Hi everyone, I'm here because I'm looking for some insight, advice and hopefully answers to my particular situation.

I'm a 32 year old married father of 2, I became a Christian back 2004 after a supposed 'word from God' but perhaps largely because my wife and all her family are members of the Anglican/Charasmatic movement and maybe felt some sort of affinity to them. I even went so far as to join the worship team of an extremely large and popular charasmatic church in Oxford which  have been involved with since 2005.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I've recently started to seriously question my belief structure. I've never felt entirely 'comfortable' with being a Christian in the way I always thought I should be, I never really prayed in public, I couldn't quote you specific scripture like a pro and always thought that the Church I am a part of uses emotional manipulation through 'sad and songs' and the pastors alter call to invoke a sense of vulnerability, surely not something I should be thinking if I truly 'get it'

In the last few years she has become more and more extreme in her views, dare I say fundamentalist. Don't get me wrong, she is a very kind, polite and caring woman, but I can no longer stomach some of the things she passionately believes and I'm seriously considering de conversion. She has been a Christian since she was born lived, breathed and evangelised the Christian doctrine and for the longest time we were very happy, having two gorgeous sons

However I've recently had cause to come clean to my wife of 7 years, who is what I would call a 'born' Christian of a string of indiscrections since before we were married, this understandably has caused her great pain for which I am truly sorry, however she has now told me that the ONLY way of saving our marriage is through Christian channels/the grace and love of God or not at all.

Now fair enough, hands up I should take what is coming, but I love my boys and would be prepared to do anything to stay with them, I feel a great affection for my wife as my best friend and indeed all the friends I have made through the Church, but knowing that I feel the way I do about my (lack of) faith I am torn as to weather I should take the step and tell her I can't pursue Christian channels with a clear conscience for the sake of staying in our marriage.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I appreciate your comments

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Welcome aboard!

That's a tough call, either you lie to her or you lie to yourself. I personally don't think I could keep up the charade for the rest of my life/marriage. If I were you I would seriously dig deep down and examine your beliefs or lack thereof and determine where you stand, then stand firm by them. Leave the decision up to her. If your friends are only friends with you because of a shared belief in God, they are not great friends.

BTW your wife wasn't born religious, she was brainwashed like the rest of them

I think I stand with you here, Marc - although having children would make it a very tough call.

I'd tolerate an awful lot for the sake of my son.

I think you should ensure that your relationship with your sons is solid, loving and full of trust before you get too public with your feelings about the church. People lose people when they come out as non-christian, it's not fair but it happens. If I was in your shoes, I'd keep my head down and shore up those relationships you want to keep before making drastic public moves. Because you can be sure that a church like that will back up your wife to block you out of their lives if they think you're not one of them. And then they'll be giving your boys religious guidance instead of you.

I don't have personal experience with this kind of thing, but others do. Maybe they'll chime in here with guidance for you, I hope they do. 

Don't get me wrong, I really wish everyone who feels religion is misguided could come out and say it with confidence, and if they can, I think they should. But sometimes the timing isn't right, and sometimes you need to put on a shit-eating grin for a year or two until you're ready to fight for your kids. 

Kevin, you have some key wisdom here!  

I've been an atheist for ever.  I'm 46.  But I've had to politely nod when friends throughout life go on about the mystery of their god.  But because of the last few years with atheists speaking out, and sites like this permitting connection with others going through this, I've come out on FaceBook.  Some "friends" announced they will un-friend me because we don't "believe" the same way.  I knew I would lose "friends" coming out.  But if can't talk about anything more meaningful than the latest sports scores, because of the manufactured barrier of delusion, what are you saving?  Would you and I trade 10 deluded quaintness for 1 friend who would never try to  will unfounded assertions into existence?

As I read through your post, I initially was thinking: "don't judge Christianity by how comfortable it makes you, how annoying some practices are, or how inadequate your devotion is -- the only relevant issue is whether you think it's actually true or false." You know, because if it's true, none of that matters, you'd just better stick with it unless you want to burn for eternity. And if it's false, none of that matters because the whole thing is unfounded anyway. So decide which it is, and stand up and be true to yourself.

But then I got to the part where you've cheated on your spouse and could maybe lose your family if you come out as an atheist. So that's an even more important matter as far as I'm concerned, and the atheism thing seems fairly minor until your situation with your boys stabilizes. I don't have anything to offer you there. I stand by my advice about your Christianity, but that matter can wait.

Thanks all, I should perhaps mention that my boys are still relatively young at 5yrs and 11 months old. In the last few days I have come to the conclusion that I have to be upfront and honest about my 'awakening' as what makes a lie about my belief any less significant than the lies about cheating, given how important her faith is to her? The stone cold part of me just thinks to hell with it (excuse the pun) and if she cannot bear to be with me after this then so be it, we deal with the fallout for the sake of the kids, but despite that I have been with her for 10 years and we have a great deal of history, Id liked to spare her further pain...

