Atheists Who Married A Person Of Faith Explain How It's Going

woman in white wedding dress
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

When it comes to romantic relationships, especially when marriage is talked about, it's good for the two people in the relationship to share similar values, principles, and beliefs.

Maybe you discuss whether or not you want children, and if so, when. Maybe you'll talk about how to split household duties or whether or not to combine finances. And of course, you'll talk about religion.

Religion can play a large role in life for people of faith. The rules or recommendations of their faith help them to decide what's right and wrong, what to do in any given situation, and maybe even how to raise kids.

However, if one partner is religious and the other is atheist, it can be difficult to find a middle ground. It's not impossible, but it may not always be easy.

Atheists on Reddit know this first hand, and have shared what their relationship is like with a person of faith.

The stories were as diverse as religion itself.


It all starte when Redditor Actual_Sprinkles1287 asked:

"Atheists who married a person of faith, how is that going?"

Some people found it didn't matter, and their relationship was successful.

Good With Them, Bad With The In Laws

"With her? Great, it never really comes up, she does her thing (She's Christian), we agreed the kids get to make their own choices, and that we can both explain our faith, or lack thereof, when appropriate."

"Her parents, on the other hand... Just glad they live on the other side of the country. Was worse before we got married"

– Constantyne13

"Got an identical situation here but her parents are ten minutes down the road. I used to be a Christian. They don’t know I’m not, so that reduces friction."

– 7Welds

Sunday Morning

"Had our 25th wedding anniversary last year."

"She's a member of a very liberal (even for Canada) congregation and I share most of their beliefs about things like how to treat other people, just not the supernatural stuff. She does her thing, I get to sleep in on Sunday mornings."

– YVRJon

"Last sentence is relationship goals."

– phalangepatella

Heritage Over Religion

"Well, I am the non-atheist in the relationship, but it doesn't come up at all."

"I don't believe in an interventionist deity, so there really isn't a reason to discuss it."

"Since we are Jewish, my husband is fine with the kids going to Hebrew school because he wants them to know about our history, language, and traditions. That's why I want them to go as well."

"Mainstream Judaism is not very deity-focused and Hebrew schools mainly teach language, history, and about rituals and their meaning. Faith doesn't really come up, and everyone having their own way of doing things and believing is an integral part of Judaism. So, I am not worried about them becoming indoctrinated in that way."

"We both think that it's up to the kids to make their own decisions about theism and religion, and we should give them the materials to make an informed decision."

– zazzlekdazzle

Believe

"Great! Sometimes I go to church with her, I like the content (be a good person, live simply, etc.) She believes all the science, she just also believes in some other stuff."

"My opinion is this: as a human you're going to have questions about life, the universe, and anything else. If a belief system answers those questions for you, great."

– SpaceOttersea

Perfect As You Are

"When we first met, I saw she was a "problem solver" by nature. She's religious, I'm not. I asked her early if she saw me as a problem in need of a solution. When she said, "no," I decided I'd keep seeing her."

"She still holds her beliefs, though perhaps not as strongly as before we met. We each know where the other stands, and we're both respectful of the other's views. She doesn't try to "convert me" and I don't try to change her mind."

"We're 13 years in, and doing just fine, I think."

– akluor

Others found it impossible to remain married because of religious differences.

Keeping It A Secret

"My ex husband never acted religious. Not necessarily atheist, but didn't go to church, and never prayed that I was aware of."

"We hit a really rough patch and I wanted a divorce. I found a notebook (I wasn't snooping, I was cleaning and it was in a stack of random papers and whatnot) where he'd made some list of demands to save our marriage (laughable since I was the one who wanted out due to how he was treating me). I started to read it and one said "accept Jesus into her heart." I rolled my eyes just as he walked into the living room and freaked out that I had it and yanked it out of my hand. We never talked about it amd we did eventually divorce."

– stealth_mode_76

"Hmm. It seems like for him to not have expressed religious beliefs or convictions but desires for you to “accept Jesus into your heart”—according to this list of his—seems to suggest that there were some things about him that he kept secret from you throughout your marriage. Your hands are wiped clean of him now though!"

