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Did anyone else have to come out to a Minister s/o?


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So I met my husband in high school. We went to the same school and youth group and then we went to the same Bible College. We got married a year before we both graduated. It's been 3 years and my husband finally got his first ministry job as a youth pastor and I have lost my faith. I don't know really what to do, when or how to tell him. I am scared of what it will do to his job, that we depend on as the main source of income, and what it will do to our social standing in the community, and most of all our marriage. I wondered if anyone else went through anything similar? Ideally I could convince my husband to see truth and reason, but even then our lives would have to go in a drastic new direction, and I am the kind of person who likes plans and predictability. 

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You are definitely between a rock & a hard place. You didn't indicate whether you are affiliated with a fundamentalist or main steam form of Christianity. Unequally yoked couples have an even more difficult time leaving the faith. If your husband is a strong committed believer in Christ you may want to give a lot of thought about your loss of faith before you tell him or anyone else. 

 

This situation, unfortunately, has a high potential to end badly for everyone involved. Ultimately a divorce is a real possibility. The unforgivable sin is to leave the faith. Loss of social structure is almost a guaranteed certainty. Even family members can turn on you.

 

Additionally you husband will be put in a very difficult position if you tell him. You really, really, need to give a whole lot more thought to this before you tell anyone that you've lost your faith.

 

Read all the testimonies on this site posted by those who have left the faith. You really need to understand the potential fallout this could cause you, your marriage, & your family. I'm not saying you ultimately should not leave your faith but you need to be aware of the consequences & prepare yourself for them. 

 

If your husband is the sole breadwinner how are you going to support yourself if he decides divorce is his only option?  You really need to think this through before you do or say anything.

 

 

 

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My father is the minister of my now ex-church.

 

Yep coming out was very hard as the pastors son and no doubt a great blow to the family that the ministers son could be 'swayed by the devil'.

 

For a case similar to yours I'd suggest reading "Why I Believed: Reflections of a former missionary" by Ken Daniels.

 

You can read free here https://infidels.org/library/modern/ken_daniels/why.html

 

I bought the book - great read. Something I'm happy to hand to a family member and say if you want to understand me read that book.

 

Ken's wife is still a Christian and they are still married and have learned to work through their now religious differences.

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3 hours ago, TylerJ said:

So I met my husband in high school. We went to the same school and youth group and then we went to the same Bible College. We got married a year before we both graduated. It's been 3 years and my husband finally got his first ministry job as a youth pastor and I have lost my faith. I don't know really what to do, when or how to tell him. I am scared of what it will do to his job, that we depend on as the main source of income, and what it will do to our social standing in the community, and most of all our marriage. I wondered if anyone else went through anything similar? Ideally I could convince my husband to see truth and reason, but even then our lives would have to go in a drastic new direction, and I am the kind of person who likes plans and predictability. 

Take your time with this and if you don't have any kids, don't start until the truth comes out and whatever happens happens!

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That's a tough one. 

 

There used to be a special support group for ex pastors and/or their spouses. Perhaps it still exists. It was started by an ex pastor who had written several books about his deconversion. I'm struggling to recall his name. 

 

Does this ring a bell to anyone here? 

 

Edit: I found it

 

http://clergyproject.org/

 

Maybe you will be able to get some good advice from them. I don't want to brush you off here, but I'm thinking they may have more experience with this particular issue. 

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Hello Tyler, there are other women who have posted here over the years who were or are married to strongly believing husbands and came no longer to share the husband's faith. There are also some blogs on Patheos where women post about their having been in that situation, or who are still in it. Two that come to mind are:

 

Roll to Disbelieve, by "Captain Cassidy," whose former husband was not an ordained minister but was close to it:

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/

 

Love Joy Feminism: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/

 

I agree with what Geezer said. I have not been in an "unequal marriage". But I was in my twenties and stuck in conservative Christianity and realized that I had to get out. I'm glad I did when I was that age and didn't keep on pretending for a whole life. You are only three years into your marriage and I gather you do not have children. It will be very serious for your life if things like what Geezer imagines prove true. But I am not sure that merely keeping silent and building a future and a family on what you have seen is a lie is a good course.

 

I do know some people online who are no longer believers but whose spouses believe. Some of them have worked out their own belief space and seem to be OK; others couldn't keep the marriage going anymore. 

 

Anyway, yes, you need not act hastily. 

 

Big hugs, ficino

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I spent a year dropping hints and undermining my wife's beliefs before letting her and the kids know the extent of the changes in my beliefs. She didn't take it well but eventually came to agree with me. We still ended up divorced a few years later, but it wasn't directly because of my rejection of Christianity. Good luck.

