Jump to content

Atheists Married To Christians


EdwardAbbey
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just wondering how some of the ex-Christians who are now freethinkers and atheists are going about handling their particular situations with their fundamentalist spouses?

 

Have any of you managed to lead your fundy spouses astray or at least create doubt in their minds or do you just avoid the God subject?

 

We don’t bring it up that often but every once in a while when the subject comes up in conversation it sometimes gets quite emotional.

 

My wife is a fundamentalist Christian and I find it hard creating/planting seeds of doubt in her mind about her faith. Am I alone on this or do any of you experience the same or similar situations?

 

One of the ways I try to engage her in discussion is by using humor or printing out an atheist joke I've come across on the internet. That does seem to at least lighten up the situation a little bit.

 

How about some of you Ex-believers out there who are now avowed atheists or agnostics; maybe we can help each other out here on this.

 

I'd like to hear how some of you have gone about planting those seeds of doubt and trying to lead your spouses in the direction of rational thought.

 

I reaize it's not always easy but it just depends on how much a spouse is committed to their fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Christianity is a very powerful force in the mind of the believer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Edward,

 

Unfortunately, I haven't gone anywhere with my husband. He is nice and tolerant. He won't argue with me or try to make me do anything I don't want to do. But he is steady in his faith. Not even the jokes make him laugh.

 

Our marriage will survive because he is very polite about it (typical Canadian). So we are doing sort of OK, but I sometimes wish I could convince him to leave the faith. It would be great to spend our Sundays together again.

 

Sorry I have no ideas to contribute. But I appreciate your starting this thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the reason that even though I'm an ex-Xn, I wouldn't be caught dead dating/marrying someone outside of my faith (or lack thereof). There are just WAY too many problems that arise. If you're married and then deconvert, that's one thing. If you are an atheist and stupidly make a commitment with someone who is religious, then all I have to say is: "you did it to yourself".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Edward,

 

Unfortunately, I haven't gone anywhere with my husband. He is nice and tolerant. He won't argue with me or try to make me do anything I don't want to do. But he is steady in his faith. Not even the jokes make him laugh.

 

Our marriage will survive because he is very polite about it (typical Canadian). So we are doing sort of OK, but I sometimes wish I could convince him to leave the faith. It would be great to spend our Sundays together again.

 

Sorry I have no ideas to contribute. But I appreciate your starting this thread.

 

My wife and I have been married for over 25 years and when I broke the news to her about my deconversion and lack of belief in God, it really wasn't much of a surprise to her believe it or not. I remained in the closet for close to a year after I knew I was no longer a believer. During my paridigm and walking away from the faith, I was always asking her questions about the bible, God and Jesus to the point where she was aware I was going through some level of doubt and skepticism. I also didn't even consider myself a fundamentalist Christian any longer. I was more along the lines of a moderate/liberal believer searching for a more intellectual view of the bible. But eventually I didn't see the worth or use of clinging to Christianity any longer and finally had to break free from it altogether.

 

The positive thing about our marriage is she has a great sense of humor and so do I. That's why I mentioned passing the humorous jokes to her. The latest thing I gave her to read was this article that was on the internet about a woman being struck by lightening while praying. She didn't even get angry about me showing it to her but at least it might be a step in the direction of planting doubt.

 

Sorry, I just tried to locate the article on the internet but it is no longer available. :(

 

Anyway, it did lead to some discussion on prayer and how it fails every time. we didn't get into it too much. as a matter of fact, she thought it was funny that I showed the article to her anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a very good question, I'm wondering myself. I also, don't have much to contribute but appreciate you bringing up the topic.

 

My husband is very committed to the faith and responds mainly with a very hurt look when I bring up unbelief. It's a bit lonely. We also have new issues with womens/mens roles since he has a very traditional view on these things.

 

:banghead:

 

I understand what you are saying. I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like if I remained a Christian and she became an atheist. I'm not really sure how I would act either. I might have been worse than the way she is. I was a very committed believer myself at one time and considered myself very conservative on a lot of issues including the bible from a fundamentalist point of view.

