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Married To A Yec


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Howdy folks,

 

I'm a long-time lurker, but I've never really posted. I'll keep my story brief, in the hopes that someone who has gone through a similar situation can offer some advice.

 

Over the past 2 or so years, I converted from fundamentalist Christianity to atheism. I don't really remember where it started. I read many books, from "pop atheism" such as Dawkins and Hitchens, to books on evolution, geology, radiometric dating, etc. I began questioning my faith several months before I went back to college. I have taken a lot of natural science courses, and each semester, the truth became more and more undeniable.

 

I have been married almost three years now (no children), and my wife and I are members of the fundie church, church of Christ. I'm sure some of you are familiar with them, though they are a rather small denomination. My father in law has been a preacher for churches of Christ for 30 or so years, and my wife is absolutely passionate about her faith. She feels betrayed by my deconversion. It is difficult to get her to even talk to me about why I don't believe anymore. She keeps on telling me, "I have heard the arguments about Christianity; I can't see myself staying my mind." I am a former Marine, and occasionally, I have cynical tendencies. She always tells me that my cynicism led to me losing my faith.

 

We were very, very close before my deconversion, and the strength of our relationship has kept us together. I keep thinking it will get better each month, but it continues to get more difficult (we began speaking about my doubts six months or so ago). I try to be respectful of her views, but I refuse to pray before meals, I only go to church Sunday mornings (this is a sincere exercise in my patients... but churches of Christ meet twice on Sundays and once again during the week, so this is a compromise I'm willing to make if it can save my marriage), I do not sing in church, I do not take communion, etc. I absolutely want to stay with her, but it is incredibly difficult, with our worldviews.

 

Her armor of faith seems impenetrable. She claims she is open minded to my arguments, but she most certainly is not. Any advice? Have any men/ women deconverted their fundie spouses (I know that it is uncommon)? How long does it take? How do you plant that first seed of doubt? What was your most powerful argument?

 

Thank you, and Rationalism bless.

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I'm very sorry to hear of your problem, it can be(doesn't have to be) a deal breaker even in an otherwise healthy relationship.

My wife was 'strong in the faith' as well for almost a year, it was actually the watching of online debates I was having with fundies that did her faith in. Also the realization that hell was invented by pagan religions long before xtianity got ahold of it.

Without hell xtianity holds little value, and with it you have a god who is beyond an insane dictator.

That would be my best advice, if you can show her with historical evidence how religions over time invented the teaching of eternal torment, you have a shot. Also how bloodthirsty the O.T. god is. He eerily resembles bronze age men! Not surprising since they invented him!

I wouldn't hold my breath since fundies are by definition mindwarped, but I wish you the best.

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Howdy, brushes :)

 

I'm sincerely sorry to hear about you and your wife having issues. My wife and I recently had a fall out, and although it was for different reasons I do know the emotional tole it can take on a person to feel like your losing that bond. You find yourself bending and making exceptions about yourself and who you are at the core just to try and make it work because you care for the other person so much.

 

Eventually I realized that you just can't do that with the things that make up the core of who you are -- religion above all else, I would think. Two people fall in [true] love because of who each person is, not who the other one thinks they should be or what god they should worship (or lack thereof).

 

I'll keep it short because I'm far from an expert here, and just state my quick opinion, for what little it's worth.

 

You use to be a fundie, which I know first hand are big on being 'equally yoked'. So if you two married with the understanding that you were both Christian, is it necessarily 'fair' for you to change that aspect about yourself and expect her to be okay with it? But, on the other side of the coin, is it fair for her to not be truely open-minded to your new views and beliefs and listen to rational thought? In my opinion neither is really fair, so to speak.

 

I hate to say this, but if she is really as stalwart and close-minded as you say, I don't see it going in a good direction no matter what efforts you may put into trying to force it to do so. I do have one suggestion though, which you might have already tried, but it might help if you took some time apart. Who knows? Maybe after a little time without you she'll realize how important you are to her and that her religion may need to take a back seat on this ride.

 

Above all else, just remember to stay true to who you are and what you believe. You will always come out the other end better for having done so.

 

Best of luck to you, Sir.

 

PS - Thank you for your service :)

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Howdy folks,

 

I'm a long-time lurker, but I've never really posted. I'll keep my story brief, in the hopes that someone who has gone through a similar situation can offer some advice.

