I'm rather certain this has been asked before and I merely couldn't find the discussion.

Without getting into too much background, I'm a newlywed. The husband and I have one of those stories that are either sweet or foolish and filled with more love than logic. Either way, he's always been a stalwart Lutheran and I've always been an immovable atheist. This all worked out fine partially because he had massive issues with the church itself and thus never went.

He's recently started going.

I tried to explain to him, before we started dating, while we were engaged and before we married (including the day of our marriage itself) that religion is more of a polarizing factor in a relationship than he realizes. I've been an atheist in Texas the entire time I've been an atheist. I've lost friends because of it, had my vehicle vandalized and have a few members of my family that aren't speaking to me. All these people, while they may not have been "good Christians" considered themselves "good Christians". Religion was one of the reasons my last relationship didn't work. 

I'm more than a little concerned about the future of the marriage and don't quite know how to dig up the old corpses of ignored arguments. I'm rather certain approaching him and voicing my concerns will get his attention but he gets so **** vehement about his religion that it's almost like talking to a different person. I'm also rather certain that I could, with enough expression of my fears that his religion would drive a wedge between us, could get him to cease going to church entirely but his delusions give him nearly as much comfort as they give me fear and I don't want to be that person.

Any advice? Besides "leave while it's an annulment and not a divorce."?

I'd also appreciate advice for how to say, "I think it's great that you've decided you want children after we initially bonded over the fact that neither of us want kids and I'd be more than willing to give you children but this uterus only makes atheists and I don't want to argue with you for 18 years." but that can be put off for several more years.

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Few atheists would have a problem with a religious spouse, but it's not a two-way street. If your theistic spouse can't accept your atheism, there's little that can be done. Of course, an effort should be made to come to an accommodation but, if the theist is unable to accept an equitable compromise, a divorce may be the best solution. ...and sooner, rather than later. Nothing is gained by prolonging the agony.


The reality is it isn't always your obvious similarities that actually matter, but rather how skillfully you are able to manage your differences.

"The reality is it isn't always your obvious similarities that actually matter, but rather how skillfully you are able to manage your differences." is possibly one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I don't think either one of us is contemplating the divorce route at this point. I would honestly rather find a nice non-Christian marriage counselor to help us sort through issues before we went that route. 

Agreed few atheist will have problems. However the religious will have major problems with atheist. You don't have to talk about religion or even engage in religious activities while being married. If you leave the issue, there won't be any problems. However, religious people tend to love betraying people. It is in their nature for some unknown reason. is it the heartache they cause that makes them happy, or the tears they cause? I don't know. what the church leader says -they will do. No questions asked . That includes maybe punching you in the face if that came to be..

If you plan to have children, or maybe an "accident" might happen. Your marriage will likely go down the drain due neither side not compromising.

My advice is stop talking about your differences and start sharing your similarities. Think about why you married this guy in the first place.  I would imagine it wasn't the devotion to Yahweh.   Advice number 2: The best way to solve the problem is to leave before it starts.  yup..divorce!

"what the church leader says -they will do" I have expressed that sentiment to him on multiple occasions and he constantly negates it while starting sentences with, "My pastor said..." it's funny in 80% of scenarios. I'm honestly contemplating a third party mediator at this point, preferably one that isn't either of our faiths, not because I don't want an atheist counselor but because I don't want a Christian one. 

You should go with a buddhist mediator then!

I sympathise with your plight. I too have a devout christian spouse. Being male it is somewhat different to your situation. I have never lost any friends though over my atheism.

You do however have to make it clear that you WILL do everything in your power to raise non believing children and that the decision is theirs and solely theirs to make about personal beliefs when they are old enough to decide for themselves.

I have a son to my spouse who will be 11 in a couple of months. I have and continue to tell him that they are just stories and that he can read many other OLD stories in many other books. Some of which ARE actually true. I continually BUTT in on family who tell him that he should be going to church and that GOD is watching him...BAHH nonsense. I've told him to keep an open mind and that those beliefs are only there because people refuse to let go of their imaginary friends,and this only came about as a way to implement LAWS and control the ever growing population.

IN MY OPINION, and mine only. You MUST make it perfectly clear that you will not be allowing fairy tales of grandeur and mystique to cloud the intelligent development of your possible future children. If your spouse simply cannot agree to that then DON'T have any children with this man. You will only bring unnecessary trouble and strife to your own life.

