I'm not used to posting my woes and sorrows for all to see. I am however open to allowing my life to be opened up to the truth and allowing it to liberate me as I believe the truth should. With that said, I'm hoping that there are others who can gain or empathize with my story.
I'll start from the day that I told my wife I was an atheist, July 20, 2011. I did it, most cowardly, in an email. On our anniversary. I was hoping that my gift to her would be "honesty." She didn't take it lightly. Suffice it to say, things were thrown, words and objects and accusations that our marriage meant nothing in the light of our oath being one based on faith. I didn't see it that way. I thought it bether that my marriage to her was not dependent upon a belief in a 3rd party God, but my own belief in my love for her, and my dogged decision to stick with our marriage because I respected my own oath. Not to mention that I loved her enough to tell her the truth instead of living in a lie. I was taking full responsibility for the oath that I made, rather than allowing some imaginary "God" to be the weak link that held us together.
We had been married since 2002 and when we took the "compatibility" test given to us by our devout Catholic marriage mentor, we matched almost exactly. We attended church together, and sang in the choir. When I met her, I had been playing guitar/singing in the choir when she joined. In retrospect, as I think back, and I actually mentioned this to her upon coming out as an atheist, that music was the only thing that really held me to church. The joy of playing/singing was what drew me to the liturgy. I could care less about the sermons. I even enjoyed doing the readings sometimes because I enjoy public speaking. My devoutness was all a convenient way of getting my need for attention and a hobby met.
To be fair, I thought that that my revelation would not be a big deal because throughout our marriage we had been attending very "forward thinking" workshops on the Christian faith, with many speakers that we admired calling for a more humanistic approach to Christianity than the dogmatic traditional church. These were people open to discussing scripture with scholarly, open eyes that did not necessarily jive with the mainstream Roman Catholic view. Indeed, I saw in these people a thirst for reform in the Church to allow for wider acceptance of all faiths and allowing opposing viewpoints. I was encouraged to 'doubt' and 'question,' for according to one of our favorite priests, "If you don't doubt your faith, you'd be an idiot."
How does she feel now about things? I know that she feels that I must think I'm superior to her in some way. That I think all theists, including her, are fools. I try not to think that, honestly. I try not to dwell on it. I do however have a problem raising my 3 sons as Christian. She resents when I try to talk openly about what I disagree with because she thinks I'm trying to "teach" her.
Our marriage has had its hard trials. And although she feels as though my atheism is just another reason that our marriage is failing, I can't help but think otherwise. That as a non-believer, I can now focus and take control of my life and hopefully build a template of strength and integrity that our boys can latch on to and build better, truthful lives for themselves. I'm hopeful that that strength will be enough to carry us through these hard times and that integrity, honesty, and gentleness will win out over the need to be right.