• October 30, 2014
October 30, 2014, 7:40:57 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
Author Topic: Finally came out of the closet...  (Read 48219 times)
free_at_last
New member
*
Posts: 4


« on: November 01, 2011, 12:41:15 PM »

and admitted to my wife that I see no reason to believe in God. I had a "salvation" experience 23 years ago and spent the last 23 years wanting to believe. But it just never happened. The pressure to follow God, I think, drove me into deep depression. Now I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my chest. There are serious challenges ahead. My wife spends probably 2-3 hours/day studying the Bible and another 3-4 hours "building Godly relationships". I want our marriage to survive and be better. At least now I feel like I have a reason to try.

Anyone else led a successful "transformation" like this?

FAL (new identity - I feel like I've been reborn)
Logged
larryc
Troll Proof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 22,996

Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 1:10:33 PM »

Welcome to reason. But with a wife who spends 2-3 hours a day studying the Bible, your path ahead may not be a smooth one.

Is she OK with you not being "saved?" And are you OK with her believing in God? And are htere kids involved? My wife is religious (though not evangelical) and I am not and we respectfully agree to disagree. So far (17 years) it works. But if either of us thought it important to convince the other, well, we might not have been together so long.

Good luck.

Logged

Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
miss_jane_marple
Confused Wasp and
Senior member
****
Posts: 941

I prefer the chocolates


« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 1:12:43 PM »

If you haven't already been there, www.freeratio.org/ might be a good place to start talking with folks who have been through the same sort of relationship issues. There is a great deal of accumulated experience available there.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 1:13:09 PM by miss_jane_marple » Logged

We love diversity--as long as it's not diversity of opinion.
lasquires
Hopelessly Abject
Senior member
****
Posts: 764

Awaiting the zombie apocalypse.


« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2011, 1:18:11 PM »

I come from the sort of background you describe. Many of my close family members are very religious (some are employed in high-ranking positions at major Fundamentalist theological seminaries), and I have managed my lack of faith by simply avoiding the subject with said family members, evading questions (or lying) about where I go to church, and sticking to topics of mutual interest. This would be much, much harder in a marriage.

If your wife is anything like the believers in my family, she may have serious problems being married to a non-believer. So, for her, the only options may be to try to convince you to come back to the fold (although it doesn't sound like you were ever really there 100%) or get out of the relationship. You've done the right thing by being honest about who you are, but that's really all you can do. How did she react when you "came out" to her?



P.S. Regardless of the implications for your marriage, I congratulate you, as there is nothing quite like the feeling of finally being able to say to yourself, "The values and beliefs I have been struggling with my entire life are untenable, and it's time to be free of them." It puts a lot of strain on your relationships, but for me at least, being able to live with yourself and to find people who genuinely accept you is far more important than maintaining relationships based on a lie at all costs.
Logged

Live every week like it's Shark Week--30 Rock
concordancia
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 13,889


« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2011, 1:33:59 PM »

For the members of my family who spend their days focused on the Bible and building relationships with God, ending the relationship would not be an early decision, if indeed an option at all. Most would spend the rest of their days trying to convert the revert. On the other hand, a handful would welcome the opportunity to be free of their marital duties to focus even more on God, since Paul tells us that marriage is an institution for the weak. Clearly, the uptight git was never actually married.
Logged

I like money.  I like to buy stuff and experiences with money.  
free_at_last
New member
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 1:35:11 PM »

Thanks for that website Jane. I'm going to need help trying to make the best of this. My wife was actually quite relieved. Her exact words were something like: "You weren't acting like someone full of the holy spirit, so I'm relieved to know you aren't." I do think she's one of the "good" Christians. She's absolutely sincere in her beliefs and the need to treat others (especially the broken and downtrodden) like Jesus would. So I think she'll show me love and compassion. And I think she'll always believe that one day I'll come around. The difficulty will come with the kids (3 of them). I don't really feel the need to interfere with the Christian road they're traveling down. I've already explained to them that Christians could believe in evolution, etc. But my wife wants a Christian "foundation" for raising the kids. The first step for us is to figure out what our "mutually respected" foundation will look like.

