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L.B.

Drawing A Line In The Sand Between Me And Your Religion

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Well, it looks like the time has come.

 

We've finally reached the point where my struggles, my loneliness, my failures (all of which I admit) have become MY fault in her mind,

because I'm not "trusting", "praying", etc.

She says she wants me to be whole and to deal with my issues - I agree; one of my issues is the rejection I have received from the Christards,

even while I was still actively involved in their world and trying to believe what they all did.

No, she says; she'll never stop "following Christ".

I ask, "What about the fact that your church and your religion teach that I'm either a 'backslider' (very bad) or an 'unbeliever' (even worse)? What are you going to tell our children when their youth-group leaders preach about people who don't believe, or who reject the faith, and they start to think of their father as one of 'those people', who are 'lost' and going to 'hell'? What about YOU? What are YOU going to think, since you believe that the Bible is the entirely-true word of your god, transmitted through his faithful scribes?"

She equivocates, and says that maybe it's MY responsibility to change my ways, my attitude, so that maybe my children will see that I'm not a bad person, or something.

 

She says maybe, just maybe, we should go find a church where I can 'be myself' and not have to pretend (pretend to what? be a Christian? I'd never pretend that.)

 

Then she texts me and says she's convinced that we need to go see a counselor together, so that our children can see us 'fighting for us', and have more respect for me, or something.

 

In other words, she's not changing her mind about her religion, and the lack of it is a huge barrier between us now, and she believes this is critical to the survival of an 18-year marriage and a 25-year relationship and my role as a father.

 

The line has been drawn. I am going to see a counselor on my own, because I need to, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be threatened by her over her refusal to abandon those asinine ideas about hell and the unbeliever.

 

What would happen if I went to a counselor with her and we worked out all kinds of emotional issues? So what? None of that would make me a bit more interested in belonging to her religion or any other religion again - that, I can guarantee.

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To continue your marriage:

 

Does she have to stop believing?

Would the children have to stop believing?

Do you HAVE to go to church?

 

Children might be told about backsliders and think of you, but they probably also think Dad is pretty awesome...you're Dad! How many Christian ideas get kind of blended, morphed, changed, adjusted to fit reality and individual personalities to make them more acceptable? Half the Old Testament is ignored by Christians who claim to be faithful believers. 

 

Can you love your wife if she believes in Jesus?

Can she love you if you dont?

 

I wish you the best. I hope you are both able to hammer out something acceptable to you both and still are able to love each other.

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Man!

This unequally yoked gig can be a real bitch sometimes!

 

I am so incredibly pissed at the entire agglomeration of ass-hat, control-freak, pastors and church leaders who are out for themselves. The difficulty you and I are having, @L.B. stems, to a large extent, from those jackasstical hemroids telling our spouses that we are hell bent on deconverting them because we are listening to some man-made monster who will fry us for eternity for the sin of thinking and reasoning. Of course those pricks just don't want to lose any more of their flock - especially those of us who cough up the dough on a regular basis. (OK. I have not participated in that last part in a couple years but, I assure you, Mrs. MOHO has, and it all comes from the same kinny.)

 

The council that Mrs. L.B. will drag you to will, undoubtedly, be of the xitan persuasion. It will consist of "YOU need to get right with the lard and take the lead in your family - just as God/Jesus is the head of the church!" You know - attempt to appeal to your insatiable desire to control everything. Such an insult. They don't appreciate that I'm not a controlling dickhead and that crap does not work on me.

 

What other entity, in the history of mankind other than christianity, would intentionally cause major pain in a marriage and break up a family? OK maybe a few other smaller cults out there, but none on the scale and depth that you and I are experiencing. For several months things were going smoothly and then the tension ratchets up again.

 

On the lighter side I've been successful at keeping her from the Wednesday night fundyfest  by plying her with grape juice and live guitar music. Not actively trying to deconvert her ( well maybe :fdevil:) I would be happy to just tone it down a bit. 

 

Keep us posted, L.B. When the going gets churchy you can come here and bitch. 

 

 

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46 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Does she have to stop believing?

Would the children have to stop believing?

Do you HAVE to go to church?

 

1. No, not in my mind, but it sure is going to be hard having the elephant of my unbelief/her belief in the room all the time, unmentioned.

 

2. No; they're young. They are part of the youth group at a friend's church largely because of the emotional relationships they have with the leaders there, who in the past were close friends of mine.

3. No, I don't have to go to church. My wife's anxiety keeps acting up, though, when she constantly worries about what to say when I'm not there. "He's not here/he didn't come to church this week" is not a good enough answer.

 

49 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Can you love your wife if she believes in Jesus?

Can she love you if you dont?