 

Over the past 2 or so years, I converted from fundamentalist Christianity to atheism. I don't really remember where it started. I read many books, from "pop atheism" such as Dawkins and Hitchens, to books on evolution, geology, radiometric dating, etc. I began questioning my faith several months before I went back to college. I have taken a lot of natural science courses, and each semester, the truth became more and more undeniable.

 

I have been married almost three years now (no children), and my wife and I are members of the fundie church, church of Christ. I'm sure some of you are familiar with them, though they are a rather small denomination. My father in law has been a preacher for churches of Christ for 30 or so years, and my wife is absolutely passionate about her faith. She feels betrayed by my deconversion. It is difficult to get her to even talk to me about why I don't believe anymore. She keeps on telling me, "I have heard the arguments about Christianity; I can't see myself staying my mind." I am a former Marine, and occasionally, I have cynical tendencies. She always tells me that my cynicism led to me losing my faith.

 

We were very, very close before my deconversion, and the strength of our relationship has kept us together. I keep thinking it will get better each month, but it continues to get more difficult (we began speaking about my doubts six months or so ago). I try to be respectful of her views, but I refuse to pray before meals, I only go to church Sunday mornings (this is a sincere exercise in my patients... but churches of Christ meet twice on Sundays and once again during the week, so this is a compromise I'm willing to make if it can save my marriage), I do not sing in church, I do not take communion, etc. I absolutely want to stay with her, but it is incredibly difficult, with our worldviews.

 

Her armor of faith seems impenetrable. She claims she is open minded to my arguments, but she most certainly is not. Any advice? Have any men/ women deconverted their fundie spouses (I know that it is uncommon)? How long does it take? How do you plant that first seed of doubt? What was your most powerful argument?

 

Thank you, and Rationalism bless.

 

hey sarge,

 

I am going through a very similar situation here. The only difference is that I have four kids, which makes everything more wonderful and terrible.

 

He is, I was- a member of the Church of Christ...so I know all about it. Less mystical, WAY more judgmental.

I also go only on Sunday morning now, though I don't know how much longer I can stand it. Don't sing, don't take communion, and occasionally say radical things where people can hear me. :eek:

But mostly, in church, I suffer.

 

And his eyes are closed to reason. God and his magic always win.

 

And for the first time ever, our relationship suffers. We still love each other, treat each other well (except sometimes he gets ugly when we talk about god).....

 

.....I am sorry, I don't have any advice for you. I can just tell you that you are not alone in this experience. I hope your wife will be able to hear you someday.

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Howdy, brushes :)

 

I'm sincerely sorry to hear about you and your wife having issues. My wife and I recently had a fall out, and although it was for different reasons I do know the emotional tole it can take on a person to feel like your losing that bond. You find yourself bending and making exceptions about yourself and who you are at the core just to try and make it work because you care for the other person so much.

 

Eventually I realized that you just can't do that with the things that make up the core of who you are -- religion above all else, I would think. Two people fall in [true] love because of who each person is, not who the other one thinks they should be or what god they should worship (or lack thereof).

 

I'll keep it short because I'm far from an expert here, and just state my quick opinion, for what little it's worth.

 

You use to be a fundie, which I know first hand are big on being 'equally yoked'. So if you two married with the understanding that you were both Christian, is it necessarily 'fair' for you to change that aspect about yourself and expect her to be okay with it? But, on the other side of the coin, is it fair for her to not be truely open-minded to your new views and beliefs and listen to rational thought? In my opinion neither is really fair, so to speak.

 

I hate to say this, but if she is really as stalwart and close-minded as you say, I don't see it going in a good direction no matter what efforts you may put into trying to force it to do so. I do have one suggestion though, which you might have already tried, but it might help if you took some time apart. Who knows? Maybe after a little time without you she'll realize how important you are to her and that her religion may need to take a back seat on this ride.

 

Above all else, just remember to stay true to who you are and what you believe. You will always come out the other end better for having done so.

 

Best of luck to you, Sir.

 

PS - Thank you for your service :)

 

Personally, I think time apart sucks. Either tinkle or get off the potty. :)

 

I'm just saying, if my husband asked me for time apart, I would hear "I don't want you anymore"....so personally, I wouldn't do that to him- I would either stay. Or go.

