(Closed) Nervous about my husband's newfound spirituality

posted 7 years ago in Relationships
Post # 137
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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@peasantsong:  Perhaps I’m way off course… but I have found that genuine religious beliefs and experiences (what I believe to be genuine, as opposed to those which are forced upon someone by manipulation) tend to be very similar for most believers. Would you like to ask me anything, in order to compare his experiences to mine? You have a free pass, and I do solemnly swear (scout’s honour) that I will not be offended by anything you ask.

This is a “once in a lifetime offer”, of sorts.

It’s great that you are communicating like this. I think it’s very healthy.

PS I can also understand that you feel creeped out, because religious experiences can be really weird and creepy, even when you see them on someone else. That is not an odd reaction at all.

PPS Oh my gosh… this literally just occurred to me when I was running a bath and I had to edit my post! You don’t say what branch of Christianity he is exploring. It REALLY makes a difference! I don’t think, from the sound of it, that you would appreciate living with  Biblical literalist and charismatic, but you might be able to make peace with a Quaker, or a Biblical rationalist. If your husband is talking about trying out churches… the Quakers would be a really good place to start!

Post # 138
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447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Ranch

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@likewoah:  I’m not going to lie, that stung a little. However, I do understand how a non-believer would resort to that because you don’t feel or understand what those that do believe feel.

 

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@peasantsong:  I can tell you from first hand experience that God works that way. Let me clarify that I am not trying to convert anyone just want to share my personal experience.

I grew up in a very Catholic home. I claimed to be atheist from the age of about 13. I thought people who believed in religion were crazy and just believed in God to have someone to blame for their problems or to hold on to hope. I thought that deep down everyone knew he didn’t exist, but were afraid of admitting it.  At the age of 18 I too just felt God. Like he touched my heart and hugged me.  It cannot be explained, but I felt him with me and I knew I was not alone. It was as sudden as turning on a switch. You feel happy, you feel warm and like you have an unconditional support that no human could ever take away from you. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt like I coud finally see, REALLY see.  Once you know that feeling, you don’t go back. Do you cool down a bit? Yeah. maybe. Depends on the person, but you don’t stop believing.

When I had this experience I also grabbed any book I could to learn about this God. I just had to know who this was exactly. I had happiness I had never known and I wanted more. I read my bible everyday, any book that explained the bible and the feelings I was having. Your husband is just going through that phase. There’s not much you can do.  Once he knows more about Him, he MIGHT slow it down a bit and be back to normal, just with a knew outlook on life, or he might really dive into it. I hope it all works out for the both of you and that you have a long happy marriage.

Post # 139
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719 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

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@peasantsong:  I’m sure this must be difficult for you to navigate, and I’ll give you points for at least talking with him and asking him questions, instead of just leaving him.

I think you need to at least tone down your prejudice a bit, though. Not all Christians are militant fundamentalists who hate gay marriage, women’s rights, and science. I’m not saying that you will change your mind (and you certainly don’t need to) but I don’t think you will get very far with your husband if you can’t approach this situation with respect. I’m sure it sounds strange to you that he experienced God on a hike, but who are you to decide what is normal or healthy for another person’s soul/life experience?

For some things in life, there are no proofs or measurements. Your DH put it very well; love is something that you can’t see, weigh, measure; it’s a feeling that just is there. He believes in his experience the same way he believes in the love he has for you. That’s worth listening to, I would think.

Change is never easy. Marriage isn’t easy either. Good luck.

Post # 140
Member
337 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Ill give my two cents in because I was in your husbands shoes. All of a sudden one day I decided to convert religions and now that religion is a huge part of my life…

 

I think for me it was the idea that I was bored with life and felt like something was missing, I wanted to devote my time in something however the religion  I was brought up in had no connection to me (i considered myself agnostic) and Ive always been attracted to my new religion..

 

It could be that he just wanted something to focus his time on, start a new passion, get excitement brought into his life…thats why I did it lol

Post # 141
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4045 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

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@MsBlackberry:  +1000 to everything you’re saying. I very much agree with your thinking. The suddeness of the change is what’s startling. If something tragic had happened in the family and he was leaning towards religion for support, that’s one thing. A gradual ease into reading the Bible and thinking it has a lot of stuff right, going to church, having these experiences – I wouldn’t bat an eye. It makes sense. But for an atheist to go on a hike and come back a believer is just strange.

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@peasantsong:  OP, I’m glad you do seem like you’re commincating about it all – that’s great! His answers are vague though, so I see your frustration. Keep that line of communication open, and in time he may be able to explain more.

