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Margee

How to approach a believing Christian spouse with our new truth

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This has been discussed on Ex-c many times. When one partner stops believing in god, what do we do? What do we say? How do we approach the believing partner? I thought this message summed it up pretty good and might give a few good pointers for those of you who still live with a Christian believer.

 

 

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The man says it perfectly, @Margee

 

I'd sent this to the fams except for 2 things....

1. All of them would turn it off 10 seconds into it.

2. All of the undesirable affects of coming out (yes, again) would come true - some right away and others after time.

...OK... 3 things.

3. I'm a wienie. :(

 

 

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The man says it perfectly, @Margee

 

I'd sent this to the fams except for 2 things....

1. All of them would turn it off 10 seconds into it.

2. All of the undesirable affects of coming out (yes, again) would come true - some right away and others after time.

...OK... 3 things.

3. I'm a wienie. :(

 

 

 

I don't think you're a wienie at all @MOHO. Brainwashed christians can make it very hard on us when we tell them that we doubt if the christian god exists. I still think it trigger's their own doubts myself. When my atheist cousin use to tell me how foolish I was, I turned a deaf ear to him because deep, deep, deep, deep down inside...I knew there was a huge possibility that he was right and I did not want to face up to that at that time in my life. Plus believers don't want to give up their 'magical' god. I didn't. I knew I would find life a little harder without my magical god. I liked believing that something up there would protect me and my loved ones.

 

(hug)

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I don't think you're a wienie at all @MOHO. Brainwashed christians can make it very hard on us when we tell them that we doubt if the christian god exists. I still think it trigger's their own doubts myself. When my atheist cousin use to tell me how foolish I was, I turned a deaf ear to him because deep, deep, deep, deep down inside...I knew there was a huge possibility that he was right and I did not want to face up to that at that time in my life. Plus believers don't want to give up their 'magical' god. I didn't. I knew I would find life a little harder without my magical god. I liked believing that something up there would protect me and my loved ones.

 

(hug)

 

Thanx, @Margee.

 

I've hit my limit of likes for the day but I'll be back tomorrow...

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Oooo wow. Loved it. I hope I don't have to. But if I ever do I'm gonna PM that video to my wife. So far she has been....... understanding..... ? for the most part.

 

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Thanks for sharing, Margee.  The Thinking Atheist is probably my favorite podcast of its kind.  It's been a valuable resource in the later stages of my own deconversion.  Unbelievers who were once Christians themselves can certainly relate to and encourage each other.  Hey, maybe we should form a community...

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So far she has been....... understanding..... ? for the most part.

 

I know how you feel, buddy.  It could be better, but it could certainly be a hell of a lot worse too...

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The thing I struggle with is wishing my husband would have a legitimate desire to know the truth about Christianity. I am fortunate, he is VERY laidback and is more about "feeling God" and "praying to Him," and "sure, Jesus died for my sins," but I don't know that people would really know he's a Christian and he's not fundamental. He goes to church like half the time and I raised hell when we were dating about not being a "submitting wife." I just want him to give a shit enough about what he's ascribing to and research it. Own it, ya know? So frustrating.

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I thing I struggle with is wishing my husband would have a legitimate desire to know the truth about Christianity. I am fortunate, he is VERY laidback and is more about "feeling God" and "praying to Him," and "sure, Jesus died for my sins," but I don't know that people would really know he's a Christian and he's not fundamental. He goes to church like half the time and I raised hell when we were dating about not being a "submitting wife." I just want to give a shit enough about what he's ascribing to and research it. Own it, ya know? So frustrating.

 

Mrs. MOHO does read interweb articles concerning science and history but will always defer to the bable when things don't line up. And she ONLY reads those sections prescribed by the little booklets issued in bable study.

 

Of course, if they DO research what they believe in secular sources, their beliefs will surely change. RIGHT? <_<

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I know how you feel, buddy.  It could be better, but it could certainly be a hell of a lot worse too...

EXACTLY! ?

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WOW, Margee! This is SPOT ON.  All of it.  