– VibrantVirgo96

Bad Idea

"Divorced. Don’t know what I was thinking."

– Misanthropic-bug

Big White Lie

"Divorced for that reason"

– CommunityGlittering2

"If you don't mind me asking, why did it only become an issue after marriage?"

– Forever-Alone-1

"Because she lied about be religious, before marriage she said she was only acting to please her mom because she lived at home. And we would bring up any children without religion and they could chose when they were older. She lied."

– CommunityGlittering2

​Some people found that their partner's faith changed, or they even switched around who was a person of faith and who wasn't.

Hard To Keep The Faith

"She’s not Christian anymore. I never belittled or attacked her faith throughout the years. Between cancer taking her sister and simply aging, her belief slowly eroded away."

– heH0rnyRobot

"This. I prayed for a few years for my husband to come to faith. After crippling mental health issues and having special needs kid, Now he believes in a god and I lost every ounce of faith I had."

– Interesting-6743

Some people are still together but still find religion a topic of contention.

Trying

"Not swimmingly well. But we're hangin' in there."

– owdoidothiz

Exhaustion Comes With The Topic

"I'm a person of faith who married an " I dnt believe in God but I believe in something"

"We love eachother but when this topic comes up it's so f*ckin draining"

– ShruteFarms4L

"do you mind sharing why it's draining?"

– lunafxckery

"...well we talk a lot, as you can imagine that means the Convo often drifts to God. When we talk about God usually we end up also bring up past traumas and we both have a lot. I believe God gave me the strength to get through it, she believes she was abandoned."

"She also brings history into it too (where was he during slavery, holocaust)."

"and we never ever come to a conclusion we just move on lol start watching a movie or playing with the kids, maybe drinking and whatever comes with that."

"But sometimes the covos last a little longer than usual, we have never argued about this tho, but somestimes the convos can drain me mentally."

"Short version: it's like two walls talking when God is the subject."

– ShruteFarms4L

A Bit Of A Strain

"This will probably get buried but anyway."

"My wife is Christian, Anglican in Church of England. They’re fairly liberal in their views and acceptance of what people believe, even within the church. So she doesn’t mind that I don’t believe in a single God, and the church isn’t as ‘firm’ in the UK as it seems to be in the US. So I’m not ridiculed or seen as a bad person by her or the church for my lack of faith."

"She studied to become a priest over the past few years and was ordained. I told her I would support her studying but I didn’t want to discuss God or religion with her in the way she debates with some of her other religious friends. I largely struggle with the idea that she believes something that is at odds with so much of what we know about the universe. The further down the religious path she goes, the more bitter I’ve become towards ‘religion’. (I can only see religions and The Church as a business these days, especially knowing the processes she went through to become a minister.) The values of the Anglican church are mostly good, but you can live that way without god in your life. I don’t see why religion needs to play a part of being a good person."

"In terms of how it’s been for our marriage, it hasn’t really been a factor for most of 25 years together. It’s frustrating that she usually wants to go to church on Sundays, which leaves me to do everything else that falls on Sunday morning (notably kids’ sports commitments). I’d also certainly say we have far less in common and have less to talk about these days than we used to. She bends every possibly interesting conversation back to religion or God, and I just want to enjoy chatting without it becoming a debate. But that’s the main topic of conversation she knows and pretty much all she reads. She reads a lot about religion and theology and ‘church’ has become such a huge part of her personality, and her biggest ‘hobby’ that she is much less interesting and has fewer passions or interests in life that she can share. It doesn’t leave much for us to discuss when I have no interest in religion and have become so bitter towards it."

"So no discussion of separation or divorce - we’re not miserable - but religion has more recently played a massive part in us having far less in common."

– Arrow_King

But ultimately, it seems people can make it work.

Love And Honor

"I'm still married after 30 years. She has her religious beliefs, and I support her as best I can. She doesn't push anything on me. When she wants to do her thing, I give her space. If I have to be involved, I just stay quiet and be respectful. It's not that hard to do. No need to hate someone because of differing beliefs."

– Live_Ice8502

What a great attitude to have!

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