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ludicrouSpeed

Married to a Christian

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uHi there,

 

I was interested to hear y'all's thoughts on my predicament.

 

I am a 34 year old married man... 

 

When I was 28 I met a girl who was a christian, we started dating and playing music together, and fell in love (I'm a musician)... We then had a long drawn out relationship where she wouldn't be with me cause I wasn't a christian... As a result, I said I'd be happy to go to church, and learn about christianity (I didn't really understand it up until then)... After all, how could I say whether I believed in something, unless I understood it first... So, eventually I started to drink the cool-aid of christianity, I decided I was a christian, I took full swing into christian life, serving at church with music, even teaching scripture to school kids, community group, summer camps, etc... I started dated this girl again, proposed, and we got married... BIG christian wedding... The whole time I was becoming a christian, I was studying christianity hard, like really hard... I saw that I was looking for answers to my biggest doubts about christianity, the stuff that doesn't make sense to our natural sense of logic and rationale... Anyways, there were always a few answers that I couldn't find good answers for, no matter how hard I looked... The answers were just total cop-outs (IMHO)... Anyways, I believe there are many much more intelligent people than me who are christians, but TBH the only explanation that I have for their belief is that if you can manage to "believe" it, christianity is comforting AF... OK, so after we got married, I quickly lost what, in hindsight, was the only thing keeping me christian, and that was losing my love - the girl... Now that I "had" her, I could no longer justify my doubts, and I started to fall into a black depression... I couldn't attend church without feeling like crying... I just felt like a huge fake, and what could I do? All my friends were christian... All my friends before I became christian were no longer my friends (scared off by my faith)... So I retreated into isolation, and meanwhile my wife and I were doing a lot of music together (something which was taboo while we were dating) but there was now a new problem, where we would just argue all the time if we tried to write new music...

 

Let me explain something: music is my greatest love, and greatest passion... My wife and I had plans to live our lives as musicians together... As my christianity faded away into more and more clarity of agnosticism (as it had always been before that)... I levelled with my wife, and shared with her where I was at... She had the (admittedly understandable, albeit incorrect) idea that I had intentionally lied about my faith in order to secure her hand in marriage, but I can assure you that it was purely subconscious... My wife began to be less and less interested in music, my greatest passion, as I was less and less of a Christian... The main idea that I could not get onboard with is that all humans deserve punishment, let alone eternal punishment... The other idea is that those of us who when hypothetically presented with Jesus after we die, would acquiesce to the grace and truth of the gospel (having been not convinced of it's truth in life), would be told by Jesus "Nope, you're too late. I'm the God of mercy, but only on one side of death, biiiiitch... Now go to hell"... 

 

Anyways, for the sake of brevity, flash forward a few years of marriage, and my wife and I seem to be growing further and further apart... I'm unhappy, and I'm not sure what to do... One piece of wisdom is that marriage is generally very difficult, and that if you want to be married, then short of some abusive situation, then one marriage is as good as the next... The inverse of this is that if you're truly unhappy, then you should end it before it gets worse...

 

The truth could be somewhere in between, or somewhere else entirely...

 

I'd welcome any thoughts into my situation... I'm happy to clarify anything if it's to help.

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I should clarify that I think at least one of the main reasons we grow apart is because she has her great passion: Christianity, and I have mine: Music... We each thought we would deeply share both in marriage, and now we have this mirrored resentment where we each look at the other, and think "fuck, I just wish we could share this thing, but all you seem to care about is that thing that I no longer care about... But you said you would do this with me...".... 

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Sounds to me that some secular professional counseling would be worth a shot. There was something there originally and perhaps it's a matter of communication. I think people with different passions can still have a good marriage if there is good communication, understanding and tolerance.

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Hi LS!

 

Wow, this could have been written by me with some minor tweaks!!  