 

I love the part where he explains how "he" found himself in a place he never expected to be...  decided to get to the bottom of it, to look at his beliefs with a commitment to truth... and found his beliefs wanting.  And that it wasn't to HURT HER, to call her stupid, to tear apart the family.

 

And given all of the potential fall out, he told her anyway - to be honest, because she is his life partner.

 

He may as well have been reading a chapter out of my biography.  EXACTLY!

 

Thank you - that was soothing to my soul (my metaphorical soul...)  =)

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Excellent video. Wish I had watched it before a conversation with my wife last evening.  She has been understanding---no, I should say tolerant---to a point, for over 20 years.  But I pushed a little too far last night.  It is interesting how people can be very perceptive in some areas, and blind in others.  I'll start a new thread about it, and would like some feedback.

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This is excellent. I wish I had the courage to send it to everyone in my family, but I don't think it would be received well.

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Two things: First, Seth Andrews is amazing. I've listened to this particular mini-episode on his The Thinking Atheist podcast more than once, and it is really good. That being said, I don't think I'm ready to press the issue with my wife any further than I already have. The first time didn't go too well. But if I'm ever in a position where I have to, I've already bookmarked this as a resource for her.

 

Second, I can most definitely relate to what Margee shared:

 

On 6/1/2017 at 1:20 PM, Margee said:

I still think it trigger's their own doubts myself. When my atheist cousin use to tell me how foolish I was, I turned a deaf ear to him because deep, deep, deep, deep down inside...I knew there was a huge possibility that he was right and I did not want to face up to that at that time in my life. Plus believers don't want to give up their 'magical' god. I didn't. I knew I would find life a little harder without my magical god. I liked believing that something up there would protect me and my loved ones. 

 

When I was a believer, I honestly felt a little threatened when reading/listening to atheistic arguments, because they were often compelling enough that I knew I couldn't really refute them, and I was afraid they might be right. I wasn't ready to accept that yet, so my defenses would go up. I try to remember this whenever I have conversations with believers now, because I know firsthand how distressing it can be to have one's dearest beliefs challenged, and the complications it can create when one actually does lay those former beliefs down. So I understand perfectly why someone would be very reluctant to do it.

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I told my husband a few months ago I needed to tell him something,that I couldn't carry it on my own anymore. We sat on the couch and I shared I wasn’t a Christian anymore and that I didn’t believe in Jesus. 

We both cried some and he told me “I’ve never been through this before but I’m here and I love you.”

And he does. Sometimes I go to church with him and our children. We still hold hands around the table to pray for dinner but he doesn’t ask me to take a turn anymore. We choose each other and I trust his heart. 

It helps that he’s never been very loud about his faith. He quietly lives it out by being a good husband and father and I’m very lucky. 

 

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On 11/17/2018 at 2:59 PM, PurpleLilac said:

I told my husband a few months ago I needed to tell him something,that I couldn't carry it on my own anymore. We sat on the couch and I shared I wasn’t a Christian anymore and that I didn’t believe in Jesus. 

We both cried some and he told me “I’ve never been through this before but I’m here and I love you.”

And he does. Sometimes I go to church with him and our children. We still hold hands around the table to pray for dinner but he doesn’t ask me to take a turn anymore. We choose each other and I trust his heart. 

It helps that he’s never been very loud about his faith. He quietly lives it out by being a good husband and father and I’m very lucky. 

 

 

Wow, I wish I had done it this way. My heartbreak decided to come out as "fuck Jesus, fuck my christian family, fuck anybody who wants to throw down right now" panicked, rushing, "need-to-know-the-answers-right-now" way. I'm so proud of how you handled this!!!

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57 minutes ago, ag_NO_stic said:

 

Wow, I wish I had done it this way. My heartbreak decided to come out as "fuck Jesus, fuck my christian family, fuck anybody who wants to throw down right now" panicked, rushing, "need-to-know-the-answers-right-now" way. I'm so proud of how you handled this!!!