 

But now I am just talking...cause no one asked me......;)

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Well, FWIW, I don't think you can or should "deconvert" your wife. It's not really something you can do "to" another person. If she is not open to hearing more, it would only be hurtful to her to have you trying to change her. Having said that, though, I am also married to a fundy, yec, who is absolutely closed to hearing reason, and I would love to pound some sense into his head. We're treating each other with respect and getting along lately, but the question in my mind now is whether "just getting along" is enough in the long run. I don't know. And I don't know what your relationship is like. But I think I may be happier on my own or eventually with another humanist/non-religious person who shares the same values and lifestyle as me. As an ex-christian I can see much more clearly how short life is, and how we only get this one chance, and I want to live fully and wholeheartedly.

 

You're not alone.

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Hi Sgt,

I wanted to address the wall of belief that believers put between themselves and reason. There is a good and short article on how belief is part of our survival mechanism, and thus is very difficult to override:

Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die

 

Another way to view the resistance is what we see in abusive relationships, where the victim defends the abuser: The God of Abuse

 

Since the basis of the belief and the defensiveness isn't reason, reason has a difficult time making an impact. Especially when a believer senses that their god is being attacked, regardless of any doubts or struggles they are having, their god will be painted in very rosy terms and you'll only hear about how wonderful life is "in Christ". Oddly enough, they would rather die for this imaginary friend than consider things that might offend him.

 

The forums have discussed what led each of us to de-convert, and the causes are very diverse. But generically, something makes it go sour. Something doesn't add up and the believer has the opportunity to suppress the situation and go on, or look into it and see where it leads. For many, it was seeing the nature of "God" from the pages of scripture. Blessing holocaust after holocaust where the Jews slaughtered entire people groups and cultures (except the young virgins whom they kept to rape); blood required in massive quantities in order for God to forgive (what kind of forgiveness requires payment, especially the sacrifice of a human?); jealous, angry, temperamental, and so on. Most believers don't tend to think of God in these ways, so seeing that the scriptures themselves paint a different picture than their imaginary friend is sometimes shocking.

 

Hope things work out for you both.

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Howdy, brushes :)

 

I'm sincerely sorry to hear about you and your wife having issues. My wife and I recently had a fall out, and although it was for different reasons I do know the emotional tole it can take on a person to feel like your losing that bond. You find yourself bending and making exceptions about yourself and who you are at the core just to try and make it work because you care for the other person so much.

 

Eventually I realized that you just can't do that with the things that make up the core of who you are -- religion above all else, I would think. Two people fall in [true] love because of who each person is, not who the other one thinks they should be or what god they should worship (or lack thereof).

 

I'll keep it short because I'm far from an expert here, and just state my quick opinion, for what little it's worth.

 

You use to be a fundie, which I know first hand are big on being 'equally yoked'. So if you two married with the understanding that you were both Christian, is it necessarily 'fair' for you to change that aspect about yourself and expect her to be okay with it? But, on the other side of the coin, is it fair for her to not be truely open-minded to your new views and beliefs and listen to rational thought? In my opinion neither is really fair, so to speak.

 

I hate to say this, but if she is really as stalwart and close-minded as you say, I don't see it going in a good direction no matter what efforts you may put into trying to force it to do so. I do have one suggestion though, which you might have already tried, but it might help if you took some time apart. Who knows? Maybe after a little time without you she'll realize how important you are to her and that her religion may need to take a back seat on this ride.

 

Above all else, just remember to stay true to who you are and what you believe. You will always come out the other end better for having done so.

 

Best of luck to you, Sir.

 

PS - Thank you for your service :)

 

Personally, I think time apart sucks. Either tinkle or get off the potty. :)

 

I'm just saying, if my husband asked me for time apart, I would hear "I don't want you anymore"....so personally, I wouldn't do that to him- I would either stay. Or go.

 

But now I am just talking...cause no one asked me......;)

 

I see your point, but in some cases (mine for example) having some time alone to re-evaluate yourself and who you are without that other person can play a big role in mending or amicably ending a relationship. Either you wind up growing individually for a while then get back together and your both stronger for it, or you decide that you're happier without the other person and there's no reason to continue it.

 

Different strokes for different folks. I'm not saying it's right for everybody, just food for thought.

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Different strokes for different folks. I'm not saying it's right for everybody, just food for thought.

