh* Update on my situation is, there is no update at all...

 

Have you ever felt completely alone while you were sitting right next to the person you agreed to spend your life with? This would be a lot easier if he were just an absolute jerk. ...

 

Yes. Many times. I'm sorry I don't have any answers (if I did, I'd take my own advice!), but I wanted to say you are not alone in your feelings. 10.gif

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This would be a lot easier if he were just an absolute jerk. Now I feel like I'm the one being the jerk.

 

I have told several people that I feel terrible for my wife. I have become someone who she would have NEVER married. No answers from me - just telling you that you're not the only one who feels this way.

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