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earthmama514
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Advice from women who deconverted before their husbands (or whose husbands never deconverted) is especially useful, but not necessary.

 

I havent told my husband that i have deconverted yet, just answering his questions about my lack of church attendance, prayer, bible reading etc lately, directly and honestly when he asks. he knows i am "doubting" but I dont think he knows i am no longer considering  myself a christian.

 

My problem is this: Since realizing that i am 'slacking" and "doubting" he has stepped up his "head of the household" game considerably. It is very tiring and exhausting. He is constantly praying out loud now, telling me about Bible things hes read or heard about recently, trying to talk to our child constantly about God and how hes displeased with her behavior when she acts up, and just becoming like a dictator. Just like he was and is taught to do in church. He is supposed to be the "leader" and i am supposed to just be a doormat submissive and go along with what  he says even if i disagree, without offering my opinion.

 

Well since deconverting, i am coming into my own. I am awakening to what i can do and what i want in life and going for it no holds barred. I think my sudden confidence and independence is freaking him out and he feels he is losing his control over me. (he would be right in that respect)

 

So has anyone gone through this before? Does it get better? Is it possible to stay married and live peacefully (or relatively so) when the woman is the one who deconverted especially out of a more crazy fundamental sect of xtianity? I really dont want to fight with him for the rest of my life to have my own thoughts, ideas, and actions without being told im being "rebellious" "unsubmissive" and preached at with out of context bible verses and reminders that my dad told him he needed to take a 'strong hand with me" constantly. I am getting tired fast of this and am considering a divorce. I dont want to divorce as my husband can be a really great guy most times, but i refuse to be disrespected anymore in the name of "god".

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There is a chance that your relationship won't make it.  That all depends on what kind of a person he is and what choices he makes.  If this goes south you are not going to want it to hold together.  That would make you miserable.

 

So just how fundie is he?  Does he love Jesus more than you?  You might have to level with him or at least set boundaries.  Perhaps inform him that he is not the head of the family; that it is a partnership and partnerships don't work if one tries to be a bossy bully.

 

I don't know your husband so I can't tell you which call he will make.

 

*hugs*  This sucks.  So sorry.

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I'm sorry this may not be the story you'd like to hear, but I'm a deconvert divorced from a Fundamentalist.

 

I could talk a lot about this and can answer any specific questions if you want to know more, but in short, it came down to a few major issues:

 

1. The head of the household thing was about control, not just (or maybe even more than) devotion to god and love for me. It sounds like that's an issue for you too. If his first concern had been true sadness for me, fearing I would go to hell, I don't know if we could have or would have stayed together, but it would have told me that my well-being was a priority to him, even if we disagreed on what that was. Instead, his priorities were control and his image in front of his Fundy family and friends.

 

2. I wouldn't have kids with him. I wouldn't have a kid with someone who didn't respect me, who would teach a child that men were to lead and women were to submit, and worst of all, who would raise a child to fear hell. I believe it was an easier choice for me since I didn't have any children.

 

I made mistakes and had faults too. But even if I had behaved perfectly in all aspects, I don't believe we could have stayed happily married. We couldn't come to an agreement or mutual boundaries where he'd stop trying to undermine my deconversion and any other ways that I was leaving his control and authority. For example, he also was unsupportive and negative about my career. He was also extremely hypocritical about female vs. male sexual standards. It wasn't just that he didn't respect me, but I lost respect for him as well. He's remarried to a Baptist stay at home mom who does all the child raising while he goes out of town on long business trips.

 

Looking back, I don't regret the divorce. If I imagine that I am looking forward at the rest of my life, maybe over 50 more years, in a relationship with someone who wanted nothing more than to see me submit, it feels more like a drawn out death sentence than a life. I hope that you can come to an agreement with your husband. But I don't think that anyone should feel like they need to stay in a relationship with someone whose hopes and dreams for their partner is that she learns to keep her mouth shut.