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I know you asked about a minister S/O. I'm so sorry to not have more familiarity with your situation, but my husband is still a believer and my father is an elder at my old church. I can relate at least a little.  I think someone needs to tell you that you're in control here. Do not let this scare you, get you down, or discourage you from your life goals. You will only get divorced if you and your husband decide, ignore statistical possibility and "this could happen" or "that could happen..." You are in control here. You can do what reflects on your values. I encourage you to take stock of those priorities/values and move from there.

 

1) Is divorce an option for you here or not? This will frame the rest of your marital choices, point blank. You're either going to weather the bullshit together or you're not. You will face what comes at you as a couple or you will not. Either choice is perfectly respectable and doable, people before you in the same situation  have done both, and they both are within the realm of control and possibility, you just can't half-ass it. You need to commit to whatever you want to do.

 

If you are willing to divorce, make sure you plan out how you will provide for yourself. Remember that "willing to divorce" does not mean you will. It just means that your non-negotiables are enough that you are willing to leave if you guys can't figure it out. That does change your outlook with future discussions with him and he will need to know if you're willing to leave or if you want to stay no matter what.

 

If you are not willing to leave, which is doable, then you need to begin planning how you will tell him. Read up on solutions from other "inter-faith" couples, be prepared for the questions. What are negotiable and non-negotiables? He will definitely need to know who he is dealing with, it would not be honest with him to live a lie, not to mention emotionally exhausting for you. Maybe just start by letting him know you're having some doubts. I was in the "doubts" phase for awhile (I'm still a baby deconvert) and my whole family knew for months before that I was struggling. They are usually more open to it, gentle, if they think you will come back. It sucks, they try to engage you a lot, but I eventually told my family that I needed to be left alone and that only I could ultimately be in charge of my "faith." Be vulnerable with him that you are scared, that this change is freaking you out and you don't know how to handle these doubts. Continue to research, be well-prepared and ready to have some answers for the inevitable apologetic rebuttals you will encounter.

 

Another thing, try to be compassionate for the change that essentially being forced on him. That was an eye-opener for me, I was always frustrated with my husband and I didn't consider that he married a Christian woman who wanted to be the mother of his children. Now he's "stuck with" a woman not very interested in god or kids. He's in a tough position too.

 

Good luck, best wishes in this shitty situation.

 

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There are tons of issues here that should be considered before any decisions are made. Again, I don't know what version of Christianity you & your husband are in. If it is a fundamentalist version of Chrisrianty and the leadership finds out you are not a Christian it is highly likely they will discharge your husband from his position, and for obvious reasons.

 

The parents of these kids would be concerned about your influence on your husband & on their children. People argue & debate whether fundamentalist versions of Xianity are cults or not, but the fact is they behave, think, and act like cults. They all exhibit herd like mentality. 

 

I think your situation is serious enough that you might want to seek out some professional advice before you make any major decisions. Your husband may find out that being a minister isn't all it's cracked up to be and he may want to rethink ministry as his life's work. Better to make that decision now than later. Lots of ministers would like to get out of the ministry but they've waited too late & now they're trapped in a job they hate. Being in ministry is a really difficult job & your employment is never certain. Piss of the wrong people, say the wrong thing in the pulpit, and you will quickly find yourself unemployed. Job security is not part of being in ministry. 

 

One day day you might look back on all of this and be thankful it happened because it changed your life in a good way & you avoided making a really bad mistake. Being a ministers wife isn't a bed of roses. You are constantly under the microscope & being judged by members of your congrgation. Your words & actions could get your husband fired too. All in all ministry is a lousy job. 

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Thank you so much everyone for the responses! I will do my best to look into all of your guys' advice!

To answer some people's questions, I don't consider our church to be fundamental per say, but there are definitely a few members who are (One couple in particular believed that the world was going to end last weekend based on that crazy documentary that's grounded in very literal interpretations of Revelation). The members are mostly older conservative people, but the sermons are somewhat progressive sometimes. My husband is very strong in his faith for the most part, but the last few years I have thought I sensed some doubts on his part, particularly after he had a conversation with my atheist younger brother a few months ago. I do think there is a way for our marriage to survive and I think I could even convince him to go to the light so to say, it just all depends on so many variables. My husband is the main bread winner though I do work part time. I am going to school. I do have a work history and I am capable of finding work to support myself, plus family who would support me. 

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Hopefully, it doesn't come to a divorce. It sounds to me like you have a good head on your shoulders and you're going to find a way to work this out. Best of luck to you and your hubby. 

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