 

1. I do love my wife - she's a deeply caring, compassionate, sensitive person in many ways. Whether she believes in whatever is of no concern to me as regards HER; I cannot stand knowing that she believes the bible is correct about me either being a backslider or never having been 'saved' to begin with, and she doesn't have the guts to say so.

 

2. She says she loves me, but she is not able to elaborate as to why. She just keeps referring to how long we've been together, and all the things we've been through. I could not tell you right now one thing that she has said she loves about me.

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Maybe a liberal version of Christianity might be helpful. The Methodist Church my wife attends just does not preach on hell & sin. Their focus is clearly on doing for others. I've acknowledged that I attend church with my wife, but I recently stopped going to Sunday School. 

 

My wife admitted that several husband's of wives in that class don't come to SS for various reason. She has also acknowledged some don't go to church either.

 

I'm pretty confident a youth leader in the Methodist Church would not tell your children that you are going to hell. My wife admitted to me this past Sunday that she ask a friend of hers at church if she thought the Bible is true. The friend said yes, but not literally true. 

 

I'm headed towards ending my church attendance, but it's a slow process. My wife has recently acknowledged that the fundamentalist belief that the Bible is the inerrant inspired word of God is not true. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

 

I'd say your first step should be to get her away from fundamentalism into a more liberal mainstream version of Christianity. Reprogramming her is very similar to the de-conversion journey. It's a long, slow , and difficilt process. Do not allow religion to destroy your marriage. I continue to attend a liberal version of Christianity with my wife because I love her more than I dislike Christianity. What would you not do for the person you love more than anything else in the world. 

 

Is attending a church service 1 hour per week too much to ask to save your marriage & keep your family together? 

 

Today is our 53 anniversary. My marriage is definitely worth an hour of boredom once per week. And I bet yours is too. 

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My spouse > any belief set

 

They are telling your wife that she has to view her husband as "less than".

 

Sick bastards.

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Very distressing circumstance, sorry.

 

Don't feel afraid or guilty, just do whatever you have to do.

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1 hour ago, Geezer said:

My wife admitted that several husband's of wives in that class don't come to SS for various reason. She has also acknowledged some don't go to church either.

 

No slight to our valued members who are of the female persuasion but I noticed at Mrs. MOHO's church that it was mostly husbands who were not present on a regular basis - or at all.

 

Interesting.

 

Took the OP in a different direction. Sorry, @L.B.

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7 hours ago, L.B. said:

Well, it looks like the time has come.

 

We've finally reached the point where my struggles, my loneliness, my failures (all of which I admit) have become MY fault in her mind,

because I'm not "trusting", "praying", etc.

She says she wants me to be whole and to deal with my issues - I agree; one of my issues is the rejection I have received from the Christards,

even while I was still actively involved in their world and trying to believe what they all did.

No, she says; she'll never stop "following Christ".

I ask, "What about the fact that your church and your religion teach that I'm either a 'backslider' (very bad) or an 'unbeliever' (even worse)? What are you going to tell our children when their youth-group leaders preach about people who don't believe, or who reject the faith, and they start to think of their father as one of 'those people', who are 'lost' and going to 'hell'? What about YOU? What are YOU going to think, since you believe that the Bible is the entirely-true word of your god, transmitted through his faithful scribes?"

She equivocates, and says that maybe it's MY responsibility to change my ways, my attitude, so that maybe my children will see that I'm not a bad person, or something.

 

She says maybe, just maybe, we should go find a church where I can 'be myself' and not have to pretend (pretend to what? be a Christian? I'd never pretend that.)

 

Then she texts me and says she's convinced that we need to go see a counselor together, so that our children can see us 'fighting for us', and have more respect for me, or something.

 

In other words, she's not changing her mind about her religion, and the lack of it is a huge barrier between us now, and she believes this is critical to the survival of an 18-year marriage and a 25-year relationship and my role as a father.

 

The line has been drawn. I am going to see a counselor on my own, because I need to, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be threatened by her over her refusal to abandon those asinine ideas about hell and the unbeliever.

 

What would happen if I went to a counselor with her and we worked out all kinds of emotional issues? So what? None of that would make me a bit more interested in belonging to her religion or any other religion again - that, I can guarantee.

It would be far more reasonable for her to go to a church that doesn't preach that doctrine. Then she can still privately believe whatever she wants without fucking up the kids over this. And then there is a way for you to be a nonbeliever and her to be a believer. But I'm guessing compromise isn't part of her vocabulary. These people take the "choose jesus over everybody even your family" pretty seriously.

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On 9/18/2018 at 11:49 AM, MOHO said:

For several months things were going smoothly and then the tension ratchets up again.