First Richard, you're never clear on your "string of indiscrections" - one could easily assume you meant sexual affairs, but I noticed that in a post on the next page, you denied that they were. So before I could offer any advice, I'd have to know more.

One thing you need to ask yourSELF, is whatever the "string of indiscrections" were, why did they happen? What (besides religion) is wrong with your marriage? What (besides the children) is right about it? In short, with both religion and the boys out of the picture, what do you have? And be honest with yourself --

I have no advice, I'm afraid. I can't say I've ever really been in a situation like yours. But I did want to say that my heart goes out to you. I have some small idea of how this must be feeling for you, but can never truly know it. I am so sorry that you're going through this!

It's a horrible thing when faith will blind someone against the love they have for someone else as a human being and not as a "believer". It's as if they find it impossible to look past a lack of faith in what THEY believe to see the love, the personality, and the actual person behind that particular screen. I am always sad when someone will leave another, lover or friend, because they've discovered the other doesn't believe in their god...

That's quite a tough situation you're in there.  I want to say the I think you should live what is true for you, but I know it is not that cut and dry. I would tend to do what I think would hurt or damage the kids less, and what, at the end of the day, I could live with.

It sounds like you are in the process of accepting your de-conversion process.  I hate it that this is such a big deal.  I don't see this as something we necessarily have control over - whether we believe or not.  I think we can fake things like that for a while, but in the end we can't be where we are not at.  It doesn't seem like you can be the way you were even if you try to force it.  

I know it is poor consolation, but welcome back from your long excursion along the path of Christianity.  

Why didn't you comply with the counselor's request? It couldn't have hurt you, and it would have demonstrated to your wife that you were at least interested in trying to meet her halfway. Now you can rightfully be accused of not even trying - you have to understand that her beliefs, though likely born of fear, are very real to her - if you really want to save your marriage, you should at least acknowledge that, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. You've heard, "You are what you eat?" - sometimes, you are what you believe, and your rejection of her effort at counseling, is in effect a rejection of both her and your marriage.

I'm not suggesting that you concoct a story to appear to believe, be honest, but at least go through the process. You might also consider choosing a secular counselor.

I think there are two things that can make or break a marriage. Belief in God and whether or not a couple wants children. In my opinion if one person believes and the other does not the marriage isnt going to work, it's going to be more of a business deal and there is going to be a lot of pent up resentment. In my opinion if one person wants children and the other does not the same thing is going to happen. You HAVE to be on the same page when it comes to these two things or it just isnt going to work. You get ONE life, only ONE, if you respect and love your wife but you are not in love with her anymore tell her, let her be happy. Your happiness is important too! You are 32 and I'm sure you can find someone else who shares the same views who will compliment your life instead of fragment it. I am a recent de-convert, not a convert because I didnt convert to anything, but my husband of 9 years de-converted before me. Things got really shaky for a while and now I know why. Since accepting that I was an atheist we have amazing conversations, share ideas, theories, and watch all kinds of documentaries together. It's liberating, refreshing, and we are the happiest we have ever been! The sky didnt fall down when I said I dont believe out loud, I didnt get struck with illness or a thunderbolt. No my life and sex life btw got much better and yours will to. Read/ watch the God Delusion and think everything will come to fruition for you.

Good luck and remember you only get ONE life! Enjoy it!!!

Well, coming clean about your 'indiscretions' at the same time as your lack of faith - that's a pretty big double-whammy for any relationship.

A few random and disjointed thoughts ...

Your wife probably believes strongly that the only way your relationship can recover is through god. In large part, her trust in you is going to be tied to that. That doesn't mean that you have to fake it. She may take the view that her god and her faith are enough to hold the family together - as long as you are showing yourself to be a loving, trustworthy, reliable, affectionate daddy and hubby.

If you stay with her, trust is the key. You've broken it and you'll have to work very, very hard to rebuild it. For that reason, I do think it would be harmful to fake the religion thing. That said, I think it can be soft-peddled, and you might be able to help her become more open to less fundamental beliefs if she sees you honestly addressing and struggling with what it all means.

Atheism is, in its simplest form, not accepting the god claims of others. But in practical terms, atheists are expected to answer a slew of questions about how we can be moral, and what purpose can we have without god. I'd recommend putting some time into thinking about these kinds of questions before going full exposure with her (although "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer).

Whether you stay with her, you and your wife are joined for life through your children. Maintaining a working relationship will be important for you, for her, and especially for your boys.

Your boys will be learning how to treat women from the way you treat women.

What do you want for your boys 10-20 years from now? For you? For your wife? How do you get there? Do you see yourself with your wife after your boys are grown?

What will it mean to your relationships with friends at church if you de-convert? Will they all automatically take sides (hers, not yours)? Will you have any support to make a case for being with your boys?

All these questions ... and you were looking for answers! 

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