Did you become atheist first, or meet your partner first?

For me I was in a relationship w/ my Catholic husband, I was in my pagan experiment at the time (being that he was fine with paganism and even went to pagan festivals, he's a pretty open-minded Catholic). I became atheist over a year ago.

He accepts me even though I don't think he really "gets" it, and he sort of thinks I keep changing my religion. Before my pagan experiment I had spent my childhood going to UU church and celebrating a few Jewish holidays if we remembered to.

I accept him even though I also like to debate. Sometimes he's gotten defensive and then I've told him if it makes him happy to believe that God answers his prayers, etc, then I want him to be that way and I support him fully. I certainly don't want him to just go along with whatever I say! And since I have been the one to change my views over the years, that would be a silly thing to expect.

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My wife and I don't talk that much about religion. It does come up, of course, but we tend to agree that in the end it doesn't matter that much to our relationship. I was an atheist and she was a devoted catholic when we first met in college. We both knew this about each other. We love each other and have come to the conclusion that faith or lack there of has no real bearing on our love for each other. I agree that our two boys would be raised catholic with the understanding that they would know right from the start that that was only one way to view the world and not necessarily the best way.

I don't think she understands why I believe what I do anymore than I understand why she believes in God. That, however, isn't unique to our relationship. I've never believed and have never figure out how it is that so many others do.

Then again if we always understood everyone and everything life would probably be really boring.

:)
On my first date with my wife I told her about how amazing and awe inspiring and fulfilling the world was for me without religion or god and that that was good enough for me. I honestly think that was part of my allure for her. It was never really an issue until our son came into the picture. But we are making it work
I told my wife on our first date. I had a girlfriend in college who broke up with me when I told her I was an atheist, so I decided right then and there that in the future I would always bring it up on the first date. No more surprises.
I was married for about two years when I came out of the proverbial closet. After the first year I told her that I was no longer going to attend church and I remember hearing her crying in the bathroom that night. Before telling her or anyone else, I had many reservations about religion and was actively seeking for answers even while dating my future wife. Of course I had great fear and anxiety when I finally revealed to her that I no longer believed in god.
I had a lot of guilt over the whole issue and I gave her every opportunity to leave the relationship. However she chose to stay and we're pretty happy even though she thinks I'm going to be damned to eternal punishment and I think she is wasting her time, energy and money every Sunday.
I can imagine this is especially hurtful considering I was once an ordained minister.

I too love to debate abd talk about religion, however I find it frustrating that most theists have no idea of what or who they beleive. The really frustrating thing is when they don't want to know or learn of their history or what and why they beleive certain things.
Hi! My wife thinks I'm going to hell and took it pretty hard when I stopped attending church regularly too. Her life revolves around Christianity, so I thought doing church activities with her might help our relationship. In actuality it only led to sadness and to disagreements. Was being pretty happy together something that came naturally for you afterward? Or what were some of the things you and she did to attain that?
I was divorced for years and was an atheist when I met my wife, a devout, prayerful, Catholic. She walks the talk: spends a lot of time, effort and money in outreach to the poor (here in the Philippines); spends at least a half hour every morning and a half hour every evening in silent prayer and reading her novenas; and has made me construct altars in all 4 bedrooms, the living room, and at the top of the staircase. She maintains ties to her "sisters in the community" and goes to church frequently (not just Sundays). She says "Thank you Lord" when it rains and when the sun shines -- apparently because she prays for both.

She has never disciplined her 3 sons, yet they are great kids (all 6 years apart: 9, 15 and 21). Everybody loves her and she spends more time on the phone than off it. She never says anything bad about anybody and is always positive and happy. I think she would be the same way, whether or not she was religious.

Then there's me. The faithless atheist. She seems unfazed by my godlessness. Early on, we agreed that the kids would receive both our points of view . . . and it appears my atheism is not rubbing off on them :-). This doesn't bother me because I'm confident that they will be happy, well-adjust adults no matter what they believe. Their mother has given them a solid foundation of love and support. They may understand my beliefs but prefer their mother's. I don't fault them a bit for that.
Wow, Richard J. I'm sorry you're in this situation. My wife is actually very supportive of my atheism, to the point where she actually encourages me to attend freethought events.