I hope you can work this out. I wish you the best of luck in your life.

I'm strongly considering the childless option and not looking forward to the discussion where I'll have to bring it up. Better a short, painful discussion now than a long, painful divorce later. It helps that I honestly doubt any child is worth the 18+ years of arguing it's going to lead to.

I understood that you came together under the not wanting children agenda.

My son understands what I tell him and has read my poetry, sees me on atheist sites now and knows full heartedly that I do not, and also do not want him to, believe in a god.

He understands what I have told him about people needing something to believe in, but it is JUST in their heads and not actually real.

He knows that I approve of him wanting to believe in the fairy tale, however disappointed I will be, but to also know that santa and the tooth fairy are much the same thing...and we all know how that ends...He sure does. I told him last year. He was happy to choose his Xmas gifts last year. He had a budget and got to work. Impressive young man if I must say so myself.

 I do think you can successfully have children with this man. I think you are doubting yourself more than your husband. Stop kicking yourself in the ass. If he loves you he will understand.

Once again...just my own take here.

Still wishing you the best.

I had a Christian spouse and I slowly brought her to the dark side.  I tried not to though, because deconversion was painful for me.

I think it matters how you approach the subject with him.  What kind of lutheran is he?  Missouri Synod or ELCA?  

Also, what kind of atheist were you?  Honestly I see a lot of arguments that atheists think are the bees knees, but just don't work on theists because they are formulated from the atheist perspective.  The best arguments to help a theist understand you need to be ones about honesty, and the pursuit of truth.

He was raised an atheist and "found God" in a haze of all those negative things that occur when one abuses recreational drugs during his late adolescence so deconversion, reconversion in his case, isn't something that I think will be very effective. 

There are different kinds of Lutherans?! This is a question for google and one to ask him the moment we're both home together. I'm sure his answer will be interesting and add another group to his list of people that practice the worship of Jesus wrong (Short answer - anyone that isn't a Lutheran) As for the sort of atheist I am... Strongly believe there are no Gods, don't really care to force others to believe the same, more than willing to leave them to their delusions as long as they leave me in peace. 

Juli, I honestly recommend that you seek out some conflict resolution via marriage counseling.   I would recommend someone who does either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (which is based on challenging irrational thoughts to correct your feelings) or Family Systems Therapy which is based on the idea that the actions of one person in a system will have either a positive or a negative impact on the rest of the family system.

Either therapist would serve as a good mediator to keep your husband from feeling inclined to shut down in the conversation.  A lot of relationships simply need a good mediator to sort these out.  I suggest these two, because a lot of the other methods work, but I can count on those more reliably because they are more about solving the problem than they are with getting in touch with your feelings in order to possibly solve the problem maybe.

Now that I have said that though, yeah there are two different types, and it sounds like he is Missouri Synod because they are more rigid.  There also is a smaller Swedish denomination too, but they aren't really prominent, and there may be others.  There are variances in the beliefs.  Rigidity matters.  ELCA tends to be liberal, and Missouri Synod is conservative.  That makes a difference too.

What I was saying about the honesty and truth thing,  it is basically "Even if something is true, believing in it prematurely before the reasons to believe it are truly sound is wrong".

What this is, is a moral stance that you can rest on and you can defend it as a moral ground. It is wrong to believe in things using bad reasons, because it is dishonest, and it keeps you from figuring out if you have been mistaken.

One of the important things to do is see how your values connect to their beliefs.  Such as "If there is a God, and he is as it claims "Truth", then it has to be wrong to believe in Him by means of having your mind get deceived.  You would have to come to God because it became clear that it was true.  And the only way that something can be clear as true is if it legitimately overwhelms the reasons against it being true.  Otherwise it is the wrong thing to do, because anything else is a deception of the mind on what is reliable evidence.

Moralizing that embrace of honesty, helps out a lot.  Then it isn't just an idea, or an opinion is is an ideology.  Religious people tend to devalue opinions and value ideology.

Okay, so how that all factors in, is that you now have gained leverage to say "It is fine that the child learns about God, but the child must also learn all the reasons about the objections to God being there, because it is wrong to not present both sides, even if God is there, the child must come to God for honest reasons, not because the child has been conditioned to believe it.  Children are by nature imitators of belief and values.

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Posted by ɐuɐz ǝllǝıuɐp on July 28, 2014 at 10:27pm 4 Comments

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