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As a never-married male who was probably in the same kind of church as you/your husband is/was, I may still be able to provide some insight. Going to a bunch of Christian "men talks", we were told that we were responsible for the family (with great power comes great responsibility type thing). Anything going wrong was on us. It's possible that your husband is blaming himself for you leaving the church and is feeling the weight of every little thing he did "wrong" on his shoulders. He's probably going strongly in the other direction to try to make things "right". I don't know what the solution is, but I can see where he's coming from having had the same Christian talks thrown at me. Best thing you can probably do is help him to realize that it's not been any action or inaction on his part that has caused you to leave Christianity, but a decision you made yourself. I hope things work out.

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I'm sorry this may not be the story you'd like to hear, but I'm a deconvert divorced from a Fundamentalist.

 

I could talk a lot about this and can answer any specific questions if you want to know more, but in short, it came down to a few major issues:

 

1. The head of the household thing was about control, not just (or maybe even more than) devotion to god and love for me. It sounds like that's an issue for you too. If his first concern had been true sadness for me, fearing I would go to hell, I don't know if we could have or would have stayed together, but it would have told me that my well-being was a priority to him, even if we disagreed on what that was. Instead, his priorities were control and his image in front of his Fundy family and friends.

 

2. I wouldn't have kids with him. I wouldn't have a kid with someone who didn't respect me, who would teach a child that men were to lead and women were to submit, and worst of all, who would raise a child to fear hell. I believe it was an easier choice for me since I didn't have any children.

 

I made mistakes and had faults too. But even if I had behaved perfectly in all aspects, I don't believe we could have stayed happily married. We couldn't come to an agreement or mutual boundaries where he'd stop trying to undermine my deconversion and any other ways that I was leaving his control and authority. For example, he also was unsupportive and negative about my career. He was also extremely hypocritical about female vs. male sexual standards. It wasn't just that he didn't respect me, but I lost respect for him as well. He's remarried to a Baptist stay at home mom who does all the child raising while he goes out of town on long business trips.

 

Looking back, I don't regret the divorce. If I imagine that I am looking forward at the rest of my life, maybe over 50 more years, in a relationship with someone who wanted nothing more than to see me submit, it feels more like a drawn out death sentence than a life. I hope that you can come to an agreement with your husband. But I don't think that anyone should feel like they need to stay in a relationship with someone whose hopes and dreams for their partner is that she learns to keep her mouth shut.

Thank you for this. I agree with number 1 wholeheartedly. He was going to a men's Bible group where they talked frequently about being the head of the household. We were in counseling but it was a with a me Christian counselor and it wasn't great. He seemed to be sincerely changing but that didn't last long. I really think he I incapable of change at this point in his life. No matter the evidence he will not change his mind.

 

2. Since we were married I have not wanted to have kids with him. Something just aways nagged me about it and some things he said bothered me. Despite actively preventing I wound up pregnant quite shockingly. (Was told I could never conceive on my own without intervention. Guess that wasn't true. Ha. While I love my daughter to death and wouldn't trade her for the world it certainly complicates things.

 

He's not as fundie as I was. He grew up southern Baptist who's family rarely attended church while I was the daughter of an independent fundamental Baptist preacher who never missed a church function unless on my death bed. Recently though he's become more into church while my interest has waned until I finally left.

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I left the faith late in life. I'd been deeply involved in Christianity for more than 40 years when I walked away from it. I just stopped going to church but I didn't make any attempt to de-convert my wife. I'd been studying and researching religious history for several years before I stopped going to church, because I'd become aware of the endless contradictions and inconsistences in both the bible and Christianity. My wife was aware of the material I was reading because she ordered the books for me from amazon.

 

After a period of me not attending church she initiated a discussion about my reasons for leaving our "'Church". I kept my response short and to the point. Basically, I'd studied religious history for a little over three years at that point and the evidence convinced me that Christianity and the Bible simple was not true. The gospels were almost certainly myths and there is no evidence a person known as Jesus of Nazareth ever existed. She, of course, didn't accept that.

 

After much discussion I agree to go to Church with her, but we would have to attend a liberal version of Christianity. We'd been hard core fundamentalist for our entire forty year experience with Christianity. Unfortunately, the only liberal Church I could tolerate was a thirty minute drive from our house. They had a Saturday evening service and that worked for us, but the long drive eventually became too much.