Thank you. It helped so much that we went to group therapy together for a few months. He watched the cracks in my faith form and saw the changes in me. More importantly,he grasped how crucial it was to be there and love me unconditionally. 

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I want to resurrect this as it’s been  over three months and I think my husband’s grief and sadness is just growing. We start marriage counseling on Monday because I want to grow old with him. 

I watched Seth’s “letter to Christian spouse” again above and it just tears at my heart. 

Last month,my daughter asked me about hell and Satan and I sought to soothe her fears and hopefully hand her a more peaceful,progressive version of Christianity (that she can leave or take as she wills). The tension between us grows as 2020 begins to come into view and politics and Christianity intertwine for my husband. It’s just so much. It’s sitting in church (when I go) and inevitably the trauma,the memories come for me. I described it to a friend as “Escaping a slave owner and having tea with him every Sunday for an hour.” I don’t think I can bear it much longer. 

 

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2 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

I want to resurrect this as it’s been  over three months and I think my husband’s grief and sadness is just growing. We start marriage counseling on Monday because I want to grow old with him. 

I watched Seth’s “letter to Christian spouse” again above and it just tears at my heart. 

Last month,my daughter asked me about hell and Satan and I sought to soothe her fears and hopefully hand her a more peaceful,progressive version of Christianity (that she can leave or take as she wills). The tension between us grows as 2020 begins to come into view and politics and Christianity intertwine for my husband. It’s just so much. It’s sitting in church (when I go) and inevitably the trauma,the memories come for me. I described it to a friend as “Escaping a slave owner and having tea with him every Sunday for an hour.” I don’t think I can bear it much longer. 

 

 

That really blows, @PurpleLilac.

 

You know I'm in much the same boat but we have, more or less, worked things out. I don't go to church, we don't talk religion, and I don't chuck a wobbly when she writes that check to the entity that has created so much strife in my life. She is, however, pouring over those little Satan pamphlets and "researching" that topic in the Bible. This is the topic of her latest Bible study and the fear factor is the most powerful thing the fundies have. And they use it! We're talking about a woman who has had absolutely NO logic or science training so everything the Bible says is the absolute truth. In addition those pamphlets are written by xtians so they too are the unquestionable truth. I can only hope that she will ask me some questions based on some cognitive dissonance some day. Even someone who does not appreciate the scientific method should have doubt about the crap in the holy  books. 

 

How many relationships have been ruined by fundamentalism? How much safer and happier would the human race be w/out fundamentalism?

 

I hope the counseling improves your situation and, how knows, maybe if he listens to your logic and reason he'll head down the path that we have regarding religion. 

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Hi again PurpleLilac. You are doing great and good luck with your counseling that starts Monday. The thing about leaving the church and taking on the full weight of responsibility for your life is that you can’t expect more from yourself than you did from what was previously your god. Just like the old god you can’t guarantee results. Even though you are free to take a much more reasonable thoughtful approach to problem solving than you could under the influence of your old god you don’t ultimately control the outcomes of those problem solving efforts. It seems to me that such a good part of our lives is spent trying to solve problems or better our lives that we put ourselves in danger of putting off our happiness while waiting for the right result here and there over and over. I’ve become pretty successful in switching my goals from needing to see desired results to being satisfied with facing problems directly and putting in an appropriate and reasonable attempt to address the situation. You really are putting in a great effort here PurpleLilac. You know what you want and you’ve come up with a plan and are actively working towards a solution. There isn’t more that human beings have in their control. Be kind to yourself  and patient and understanding. Mostly take pride in yourself the same way you would in your daughter if someday she found herself in a difficult situation like yours and worked as thoughtfully and wisely to resolve it as you do now. It’s ok to give yourself credit right now because you are doing exactly the right things. Another thing about relying on particular outcomes is that they can seem so terrible at a certain time and then a few years down the road look like the best thing ever. Just keep within yourself and keep playing your own game as best you can and then if maybe everything seems to start falling apart sometime or another you’ll be able to keep yourself protected so you can continue doing the best you can dealing with one thing at a time. With no god out there we have to learn to value ourselves and reward ourselves for doing the things we can do always taking into account we’re only human. You’re doing great and you’re a thoughtful parent and great roll model for your children.