- I started out liberal Christian, she was fundamentalist; we were 23 years old

- we both had optometry and a passion for adoption in common

- she wouldn't date me unless I had "Sound Doctrine"

- I went through fundy-indoctrination class and believed with all my heart

- I won the girl, big Christian wedding, age 25

- I jumped in totally: taught Bible studies, led small group worship, missions teams, etc

- Just like you, I studied hard, looked for answers, discovered lots of problems but thought it was my fault for not having enough faith...  

-  Eventually (after 12 years of marriage), my faith fell apart.

-  It's been 5 years.  we continue to drift apart.

- our marriage is super messed up due to the wacked-up ways fundamentalism ruins marriages and parenting (I was a hyperauthoritarian, patriarchal, selfish dick), and the destructive force of 2 adopted daughters with huge attachment and behavior problems

- we are nearing the verge of divorce

 

I feel like you - torn between the safety of staying - the guarantee of an at least mediocre companionship and financial stability VS leaving to look for something new and satisfying.

I struggle to decide whether the dissatisfaction I presently have in my marriage would be replaced by something better through divorce or only lead to further sadness / aloneness / + pain to my kids.

 

Do you guys have any children?  If not, moving on could be a decent enough choice.  34 is still young.... I'm 41... slightly less young 😃

 

 

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26 minutes ago, older said:

Sounds to me that some secular professional counseling would be worth a shot. There was something there originally and perhaps it's a matter of communication. I think people with different passions can still have a good marriage if there is good communication, understanding and tolerance.

 

I think that's good advice. We went to psychologist, who happened to be christian. He didn't talk about his faith so much, but I certainly noticed it when I would talk about my criticisms of christianity, and the reasoning behind my progression to being an ex-christian, and he would respond with something which wasn't exactly neutral...

 

14 minutes ago, Insightful said:

Hi LS!

 

Wow, this could have been written by me with some minor tweaks!!  

- I started out liberal Christian, she was fundamentalist; we were 23 years old

- we both had optometry and a passion for adoption in common

- she wouldn't date me unless I had "Sound Doctrine"

- I went through fundy-indoctrination class and believed with all my heart

- I won the girl, big Christian wedding, age 25

- I jumped in totally: taught Bible studies, led small group worship, missions teams, etc

- Just like you, I studied hard, looked for answers, discovered lots of problems but thought it was my fault for not having enough faith...  

-  Eventually (after 12 years of marriage), my faith fell apart.

-  It's been 5 years.  we continue to drift apart.

- our marriage is super messed up due to the wacked-up ways fundamentalism ruins marriages and parenting (I was a hyperauthoritarian, patriarchal, selfish dick), and the destructive force of 2 adopted daughters with huge attachment and behavior problems

 - we are nearing the verge of divorce

 

I feel like you - torn between the safety of staying - the guarantee of an at least mediocre companionship and financial stability VS leaving to look for something new and satisfying.

I struggle to decide whether the dissatisfaction I presently have in my marriage would be replaced by something better through divorce or only lead to further sadness / aloneness / + pain to my kids.

 

Do you guys have any children?  If not, moving on could be a decent enough choice.  34 is still young.... I'm 41... slightly less young 😃

 

 

 

Hi! Thanks for sharing. It's comforting to hear from someone in a similar situation. 

 

We don't have any kids... Actually that's something I was going to go into in the OP, but I didn't want to go on and on... We are planning on trying next year, and I'm feeling very hesitant... Cause like, sure I am scared to have kids even if we were on the same page spiritually (or even just more overlap)... But the idea of having kids when we disagree so deeply about spiritual matters is concerning... 

 

I love her. But Christianity robbed us of our courting times, which would have been epic...  The way I see it, Christianity has kinda F'd up my life... Like, I want to take responsibility for what I can / should... I can't tell if I am just blaming a scapegoat, making a scapegoat out of christianity, or if I am justified, and christianity is this pervasive / insidious force... 

 

I can see why peeps stick to christianity... What a wonderful sense of purpose it give you, but AFAICT it's complete BS... I wanna respect my wife, and her right to believe what she wants... I don't want to do the "easy fix" if it's something I can fix with some elbow grease...