 

The way it is now, she is pretty mellow about it and has accepted it for what it is. She believes and I do not believe. It's really quite that simple actually. The thing I would like to see happen is to at least get her to the point of being open to some level of doubt and critical thinking about her faith. And not necessarily to the point of deconversion if you know what I mean. Of course that would be nice though too right? But at least be open that she could be wrong about her beliefs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm an atheist, but my wife's not a Fundy. She's CINO. (Christian In Name Only.) She's the type of lukewarm, sometimes-on-Sunday church attendee. When Sunday comes around (like today), if she isn't doing anything more pressing (like camping), then she drags her hips out of bed and toddles off to church with my sons. It's all a social thing for them. Religion is NEVER discussed in the house. (I doubt if they discuss their religion in church! :HaHa: )

 

The last time we did speak of religion was when I told her I no longer believed. Since then it's been all quiet on the Western Front. Everyone studiously ignores the giant Atheist Elephant in the living room as if nothing is amiss.

 

And since religion isn't discussed, I really don't know what she believes, but I can hazard a guess. As a CINO (and as goes her personality) my wife doesn't put much thinking into anything. She doesn't question or know anything about her religion outside of "Jesus loves me, this I know, because the bible tells me so." She's a typical, lazy sheep that enjoys being fleeced, becuase that's what "good people" do on Sundays and religious holidays.

 

I despise this behavior/mentality, but I leave it alone. So long as she doesn't go Fundy on me, all is well. But should she or my kids start sprouting evangelical/fundy wings, then I will summarily destroy them and their beliefs.

 

There's no fear of this happening, though. They attend a lukewarm church and they're all too "worldly" and lazy to be a threat to anyone but themselves.

 

Sorry, Edward. But I don't have any gruesome war stories to share either. Religious people (even family) tend to shy away from me for some odd reason. :wicked:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

my husband was an atheist while I was still a fundie christian. It's my opinion that you shouldn't do ANYTHING. Just back off and give your spouse some space. If Tom had tried to push me out of Christianity I don't know if I would have left. I KNOW I wouldn't have the respect for him I do now.

 

If you try to push your spouse out of christianity it's no better than your spouse trying to push you INTO it. You have to respect each other and each other's boundaries and differences. Each person IMO should give the other the space they need to be who they are.

 

I never tried to convert Tom. I asked him to come to church with me a few times, which he did, but it was never with the understanding or belief that he would convert, but more for the social aspects so I wouldn't be alone. After awhile he got to working more and couldn't come to church with me, and eventually I just started to drift away and question etc.

 

Not EVERY fundie spouse will leave the religion. It's a personal journey and if you love and respect your spouse you will respect that boundary and personal space.

 

Tom and I coexisted as two totally separate philosophies religiously by respecting each other's boundaries. Even now we have different beliefs, as Tom is an atheist and I have somewhat spiritual leanings. He's a republican (a republican atheist imagine the weirdness lol.), I'm a libertarian.

 

We have things in common but we have a lot of differences, what makes our differences no big deal is respect and space. We each allow the other person to be who they are, rather than trying to enforce our entire being onto the other person. When you get married you choose whether you will continue to be two separate people with separate lives and interests (in addition to your life together) or if you will become so totally submerged in each other, that you are only a "couple" and not individuals.

 

If Tom had tried to pull me out of christianity, I would have felt pressure from both sides, (from my family to get closer to god, and him to just leave) and it would have created unpleasantness between us.

 

IMO an atheist's "responsibility" to a fundie spouse, is to be the one safe haven he/she has away from the storm. Because fundamentalists are not a peaceful lot, no matter the mask they wear on the outside. They have pressures and people tugging and pulling at them everywhere. If you can be the calm in the storm, you'll earn much respect, especially if your spouse chooses to leave the faith.

 

It's a bit of a taoist way of dealing with things, going with the flow instead of pushing against it. By pushing and fighting, you make yourself seem insecure in your position, even if you aren't. By just being and letting it all ripple off you, you will give your spouse space to determine what SHE needs and wants, not what YOU want for her to need and want. That IMO is part of what loving someone means.

 

This is a very good post and some great advice Zoe. As a matter of fact, I do give her a lot of space with her beliefs as she does the same for me. She continues to attend her church which btw, is the same church I was attending while I was a believer. I go to my humanist/freethought meetings and she has no problems with it. I even attended church services with her twice since my deconversion and there was no intentions on her part to convert me or to proselytize me in anyway. I even met a few people there that I used to attend sunday school classes with and there wasn't even any mention of my non-belief. Just the usual: "it's good to see ya" routine etc, I think you know the drill.