 

 Yup! Just when you think things have settled down, something happens to cause a flare up.

 

On 9/18/2018 at 10:49 AM, L.B. said:

Then she texts me and says she's convinced that we need to go see a counselor together

 

If you can get her to go to a real counselor rather than a Christian counselor, this could help.

 

On 9/18/2018 at 12:21 PM, Geezer said:

I've acknowledged that I attend church with my wife, but I recently stopped going to Sunday School. 

 

My wife is so freaked out to attend at the over-crowded NI-Church of Christ that we're members of, she's considering switching to a mainline CoC. Since the two types have nothing to do with each other, and since switching would not garner too much flack, I'd be thrilled. But I've decided that I'm not going to "place membership" or take communion when I'm there, and I'm not going to go without her. Right now I go on Sunday mornings even when she doesn't (and she usually can't do mornings). I fear there'll be an argument involved, but there's just no reason for me to get my name added to the roll. I'll be happy to be the "unbelieving spouse."

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2 hours ago, Lerk said:

 

 Yup! Just when you think things have settled down, something happens to cause a flare up.

 

 

If you can get her to go to a real counselor rather than a Christian counselor, this could help.

 

 

My wife is so freaked out to attend at the over-crowded NI-Church of Christ that we're members of, she's considering switching to a mainline CoC. Since the two types have nothing to do with each other, and since switching would not garner too much flack, I'd be thrilled. But I've decided that I'm not going to "place membership" or take communion when I'm there, and I'm not going to go without her. Right now I go on Sunday mornings even when she doesn't (and she usually can't do mornings). I fear there'll be an argument involved, but there's just no reason for me to get my name added to the roll. I'll be happy to be the "unbelieving spouse."

 

I forgot you were c of c NI. That is definitely a tough nut to crack. Leaving Christianity is one thing, leaving a religious cult is a different issue. I was lucky, my wife wanted to get away from the c of c so that was a huge hurtle that we didn't have to cross. My wife was open to a more liberal form of Christianity. 

 

Your issues and and problems are very different from mine.  It seems to me you're doing the best you can under the circumstances. 

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23 hours ago, Geezer said:

 

I forgot you were c of c NI. That is definitely a tough nut to crack. Leaving Christianity is one thing, leaving a religious cult is a different issue. I was lucky, my wife wanted to get away from the c of c so that was a huge hurtle that we didn't have to cross. My wife was open to a more liberal form of Christianity. 

 

Your issues and and problems are very different from mine.  It seems to me you're doing the best you can under the circumstances. 

 

I realized just how much of a cult it is the other day. My wife hadn't been there in a few weeks -- she usually misses mornings due to health issues, and has a hard time facing the crowd anyway, so on one Wednesday night she decided to go to a small 100% African American congregation. The Sunday night before, we had gone to a mainline CoC in the evening.

 

So on Friday we were going out to grab a bite to eat, and as we're walking up to the door one of the elders of our congregation walks out, apparently trying to get a good cell-phone signal or maybe trying to talk where it isn't so noisy. Anyway, he was on the phone and didn't see us, but she panicked and we turned around and went back to the car, and found someplace else to eat.

 

Now, nothing would have happened. He would likely have been very friendly and said nothing about "missing us at worship." But the fact that people in the CoC are so afraid of seeing other people from their church in public if they haven't been there in awhile tells you just how much social pressure there is to conform. It's NUTS! Cult or not, it's an unhealthy relationship.

 

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On 9/19/2018 at 1:49 AM, L.B. said:

Well, it looks like the time has come.

 

We've finally reached the point where my struggles, my loneliness, my failures (all of which I admit) have become MY fault in her mind,

because I'm not "trusting", "praying", etc.

She says she wants me to be whole and to deal with my issues - I agree; one of my issues is the rejection I have received from the Christards,

even while I was still actively involved in their world and trying to believe what they all did.

No, she says; she'll never stop "following Christ".

I ask, "What about the fact that your church and your religion teach that I'm either a 'backslider' (very bad) or an 'unbeliever' (even worse)? What are you going to tell our children when their youth-group leaders preach about people who don't believe, or who reject the faith, and they start to think of their father as one of 'those people', who are 'lost' and going to 'hell'? What about YOU? What are YOU going to think, since you believe that the Bible is the entirely-true word of your god, transmitted through his faithful scribes?"

She equivocates, and says that maybe it's MY responsibility to change my ways, my attitude, so that maybe my children will see that I'm not a bad person, or something.

 

She says maybe, just maybe, we should go find a church where I can 'be myself' and not have to pretend (pretend to what? be a Christian? I'd never pretend that.)

