Partly inspired by a thread on here
, I finally came out to my wife. I was very anxious, but it ended up turning out pretty well in the end.
I posted on my blog
a detailed blow-by-blow of what happened, but here's a summary in case it's useful or interesting to people. I used to be a strong believer, but gradually lost my faith. I would say my wife is a mainstream Christian.
I eased into the topic by bringing up the fact that I had been reading the Bible lately. (I'm currently reading the Bible the whole way through, something I never did as a believer, and she "caught" me doing this one day) and that there were some things I wanted to discuss with her. I mentioned that I tried hard to understand what was in the Bible, but that there were some parts I had troubles believing really happened, and others that even if they did happen, I didn't understand why they did.
I mentioned a few of these: Noah's Ark, the killing of all the first-born male Egyptians, the Massacre of the Innocents, and explained for each why I had a problem with it. I tried to talk about it in the most non-confrontational way possible, while still making clear why I didn't believe them. She didn't really raise any objections to anything I said, but asked me some questions: what I did believe (as opposed to what I didn't believe), what I thought about evidence for some of the things in the New Testament, what I thought about what happens to people after they die. I answered these as honestly as I could, just explaining to her my thoughts on each. In the end, I said that though the Bible has some good parts, it also has some parts I find objectionable. Though I had tried, because of this, I no longer believed in the Bible.
She told me that she respected my thoughts, we discussed a few issues (who does or doesn't get to go to heaven, etc.), but said that she still believes and had faith. I decided not to challenge her faith and told her I respect her beliefs, but that after thinking about it for a very long time and reading a lot on various issues I had problems with, that I just couldn't have faith anymore. She was not upset, which I was very glad about.
She asked about going to church, and although I am happy not attending worship services (since I don't think there's a God to worship), we decided to try a Unitarian Universalist church. We went for the first time last week, and overall we were both pleased. I didn't like some of the God talk in the sermon and the hymns, but there was also a lot of talk about doubt and about non-belief throughout.
At the beginning of the service, they made it clear that they were welcoming of everyone, no matter what their faith or non-belief was. My wife said she enjoyed the service and would like to go back again, and she pointed out similarities between other churches she had attended. So while every situation is different, I think that this compromise may work for us.
If you have a significant other who is not a strong fundamentalist/evangelical, but just likes going to church, this sort of approach may work. She was surprisingly understanding about my lack of belief (there were apparently hints I had left, but she didn't know if I was a non-believer or where I was on the spectrum). She's never been someone who mentions God all the time, but she has said before that she's a believer and she likes going to church. When we had "the talk", I made it clear religion was something I had considered for a very long time, and tried to go out of my way not to make it sound like I was bashing her god, just that I couldn't believe it myself. I think she appreciates that in spite of this, I am willing to go to the UU church with her, even though she still has faith in the Christian God and she knows that I don't believe in that now.
The jury is still out on how this congregation, or the UU movement in general, will sit with me, but for now since it is welcoming to questions and non-believers I think I'm fine with it. So thank you to everyone on here who has discussed issues like this, it helped give me ideas on what it might be like and helped convince me to just come out instead of letting it linger unsaid any longer. I hope my experiences can help others do the same.