 

Just not sure... I think the counselling is a good path...

 

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1 hour ago, Insightful said:

I feel like you - torn between the safety of staying - the guarantee of an at least mediocre companionship and financial stability VS leaving to look for something new and satisfying.

I struggle to decide whether the dissatisfaction I presently have in my marriage would be replaced by something better through divorce or only lead to further sadness / aloneness / + pain to my kids.

 

Do you guys have any children?  If not, moving on could be a decent enough choice.  34 is still young.... I'm 41... slightly less young 😃

 

 

 

Apologies, let me tell you what I think about your situation.

 

" torn between the safety of staying - the guarantee of an at least mediocre companionship and financial stability VS leaving to look for something new and satisfying."

 

For me it's not so much the safety... It's more a matter of thinking that maybe I should try to stick to the thing that I committed to... I think I have a tendency to not finish things that I start, so if it's the good wisdom, then i'd like to stay married, and see what improvements we can make... For you, it sounds like a really tough situation... If you've tried your best then after 17 years, you're maybe used to the misery, and misery loves company... There is, as you say, the matter of potentially finding something new and satisfying, but taking that out of the equation, regardless of the future, is what you could walk away from gonna give you less grief = more joy regardless of what new things you get?

 

I read somewhere that peeps who get re-married are less likely to stay together than first marriages, but these kinds of figures could be truly cooked, so I wouldn't put too much stock into that... You don't need to look for re-marriage... There is satisfaction in the bachelor life.

 

PS. I wrote this out before quite differently but accidentally erased it... I'm used to another forum where my half finished posts are auto-saved in the cloud. Ooops!

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Hello ludicrouSpeed, love the name.

 

I've been married 20 years and have two children.  My wife has been a Catholic the whole time.  I was a fundamentalist protestant for the first 12 years of our marriage and I've been progressing to strong atheism for the rest of the time.  I've been kind of lucky in that our religious conflict has been at a minimum and we worked out a truce on that topic.

 

Sorry if this sounds harsh but please don't have kids if your mariage isn't an ideal environment.  Kids complicate things and not just a bit.

 

Remember you don't have to stay in a bad relationship simply because of the "sunk cost".  If you and your wife are not compatible then you are not going to make each other happy.  You don't become more compatible for each other just because you stick it out.  My wife and I are not very compatible.  All the conflicts and red flags from our very first year . . . none of them have improved.  Every year I told myself and deeply hoped that these problems would get better but none of them ever did.  Not one bit.  For the most part, personalities do not change.

 

I wish you the best of luck in what has to be a difficult situation.

 

 

 

 

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Hi ludicrouSpeed. First, welcome to Ex-C. Yes, you have found yourself in a bit of a predicament. I like the idea of marriage counseling, and for me, counseling helped me sort out that there wasn't any future in my marriage. Should your marriage end, it certainly isn't the end of the world. I'm glad that my first marriage ended. It ending meant the end of a whole lot of stress! 

 

I will second what mymistake said about not having any children with things being as uncertain as they are for you. Children take up tons of time and energy and if a couple isn't careful, they can drift apart even if they have a good marriage. Adding children to an already shaky marriage is just not a good idea. 

 

Best wishes as you navigate through this difficult time for you.

 

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22 hours ago, ludicrouSpeed said:

uHi there,

 

I was interested to hear y'all's thoughts on my predicament.

 

I am a 34 year old married man... 