 

You are correct about what you are saying about pushing someone out of their beliefs. I think they have to come to those conclusions on their own just like I did during my time of doubt and questioning. My wife isn't the type of fundy that goes around brow beating Jesus down my throat or anyone elses either. She is a very loving person with a lot of compassion for people. I think the sense of humor we both share helps quite a bit. she even sometimes makes a joke about non-belief sometimes and that's usually the opportunity for me to come back with some humor also. Who knows, humor might be the most civil way to create/plant those seeds of doubt in our situation. Only time will tell.

 

Again, thanks for your help and great insights on this topic, I appreciate it.

 

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I go to my humanist/freethought meetings and she has no problems with it.

 

Edward,

 

I am curious to know what type of freethought meetings you go to. Just curios.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I go to my humanist/freethought meetings and she has no problems with it.

 

Edward,

 

I am curious to know what type of freethought meetings you go to. Just curios.

 

Have you heard of atheist meetup? there should be one in your area. http://atheists.meetup.com/

 

I also attend a humanist group in my area and freethought church but it's not a church as a traditional theist kind of thing. All of these are places where freethinkers are able to gather and meet others of like minded values, ideas etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I also attend a humanist group in my area and freethought church but it's not a church as a traditional theist kind of thing.

 

I guess I was asking which freethought "churches" you've tried. I went to the Science of Mind one in my city, but while I like their teachings, I couldn't stomach the people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... They attend a lukewarm church and they're all too "worldly" and lazy to be a threat to anyone but themselves. ...

 

And let me guess, the denomination is "Lethargitarian," right? (That's the only xian church I'd attend!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just going to write "it sucks" but after reading the others I guess that puts me in the minority. I guess if your spouse is willing to actually put you and your marriage above god, despite what they're supposed to do, and keep a true open mind then you've got a shot (which is what it sounds like happened in the positive stories I've read here...and what I actually had a taste of for a short time). If not, then expect a lot of fights over stupid shit (especially if things didn't do so well for you in the faith and your "healing" is taking the slow and painful path) and the inability to express yourself to the one person you should be able to talk to about all this stuff. Expect your bad attitude about it to sometimes come out on the ex-c website. ;)

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I married a fundy as a fundy. Actually, I was a recent ex-atheist/agnostic turned fundy because of hardship in life. Eventually, it all came back around and I realized I could not accept Christianity. It just isn't true.

 

My ex would never in a million years have left GAWD for me. Her mother would have had a hit put out on her if she did anyway. If I could have lived a lie, I could have stayed. She just basically ignored my loss of faith. Probably prayed nightly for me. Acted as if nothing was wrong. But there was plenty wrong. She put her religion above me. She put her hobby above me (Gospel singing, she called it a "ministry" I call it a hobby). She put her mother above me. She put her career above me. She put our children above me. The children was an acceptable thing, but along with everything else, it put me at the bottom of the list. Personally, I believe I should have been second on the list, just under the children, and truly, we should have shared the top slot as "Our IMMEDIATE Family." But even the children were second place to god and her hobby. I couldn't take living that way until I turned into her step-dad: henpecked and hiding in the office or at work all the time. I had already started working as late as was possible without getting in trouble for too much overtime.

 

If I tried to discuss my loss of faith with her, or worse, the origins of man, I was mocked.

"You REALLY think we came from MONKEYS?!?! I didn't come from no MONKEY!"

Ugh. She could NOT be questioned when it came to her beliefs. It just was not going to work.

 

I've been divorced now for about two years and I am MUCH happier. I'm free to be myself. I'm free to express my opinion to my partner. I'm free to scream "I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE GOD OF THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN BIBLE" and not fear any repercussions at home. My girlfriend loves me for who I am and not for what she THOUGHT I was. My only problem is the lack of time I have with my kids, but I'm working on that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What?! You've really swerved from the topic, Asimov.

 

 

The idea was about atheists married to christians. I dont' have a wife, but if I did I wouldn't care what faith she was, as long as she liked anal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a recent deconvert. My wife is still a Christian however, I never have tried to change her mind or make her doubt. My wife has a painful medical condition that we have endured for 12 years of our almost 16 year marriage. After praying and hoping for healing from a condition that has left her with almost suicidal pain at times, I realized it was not coming. After I deconverted, I never told her but I never had to, she does not nag me or anthing of the sort. She says I am the best husband she could have ever had no matter what I believe. She has admitted there is doubt and just recently, she asked if it would be ok if we did not go back to church. Even if she had, I would not have cared. I know that if she has faith and it helpes her with her pain, imagionary or not, I would never try to convince her otherwise. If it is a way to help her with her pain, I have no problem. I love her and will always love her. I guess the main thing to remember is the fact you love your spouse and why. It can work it just takes compromise from both people involved.

