Hi friends,

I'm opening this topic up because I would like to hear from fellow atheists who have a religious spouse.

I have found myself getting less and less tolerant of the need to have an imaginary friend. I try to keep it to myself as much as I can, but we all know what happens from time to time eh?

I have some questions that I'd like to pose for anyone who cares to chime in.

Are you the dominant one in the marriage? Is that because of your atheism or some other reason? Do you think that would be even a factor? Is it the need for control or just the logical procession of the marriage? Or do you consider you and your spouse to be equally dominant?

I know that's a lot of questions there, but there are lots more to come.

What religious celebrations/ceremonies do you participate in with your spouse? Do you do this just to keep the peace, or do you do it as a supportive role ?

How much religiosity do you allow going on in your home? For example, the watching of Sunday worship shows or the persistent playing of christian music etc.

How much religious decor, symbols and statues etc?

If you have children, how are you handling the conflicting interests of raising your child, in so far as religious influence from your spouse or other family members around your children?

I'll continue for now by answering myself. Kinda like talking to myself. Here comes the straight jacket.

I consider myself to be the dominant one in my marriage. Not because of my atheism per-say, although I think that if I were too a believer it might be more swaying towards equally dominant. More so that it seems to be the logical procession in my case. Sole bread winner, and better educated in my opinion.

I do not and will not attend church service. That's off the table. I will go to the likes of a wake, but I'm probably not going to be at the funeral or the christening unless it's a really close family member.

I allow my wife a little slack on a Sunday to watch some mind numbing, sanctimonious bullshit. I can stomach a little bit in the background. As far as the music goes I'm usually complaining about it by the second song or so. "Surely there's something we all would like to listen to now honey?". I don't care about when I'm not there.

I have allowed a lot of slack in that area, but I have to say that my wife has not taken the piss in that department. She has a few angels and the odd cross here and there. There's no "Ten Commandments" on the wall or any of that nonsense. If you don't know how to act....there's the door.

I'm struggling with this whole thing because everyone I know is a theist. Therefore everyone my son knows is a theist. Now he understands what I tell him about them just being stories, and that a lot of people still live their lives in fear of the invisible and unproven, because they need to feel that there is a better place to go to when you die. And that all the religions think the same way about all the other religions. They will simply go to hell for not believing in their "One true God". I've explained about the facts of the ancient gods, whom no one believes in any more, and that the christian god will also be a thing of the past one day because the advancement of mankind and his intelligent discoveries are explaining the world around us with "TRUTH".

Anyways, that's enough to be going on with for now. If anyone has some questions themselves? Feel free to ask.

I look forward to hearing from anyone with a similar plight. I will soldier on for the mean time.

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It's pretty simple, really.  My wife does and thinks whatever she wants, as do I.  When it comes to religious matters, we both know to stay out of the other one's way and not get involved.  She wouldn't try to dictate to me what science I should be thinking about and it's none of my business what religious nonsense she thinks about.


I also do not attend Mass with my wife and she doesn't ask.  Although I consider weddings and funerals to be a different thing altogether.  Funerals, especially, are about celebrating the person's life, not glorifying their "eternal life."  I don't care what the preacher has to say about it.  I'm there to express my sorry for the family's loss anad pay my respects to the dead, that's all.

There's a crucifix on the wall in almost every room of our home.  I don't even notice them and couldn't care less.  If I do happen to think about it, I just consider it "background art" that nobody gives a shit about anyway.

We don't have kids yet, although I'm perfectly content to have my wife raise them Catholic.  One day, they'll have questions that need answers and they'll know that dad gives the no-bullshit answers.  If they never come seeking those answers, they never would've in the first place.  Rather than teach them what to think (like my wife and her church will do), I'll spend my time teaching them HOW to think, so that one day they'll actually care to seek out those answers that religion doesn't provide.  Teaching them to be free-thinking and scientifically literate will lead to them discovering that religion is bullshit all by themselves.

