The Preacher’s Wife

Question from Jeannette:
Hello. In short, I have been thinking a lot about the logic of atheism and find myself resonating with the ideas. I have made religious searches before, always theistic. But in atheism I seem to get the questions answered that I have had all along.

So, the problem is that I am married to a Baptist preacher who told me, the last time I was “searching”, that he would divorce me for going outside of Christianity. But when I went back to the faith he didn’t.

I really don’t want a divorce. But if I told him about my atheistic leanings he would no doubt feel that he needs to protect the children from me. Maybe he would bring up divorce again.

So it seems like keeping my thoughts to myself is the best way to do this. But it kind of feels like a lie. I don’t mind keeping the truth to myself. But I feel like my husband would feel betrayed and like I didn’t really love him, if, say I told him several years down the road.

But I have two small children and I don’t feel like a divorce is a good thing.

Any thoughts?

Answer by SmartLX:
Sounds pretty simple, though tragic: if your husband has threatened to end the marriage if you cease to be a Christian and you take him at his word, you must lie about your beliefs to stay in the marriage. Not knowing which country you’re in I don’t know how divorce and custody laws would treat the two of you given that he has stated his intent to shield your children from your influence, but it’s an ugly battle in any environment and I’m sure you want to avoid it if possible.

The part about taking him at his word is important though. Would he really shut you out immediately if you admitted you were struggling in your faith? He’s a preacher, he’s supposed to be qualified to help people in your situation. If you said you wouldn’t try to deconvert your children or anyone in his congregation, and that you would continue to attend services, surely the two of you could engage in some kind of ongoing dialogue wherein you tell him exactly what your concerns are, instead of simply giving him the vague and frightening idea that you might suddenly turn heathen and corrupt everything around you.

That sounds a bit silly, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that atheism can be really scary to someone like your husband. Its very existence flies in the face of Scripture as interpreted by some. (Specifically, Romans 1:18 and onwards appears to say that God has shown evidence of Himself to everyone, therefore everyone supposedly believes deep down.) He likely has a rough but extremely negative idea of what atheists are like in general (i.e. a prejudice), and he’ll probably need some time to get used to the idea that your inability to justify continued belief in God doesn’t make you evil or dangerous. He just needs to see things from your point of view, and for that to happen the two of you will need to talk. After that I can’t say what will happen, but at least you’ll have treated each other like adults.

However you decide to approach him, or not, good luck and all the best to your whole family.

5 thoughts on “The Preacher’s Wife”

  1. Jeannette, if your husband is a Baptist minister, he should be a student of the Bible. And the Bible has a little to say about divorce. First, the only reason given for the possibility of a divorce is that of someone being unfaithful to their marriage vows. In this case God would not hold the one hurt guilty for the divorce. But as I said I mentioned that there may be the possibility of a divorce. God does not demand the divorce. Since the marriage, relationship, represents the relationship between God and His Church, He is hoping that we will get the idea of how much He love us, to also allow that love to be transferred through our marriages. The Bible tells us that if one of the spouse’s is not a believer, that the believer should not be the one to initiate the divorce, but try to live a life that would help win the spouse who does not believe. This can be found in 1 Corinthians 7. “10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
    11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
    12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
    13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
    14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
    15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
    16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? But, I would say that your desire to place your children as the priority of your marriage, is commendable and unselfish. You did make a promise to each other to love and cherish each other also, so that can work wonders in a relationship. Plus your confidence you have in your husband to open up and trust him to let him know your inner most thoughts, should be taken into consideration by your husband. I would encourage you to continue to believe in your husband and trust him. Even if he has made just as big a mistake as you did. No, one is not guilty in a marriage. Each have the responsibility to give and to forgive. But, with your doubt about God, you have the responsibility, to search out. I believe that if we put God to the test, He is the one who allowed Him to be put to the test. ” Jeremiah 33:3King James Version (KJV)
    3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” This is a promise made to us by God. He has promised to keep His promise. He would love to show you that He is there with you. He understands the doubts, you have. He knows that we are only human, and the five senses that we normally use to know our surroundings, are hard to not trust, when we are dealing with something that is spiritual.
    But your husband will also need to step up and allow his faith in God to show you that God is there. He needs to do the same with your children. We need to demonstrate our faith in God and not just talk. So prayer is essential. Bible reading and study is important, and sharing, is important. All of these help us to have a relationship with our Creator. And allow Him to share what we learn about Him with each other.
    Jeannette we must maintain a relationship with God, it is just as much as important to have a relationship with God, as it is between a husband and wife relationship. It dies if we don’t connect with each other. God is there, but remember He says “Revelation 3:20King James Version (KJV)
    20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
    But, you must “Jeremiah 29:13King James Version (KJV)
    13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
    We can not put God any where else but first in our lives, if we want to allow Him to be the God of our hearts. So, have the worship with your children. But have your worship first then the worship with your husband and then with your children. Show them that God should be first. And you will make God first. Talk to Him as with a friend “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” This is from a book called ” Steps to Christ ” Out of chapter 11. ” The privilege of prayer ” It also says “When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.

    Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, “in all points tempted like as we are;” but as the sinless one His


    nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.

    Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.”
    Remember that evil is real, so “The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured”
    If we don’t seek Him and make Him first, last and best in our lives then we will be prone to the lies of the tempter. ” But “Our great need is itself an argument and pleads most eloquently in our behalf. But the Lord is to be sought unto to do these things for us. He says, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” And “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32.

    As I said earlier. God is not put off if we don’t believe. He knows how hard it is. He knows what we think even before we think it. Look at this story, from Mark 9: “16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
    17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
    18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
    19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
    20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
    21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
    22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
    23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
    24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
    Remember He says if we have the faith the size of a mustard seed. He will not leave us or forsake us. He will save us.