 

Hi, Burned Out!

 

I don't really have a lot to add to this discussion. (My guy is one of those christians-in-name-only; he does go to church -- Ethiopian Orthodox (Coptic) -- sporadically, but it's only a social event, so he can keep up with the Ethiopian community, which is rather large in the Washington. D.C. area where we live. So there's really no conflict.)

 

I just want to let you know that I found your post, quoted above, very touching. I've sorta been following your posts since you joined because I have a medical condition (multiple sclerosis) that is somewhat similiar to your wife's in that it can be painful and can interfere with intimacy sometimes, etc. Like your wife, whom I believe you said is an accountant, I work from home. (I'm a writer/editor and graphic artist for a trade association.) And, sometimes I do worry about whether my medical problem will hurt my relationship (so far, so good, though). In other words, I do have a bit of understanding about your situation.

 

Anyway, because I feel some kinship with you, when I've read some of your past postings, I've felt some concern about how you and your wife are getting along because of her fibromyalgia and the difference in belief/non-belief. Now, reading that you love her and always will makes me happy. You two are going to make it. Congratulations!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

my husband was an atheist while I was still a fundie christian. It's my opinion that you shouldn't do ANYTHING. Just back off and give your spouse some space. If Tom had tried to push me out of Christianity I don't know if I would have left. I KNOW I wouldn't have the respect for him I do now.

 

If you try to push your spouse out of christianity it's no better than your spouse trying to push you INTO it.

 

Exactly.

 

When I was Catholic, my SO *never* attempted to deconvert me. If he had, I would have probably clung to my faith despite the doubts. His (and my) opinion was that it was simply best to respect the other's differences. Even now, we're still different: he's an atheist, and I'm a theistic/deistic seeker. He actually has expressed guilt over my faith loss, btw. :(

 

No, I don't think anyone who's ex-Christian should try to deconvert their Christian spouse. Tactics like that are more likely to backfire than work in the unbeliever's favour.

 

I am a recent deconvert. My wife is still a Christian however, I never have tried to change her mind or make her doubt. My wife has a painful medical condition that we have endured for 12 years of our almost 16 year marriage. After praying and hoping for healing from a condition that has left her with almost suicidal pain at times, I realized it was not coming. After I deconverted, I never told her but I never had to, she does not nag me or anthing of the sort. She says I am the best husband she could have ever had no matter what I believe. She has admitted there is doubt and just recently, she asked if it would be ok if we did not go back to church. Even if she had, I would not have cared. I know that if she has faith and it helpes her with her pain, imagionary or not, I would never try to convince her otherwise. If it is a way to help her with her pain, I have no problem. I love her and will always love her. I guess the main thing to remember is the fact you love your spouse and why. It can work it just takes compromise from both people involved.

 

You sound like an incredibly loving husband who respects his wife. She is very lucky to have such a caring man in her life. I am infinitely sorry that you both have to endure such a painful condition. :( Hopefully, medical science will be advanced enough one day to help solve her problem- at least to a small extent.

 

I'll be thinking of you both.

 

Rosa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I read the title..."atheists married to fundies'..or something like that....my first thoughts were

Yeah! but not for long!

 

In my experience (extended family)....the fundy will not cease trying to convert the spouse, ........& for that matter everybloody member of their family....(except the dead ones - they happily condemn those ta HELL)

 

So in some fundy chruches is considered a 'sin' to continue in a marriage with a 'worldly'...& the main relationship strategy is therefore to weave and dodge their persisent 'witnessing'....I'm being polite here.

 

I'm sure there are heaps of bums on seats in church that are only there to keep the peace........but I doubt that 'anal' would be considered a 'wifely' duty...Haha..

 

Oh & I was under the assumption that the 'PASTOR" was also a very big player within the fundy marriage.......

that would make it very difficult for the 'atheist' to have much sway with their spouse?

dunno know really....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I always talk about how lucky we were that our marriage survived my big "change" (we were both fundamentalists) My wife doesn't consider herself a Christian, though she hopes there is some kind of god.