Thank you for taking time to respond and giving me/us a little insight on your married life.

I have to say though that the fact that you are content to let your wife raise your (hopefully future) children Catholic, kinda catches me off guard. Wasn't ready for that one.

Actually it shows me just how individual we humans are. Intriguing indeed.

I respect your decision to allow the children to form their own mind, rather than be indoctrined.  Teaching a child how to think for themselves is great parenting. 

Are you the dominant one in the marriage? Is that because of your atheism or some other reason? Do you think that would be even a factor? Is it the need for control or just the logical procession of the marriage? Or do you consider you and your spouse to be equally dominant?

- The marriage is fairly equal. The main difference between the two of us, is that I seem to be the more calm and rational one in the relationship. I'm the less stressed one, and I like to analyze and question any situation we face.

What religious celebrations/ceremonies do you participate in with your spouse? Do you do this just to keep the peace, or do you do it as a supportive role?

- We do not participate in any religious ceremonies any longer. When I met my wife, she used to go to church every Saturday (Seventh Day Adventist), and I did accompany her for a bit when we first got married. But as time went on, she doesn't even mention church or anything like that anymore. It seems to me that it was more of a family thing she used to do, since her whole family is uber religious, but since she had a falling out with her brother, church and religious practice doesn't seem to be very important.

How much religiosity do you allow going on in your home? For example, the watching of Sunday worship shows or the persistent playing of christian music etc.

- I am not her master, so there is nothing for me to allow. She is free to do as she pleases. She used to read the bible, but doesn't anymore. We have one in the house, along with a Quran, and some other mythology books of mine.

How much religious décor, symbols and statues etc.?

- None. Her particular denomination takes the "No idol worship" seriously, and includes crosses and any other religious symbol. At least she doesn't care about any of that stuff. So, none. There is no religious décor, in our house. Aside from the Jesus fish she has on her bible, and my Satanic coasters.

If you have children, how are you handling the conflicting interests of raising your child, in so far as religious influence from your spouse or other family members around your children?

- We do not have children, but we have talked about this before. She agrees that forcing your beliefs on your kids is a terrible thing to do, so we will educate the kids the best we can and teach them to question everything. Then we will let them decide for themselves.

Well thanks for making me out to be some sort of Saddam Hussein with your reply.

I guess I can deduce from your reply, that you are pretty passionate about holding your marital views as equal, and I say fair play to you. But I'm sure not everyone feels the same, nor finds themselves in the same boat.

I say this because no matter how much I love and support my wife, and previous partners, I will always have a mental conflict when it comes to religion and faith. To which end I am 100% convinced that I do not want my children drawn into the dogma. I can't help that. That's why I'm asking for other peoples input as to how they have dealt with these issues.

I am no convert or whatever. I've never believed. Hence I struggle mentally trying to stay focused on blocking out other peoples influence on my children, as far as what I deem to be inappropriate. I have only their best interests at heart. I truly feel that I am trying my best to make faith end here in my family tree. That is my ultimate goal. I fail to understand why another atheist would want anything different. But that's just me. I would love a world with no religion.

I feel that you are implying that I don't work together with my wife. She's kinda miffed as to why you are, when you don't know a thing about me. However when it comes to religion, hell yeah I work against her. So far as the handing down of faith goes anyways.

She knew all about me before we got married and what I did and did not want around me. I guess I could say that as an atheist, I had set out what could be regarded as conditional continuance of the relationship because that's how I would feel comfortable moving ahead and trying to make this work. I guess that's why I say "ALLOW", because if I'm not comfortable in my surroundings, I'm simply not going to be there. I am such a strong atheist in that sense. Perhaps I should have worded it differently to say "How much religiosity do you let yourself be subjected to before you feel the need for a compromise?". Which still means the same thing to me, but I guess it reads a little less dictatorial.

If you knew me better, which I would thoroughly enjoy, perhaps you could hold a different judgement from above.

Thanks for your input. It has made me think about how I should word my questions in future.

