Slowly Coming Out, Part 6 The Wife Day 3

Upset wife Tuesday: The morose has morphed into irritability.  She’s avoiding eye contact with me, giving me one word answers.  Sometimes she gives me one sound answers (because apparently even speaking words to me is too tough).

Me: “Honey, do you want to go to that Sausage Haus you were telling me about? We could go now or wait till our oldest gets home from school.”

Her: “Yeah”

True Marshawn Lynch fashion.

Me: “So for lunch or dinner”

Her: “Later”

She turns off the kids programming, and goes to the DVR to catch up on “Once Upon A Time.”  I decide to stay downstairs and maybe watch the episode with her.  I haven’t watched this season at all, it started with some terrible acting and I lost interest.

Me: “So is the Queen still good or has she returned to evil?”

Her: “No, she still good now.  Emma is actually fighting the darkness with in herself…”

She catches me up on most of the story line in a very friendly manner.  She’s dropped the irritation. She turns on the next episode and I decide to log in to my tablet. Her irritability has returned.

Her: [Accusatory] “Who are you talking to?”

Me: [As friendly as possible] “Nobody really, I’m just reading blogs.”

I was reading “Rational Doubt” but I decide not to tell her I’m reading an Atheist blog. She finishes that episode, and goes back into the DVR to watch “Revenge”.  I’ve never watched that show.  This is punishing behavior.  She does this when we are fighting but not talking anymore.  She goes to the TV and watches shows she knows I’m not interested.  Sometimes I think she does it because she knows it annoys me.  Other times I’m sure she does it to prompt me to leave the room and leave her alone.

Me: “Sooooo….. I’m going to take a shower now…?”

Her: “Fine.”

Why do showers feel so good when you feel so bad.  I try to keep it short so that she has hot water after I’m done, but I find it hard to do anything other stand hunched over as the spray of water hits the back of my neck.

I’m thinking my celebration of my wife’s loving acceptance has been a bit premature.  I don’t want to be hated.  I don’t want to be resented. I didn’t do anything.

I finish up.  Take forever to get dressed, and head down stairs.

Me: “Are you going to take a shower now?”

She doesn’t say a word and she refuses to look at me.  She gets up, and heads upstairs.  Our toddler is sleeping on the floor.

When she finally comes back down stairs, I attempt to catch her eyes. She looks and looks away.  She does another take.

Her: [sheepishly] “What? What are you looking at?”

Me: “You, I want to look at you.”

Her: “Why?”

Me: “Because…(tears)…because….I don’t want you to hate me. I don’t want you to resent me.  I need you to like me. I NEED you.  I’m so sorry. It’s not my fault. I didn’t do this on purpose, I didn’t decide to become an atheist.  I don’t know how many times I got to say that, but I didn’t choose this. I don’t want this. I feel like, I wish I did something wrong. I wish I did something bad that deserved you being mad at me.  But I haven’t done anything, and there is nothing wrong with me. But I’ve been alone for so long, I can’t bear to be alone anymore.”

Her: “I know you don’t want to hear this, but no John, I would not have married you. You aren’t the husband I need. You aren’t holding up to the promise you gave at our wedding. How are you supposed to lead me now? How are you supposed to be the spiritual head of our family? Our kids need you to be that. I can’t believe you’ve done this.”

Me: (sigh) “I understand you’re upset. And it’s not right for me to expect you not to feel the emotions you are feeling. No one should tell you how to feel. I too was angry for a long time. But…I…I can’t be here if you hate me. I think maybe I should leave. Let me call [local pastor friend] Kevin, and talk to him. I’ll see if he’ll hang out with me this afternoon. I’ll tell him what’s going on.”

Her: (crying) “That’s the thing John, you’ve got people to talk to. I’ve got no one to talk to.  You can’t expect me to handle this without telling someone.”

This is a problem. The only people she could talk to are either Church members or family. The only other person she could talk to is in the process of leaving the faith also, so probably not sympathetic to my wife’s position.

Me: “No, you’re right. You can’t keep what you’re going through all bottled up. You shouldn’t have to go through emotionally what I’ve endured the last few months. But who are you going to talk to?”

Long pause as she thinks.

Her: “Reese, I think she is the only person I trust with this.”

Reese and her husband are members of the church. She comes from a liberal background and he was the subject of my blog post about God talking to you.  Reese and my wife have been good friends since we started at this church. Lately Reese as started fostering her infant niece, and my wife has been there to help her with the ups and downs of the “system”. My wife was a foster child.