 

I couldn't imagine what would have happened if only one of us had changed and not the other. I think this would be especially difficult for a woman married to a fundamentalist husband.

 

First, there would be intense pressure on the husband because his wife's lack of faith would be interpretted as his lack of "spiritual leadership." 1 Timothy 3:5--"(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)" He would feel pressured to keep his wife in the faith.

 

Second, the woman would either have to live up to all of the expectations of a fundamentalist woman (stay home with the children, don't work outside of the home, do all of the domestic chores, etc.) or she would have to face pursuing these "ungodly indulgences" without any support whatsoever.

 

This seems like a very difficult situation to me. In a way, I think it is easier for a man to become apostate (imagine that!). It is very "manly." For the same reason, it is more difficult for a woman.

 

How would you handle being a woman married to a fundamentalist husband that you love (and who loves you) and want to stay with, but who is completely tied up by his religion?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, there would be intense pressure on the husband because his wife's lack of faith would be interpretted as his lack of "spiritual leadership." 1 Timothy 3:5--"(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)" He would feel pressured to keep his wife in the faith.

 

Second, the woman would either have to live up to all of the expectations of a fundamentalist woman (stay home with the children, don't work outside of the home, do all of the domestic chores, etc.) or she would have to face pursuing these "ungodly indulgences" without any support whatsoever.

 

 

Well, I guess it depends of what of type fundamentalism the partner is following. Or maybe it is just different in the United States. I am in Canada, and here, most christian women work. Actually, I am not working right now, and I am glad I am not going to church because everybody would be asking if I had a job yet (I am taking a looonng break from work).

 

My husband is a fundamentalist in that he believes the bible to be a historical, accurate document. But he doesn't believe in all that other stuff. That's perhaps why we have little problems over my leaving the faith.

 

How would you handle being a woman married to a fundamentalist husband that you love (and who loves you) and want to stay with, but who is completely tied up by his religion?

 

I guess you are referring to a type of fundy who goes to church twice on Sunday and on Wednesday. That would be hard to handle. In my town, churches don't have evening services anymore and the Wednesday service has been replaced with home bible studies.

 

Personally, I get time for myself on Sunday mornings and Thursday nights when my husband goes to bible study /church. I don't talk about my disbelief, he doesn't try to convert me back. Also, I am pretty much the same person I used to be. I just don't believe the bullshit and don't feel as guilty as I used to.

 

I suposse the type of fundamentalism many talk about, I haven't even experienced. I would not stay married to a man who believed that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm married to what I would call a Liberal fundie. She's a bible literalist, YEC, but does some cherry picking, leaving the "women subservient" stuff behind. When we married I was agnostic and she was what I would call your basic Christian. We partied a bit, lived together before marriage, laughed at dirty jokes. We had your tyipcal disagreements, but life was pretty good. She worked on me enough to get me into a baptist church and I got "saved" and baptised. I believed in Jesus, but was never a literalist and always had nagging doubts. Our "spiritual" paths never converged. After 17 years of marriage I never could reconcile my doubts about religion and the bible. I finally gave it up completely. The funny thing is that it was studying christianity and going to church that convinced me it was all crap. :Doh:

 

It is a very emotional subject and a tender spot in our relationship. She used to try to get me to talk about religion and where I was "spiritually". I always was vague in my answers because I was vague in my beliefs. Once I figured out where I stood, she no longer wants to talk about it.

 

In the beginning of this year, I honestly thought we were going to get divorced. She was extremely angry about my "de-conversion". She called me an "Evil Athiest" and a "Liberal". :Wendywhatever:

I suppose I "betrayed" her by being honest about where I was spiritually. I think she was hoping I would solidly convert. I guess not all prayers are answered. :scratch:

 

I will not try to "de-convert" my wife. Anything that I would do would be interpreted as a threat and would push her away. I respect her beliefs, but I dislike her disrespect of mine.

 

Our relationship has improved in the last few months and hopefully it will get better.

 

Based on my experience, I would not date or marry someone who was dependent on Xiantity. It has been a huge strain on my sanity and our overall relationship. If we didn't have kids, or had she turned more fundie on me before kids, I would not have stayed in the relationship long term.

 

 

On a more light hearted note...

 

Lorena, if that's you in your avatar, maybe we should swap spouses! :wicked:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.