Slowly Coming Out, Part 7 Wife Day 3 continued

Denial_riverinegypt

Tuesday continued:

Our kids are home from school and I haven’t eaten all day.  My oldest son is complaining that he’s hungry, in that whiney kid voice that just drives you nuts.  My wife has been gone for several hours now, it’s time to text my wife to see what we should do for dinner.

My text: Should I pack up the boys and head to the Sausage Haus and have you meet us there, or just reheat the chicken?

Her text: I’m leaving now. Wait for me and we’ll all go together.

She takes another 1/2 hour to get home.

Me: “How was your time with Reese?”

Her: “It was good.  She talked and tried to give me advice for like 75% of the time, which you know Reese! But it sill was really good.”

“Do you know what she said?”

Me: “Uh no, what?”

Her: “She said it reminds her of the time her husband Robert was really depressed.  You remember that. He got so depressed and suicidal that he had written out his own obituary.”

Me: “Jeez, I know he had problems… I didn’t realize he wrote out his own obit.”

Her: “Well, he was at low point, overly depressed, over worked. I think you are too. I don’t believe you’re an atheist, I think you’re just burnt out.”

Me: [Annoyed Face] “Oh really.  That’s just what Old Roomie said.”

Her: “And it’s what [airport drive friend] Michael said.  We’re all looking at you and listening to you and trying to understand you.  None of us think you’re a full blown atheist.  You’re just tired of stupid people and church politics.  You’re exhausted, you’ve been doing too much, and you’re depressed.  We all think you need a sabbatical.”

Me: [laughs] “You don’t even believe in sabbaticals! ‘Sabbaticals are that place where pastors don’t come back from.’ Your words, not mine.

Her: “Well maybe quitting the church might be good for your faith. Easy up on your depression. You promised you would talk to a doctor about your depression.”

Me: “It’s just so weird that somehow no one believes me when I say I’m an atheist.  Has it occurred to you that maybe my depression is caused by becoming an atheist, and not the other way around?”

That’s not an entirely true statement.  But that’s another blog post.  Suffice it to say, when things crumble you begin to look at what you believe more closely.

Me: “I feel like a gay man coming out of the closet only to be told:

‘No, you’re not gay.  You’ve had a few bad girlfriends but that doesn’t make you gay. You just need to find the right girl.’

“No, a gay man is gay because he’s not attracted to women. He doesn’t need the right woman, he’s gay. I’m an atheist. Yes I’ve had problems at church, but any atheist would.  I don’t need time off to find God, I don’t think there is one there to find.”

Her: “I don’t think this is like a gay man coming out of the closet at all. This is different. I think you’re ignoring the fact that your anxiety and depression has been raging out of control. You couldn’t go to the doctors because we had to pay him off first.  Now that you can go, he can give you the medicine you know you need. Then you need to take some time off from church. Or even look for another job.”

Me: Fine.

We begin to have a conversation about my depression and anxiety. It’s a good conversation. It is something I need to get a handle on.

DAMN those are big glasses of beer!

DAMN those are big glasses of beer!

We arrive at the Sausage Haus, and she’s so exited for me to try it! We order some food, and some BIG ASS BEERS! Like you know those Oktoberfest beer glasses that are glass and huge and really old school looking? They’re a FEAKING LITER! I get a Vienna Lager, she gets an IPA.  God I love this woman.  Sausages weren’t bad either.

This is basically a food truck with a fenced in outdoor eating area.  They have a been bag toss game that my kids are dying to play. They pretend to be the targets while my wife and I try to make it through their hoops.

There is laughter.  There is giggling.  Some tickling and chasing and overall mischief. I hold my wife close, breathe in her scent from the back of her neck and hair…until the kids figure out that mommy and daddy are too close. They break us up.

Her: “Do you want to go home, cuddle on the couch, make some pop corn and watch a movie with the kids?”

Me: “Yeah, that sounds nice.”

We all sat on the couch with everyone laying on top of everyone else, singing along…

“Everything is Awesome!”

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16 thoughts on “Slowly Coming Out, Part 7 Wife Day 3 continued

  1. I must admit, the part where people try to convince you that you’re not REALLY an atheist always annoyed the heck out of me. Probably one of the worst parts of the “deconversion” process.

    It’s difficult for many atheists who were raised religious or an integral part of a faith community to “deconvert”, never mind coming out to loved ones. I can truly assure you though- you will get past the part where you are sad that you’re an atheist or don’t want to be one. Most of us went through that period, but almost two decades later I can’t imagine going back- I find the universe too amazing as it is to reduce it to the mechanations of a deity.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This sounds amazingly difficult. I hope you and your wife can cope, and you can find a secular career.