  2. Jeanette, the post above is a prime example of the disconnect your husband might have if you are open and honest with him about your feelings toward god beings. You explained quite clearly that atheism resonates with you. Gerald is responding to you as a Christian, and he tries to make his point to you by quoting his religious book, which of course isn’t going to mean much to an atheist. Your husband’s response could very well be similar.

    Le me share my own experience with you. My wife is a Christain, and for the longest time I didn’t tell her that I’d become an atheist. I understand what a change that is for someone to have, and I thought she wouldn’t be able to handle it. Eventually I told her though, because I was living a lie and I didn’t want that in our marriage. When I told her it upset her. She had a lot of questions. But after a few weeks of talking and spending time together, we accepted the new “us”. And I can tell you honestly, my marriage has never been better. There’s no more lie hanging over us, and we learned once again that our love can handle anything.

    While I can’t promise that your story will end like mine, I can tell you that the old saying that being honest is better than living with a lie is absolutely true. As an atheist you can even better appreciate the finite time we have in this world, and living that life trying to be something that your are not is unfair to everyone, most of all you. Your husband might think its his fault, or blame himself for your “falling”. But if he loves you and is your best friend than he will hold on to you no matter what. He has a right to know, and you have a right to be who you are. I wish you the best as you move forward.

  3. Jeanette, I can appreciate Tim’s good suggestion, which is similar to mine, which is to be honest with your husband. But, Tim is only using wisdom from this world to deal with your problem which is spiritual. I would like to remind you that every culture in this world has had a desire to know the ” great spirit” of one kind or another. There is a longing in our hearts that cannot be explained, nor filled with any other. Just like salmon swim to home and other animals go to home so we have been filled with a desire to go home. Can you find proof to not accept God, of course. God will not impose on what you desire. But there is more than enough evidence to cause us to ask, Is there a God. He will show you, with all that He has created that we were not the products of some random chance of time. We are sons and daughters of God. We are prince and princesses of the King of the Universe. But we need to accept Him. It is your decision. I will be praying for you, and you too Tim.

  4. Jeanette, Gerald’s claim that your problem is “spiritual” is not accurate. Your husband’s spirituality is certainly part of the problem, as he is using his 2000 year old belief system to try to threaten and bully you from being the person that you want to be. But your transformation is not spiritual, but intellectual. You are becoming a more rational and logical person. It takes great courage to make a change of this magnitude. I know, because I have done it myself. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it, because I stayed true to myself.

    Just my opinion, but you have the moral high ground here. You aren’t the one making demands, you aren’t the one saying that another human being cannot change their mind. Funny how often the religious people are the ones putting restrictions on others, isn’t it?

  5. please see david asscherick eleventh hour evidence on youtube.
    Hello again Jeanette. As I said before I can appreciate Tim’s opinion. But, he is hampered by a lack of vision. And he is, and forgive me Tim for saying so, but Tim you are willingly handicapped. No, not physically, but spiritually. But Tim is operating on only a few of his cylinders. Now, I’m not trying to insult you, but since you refuse to acknowledge that we are made up of more than just mental, physical, and social parts. And all three parts make us a living soul as it says in the first chapter of Genesis. We all are spiritual. Or else why then are we so drawn to the spiritual aspects around us. All cultures in the past have had a spiritual part in their culture. Spirituality is one part of our makeup. And Tim, I think it is kind of hypercritical of you to encourage Jeanette to not stifle the unbelief she feels yet you refuse to include the spiritual part of your makeup in your decision making for yourself and especially for Jeanette.
    Isaiah 1:18 shows us how God wishes to interact with us: “Isaiah 1:
    18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
    But we need to include our spiritual side when making decisions. If there is no spiritual part in us then why do we feel so bad when we do something wrong. If we are merely highly evolved animals, then why are we so morally inclined, yet still find it so hard to do what is right. It is because even though we are spiritual, we have a fallen nature. That is why we are called by God to come back to Him. Each of us have felt the tug at our heart. Each of us have ignored it. Some more than others. Some, unfortunately have become so good at ignoring His calling that we have become callous to His voice. But He still calls to us, we will never be able to say that He stopped calling. He won’t, because He loves us to much. Jeremiah 31:3 says “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
    He also tells us in Isaiah 49 ” Yet Jerusalem[c] says, “The Lord has deserted us;
    the Lord has forgotten us.”
    15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
    Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
    But even if that were possible,
    I would not forget you!
    16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
    Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.”
    Jeanette, God is real. He is more real, than you or I. More real than the sun that raises in the morning. He made it all.
    Please look at the video from youtube that I included in the beginning. There are some real answers, and if you are really impartial and really want to know you will find the God that you are searching for. John 5:39 lets us know”39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. “39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
    Also look up on line a book called ” Steps to Christ ” If you have a mind to, I’ll send you a copy if you send me your address. Mine is 210 E Maple St. Keene, Tx. 76059
    I’ll be praying for you. And Tim if you aren’t scared, please go through the videos from youtube. If anything it will give you more information to criticize. At most, well I’ll say it as the Apostle Paul said when speaking to King Agrippa in Acts 26 when Paul was telling him of the time He firs met Jesus Christ when after Paul had been persecuting the Christians. He was going to find more in Jerusalem, when Christ, called him to serve Him. And after hearing Paul speak, King Agrippa told Paul “28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” To which Paul told King Agrippa “29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”
    Tim, Christ does love you and Jeanette. All you have to do is something that God encourages us to do. And once again, He puts Himself on the line. He says in Psalm 34:8 “8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
    He asks you to put Him to the test. He will not disappoint you. Please take a look at the video, for the proof you may need to follow Him.

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