 

When I was 28 I met a girl who was a christian, we started dating and playing music together, and fell in love (I'm a musician)... We then had a long drawn out relationship where she wouldn't be with me cause I wasn't a christian... As a result, I said I'd be happy to go to church, and learn about christianity (I didn't really understand it up until then)... After all, how could I say whether I believed in something, unless I understood it first... So, eventually I started to drink the cool-aid of christianity, I decided I was a christian, I took full swing into christian life, serving at church with music, even teaching scripture to school kids, community group, summer camps, etc... I started dated this girl again, proposed, and we got married... BIG christian wedding... The whole time I was becoming a christian, I was studying christianity hard, like really hard... I saw that I was looking for answers to my biggest doubts about christianity, the stuff that doesn't make sense to our natural sense of logic and rationale... Anyways, there were always a few answers that I couldn't find good answers for, no matter how hard I looked... The answers were just total cop-outs (IMHO)... Anyways, I believe there are many much more intelligent people than me who are christians, but TBH the only explanation that I have for their belief is that if you can manage to "believe" it, christianity is comforting AF... OK, so after we got married, I quickly lost what, in hindsight, was the only thing keeping me christian, and that was losing my love - the girl... Now that I "had" her, I could no longer justify my doubts, and I started to fall into a black depression... I couldn't attend church without feeling like crying... I just felt like a huge fake, and what could I do? All my friends were christian... All my friends before I became christian were no longer my friends (scared off by my faith)... So I retreated into isolation, and meanwhile my wife and I were doing a lot of music together (something which was taboo while we were dating) but there was now a new problem, where we would just argue all the time if we tried to write new music...

 

Let me explain something: music is my greatest love, and greatest passion... My wife and I had plans to live our lives as musicians together... As my christianity faded away into more and more clarity of agnosticism (as it had always been before that)... I levelled with my wife, and shared with her where I was at... She had the (admittedly understandable, albeit incorrect) idea that I had intentionally lied about my faith in order to secure her hand in marriage, but I can assure you that it was purely subconscious... My wife began to be less and less interested in music, my greatest passion, as I was less and less of a Christian... The main idea that I could not get onboard with is that all humans deserve punishment, let alone eternal punishment... The other idea is that those of us who when hypothetically presented with Jesus after we die, would acquiesce to the grace and truth of the gospel (having been not convinced of it's truth in life), would be told by Jesus "Nope, you're too late. I'm the God of mercy, but only on one side of death, biiiiitch... Now go to hell"... 

 

Anyways, for the sake of brevity, flash forward a few years of marriage, and my wife and I seem to be growing further and further apart... I'm unhappy, and I'm not sure what to do... One piece of wisdom is that marriage is generally very difficult, and that if you want to be married, then short of some abusive situation, then one marriage is as good as the next... The inverse of this is that if you're truly unhappy, then you should end it before it gets worse...

 

The truth could be somewhere in between, or somewhere else entirely...

 

I'd welcome any thoughts into my situation... I'm happy to clarify anything if it's to help.

 

Consider getting ahead of the likely outcome and proactively work on separation/divorce with your spouse.  If both of you are amicable about that, splitting up is easy peasy, and not expensive.

 

Stay with your music.  It will remain your benevolent companion for your entire life.

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On 6/8/2018 at 4:10 PM, mymistake said:

Hello ludicrouSpeed, love the name.

 

I've been married 20 years and have two children.  My wife has been a Catholic the whole time.  I was a fundamentalist protestant for the first 12 years of our marriage and I've been progressing to strong atheism for the rest of the time.  I've been kind of lucky in that our religious conflict has been at a minimum and we worked out a truce on that topic.

  

Sorry if this sounds harsh but please don't have kids if your mariage isn't an ideal environment.  Kids complicate things and not just a bit.

 

Remember you don't have to stay in a bad relationship simply because of the "sunk cost".  If you and your wife are not compatible then you are not going to make each other happy.  You don't become more compatible for each other just because you stick it out.  My wife and I are not very compatible.  All the conflicts and red flags from our very first year . . . none of them have improved.  Every year I told myself and deeply hoped that these problems would get better but none of them ever did.  Not one bit.  For the most part, personalities do not change.

  

I wish you the best of luck in what has to be a difficult situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your earnest advice. I agree with what you're saying... Good reminder of the sunk effort/cost fallacy... 