 

I reluctantly agreed to attend a large independent church that is only a mile from our home. They are supposedly independent, but in reality their beliefs are in line with Southern Baptist Theology. I think I endured five or six services before it became too much. I ended up walking out of a service one Sunday morning. My wife followed me and we had a "discussion" in a near by mall parking lot. I told her I simply couldn't do it anymore. It was all meaningless to me and then I gave her my reasons why it no longer had any meaning for me.

 

She told me she understood but didn't agree with me. I told her I didn't expect her to agree because she had never examined the evidence. She told me she was going to continue to go to church alone. I told her I was okay with that.

 

That all occurred about three months ago. Neither of us have been to church since and church is apparently no longer an issue. I've made sure the material I've studied was left out in the open. Comments she has made recently indicates she had been reading those books. A couple of weeks ago she said a person doesn't have to go to church to be spiritual. I simply said, "I agree."

 

I would recommend "The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture"  by Darrel Ray. He is a former Christian fundamentalists and his book offers some excellent ideas on how to deal with believers. One of the things I became aware of during my de-conversion process is attempting to de-convert a born again believer is a waste of time and energy. Until a believer sees the problems with the bible and Christianity for themselves their minds simply will not process information that challenges their beliefs.

 

In my case, I never challenged my wife's beliefs. I simply told her why I no longer believed and made the material that convinced me to walk away from my faith available to her. I assume her curiosity got the best of her and she decided, on her own, to check out my reasons for leaving the faith. I'm pretty sure she is no longer a believer, but like I said, religion is just something we don't discuss. I think a lot of long time married couples (49 years for us in Sept.) have subjects they have learned to simply not discuss.

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I don't care if he deconverts. He's an adult who will have to make his own decision. I do care about being treated as an equal partner in life and respected as an individual with my own thoughts dreams etc. Currently that's not happening. He disrespects me constantly in the name of God and religion. I'm very tired of it. I am happy to agree to disagree and not bring it up but he is not. He feels its his job to "get me back in line" because im being "rebellious".

I'm emotionally exhausted with it all already.

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Thanks to ClaraOlive and Anonymous Coward, I just had something of a revelation here: It's not possible to control other people's thinking and reactions. The problem with a lot of Christian culture is that it places the burden of other people's actions, feelings, and thoughts on you. In women, this manifests as the obsession with "modesty" - as if men's behavior is the woman's fault. For men, this is the "master of the house" complex, on the shaming end of it, as if he were responsible for a woman's decisions. Either way, it's about controlling people through the inevitable failure (because that's just not how things work) and guilt that ensues - it markets faith as the only solution to a problem generated by it's own teachings.

 

He's an adult who will have to make his own decision. I do care about being treated as an equal partner in life and respected as an individual with my own thoughts dreams etc. Currently that's not happening. He disrespects me constantly in the name of God and religion. I'm very tired of it. I am happy to agree to disagree and not bring it up but he is not. He feels its his job to "get me back in line" because im being "rebellious".
I'm emotionally exhausted with it all already.

^^^ There's your answer, actually. You are an adult, and you've made your own decisions, as is your right. He has to respect that, and his acculturation to a toxic Christianity is preventing that right now.

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Thanks to ClaraOlive and Anonymous Coward, I just had something of a revelation here: It's not possible to control other people's thinking and reactions. The problem with a lot of Christian culture is that it places the burden of other people's actions, feelings, and thoughts on you. In women, this manifests as the obsession with "modesty" - as if men's behavior is the woman's fault. For men, this is the "master of the house" complex, on the shaming end of it, as if he were responsible for a woman's decisions. Either way, it's about controlling people through the inevitable failure (because that's just not how things work) and guilt that ensues - it markets faith as the only solution to a problem generated by it's own teachings.

 

 

He's an adult who will have to make his own decision. I do care about being treated as an equal partner in life and respected as an individual with my own thoughts dreams etc. Currently that's not happening. He disrespects me constantly in the name of God and religion. I'm very tired of it. I am happy to agree to disagree and not bring it up but he is not. He feels its his job to "get me back in line" because im being "rebellious".

I'm emotionally exhausted with it all already.

^^^ There's your answer, actually. You are an adult, and you've made your own decisions, as is your right. He has to respect that, and his acculturation to a toxic Christianity is preventing that right now.

