I am Jewish, come from a religious family, I am married for over 10 years to a religious Jewish woman, and we have children. After being a skeptic for the past 2 years, I finally came out to my wife recently, and to some of my family/friends, but not all.
My wife wasn't happy about it, but accepts that I will not change. However, she made some "ground rules", such as I must attend synagogue, and I must not tell our children. She does not want our children to think that they have the option of becoming irreligious because she wouldn't accept that.
I wish I could speak honestly with my kids about it, and skip synagogue on the Sabbath, but I don't want to lose my wife and kids.
Do you guys think I should hold my ground, speak with my oldest kid (young teenager), skip synagogue, and take a chance of "escalating" the situation and loosing my family, or should I "fake it" to keep peace in the house?
It's more than a little unfair to ask you to pretend to be something you're not, even worse that your wife is using the old "for the children!" excuse to try and force your hand.
My husband is a very casual Lutheran and has sometimes expressed an interest in going to church. I've always told him to go if it makes him happy, and take our daughter (8 months) if he wants to but I won't be joining him. When it comes to religious-themed activities regarding our daughter, we try to have a calm discussion about it (example: he wanted our daughter baptised. It's not something I agree with but it's pretty harmless so I said I didn't mind, but said I wouldn't let him put her through Confirmation). I guess the point is: there's no reason an atheist and a religious person can't have a good relationship, even with kids in the mix.
I definitely wouldn't be able to "fake it". It's possible your wife is just in shock and needs some time to realize that it's not the end of the world. Be supportive of her wanting to go to synagogue with the children, if that's what she wants. How old are your kids? If they're very young, they might not really understand what's going on and why but if they're old enough to ask questions then they should be a part of this too. Maybe have a family discussion about it so your wife doesn't feel railroaded?
Thanks everyone for your responses and advice. You've given me food for thought.
The way I see this, continuing with the status quo offers a greater chance of you losing your family than being honest with your children. There is a strong likelihood that animosity and resentment between you and your wife over this issue will build over time, and if that happens your kids will definitely notice. The only way to avoid such a ticking time bomb is to assert your opinion clearly, honestly and empathetically to your entire family.
Best of luck to you!