Post # 143
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2452 posts
Buzzing bee

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@WillowTreeWade:   

Religion is very commomly part of the story for people who have schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.”

Yes, increased religious hallucinations/delusions/psychoses have been linked to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, however that would present differently than someone who has just become more religious and has started attending church and reading the Bible. OP’s husband does not sound like a religious fanatic to me. Not to mention that there are also other symptoms that would likely be present if her husband had a mental illness.

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@Rachel631:   +1000 to everything you just said. And I agree with one of your previous posts, I think if the situation were the opposite (religious –> atheist), many posters would be posting very different things.

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@Comealongpond:  

“…telling op to change her views won’t help,honestly.Why should she?the fact that her husband suddenly changed his mind doesn’t mean she should too just because it’s convenient for him.She can’t respect the fact that he believes in something she finds as believable as fairytales,and that’s fine!”

I agree that OP should believe what she believes and not feel pressured to change her views on religion. I also completely understand how hard it is for someone who is an atheist to understand why someone else would believe in God due to the fact that I am an agnostic atheist who has attempted to understand this for a while now. I’ve come to the conclusion that it might just be impossible for me to understand because it’s a completely different mindset than my own. And that’s fine to me.

However, respect is essential to any relationship, whether it be a romantic relationship or a friendship. And part of that is respecting the fact that that someone might have differences of opinion. Regarding this specific topic, for me, that translates to: I’ve done my best to understand the important people in my life who are religiously inclined, and I think that I can understand certain things about it, but I just don’t think I’ll come to the understanding of why someone believes in God. How other people react to the same thing varies, but I would think it’d be pretty hard on OP and her DH’s relationship if she really refused to respect his beliefs.

To me it sounds like OP  is doing her best to figure out what this means to her DH and to respect her DH’s religious beliefs and I agree it seems like she’s coping relatively well to this change.

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@peasantsong:  Like I said, I think you’re coping well so far. It is completely understandable that this newfound spirituality would make you nervous, but I think at this point all you can do is take things one day at a time and see how this develops. I know that’s not necessarily the best thing to say, but I think it’s the most honest.

Post # 145
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447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Ranch

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@NJatTheDisco:  I think it’s unfair of you to say ANY deacon/elder will cause trouble. I have never been to your church, so I cannot speak for that one, but I have moved quite a bit so have had the fortune of being to different parishes and meeting different priests and deacons and non of them would ever give trouble to someone who was married to a non-believer. I actually know a couple men who go to my parent’s parish and they are married to non-believers and it does not change how they are allowed to practice and no one has ever tried to convince them to convert their spouse. Do they pray that their partner sees what they see? You bet they do, but no elder forces them to or puts things in their head.

Post # 146
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7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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@peasantsong:  Well, maybe he’ll just become one of those people who is spiritual rather than religious!

I think you’ve lucked out in having Pope Francis as the current head of the Catholic church, as well. If Justice of the Peace2 was still in power, I could understand how you could possibly have a lot more concerns about his associations with the church!

But then… I am a self-confessed crazed Francis fan (despite not being Catholic)!

Post # 147
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2452 posts
Buzzing bee

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@peasantsong:  You know, I just thought of something. Have you clarified with your husband whether this was really a sudden change or could this be something that he has subconsciously thought about for a while? For example, if I became religious tomorrow it’d seem sudden to my partner, but in reality religion is something I’ve been thinking about/trying to understand for a while and it’s something he and I only talk about occasionally.

Post # 148
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1004 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

 

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@peasantsong:  OP, I think it may help to look at it this way: your husband is currently exploring the faith he was exposed to as a child, which he rejected, and comparing it to other faiths/ways of being spiritual. It doesn’t mean he is going to convert to a specific sect or religion and become a completely different person. In fact, since he already had that opportunity early in life, it seems likely he will not become a fanatic or change his core beliefs… rather he will find news ways to express how he already feels about the world.

 

That doesn’t mean that he will become a fanatic or a strictly devoted. He seems to be going about it thoughtfully, and even while he says he had a religious experience that you can’t understand, he is not (from what you’ve said) going on and on about it or trying to get you to join him.

 

Perhaps he will be more spiritual from now on, or perhaps it is just a phase for him because he feels that he needs an outlet for doing/being good on a regular basis, and expressing that sort of good will toward others in a structured, traditional community (church).