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5 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

I want to resurrect this as it’s been  over three months and I think my husband’s grief and sadness is just growing. We start marriage counseling on Monday because I want to grow old with him. 

I watched Seth’s “letter to Christian spouse” again above and it just tears at my heart. 

Last month,my daughter asked me about hell and Satan and I sought to soothe her fears and hopefully hand her a more peaceful,progressive version of Christianity (that she can leave or take as she wills). The tension between us grows as 2020 begins to come into view and politics and Christianity intertwine for my husband. It’s just so much. It’s sitting in church (when I go) and inevitably the trauma,the memories come for me. I described it to a friend as “Escaping a slave owner and having tea with him every Sunday for an hour.” I don’t think I can bear it much longer. 

 

 

First off I just want to say you are doing a great job purplelilac,

 

     From what you just said I can tell that you both are deeply in love with each other so keep that in mind. You said that his grief and sadness is growing (and honestly maybe even fear) From my perspective it looks like his is taking this very hard as well. And fears for you soul and not being able to be with you in heaven. Since he still believes in heaven that is a big thing for him. It has been the same with my wife as well. I don't know how long you have been going through this but it took almost 2 years before my wife was able to start accepting my new position. I really feel now like the trust is growing again between us even though she knows I don't believe anymore.

 

You also stated that you want to grow old with him. Hold to the good times that you and him have had through your years together. It wasn't just a mutual faith in god that brought you two together. While that was common ground for a long time there was more. Focus on the more that you have together rather than the lost faith that you both shared. It is great that you both have agreed to do counseling to get past this hard time in your marriage. I wish you both the best of luck in working through this. 

 

 

Dark Bishop

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Very good replies in 3 posts above. 

 

I wanted to echo what Dan said about relying on particular outcomes.  Some of the things I thought at the time were terrible, have turned out to be blessings in disguise. Trust your heart and mind, and press on.  Your honesty and respect for others are great examples for your children.

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Your replies are very helpful and I carefully took it in.  There is so very much we share in our marriage beyond religion. Meanwhile,I continue to learn how to be kind and patient with myself. 

 

My fear has been growing as well as his. He believes in the slippery slope fallacy that if I have no foundation,I am suspectible to doing anything at all if I think it’s my truth at some point. He said that one night and I saw the fear in his eyes.  It doesn’t help that my best friend is going through a divorce.

I long for the rebuilding of trust between us. 

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8 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

He believes in the slippery slope fallacy that if I have no foundation,I am suspectible to doing anything at all if I think it’s my truth at some point. 

 

You have an excelent foundation!  It is called morality, and does not have to be tied to religion.  I would much rather trust someone who believes in doing good simply because it is the right thing to do, than trust someone who does good because they are afraid of going to Hell if they don't. 

 

Ask your husband about this.  

If religion is the foundation for morality, why are some of the less religious countries the most peaceful, and the more religious countries more involved in wars?  And how did the Hadaza tribe in Africa come to be some of the most peace loving people on earth when they never heard of our "god", or Jesus?   

 

The no foundation, slippery slope argument is a scare tactic used by religions.  And the original sin doctrine is a self fulfilling prophecy.  If people are led to believe they are by nature sinful, then they have an excuse for being that way.  And all they have to do is ask forgiveness if they sin, go through some rituals, and be fully forgiven.  Which morality would you trust most?  One that comes from rational thinking And logic?  Or one that comes from fear of punishment?  

 

HANG IN THERE!

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Weezer,your comments tie into an above poster who mentioned that I am my own god now. I’m learning to be kind to myself. To trust that I can make good choices. 

My husband is still tied in at least some way to the doctrine of “you are broken” and sin nature. He can’t fully trust himself under that weight. 

How can he be at peace with his wife deciding I can trust myself? 

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