 

On 6/9/2018 at 8:55 AM, Eugene39 said:

Hi ludicrouSpeed. First, welcome to Ex-C. Yes, you have found yourself in a bit of a predicament. I like the idea of marriage counseling, and for me, counseling helped me sort out that there wasn't any future in my marriage. Should your marriage end, it certainly isn't the end of the world. I'm glad that my first marriage ended. It ending meant the end of a whole lot of stress! 

 

I will second what mymistake said about not having any children with things being as uncertain as they are for you. Children take up tons of time and energy and if a couple isn't careful, they can drift apart even if they have a good marriage. Adding children to an already shaky marriage is just not a good idea. 

 

Best wishes as you navigate through this difficult time for you.

 

 

Thank you (still think that should be one word), it is clear to me at the moment that we shouldn't have kids as planned, purely based on it "being planned already"... I can see that if our marriage is to survive, kids will very easily make things a lot worse... Not to say that it's a hard no, but at least for now, it seems like a bad idea... 

 

On 6/9/2018 at 10:57 AM, sdelsolray said:

 

Consider getting ahead of the likely outcome and proactively work on separation/divorce with your spouse.  If both of you are amicable about that, splitting up is easy peasy, and not expensive.

 

Stay with your music.  It will remain your benevolent companion for your entire life.

 

This gets me to thinking, not that I should go to that extreme right now... But that I need to do something to make things better... That very well may end up being separation, but I would be remiss if I didn't explore more thoroughly the improvement of our marriage... We have been to counselling together, but I need to see someone myself (have been trying to make an appt last week, but it's surprisingly difficult...), and then, depending on the advice of said counsellor, which I will consider, I  will (non-threateningly) talk to the missus about how unhappy I am, and my newly cemented trepidation around having kids "just cause"... Wish me luck.

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I agree with @mymistake, bringing children into an unhappy marriage is a bad idea. I worry that my three kids are screwed up because of the constant arguing in my house. They don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like.

 

If I didn’t have children I would have left my marriage behind a long time ago. I still love my husband but we have absolutely nothing in common, apart from our kids. How we raise them has become a bitter battleground. I don’t want them to be indoctrinated into Christianity like my husband was. He thinks I’m working for Satan.

 

Not exactly an ideal environment in which to raise children...

 

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4 hours ago, LostinParis said:

If I didn’t have children I would have left my marriage behind a long time ago.

 

Please don't make a presumption that a divorce is traumatic for children. Sometimes it's good for them. When my parents announced a separation I was elated. I could hardly wait for the palpable tension in the house to end as well the pressure on me from one parent who vented his frustrations on me. I was disappointed when they reconciled and he moved back home but by then I'd pretty much figured out how to stay out of his sight. But I would have much rather have lived in a single-parent house.

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1 hour ago, older said:

 

Please don't make a presumption that a divorce is traumatic for children. Sometimes it's good for them. When my parents announced a separation I was elated. I could hardly wait for the palpable tension in the house to end as well the pressure on me from one parent who vented his frustrations on me. I was disappointed when they reconciled and he moved back home but by then I'd pretty much figured out how to stay out of his sight. But I would have much rather have lived in a single-parent house.

 

I completely agree with you @older. I grew up in a house full of yelling and swore I would never let that happen in my own home. But here we are. I plan to leave however I need to get myself into a better place financially.

 

Now that I have children of my own I’ve learned what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the pressures of life. I understand now that my parents were simply stretched taut with stress. It’s the kind of lesson that rewrites my childhood memories of my mother. I can revisit these memories with the distance and wisdom of decades. They did the best they could do under the circumstances. I hope my kids will someday say the same.

 

You’re not wrong @ludicrouSpeed, marriage is difficult.

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On 6/10/2018 at 8:26 PM, LostinParis said:

Now that I have children of my own I’ve learned what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the pressures of life. I understand now that my parents were simply stretched taut with stress. It’s the kind of lesson that rewrites my childhood memories of my mother. I can revisit these memories with the distance and wisdom of decades. They did the best they could do under the circumstances. I hope my kids will someday say the same.

Wise thoughts, LP.

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I haven't read all the replies, so I'm sorry if this has already been said.