 

 

I get that. I was just responding from my gut. That's why I added all the "I know it wasn't about me" caveats.

 

but it isn't about me.

 

I just see so many parallels in his story and mine- so, that is where that came from.

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Hi Sarge,

 

You've had a lot of good advice here but I'll add my 2 cents.

 

You have a big plus since you've had a good relationship in the past. Good relationships don't come easy so it might be worth the effort to see if your differences are reconcilable.

 

But, like others have said, if she refuses to consider questioning her faith, there will always be that difference. World views of such difference are likely to just keep widening the gap.

 

Also, others have said that it must be your wife that deconverts. You cannot make her deconvert. However, if you want to work on the relationship, give her the opportunities to begin seeking some answers. It's good that she is aware of and learning about your deconversion discussions, etc. Continue to allow her to see what you are learning about. Add to that some discussions, without belittling her belief, but simple questions about why she believes the things she does. For instance, there are several things which many moderate christians reject that fundamentalists do not such as a literal hell. If she doesn't believe in a literal hell, why does she need to believe in a god? If god helps people to be good, why are there so many atheists on this forum and many others being so helpful to each other. Why do atheists follow the golden rule of "do unto others and you would have them do unto you" (and many other humanistic traits) when they don't have to do it because of some omnipotent being?

 

Perhaps instead of refusing to pray with her, explain to her that you will go through the motions of prayer if it will make her happy but that you see prayer as more of a conversation with your own mind. A way to sort things out to come to a logical conclusion. I should take my own advice on this. This is one of the issues that I am having. I do pray with my husband before dinner. I have kid issues to deal with though. You have in-law issues instead perhaps. Of course my husband is catholic so the prayer is pretty much a mindless ritual anyway. I just hate that I do it so automatically and don't tell him I hate it.

 

Of course it will be up to you to discover what is right for you. It's difficult to start over, but in reality, even if your wife did want to de-convert, it would be difficult for her unless she really, really wanted to, since her family is religious. I think that is part of the reason that I don't think my husband will ever de-convert even though he is just a moderate christian. He's not interested enough to learn about non-theism and wouldn't want to be "outside" of his families worldview.

 

Don't take any of our advice as "the word". But you are still young. Living a resentful life won't do either of you any good and if she will never consider leaving religion then you are both likely to resent your changes. But even if she doesn't choose to de-convert, perhaps she will be someone who can accept who you have become and you can both learn to respect each others decision.

 

Good reasoning to you too.

 

Rose

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Although my situation was entirely different -- a nasty divorce from a good little sleeping-around Baptist wife is what initiated my deconversion -- as is the case from everyone else posting here, you have my sincere best wishes.

 

Just a thought: since you are graciously attending church with her, is there any chance she might reciprocate and attend some function of secular/humanist/scientific/interfaith interest with you? Anything featuring a really strident, anti-theistic stance probably wouldn't be too helpful, but perhaps you could find something that not only would she find interesting but could inspire a little doubt or self-examination on her part.

 

Trying to think optimistically,

 

David

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I'm in a similiar situation. Right now (as in literally...RIGHT NOW) things are going well. We have four kids and we both feel strongly about working it out but that doesn't always translate well into reality.

 

When I first deconverted, I thought I might be able to show my husband what I've learned and have him listen to "my side" or "reason" but I quickly learned that he wasn't the least bit interested in that. He was perfectly able to listen to my questions and doubts BEFORE I deconverted but not after.

 

I wish you and your wife well as your try to work this out. I know it's not easy.

 

freedom

 

 

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Semper Fi, Sgt.

 

Both my ex-wife and I were fundamentalists, originally of the independent Baptist persuasion, and then spent several years in Calvary Chapel. I don't exactly remember how long it took, but between 1 & 3 months after I told her about my deconversion, my wife (we were married at the time) also deconverted. She is a pretty rational person, though. There is hope for your wife.

 

What convinced my ex-wife was what had convinced me, namely that thhe Bible is so full of contradictions, historical and scientific inaccuracies, logical problems, and plain silliness, that it can't be the product of a god. My ex-wife also had problems with the ineffectiveness of prayer. Although biblical apologists have "answers" to these problems, they aren't reasonable answers. Present her with the issues and ask her if the answers are reasonable.

