I am married to a very religious wife who puts all of her trust in her belief in god. To wit,we are in a not-very secure financial position, and although she has a job, she doesn't like it and it frankly doesn't pay well.I have my own business, but we really need both incomes to get by. The problem is, instead of looking for something better, she is doing what she believes god wants her to be doing and that her/our situation will ultimately improves if she just remains faithful. I see this course of action leading to a financial disaster for us. I think she blames our situation on the fact that I am not a believer, and god is just waiting on me to "come around".I think we are doomed to failure, and ironically, she can simply say, "see, this was bound to happen because you don't believe" where i would say, Honey, you didn't even try to help get us out of this mess." Any advice on getting us out of this self-fulfilling prophecy?

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Man, that's a tough spot, Mark. I would suggest getting some good family counseling, even religious based counseling. My wife is religious, and we've had our differences, especially when it comes to raising kids, and the counseling we had, even though it was from a Christian basis, helped us to really see each other and communicate. I didn't feel threatened or hit over the head with Jesus-speak, it was actually all about the two of us learning more about ourselves and each other.

Good luck!

Thanks for the advice, Justin. that may be my only option, but I know when we attended a financial course through her church, it seemed aimed at making sure there was that 10% tithe money left over at the end of the month to give to them (if I have an extra 10%, the last thing I want to do is use it to support those beliefs). But I suppose it is worth a shot, but i can see them all ganging up on me for not being "right with god".

In our case, we didn't go to church-sponsored therapy (I think that would be much more 'unevenly yoked' based). We looked into therapists that were covered by my insurance. The online search was fruitful because we were able to look at the bios of potential counselors to make our selection. We chose someone who was nearer to us in age (so that perhaps they could relate to us better) and who had some experience in the types of issues that we were going through. We also chose to go with a group practice with a couple of 'backup' counselors, in case we didn't like the first one that we met with and wanted to change up, there would be less hassle with insurance coverage. HTH

You usually get someone well-intentioned, but with no background in counseling.  The ones I've had haven't been awful. He/She will give me some friendly, common sense advice. Then, gives her some common sense advice.....but tells her Jesus wants her to do it. Whatever works. (Or doesn't.)

Hey Mark. Things like this have come up between me and my very religious wife too from time to time: tithing, home school versus public school, and other financial stuff not so much related to religion. I was wondering, did that dialog at the end of your post there actually happen, or is it just hypothetical? Just curious, because it seems to me this is a situation where a lot of communication could really help... just so each of you can really feel understood by the other, you know? And to re-affirm that financial stability is something that you both actually want (I don't know about you, but I find that when I get to arguing with my wife it's real easy to forget that usually we both want what's best for our family; it's just that we disagree about what that means or how we get there).

I don't know the details of your wife's religious beliefs, but I feel fortunate that my wife sees it as my God-given responsibility to make the final decision about these sorts of family matters, and that God will honor her just for following my lead. Well, at least in theory she does. Sometimes it doesn't work that way - she is after all very opinionated :)

Mark, I really hope this situation gets better for you.

Sorry for getting back so late-no, that dialog didn't happen, but it very easily could, and is at the forefront of both of our thinking, I think.Communication would ordinarily be the obvious solution, but our talks always begin the same way, where my wife voices her frustrations that we do not have the same foundation on which to start a discussion, which for her is god first, everything else second, and for me it is let's just sit down and devise a plan of action in our lives. That is a non-starter for her, because it doesn't involve prayer.Should I just give in and pretend-and I am throwing this out to all of you- or stick to my guns and my own beliefs? (which is simply non-belief).My wife just bought a book called "Trusting God when Times are Tough".Thumbing through it, I came to examples where people supposedly prayed to god, but their prayers were not answered. The books's author offered that this was because the people didn't really pray, but rather just "vented their frustration" to god (huh??). I can see these types of books being really destructive, where when eventually no one comes to the rescue, these people may feel forsaken by god and will simply fall apart in the end and do something stupid to end the mental torment. My wife scoffs at my worrying, saying that she has nothing to worry about because she has god looking out for her (but she has me paying the bills and dealing with our money problems- I am the one keeping the lights on and the house heated-not the guy upstairs).It is funny how little it takes to convince her god is working in her life-she cited a "proof" of this the other night when she happened to turn to a TV channel (which she rarely looks at, according to her) and there was one of her favorite movies playing. So god cannot give you guidance in what to do with the rest of your life, in spite of nightly prayer, but he gives you a movie to watch every now and then. Right.