 

From a female perspective, brokenness and humility are two things that influence me. My husband and I have had many an insane fight, but if he ever sat down with me and was like, "I am scared as hell, I can feel us drifting apart, I don't want to lose you, I may not understand everything you tell me, but I just really love you," it might help. Show her that you are not angrily spurning christianity, that you don't have bad motives, that you want to find truth and you can't hear Jesus anymore, which is scary based on what you've been believing. 

 

Another approach, might be to show your openmindedness to her by just letting her see the questions you're struggling with. Let her see the wrestling and be vulnerable, that can go a long way. She might, in trying to answer your questions, see the truth. I say this because I was exactly like your wife lol. I was pretty gungho on Jesus, I was the one with the standards that wouldn't date the nonchristian boys. In my own personal quest for being a better Christian, I broke. If she can't answer them, maybe you can face deconversion jokes. 

 

The best advice I got on this site was to just be calm and breathe. Time is a HUGE factor here, things just need to settle down for a good while. Don't try to deconvert anyone in a frenzy, just be a good person and demonstrate that you have not changed much of who you are. Your wife is probably scared shitless, she needs to know you're still a team. Maybe put everything in a song for her, let the emotion out. Be the best husband you can be, show her you don't need religion or god for that. If she is still staying with you and not leaving, just demonstrate all the "fruits of the spirit" and then, when she is less freaked and defensive, move from there.

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ag_NO_stic has so many good things to say, especially the bit about giving it time. It's easy to be impatient. Taking the path toward separation is a viable option, but make no mistake about it, it's the impatient, easy path. It's tough to endure day by day without seeing significant results, but sometimes that's a better path. As much as I hated my time in the Army, it taught me to persevere, and through perseverance I've seen my life change for the better.

 

I also speak from experience in a divided marriage, having lost my belief 11 years ago, but still married to a Christian woman. I can tell you that I'm glad I stuck with her. She brings out the best in me, and I love and respect her more today than at any point in the past, including the years we were both Christians. She is an amazing woman with so many good qualities that I don't have. I'm not a terrible person, but I'm certainly not the friendliest. I intentionally drive people away and end relationships when it's clear that the other person is not ever going to change, so I'm lucky that my wife didn't allow me to drive her away. I will never believe the lies again. I can't, in the same way I can never believe in Santa again. But she holds her belief. I'm not sure why her core belief endures. I have one guess, but I might be wrong. Regardless, that's not the point. Over time, her perspective has changed, and some of the non-core beliefs have started to drop off. I take this as an encouraging sign that some day she may completely let go of the lies, but I'm no longer expecting her to. She is amazing despite her belief, and if part of what makes her amazing is her belief, then I'd rather have the whole package than have nothing at all.

 

I'll also echo part of ag_NO_stic's response from a male's perspective. I was a liar. I deliberately misled my wife about my beliefs. I had a big hole to dig out of, and I'm still working on it today. You have a similar hole to dig out of, having misled your wife, so I can tell you that being completely open and honest from this point forward is crucial. It'll be tough for you to have conversations about the things you've doubted, but if she's a good person then she'll respect you for sharing the things you struggled with openly and honestly.

 

It'll also benefit you to be extremely humble. And I mean extremely. Don't believe that you and your priorities are more important than your wife. Commit to showing her that she is your highest priority in life, unless of course, she isn't - in which case you should be honest with yourself and with her. If she is your highest priority, then let her know that, in actions as well as words. I can't tell you how to do this, because that's something you need to discover for yourself. But when you do, as long as it's genuine, you'll have a whole new perspective on your situation.

 

And again, I need to reiterate how wise ag_NO_stic's entire response is. I can pretty much guarantee that her advice will lead you to a good place, so long as your wife is also committed to making it work.

 

Lastly, welcome to the site. My first post was very similar to yours. I stuck around for a few months and gained a lot of useful knowledge (and vented a lot of frustration I couldn't vent anywhere else). This place was very helpful to me during the most difficult time in my life.

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