Logged
aside
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,219


« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2011, 1:38:41 PM »

I wish you all the best, but you probably do have serious challenges ahead in your marriage, as you say.  Your wife has just learned that she is not married to the man she thought she was.  From your description of her daily devotional activity, it sounds as though her world has just been rocked on a significant magnitude (regardless of her immediate reaction, particularly since all the ramifications may not have hit her yet), something akin in impact to you having admitted an affair, but different, of course.  You've absolutely done the right thing to tell her the truth rather than to live the lie, though.  I'd recommend professional marriage counseling even if everything seems relatively okay on the surface.
Logged
al_wallace
Senior member
****
Posts: 629


« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 3:49:55 PM »

I came out to my immediate family about 7 years ago. My father was a minister. I managed to get away with it with very little side-stepping only because I didn't get the probing questions like "what church do you go to?" It never occurred to anyone that I was an atheist and nobody asked. One day my sister asked and I told her. Then I told my Dad when he asked. Much like you, I distinctly remember a weight being lifted though. Now I have theological debates with my father all the time. He relishes them as much as I do. Things only get a bit uncomfortable when my family asks me about the after life. I say, "my genes have been immortal so far---3.8 billion years and counting. The carbon in my body has been reincarnated many many times and the dead's soul transcends the body through memories in the living. So, as an atheist, I believe in immortality, reincarnation, and a transcendent soul." My family, although religious, isn't evangelical or fundamentalist. I married an agnostic to hedge my bets and she is fine raising little atheist children so I can't help you on the marriage and child-rearing side but wish you the best navigating family life.

Have you considered having your children explore religion in an open way? My young son is currently polytheistic and I'm not sure if he'll move to monotheism or shamanism at this point.
Logged
prytania3
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 44,063

Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 3:58:21 PM »

Who looks for God in the Bible?

That's pretty dumb.
Logged

I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
zuzu_
Frakking
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,408


« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2011, 6:03:37 PM »

I think this is one of the most eloquent pieces on how even hard-core "believers" can bridge the gap with "non-believers" and embrace a more pluralistic view of religiosity:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/304/heretics


Logged
spork
If you are reading this, I am naked.
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 16,148


« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 6:51:29 PM »

I say concentrate on the sex while it lasts.
Logged

a.k.a. gum-chewing monkey in a Tufts University jacket

"There are no bad ideas, only great ideas that go horribly wrong."

"Please do not force people who are exhausted to take medication for hallucinations." -- Memo from the Chair, Department of White Privilege Studies, Fiork University
larryc
Troll Proof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 22,996

Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 7:07:01 PM »

I say concentrate on the sex while it lasts.

Honey...I don't think I believe in God anymore...it is breaking me up inside...there is only one thing that could restore my faith, and make me feel God's love again..."
Logged

Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
lurkingfear
Senior member
****
Posts: 729


« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 7:15:39 PM »

I say concentrate on the sex while it lasts.

Honey...I don't think I believe in God anymore...it is breaking me up inside...there is only one thing that could restore my faith, and make me feel God's love again..."

Nice. I wonder if that would work as a pick-up line in my somewhat bible thumping college town.
Logged
polly_mer
practice makes perfect
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 37,441

Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2011, 7:16:43 PM »

<on preview>  Good one, LarryC!

OP, I think you have a rough road ahead because of that desired-by-your-wife Christian foundation for your children.

I'm an atheist who married into a religious family (I'm married to the least observant of the family).  They tolerate me and I politely ignore the fact that my kid gets random stuff that read things like "Jesus loves me".   I'm not sure how well that would work if my husband insisted that Blocky get a religious education, go to church routinely (instead of occasionally if we are visiting), and be indoctrinated in practices that are a waste of time for an atheist.

Science and religious worldviews can mix (most of my in-laws are very religious scientists) so that's not necessarily a problem, but the daily practice of religion can be a substantial time and energy investment, which can be harder to reconcile when the kids are involved.  Volunteerism and being neighborly are easy to reconcile because good work from an ethical foundation isn't a purely Christian requirement, but active spiritual activities could be a problem, even if you don't have a problem with your kids doing it.  I can think of a good many medium-age kids who make a case starting from, "Why do I have to do this boring church crap if <parent> gets out of it?"
Logged

I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
collegekidsmom
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,038


« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2011, 7:50:49 PM »

I know this can work well if there is love and tolerance involved. My parents have been married since the 50s. I would say they have an excellent marriage. One is an atheist and the other is a devout Catholic. They have been this way since they met. They have a very respectful and loving relationship that was (is) evident to everyone who knows them. I am their child and I think I am particularly tolerant as a mother and a person for having lived with them. We are a large family and include the devout, the middle of the road, and the not at all. There was no problem because I grew up with people who did not make that a problem and who taught me to respect all types of beliefs; whether religious or political. I hope your wife can be respectful of your beliefs as you are of hers.
People also learn not to ask what you really think unless they really want to hear...at least they know that I will always tell the truth. If they don't want to hear that, they learn not to ask.
I always wanted my kids to tell the truth as well, and to be who they are. They are also of different ideas and don't see the world the same way. To me, that is how it all should be. Good luck!
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.