 

Strangely enough, as I was coming out of my years of strict evangelical christian belief, I spent about a year attending a Catholic church regularly with a friend. I went not because I believed everything taught, or wanted to convert, but because I enjoyed the experience of sitting with a large group of people and hearing uplifting messages about how we can treat one another better, and the services, unlike the more charismatic ones I grew up in, allowed me time for peaceful rest and purposeful thinking about the world, other people, and the spirit of love that I believed god to represent. I liked knowing that I could go and appreciate the faith and ideas of Jesus, and the high level of tradition and liturgical nature of the service made it feel “safe” and peaceful, not pushy and unpredictable as so many churches I attended early in life. I did not continue to explore the Catholic tradition despite enjoying the services, because I do not like or agree with many of the stances Catholic organizations despite the good they do.

 

From what you’ve posted, it seems the change for your husband was very sudden, and if it was indeed that sudden I would think it  was very strange. Is he a person who goes through phases or throws themselves into new endeavors quickly and spontaneously, or is he generally a planner, and more cautious?

 

However, it is likely he just didn’t tell you as these thoughts came up, or that he always liked and was comforted by his Catholicism even though he did not belive it to be true as an atheist. If he has spent a lot of time reading atheist literature, perhaps he decided it was best to also read spiritual texts before really knowing what he believed? He was probably not willing to talk to you about it for a long time, since you seem very firm in your convictions as an atheist and have no desire to seek comfort in religion.

 

Post # 149
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521 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

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@peasantsong:  You said:  “What I find difficult to understand and what I need to get over is how, in my opinion, illogical and delusional I find believing in god to be.”

I don’t know this is something you need to “get over,” unless those are feelings you are transferring onto your husband, i.e., “I think my husband is illogical and delusional.”  But if instead you’re saying, “From my perspective, I simply cannot understand someone believing in God, but I respect and love my husband and I don’t think he came to this conclusion lightly,” I really think you guys will be okay.  I don’t think you need to suddenly wake up and say, “Actually, I think faith in God is totally logical!” if that’s not how you feel about it.  

 

I’m saying this as someone who believes in God but also totally understands why people don’t.  It doesn’t always feel logical to believe in God, at least from my perspective.

Many hugs to you.

Post # 150
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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@peasantsong:  One more thought… I don’t know if this helps, but this is how I always explain faith to people who ask…

“Three people go for a walk up a mountain. At the top, they stop, and look at the view. They then get to talking… about how unlikely it was that they would all meet, and all be friends, and all go on this walk… about how unlikely it is that they were even born at all… about how unlikely it is that, out of the billions of sperm, the one which made them them found the egg and became a zygote. They think about how unlikely it was that all of their ancestors married all of their other ancestors and had children to make them. They think about how unlikely it was that the human race evolved at all, and that we don’t live on a planet full of dinosaurs, or something. They think about how unlikely it is that we actually have a planet that can sustain life like Earth… heck, scratch that… how unlikely it is that we actually have a universe at all!

Then they are all quiet for a bit, and think.

Number 1 speaks first.

Number 1: I know all about the processes… genetic, biological, and evolutionary… which exist in this world. But none of that explains why I, me, myself, is stood here right now, at this minute, looking at this view. That very fact… the very fact of my existance as I understand it… seems so minutely and miraculouosly unlikely that I can’t help believing that there must be something… some higher power… some force… which has allowed me to get lucky.

Having outed themselves as a theist, 1 is silent. Then 2 speaks.

Number 2: Although it seems highly statistically unlikely that I, as this person I know myself to be, am sat here, now, then every probability outcome is realised at some stage. It has to be. That’s just how probability works. I mean, there could be some sort of higher power, but I don’t think so. I think that probability and chance alone are enough to explain this set of unlikely coincidences.

Number 2 is the atheist. Finally, 3 (the agnostic) speaks.

Number 3: I have listened to both of your arguments and understand the truths behind both of them. I conclude that I have insufficient data to decide one way or the other. We live in a world in which we tend to trust statistics. It is true that our existence as we know it is almost unbelievably unlikely, statistically, to exist. Equally, anything is possible in an infinite universe. This includes both a higher power, and an enormous statistical anomaly. Until I see evidence either way, I cannot decide.”

Working from logic alone, the most logical position is that of the agnostic, 3. Both 1 and 2 have worked, on some level, from instinct/intuition/spirituality/belief/whatever. I know I, as a number 1, certainly have. But I do not think that 1 is more or less logical than 2 here. Basically, I would argue that belief in a higher power is not logical, but it is not illogical, either.

Secondly, many religious figures were real people… Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha. They were all born, and they ate and drank, and they pood and peed, just like anyone else. Whether or not you believe that they were divine is another matter. But they did exist as real people. So it isn’t really like believing in the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny does not appear on ancient censuses, or books of law and government, and he doesn’t have scrolls and letters where his politics are discussed, in detail, by his contemporaries. These aren’t imaginary people.

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