 

Oh, for what it's worth, in my opinion you'd be wise to refrain from having children until this is cleared up.

 

Respectfully,

Franciscan Monkey

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... Oh, for what it's worth, in my opinion you'd be wise to refrain from having children until this is cleared up.

 

Respectfully,

Franciscan Monkey

 

I second that opinion.

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I really wanted to reply to this post last night, as I have been in your wife's shoes with an agnostic husband....who was VERY patient with me during all my craziness...who I never even asked what he "was" until after my deconversion.

 

I really wanted him to be the "christian" husband and "spiritual" leader of our family. To be honest, you shouldn't try to deconvert your wife because she has to want to. Here is her pressure: daddy...need I say more?

 

My parents nor my kids, except 1, knows only because he is also an agnostic/free thinker like his dad. If I told my dad he would blow up and he was a lay pastor before.

 

Personally, I disagree with those saying time apart, etc, this does not have to ruin your marriage and even if you do have kids, by then you two should have a plan of action. She may come around and be more open if you don't pressure her and just be accepting like we all "claim" to be. Though it's hard to "fake" or be around it too much after deconverting, you can manage this for the sake of your wife and marriage.

 

Remember, it is going to take quite sometime for her and you need to take it very slow with her as she was raised in the church AND her dad is the minister, ding, ding, ding! You can email me if you want to talk to someone from your wife's point of view. This is all she knows, this is her life line, her purpose, you can't expect her to just say in one day, "Oh, I think I want to quite christianity"...not going to happen that fast. It took me 2-3 years before I deconverted.

 

Hope you haven't done anything too drastic yet and that I made some sense in what I said above.

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hey sarge,

 

Only guys in the Army or Airforce are called sarge!!! :angry2:

 

 

 

...so I know all about it. Less mystical, WAY more judgmental.

 

 

No shit. Some of the most judgemental assholes I've ever known where CoC'ers.(Including myself when I was younger.)

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Only guys in the Army or Airforce are called sarge!!! :angry2:

 

 

 

Don't yell at me monkey! I'm not privy too it....

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Oh, for what it's worth, in my opinion you'd be wise to refrain from having children until this is cleared up.

 

 

+1. I was about to say the very same thing.

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Only guys in the Army or Airforce are called sarge!!! :angry2:

 

 

 

Don't yell at me monkey! I'm not privy too it....

 

Sorry. It was intended to be read as mock anger.

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Only guys in the Army or Airforce are called sarge!!! :angry2:

 

 

 

Don't yell at me monkey! I'm not privy too it....

 

Sorry. It was intended to be read as mock anger.

 

Ok. Good that I refrained from slappin' ya back. Cause you are a very important Monkey ;)

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Only guys in the Army or Airforce are called sarge!!! :angry2:

 

 

 

Don't yell at me monkey! I'm not privy too it....

 

Sorry. It was intended to be read as mock anger.

 

Ok. Good that I refrained from slappin' ya back. Cause you are a very important Monkey ;)

 

:) Thanks. Next time, I'll be sure to make it more clear when I'm joking around. I don't see myself ever yelling at you for real.

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:) Thanks. Next time, I'll be sure to make it more clear when I'm joking around. I don't see myself ever yelling at you for real.

 

:kiss:

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Just a thought: since you are graciously attending church with her, is there any chance she might reciprocate and attend some function of secular/humanist/scientific/interfaith interest with you? Anything featuring a really strident, anti-theistic stance probably wouldn't be too helpful, but perhaps you could find something that not only would she find interesting but could inspire a little doubt or self-examination on her part.

 

Trying to think optimistically,

 

David

 

I think this is an excellent bit of advice.

I will admit, I've never been married, but I have had a couple of guys try to date/convert me, one from the CoC, another a Baptist. The CoC acted like a complete dick, and treated me like a thing. Didn't last long.

But, the Baptist invited me to his church, and I said "ok, but I'm having a meeting with the pagan student group a couple of days before that, why don't you attend that, and I'll attend your church?" I never heard back :HaHa:

 

I know being married is more sticky and difficult, especially since you married as a Christian. I deconverted at about 14-15, so I didn't have that issue.

I also echo that you DO NOT HAVE KIDS until this is cleared up. Some think kids "fix" a relationship, but they don't. And it wouldn't be fair to bring kids into the crossfire.