It is funny how little it takes to convince her god is working in her life-she cited a "proof" of this the other night when she happened to turn to a TV channel (which she rarely looks at, according to her) and there was one of her favorite movies playing.

Wow! I used to think like this sometimes back in my god believing days. Seeing a spiritual significance in every little event. That sort of thing. Now I can't even imagine! I can see where communication would be really really difficult.

Should I just give in and pretend-and I am throwing this out to all of you- or stick to my guns and my own beliefs? (which is simply non-belief).

I couldn't do it. I'd be living with some really negative feelings before long. If my experience with continuing to attend church after becoming an atheist just to "be supportive of my wife" is any indication anyway. Those feelings made life worse for everybody. Eventually I drew a line and decided I was just going to be myself!

(I would definitely suggest that if you do decide to "pretend", to keep a close eye on how you're coping with it as time goes on...)

Well I decided to stay home from church services today, and my wife did not take it well.We will have to see how things play out. There seems to be little room for compromise from her side.

Hmm, now you've got me thinking back to my first Sunday staying home... it hurt my wife a lot (and it still does), which sucks. I felt some guilt about that. I did enjoy the time itself though.

But with passing weeks I started getting lonely. So eventually I got involved with a Sunday morning running group, and that just became the new norm.

I'd be curious to know how things went / are going, if you'd be willing to share :)

"I think she blames our situation on the fact that I am not a believer"

Give her an example to the contrary:

Todd Stiefel and his wife. She's a Christian, …he bankrolled the Reason Rally and Rock Beyond Belief, plays in an Humanist rock band, gives millions to atheist and secular organizations, and happens to be on the advisory board of this site.

….They're doing just fine.

She's still a Christian, he's still an atheist.

Atheism does not make people have to struggle, …though theism often does.

Mark, you have challenges building on challenges. It is tough, especially with the economy failing to recover. I have bad news, the economy is not going to get better for a very long time and this is more than a recession. Sadly, people look for scapegoats in times like these, and many reach out to fabricated-non-existant help through religion. I have a feeling you will be facing blame for your rough spot because you are not a believer.  The rough spot is real, but you nor is anyone who works for a living responsible. 

Well, there is no savior, and there is no Superhuman power going to save us from our own failings. All these wars, and the costs that accrue, and the failure of wealthy to pay a share of the costs means small businesses and wage-workers will be taxed to pay for all that foolishness.  

We lived during a very special time, from after WW II until the 1970's wages were high, benefits were good, health care was affordable and working people could send their kids to college. Those days are gone. 

We live now in a failed economy and a failed political system while people still believe that Superhuman will prance in and rescue us from all the messes we have made. Air pollution, depletion of soils, water impurities, I could go on, but I think you get my point. If we are going to survive, we have to do those things that make survival possible. We have to STOP, THINK, TAKE ACTION, and EVALUATE OUTCOMES to check if we are getting anywhere we want to be. 

The good news is, we have the capacity to face every single one of our challenges if we can just get out from under big corporation, personal debt, and stop having so many babies to feed, support, educate and raise to a mentally healthy, mature adulthood. 

Well, I have not offered you any comfort, and I am not sure there is any comfort to be had. I hope you and your wife can find a way to share your life together in spite of religion being a big pimple on the ass of progress for your family. There are couples who learned how to make their marriages work and they have happy, productive lives, even with each other. One such couple is David Silverman president of the American Atheists. His wife continues to believe in Superhuman. It is fun to hear him talk about the ways they manage their marriage. They seem very happy, but who knows?

I hope all goes well for you and that you find community with this group. You may even become a firebrand atheist! 




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