 

Then she texts me and says she's convinced that we need to go see a counselor together, so that our children can see us 'fighting for us', and have more respect for me, or something.

 

In other words, she's not changing her mind about her religion, and the lack of it is a huge barrier between us now, and she believes this is critical to the survival of an 18-year marriage and a 25-year relationship and my role as a father.

 

The line has been drawn. I am going to see a counselor on my own, because I need to, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be threatened by her over her refusal to abandon those asinine ideas about hell and the unbeliever.

 

What would happen if I went to a counselor with her and we worked out all kinds of emotional issues? So what? None of that would make me a bit more interested in belonging to her religion or any other religion again - that, I can guarantee.

If this God was real we'd all be going to hell, tell her that.

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Just caught up with this (been away for a week).

 

 

LB:

 

Firstly, I am very sorry to hear of these difficulties.

 

Secondly, you say your wife says she loves you but cannot say why.  Well, maybe she genuinely cannot express that.  Having an emotion and being able to analyse or describe it are not the same thing.  May be worth taking her at face value on this.

 

Thirdly, she is probably scared witless.  Christianity is control freakery run mad - and the social pressure it exerts via the snide remark and sideways look is as impressive as it is horrendous.  This is her way of life, and she will find it difficult to cope with anything that challenges that.

 

Fourthly, I'd be inclined point blank to talk to any counselor who was not rigorously secular.  Equally, I would consider encouraging her idea of a counselor if such an individual was in view.

 

Fifthly, only you can decide where this takes you and how much patience you are prepared to exercise.  Ultimately, you have to be free to live your own life.

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5 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I'd be inclined point blank to talk to any counselor who was not rigorously secular. 

 

I don't get it - why would I want to talk to a counselor who is a theist of some kind?

 

Not saying I absolutely wouldn't, but I'm wondering why I couldn't insist on a strictly secular foundation for our therapy.

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58 minutes ago, L.B. said:

 

I don't get it - why would I want to talk to a counselor who is a theist of some kind?

 

Not saying I absolutely wouldn't, but I'm wondering why I couldn't insist on a strictly secular foundation for our therapy.

No, I don't understand that either.

Not sure quite how, but, in one of my more idiotic errors, I've managed to omit two words thereby turning that part of my post into a prime example of my capacity to talk fluent bollocks.

It was meant to read:

"'I'd be inclined point blank to refuse to talk to any counselor who was not rigorously secular."

i.e. only go to a counselor if she is prepared to visit the secular version.

Hopefully this now makes sense.  Sorry for the confusion.

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UPDATE:

I'm scheduled to see a therapist on my own. I'm looking forward to being able to share my feelings with someone who has more of an objective view.

Too many people in my life have been too invested in the "me" that existed when I was in religion, the "me" that believed I owed it to a god, and to others, to think and behave in so many ways that ran counter to nature, to my instincts and to my goals in life.

 

She says she feels encouraged that I am going to be able to deal with these issues and adjust and heal - I still worry that she thinks I will return to religion, or that somehow if I don't, at least maybe I'll be OK enough somehow.

One step at a time.

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Good choice.

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2 hours ago, L.B. said:

One step at a time.

 

That's it, @L.B. 

 

I am glad to hear you and Mrs. L.B. are making progress - in a forward direction. 

 

Things get sideways for Mrs. MOHO and I when one of us, or both, tries to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and "FIX" it all right now! 

 

Last night her son and his family were over for din din and they were perfectly content with my standing outside the circle during the prayer. Afterwards they were all perfectly cordial as if nothing had changed. 

 

On Sunday the youngest granddaughter ( I Think she's 11 or so) asked why I don't attend church. I replied that I was disillusioned. She was content with that answer and I received no stink eye whatsoever from the old bat  lovely young lady to whom I am related by marriage.  

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I can empathise with you @L.B. your situation seems similar to mine.

 

Perhaps you could compromise and see both a secular councellor and christian councellor? 

 

I deconverted more than a year ago, and I felt sure I would be divorced by now. We fought about religion daily, in front of our kids, regrettably.

 

We eventually settled down into a new kind of normal. I am less angry and am now able to view my husband with compassion; he was indoctrinated into Christianity as a child, coerced into believing using the fear of hell. He was simply unlucky.

 

My eldest two children are teenagers and no longer want to attend church. It feels great to be raising free-thinking kids. You may not be able to change your wife’s views but you have influence over the way your kids view the world.

 

Surprisingly , my husband’s views have softened over the past few months, he now believes in the big bang and evolution, rather than a literal Adam and Eve. My 16 yo son is a science geek with Aspergers. He bombards my husband with science facts daily!

 

Hang in there, hopefully it will get easier as your wife slowly accepts the situation.

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