 

In any case, best of luck to you. Hope you can both come to mutual respect, and hopefully, love.

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I am overwhelmed by the responses! Thank you all. Here's what I will say in response:

 

  1. MagickMonkey is correct. Don't call me "Sarge;" it's like calling a Jew a Christ-killer... okay, probably not that offensive.
  2. piper: OT God = terrible moral character: She follows the standard rationalization, "We don't know why the culture was different back then, but all of God's decisions are perfect, and who are we to question his judgment thousands of years ago?"
  3. BigVaden: You are absolutely correct: from her perspective, it is completely unfair of me to stop being a Christian. At the forefront of our wedding vows was our desire to serve Christ forever. This is why I am exercising great patience.
  4. BigVaden: I've considered time apart. We may try this later, once we've had more time to sort things out. I don't want to sound like a douche, but other than the whole heathen thing, I'm pretty much the best husband ever. I'm not saying I will give her a "It's me or god" ultimatum, but maybe she will see which one of us actually has a positive impact on her life.
  5. foolishGirl: Thanks for the words of kindness. I've only been going to CoC Sunday morning for about six months, and it is incredibly difficult to go. The only reason I am going is because my marriage would have 0 chance if I stopped altogether. Keep on keeping on.
  6. ilovemybrain: You are correct, ma'am. We have reached somewhat of an understand; I will not try to deconvert her, and she will not try to reconvert me. I am trying to give her opportunities for her to investigate things herself. She feels so betrayed that this is difficult. I wrote a ~15 pg essay explaining what led to my decision. She has had it for about a month, and has read one page. She breaks into tears and is so emotionally distraught that she cannot go on.
  7. Fuego: Thanks for the links. My wife's first degree was in psychology... alas, as others have said, when the beliefs are founded on reason, it is hard to refute them with reason.
  8. Serendipity: She absolutely believes in a literal hell. "Knowing," without a doubt, that her husband will spend eternity suffering, is part of the reason this is so difficult. As for god helping people to be good, she adheres to some form of "everybody has free will... but god is in charge of everything."
  9. dbwindhorst: I have considered inviting her to a secular get together, but I don't know any reliable ones around here, and I want to be very careful doing this. I need to find a place where heathens do good things and are perhaps less vocal about their denial of religion. Seeing actual heathens instead of their caricatures may help convince her.
  10. FranciscanMonkey: The ineffectiveness of prayer was probably the most powerful thing that led to my deconversion. As for inconsistencies in the Bible, her father has a PhD and teaches college-level apologetics courses... he is the mother of all rationalizers. He is actually a great man, but, as many others do, compartmentalizes his religion into an area of his brain where its irrationality is tolerated. She accepts the weak apologetic "answers" to these problems.
  11. Several: We didn't want kids yet anyway, but the mere thought of raising kids to burn in hell for all eternity from her perspective + the thought of putting my kids through the pain with which I am dealing now = excellent contraceptive.
  12. Denise, your husband stayed with you for 3 years while you deconverted? Impressive. The idea of soulmates is bullshit, but if it were true, my wife and I would be soulmates... if it weren't for the disgusting mindwashing that happened from the day she was born, we would literally be perfect for each other. I strive to be incredibly patient with her. By the way, you need to tell your husband every day "Thank you;" imagine going through the motions for three years like he did. It is difficult.
  13. lunaticheathen: We have 3 nephews. We know that kids don't fix a relationship. We will not be so stupid!

I am embracing the same principles I held as a fundie: (1) patience and (2) don't push too hard. I realize it it critical that she WANTS to find the answers. Ironically, my deconversion has probably strengthened her faith. She saw how weak faith can be, and she doesn't want to be deceived by Satan, as I have been (another peculiarity of CoC: free will, god's will, and Satan's deception are all literal...).

 

Thanks again for the advice, everyone. It is sincerely appreciated. Best of luck to those of you responded and are in a similar situation. Reasonspeed.

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  1. MagickMonkey is correct. Don't call me "Sarge;" it's like calling a Jew a Christ-killer... okay, probably not that offensive.

 

So this makes number one, huh? lol

 

Ok, ok...

 

but so you know, any of you may refer to me as Sarge, ma'am, mistress, Mrs. President, OR foolish Goddess.. .. .. .. these are all acceptable to me. ;)

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