You certainly hit the nail on the head with that description of Christianity. That is definitely how it works. Everyone else's decisions are your problem and possibly your fault. I certainly don't miss living that way.

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earthmama514,

 

hello again. I know you asked for advice from women. I just wanted to mention one very important point, well, two points. First, does your husband display any signs or tendencies to be violent, either verbally or physically? And have you thought it through about custody of your daughter, and do you think your husband would contest you for her custody?

 

I wish you peaceful resolution to your situation.

 

+ Human

Human,

 he sometimes has outbursts of yelling fits but for the most part is a peaceful individual. i dont feel he would ever assault me physically but he does say some mean things sometimes. again most of it is just crap ive heard before from fundies so i take it with a grain of salt but it still is not nice.

 

my husband might want partial custody and he might not. he literally is incapable of watching her for more then 20 minutes without getting bored, irritated, or just up and walking away and going to play a video game. its beyond frustrating that he cant watch her for a decent amount of time. and he has not gotten up once with her at night since she was 2 weeks old. she still wakes 1-4 times a night (we were blessed with a child who needs little sleep and is a morning person unlike us night owl parents. what a fun time!) and i am the only one who gets up with her. he outright refuses, citing his having to get up early for work as a reason. despite the fact *I* work outside the home 1-2 times a week as well and also need to get up early and yet i still get up with her. I have gone to work on less then 4 hours of sleep before and am taking care of sick patients on little sleep when i need all my faculties and all with no complaints.

 

so i say all that to say im not really sure he would want her for overnights at the very least for a bit of time.

 

but after chatting with my therapist about it and talking out some things, i have decided to stay for now. even if i know i am not staying forever, i need to bide my time for several reasons, the main one being so i can support myself fully and totally without worry about being evicted or being able to put food on the table for my child. my business is taking off and is currently replacing one of my paychecks each month so hoping soon that it will be even better and i can rely on it fully for all income.

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Advice from women who deconverted before their husbands (or whose husbands never deconverted) is especially useful, but not necessary.

 

I havent told my husband that i have deconverted yet, just answering his questions about my lack of church attendance, prayer, bible reading etc lately, directly and honestly when he asks. he knows i am "doubting" but I dont think he knows i am no longer considering  myself a christian.

 

My problem is this: Since realizing that i am 'slacking" and "doubting" he has stepped up his "head of the household" game considerably. It is very tiring and exhausting. He is constantly praying out loud now, telling me about Bible things hes read or heard about recently, trying to talk to our child constantly about God and how hes displeased with her behavior when she acts up, and just becoming like a dictator. Just like he was and is taught to do in church. He is supposed to be the "leader" and i am supposed to just be a doormat submissive and go along with what  he says even if i disagree, without offering my opinion.

 

Well since deconverting, i am coming into my own. I am awakening to what i can do and what i want in life and going for it no holds barred. I think my sudden confidence and independence is freaking him out and he feels he is losing his control over me. (he would be right in that respect)

 

So has anyone gone through this before? Does it get better? Is it possible to stay married and live peacefully (or relatively so) when the woman is the one who deconverted especially out of a more crazy fundamental sect of xtianity? I really dont want to fight with him for the rest of my life to have my own thoughts, ideas, and actions without being told im being "rebellious" "unsubmissive" and preached at with out of context bible verses and reminders that my dad told him he needed to take a 'strong hand with me" constantly. I am getting tired fast of this and am considering a divorce. I dont want to divorce as my husband can be a really great guy most times, but i refuse to be disrespected anymore in the name of "god".

 

If he's as ingrained in the sect as you say, and his family supports all that, then it's not going to get better, it's going to get worse and will continue to do so until you separate yourself.

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If you can appease your husband enough to diffuse his anger ...

 

 

This is scary to me. I think given what you've told us, earthmama, that you're on a good path with becoming financially independent and waiting until you're in a stable place to see what happens. But don't hesitate to leave if you think you need to.

 

I don't want to be negative or make you feel pressured here - I support your decision - but I don't see from anything you've said, any reason to stay with someone who disrespects you, yells at you and doesn't parent his own child.

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