As far as the wedding vows are concerned, even from a religious perspective those vows are permanent. Maybe you should have her speak to a minister about it. I'm sure he could clear it up.

I can't believe that at your age (same as my age, BTW) that she thinks you're just going through a phase.

Do you bash religion around her? One of the things I try to do is to keep my discussions of religion civil around my wife, and save my vitriol for the Internet.

Try to remind your wife that you have all the same things in common that you did before you lost your faith, with the exception of just one thing. You are still the same person you were before.

I will say that it's sometimes the non-church going folk who are the most resistant to atheism. They're weak faith causes them to reject those who have lost their faith. The people I've always gotten along with the best were people whose faith was unshakable, oddly enough.
It is amazing how people can relate some items together. When I came out about my non belief my wife also questioned many of my core moral beliefs and practices. Do I still want to work? Have a family? Am I going to start smoking or taking drugs? all kinds of silly thoughts run through their minds. In that we can see the mental manipulation in getting people to live and operate in fear. Very sad and I'm ashamed and embarassed that I once believed and walked in that path.
Many also thought that I'm going thru a phase as well. It's been 5 yrs and I can proudly say, still going strong in my disbelief.
And you're right BB FROG, it seems as though the strongest people usually don't have the biggest problem with atheists. However I did have a few knock down drag em out email debates with some believers.
Richard, if the core of your problem with your wife is that she thinks your vows to her no longer count, then--and I'm not trying to disrespect her--then perhaps your wife isn't thinking clearly. You don't say how long you have been married, but I gather it is quite awhile because your children are in high school. The very fact that you have been with her is proof (surely?) that you take your vows very seriously indeed. It's your behaviour that counts--not where you happened to make your vows. The vows stand, whether you made them in a church or in a tin shed.

Another thing. Has your wife explained to you the reasons for her persisting belief in 'god'? To what extent have you shared with her your own journey to disbelief?

It can be irritating to live with someone who has a real passion or enthusiasm and you don't relate to that thing at all--so you both might need to ponder on that. Is there something both of you are deeply interested in and that you could share? It might take the heat off some.

Again--and I truly don't want to give offence--have you thought about seeing a marriage counsellor? But--finding the right one could be a problem in itself.

But as to belief in 'god' . . . all the human ideas for this just do NOT add up. Absurd.

Every good wish to you, sir!
No problem.

Could you take your wife to an Atheist talk/meeting where she could hear people's views?

I'm still feeling counselling might help.

As to the other matter--disturbing. It must have given your parents a shock--if they know about it. What do they think? That sort of hypocrisy would tend to make you a bit obsessed.

Good luck.
Seems you and your wife really need to get to the bottom of this and working through conflicts can make you closer--so long as the result's positive.

The world needs activists for social and scientific progress. I suppose it would be easy to get into a long discussion about what motivates activists--but I'd say that most would be fired by altruism and passion for the cause--the environment, corruption, help for minority groups, poverty--you name it. There are too many people who think " so what if people are gullible, what's it to you?" What it is "to you" is that you obviously care.

I think a good counsellor would help you through this and maybe you'd succeed in getting through to your wife.

All the best with it!
I was already beyond belief when I met my wife. She is a Bangladeshi Muslim. I told her before we married that I was an atheist, but her English is not great and was worse then. I'm beginning to wonder if she understood what she was getting into.
I have lately become more outspoken concerning my disgust with religion in particular and superstition in general. She hates it, but puts up with it.
Our home is in Bangladesh, but she is usually with me in Kuwait where I work.
She warns me not to speak of my atheism in public in either country. In Kuwait it would void our marriage and get us both deported, her and our son to Bangladesh and me to the US.
In Bangladesh it would surely get me killed and probably her too.
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