    About depression: I was depressed from childhood. I vaguely remember being taken out of class one day by a nice man who showed me pictures and puzzles and things like that. It must have been one of the early grades. Much later I learned that it was a psychiatric evaluation, and I was diagnosed with depression. My parents utterly rejected the diagnosis. At the time, it may not have mattered, because treatment was in it’s infancy and not very good. But untreated depression only gets worse with time.

    I was raised Catholic, and got quite annoyed and frustrated with the Church during my teen years. I attended Catholic services off and on while at university. I married a man who had grown up in an Evangelical tradition, and for a few years we attended Evangelical churches. It was a terrible mistake for someone with depression. The constant harping on sin and human worthlessness fed my Depression Dragon, who assured me that even God wanted nothing to do with me. Finally my husband picked up on this and insisted we stop attending church. That definitely helped.

    It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s that I became so non-functional that I sought out psychiatric help. There were good medications on the market by then, and helpful therapies (especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). For the first time in my life, I achieved the state of being able to think about what I believed without being torn apart emotionally about it. And I realized that religion was just unsubstantiated belief. The bible and other holy books were written by humans, inspired only by their own beliefs and experiences. It was an overwhelming realization. Amazingly freeing. I gingerly talked with my husband about it, only to have him say out loud for the first time that he had been an atheist for awhile. He hadn’t wanted to upset me by talking about it. But he’s a fairly unique person, in that he can make his mind up about something, and not see it as any particular revelation; okay, this is how the world really works, now carry on and deal with it.

    I’m 55 and still an atheist. I never told my parents, though I suspect they figured it out. My husband’s parents know we are atheists and are not happy about it, but they don’t fuss at us. My husband bonds with his friends over shared interests/hobbies, and probably doesn’t know what their religious affiliations are. Most of my friends are connected to secular academia in some way, and religion just doesn’t come up very often.

    I like the fact that my life is comfortably secular. I wish every person stepping into the stream of unbelief can achieve the same level of comfort.

    Oh, and the depression is still a problem from time to time… but at least I’m no longer encouraging it with a world view that says I really am worthless.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I am curious. Has it helped you any? Not trying to pry so please do not feel compelled to answer. I am hoping you found some support there.

        I myself, while not clergy, live in a mixed marriage. Although I would put my spouse more in the category of ‘fideist’ then any sort of conventional Christian. And we have found, despite our different beliefs, to be in a stronger relationship than ever. But I really identify with some of your spouse’s reactions to your deconversion. Particularly the ‘it’s just a phase’ thing. Man, that irritated and angered me. It took me a while, but my wife finally understood just how demeaning and disrespectful that made me feel. When she finally grasped just how gut wrenching and painful a process I was going through, and actually tried to put herself in my position, it was a wonderful turning point.

        I sincerely hope you and your spouse find such a point. I will be a regular reader from here on out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Clergy Project has been helpful. I’m not challenging my wife’s denial yet. It’s part of coping and grieving. If my loss of faith has been devastating and confusing, I can only imagine it’s got to be the same for her.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Just chiming in with my support. I can’t exactly relate, because when my deconversion happened I was married to a long-time atheist (who never cared what I believed, or didn’t). But I do know what it’s like to be happily married, and you know as well as I that we must accept things about each other we may not like. I’m convinced that no two people are 100% compatible. From what you are saying, it sounds like this woman loves you, and more important *likes* you, and wants to be happy with you. There are lots of bumps ahead; I’m sure she’s worried about the children finding out, etc. But for now, I’d think the important thing is for her to know that you can love you even without belief, and you can be supportive without God. (In fact, I’d guess you’ll be even more supportive, because you now realize that your wife’s (and your) strengths come not from outside, but from inside.)

    When discussing my atheism in front of my parents (my father was never comfortable with it), my stepmother asked me if my beliefs (i.e. death is the end, no one is watching over us) gave me comfort. (I think she was trying to put a happy bow on things.) I said no, they don’t. But I can’t base my life on what I *want* to believe; I have to base my life on what appears to be true. One always makes better decisions that way. And I can take some satisfaction in being true to myself.

    Bottom line is that you don’t have to agree on everything to love each other. And what is this but just a disagreement about the way the world works? (And perhaps a little fear of her following. After all, she’s bound to figure out that Psalm 14 is wrong about us.)

    Hope it all works out, and I’ll keep reading and commenting. Because nothing helps out like unsolicited advice! 🙂

    AG

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, I am part of the Clergy Project as well. I went through much of what you are currently experiencing in 2012. I wrote about my struggles on my blog Catholicismontherocks.blogspot.com You aren’t alone! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are a hell of a story teller, which, big surprise being someone who does it for a living. Up way past my bedtime because I need to know what happens next. This is a nice chapter to end on though. But as someone else said, you should think about making a book out of your story, once you get much closer to the final resolution.

    Wishing you and yours well.
    Shane

    Liked by 1 person

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