No one is judging your marriage, it was the phrasing you used in the question that threw people off.

Using the phrase "I allow my wife..." doesn't make it sound very equal, is all.

The meaning of your question was just lost in translation.

I'll have to look up that term "xtian". I'm unfamiliar.

I don't feel it's at all off topic because it is addressing the belief system.

Well I just looked it up, because that's what I do when I don't understand. I also see it's kinda of depicted as the lazy way of NOT writing "Christian". I'd never have guessed. I was thinking it was some other form of belief along the lines of Scientology. Couldn't have been more wrong, because all them Scientologists are going to hell. Right?

My wife has always been a believer and contends that no matter what I say it will never make her deny her savior. I have never been a believer. We married by JP. Among her friends and family. Mine so far away in Scotland. At first it was a real shocker for them when I announced my life empty of belief. They were promptly met with the simple fact that no matter what anyone said, we were going to marry.

I know to Christians, that marrying an atheist is not looked upon as a good thing. My wife is constantly reminded from her family that I'm not going to be there waiting for her at the gates or vice versa, if she was to go first, it's not worth waiting for me because I'm not coming...EVER. To which she expresses concern to me, hoping that one day I will finally see that Jesus is my savoir too, and I just have to let him into my heart. On the flip side of that, I will spend the rest of our life denying her God, and trying to show her that I find simple peace in the knowing that this is all truly wonderful. That we should embrace it for what it is now, and what the future holds for us.

We both got into this knowing each other, and we are making everyone eat their words. You just don't know how many people doubted us. Or how many still feel the need to question my dis-belief.

I can say that we pretty much only butt heads about belief.

I hope that's not rabbitting on too much. I hope I was able to resolve perhaps a little bit of your curiosity. If so, then you are very welcome.

Thank you for your valued input and queries.

Xtian (or more properly Xian) is just short for "Christian", following the logic of Xmas; X is a very old abbreviation for "christ."   [I say it's more properly "Xian" because Christmas is not abbreviated Xtmas.]

Well thank you SteveInCO. I didn't actually read much further than the first or second search result. Once I saw a quick definition I felt slightly more savvy. But this defines it for me and I appreciate that.

I'm getting a feeling that I should chalk this one up to the "evolution" of the English language.

My wife is constantly reminded from her family that I'm not going to be there waiting for her at the gates or vice versa, if she was to go first, it's not worth waiting for me because I'm not coming...EVER.

I have heard this one as well, in the early days of my marriage.

My answer to my wife's worries seemed to end them.

When they mention that to her, say this:

Heaven is everything perfect, yes? Everything you truly love and desire will be there. If you truly love me, then I will be there, because if you love me, and I am not in heaven, then it is not a perfect place where all your happiness and wishes are true. And if it's not a perfect place, then god is a liar. And your religion teaches that god is truth, therefore god cannot lie. Therefore, I will be in heaven.

I have been atheist my entire life. Never been baptized, never belonged to any religion.
I did have to do the marriage counseling with the pastor.

We were married by a pastor from my wife's religion, and yeah, the church refused to let him marry us, unless I converted, but, the pastor was a really nice guy, and he knew I was atheist, so he convinced them to settle for bible study, instead of conversion, since I outright refused that, and so did my wife.

The counseling was pretty harmless, it was just generic marriage advice, followed by some bible verse, and the study itself was basically story time for me. It had no effect on me, aside from giving me a first hand look at how selectively the church tells it's members to read the bible.

Since I was never religious, I assumed people read it cover to cover, but I learned that they skip over a lot of stuff, and read only the warm and fuzzy bits.

William, going by what you wrote, it sounds like you are really frustrated--and rightly so.  Are there things about your wife that you respect and appreciate?  It might be helpful to look for those qualities in her when the religiousity gets to you.  I wish you the best of luck in your relationship, in keeping sane while surrounded by Christzombies, and in raising an upstanding free-thinker.

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