Me: “Ok, just ask her not to tell her husband.”

She leaves and then I have that conversation with my old roomie (Slowly coming out, Part 5)

To be continued…


12 thoughts on “Slowly Coming Out, Part 6 The Wife Day 3

  1. Wow, brother, you are just about in the same boat I salied on one year ago. It sounds like you really love your wife. You probably know that there is not much you can do about how she reacts. It is systematically ingrained to reject non-belief more than anything else. I will try to encourage you that your future is not decided. You will find that many of these marraiges don’t work. And that sucks. You said life suck in a post earlier and you’re right. But I am an example of where the marriage is working out. It was deep man. She tried to kick me out of the house four times. But I’ve got four kids, and I told her to get a restraning order was the only way I was going. Its really not her fault. She was trained this way. Indoctrinated. I stuck with it. I still loved her. I still needed her. Your sentences you have said to here are exactly what I’ve said. I laughed when she asked if you cheated on her. Of course that was on of the first questions I was asked. And I laughed out loud when you said she was drillling you about your web surfing. I’ve figured out how and not to answer that question.

    But good news. My wife has fought for this marriage too. She took the time to realize that she loves me, and that she can accept me. It has just been wonderful. We still have bumps. But we love each other more now than ever. She is still a believer, but a way different kind. She cannot hang out with her old friends, she changed churches, she doesn’t live evagelical life anymore. She’s not happy about everthing, but I can see a lot of freedom in her eyes. I’m glad I stuck it out.

    Can I ask you a question? When was the last time you prayed? (in no way am I encouraging you to do so). Did you say one last good bye f-you prayer? It felt so f*****g good. I then played RATM ‘Killin in the Name’ a bunch of times. Good luck. Would love to help out any way I can. Your wife will probably say I’m one of satan’s minions sucking you farther in. But I’ve read enough to know you are never going to be a believer again, and this is a good thing. Your kids will grow up with a more open minded view of the world. Your days will (someday) be brighter. I just really want this wife thing to work out for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Last time I prayed…hmmmm. Not sure when but it wasn’t an eff you prayer. It was a “this is the last time I’m asking for help, so if you’re there, I really need you.” And that was it.

      I’ve seriously been listening to Quiet Company’s “We Are Where We Belong”. It’s awesome. It’s a break up album with God. Seriously give it a listen.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh yeah, QC has pulled me through. I hit the whole thing about once a week. It reflects both anger and life affirmation. I only wish I could find something else with the same edge and style.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was in your shoes about 5 or 6 yrs. ago. I was not a preacher but just a normal working person. My wife said almost the exact saying as yours, then a few months later she told me she didn’t think she could be married to an a non believer. It wasn’t fair because she married a christian. I am here to tell you it can work, we are still married and faith rarely comes up and our marriage is as strong as it has ever been. For the most part it depends on how she can deal with it and how you discuss the difference in your faith, or lack of faith, hopefully calmly with rational emotions and respect. Wishing you the best, stay strong and rely on those of us out here who have been through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. just found your deconversion story via patheos. another deconvert (not a pastor tho) who was most worried about his wife, can be read here (first of multiple parts):

    and now, several years later, they’re still married. the most recent update on how they still get along despite religious differences:

    best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well. I really understand her.

    She thinks you abdicated your duty of being a “spiritual head” of your kids.

    It is like you don’t care. As you leave then to suffer.

    All i can say is that it takes time to find the equilibrium point. She feels insecure.

    Commonly, it is a hard path to follow.

    Lucky to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What kind of church are you the pastor of? Is it fairly fundamentalist? Evangelical? I ask because your wife’s need for a leader and spiritual head of her gives a pretty disturbing vibe. Is she forbidden from taking on these responsibilities? How did she manage her spirituality before she met you?

    I’m sorry for your predicament and wish you and your wife the best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moderately conservative evangelical. We’re definitely not fundamentalists, but she has always tended to be a bit more traditional in terms of family structure. She genuinely enjoyed learning from me, and she felt secure in me passing our faith on to our kids.


  6. She sounds terrified. I was never a believer, and maybe that’s why my first reaction when she asked how you would lead her was a very unhelpful, “lady, lead yourself! You’re a grownup.”

    Easy for me to say. But it’s true. You think you didn’t want this, well, neither did she, and she’s months of years behind you in the processing of it. She’s going to have supportive days and days when she hates you. All you can do is be honest and stay close. Enjoy the good times and ride out the bad times with her. If there’s a chance for you to stay together, it’ll only be after she sees over time that you really are still the person she loves.


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