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Dealing with religious partner

  • 27-06-2022 10:18pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1 throwaway5

    Wondering if i can get some advice on some problems that have recently come up in my relationship with my wife, and our future with our 10 month old daughter.

    So we've been married for 6 years, and have had our share of problems. Few touch and go moments in the middle (2018 in particular), but things really got good between us from 2019 onwards, and we started trying for out 1st child in late 2020. Baby girl was born last Autumn, and she's absolutely amazing. Neither of us were religious, and we had a humanist wedding. But last year during a tough period where her cat of 10 years was dying (and while heavily pregnant), she found god and has now become a born again Christian. She was always fairly anti religious, after some bad experiences with catholic school when she was younger, but she's a full believer. Reads the bible every day, listens to bible verses on the phone etc... and is a very different person to who she was before that. Her family (who live abroad) must think I've brainwashed her, as she's done a full 180 in the last 12 months, and is a completely different person.

    I am an atheist, with a fairly strong dislike of organised religion. I've always made that clear to her, and that was never an issue in the past. I've also had an issue when someone told me they were religious or spiritual, but I've never had anyone close to me say this, and go so quickly down the rabbit hole (to my eyes). She tries to tell me why life is so much better with god, how she was saved (i **** hate that term), about how no one can do it on my own etc... When i then try to tell her that i will never believe what she believes, that i don't want or need a god in my life, that i have the people i need available to support me etc...she says that until i read the bible i don't get to say that religion isn't for me. That its an uninformed opinion. She's gotten through some really tough times (death of her mother for example), and now says its all because of god and not her own achievements, that she is a good wife and mother because god gives her the strength to do i, and I can't help but feel sorry for her at times...which is a horrible feeling to have for someone you love.

    To be fair, it's not all bad. She is more open now, spends less time on social media (used to be involved in every "cause" she could find), and is a very good mother to our daughter. We talked about what she wanted to do after our daughter was born, and she wanted to be a stay at home mother. That was great, and has made raising her much easier. I'd actually say our relationship is stronger then it was before she found god, as long as we don't discuss religion.

    The problem is with our daughter now, and i am starting to worry about the things that my wife will teach her. We were looking at buying some books to read to her at at bed time, and she wants religious heavy stories or babies first bible type things. I don't believe in what she believes, and she doesn't seem to understand why i don't want those books to be read to our baby. I also struggle to say why, other then i don't believe in it and don't want to teach what i see as falsehoods, to our daughter.

    How do people with diametrically opposed views on religion have common ground? I've known for a while now that this was going to come to a head, and just haven't been sure how to approach it. Well, guess its time i figured it out.

    Post edited by HildaOgdenx on



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,209 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    Do you know where and how she picked up this religious fervour? Has she actually joined an organised born again Christian group or is it more self taught?

    Has this fad been taking longer than her previous ones?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,218 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams

    that's not quite true, it may not be a belief, sadly this can be an illness coming on, possibly post natal.

    This is tough for the OP and men in general in this situation because it's very easy for the OH to deny anything is wrong and blame him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,709 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    I'm really confused as to what gender has to do with this?

    OP, my heart goes out to you, it's an absolute balls of a situation. Religious beliefs are a massive deal-breaker for me but I have absolutely no idea how you handle the situation when they manifest in the middle of an already-committed relationship.

    I guess, as others have said, counselling might be an option, but I actually suspect your wife might refuse to engage as, in her eyes, nothing is wrong.

    Whatever happens, I wish you the very best of luck.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,218 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams

    Genders are different and are handled differently , until you get in front of a judge that is

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,479 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    When you say she only started this in the last year, that's after your daughter was born? I would actually wonder whether its some form of post natal depression?

    She would still have a public health nurse calling, can you talk with her the next time she calls? Or talk to the GP?

    If you take the religion out of it, your wife has had a complete 180 degree personality change. Something is causing that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,590 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    It's not funny at all and the op should answer the question. Doesn't believe in God but happy to tell the child a load of lies about unicorns, tooth fairies and santa.

    Can't have it both ways.

    What does he want read the war of the Roses?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,590 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Wouldn't be calling it a fad. My parents thought the same about me 40 years ago. It wasn't a fad!

  • Registered Users Posts: 339 ✭✭HazeDoll

    It's probably worth remembering that when somebody with a deeply-held belief, however irrational, is challenged on that belief they very rarely reconsider their position. They dig in and adopt an oppositional outlook.*

    I would say ignore it as much as you can. Bible stories for babies aren't any sillier than the Gruffalo, that's not going to do any harm. Where it does cause conflict try to base your discussions on specifics in direct relation to your lives, avoid challenging her beliefs in any way. The fervour is more likely to cool if it isn't an 'issue' between you.

    *There's a fascinating book Will Storr, "The Heretics." I've recommended it to lots of people. It's a great read but also a real eye-opener. It explains how people reject reality in defiance of clear evidence and become more deeply entrenched in irrational beliefs the more they are challenged. Really explains things like flat-earthism and holocausts denial.

  • Registered Users Posts: 771 ✭✭✭Quitelife

    Is this yet another Anti Religion thread on boards ??


    @Quitelife please read The Forum Charter before posting in Personal Issues again. This is a heavily moderated advice forum. If you have a problem with a post, bring it to the attention of a moderator.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Agree with the above, I wouldn't be factoring in the possibility of another about turn away from religion. PostPartum/Postnatal depression or baby blues might have had an affect. But, doesn't need to be. Once you get that level of belief it's hard to reverse.

    I'd advise to let your wife tell your daughter about her beliefs and you do yours. But, I'd not do it in a way that directly confronts your wife's opinion... like 'what your mum told you yesterday is completely barmy). She'll figure it out herself.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,303 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Letting distaste turn into contempt would be a mistake.

    Try to view your wife's beliefs semi-sympathetically, but be firm that you want your daughter to be open to other influences and ultimately allowed to choose her own beliefs.

    As the general culture is such a mixture of beliefs and influences, it's very difficult to keep a person in a religious bubble unless you are living a very straitened life, e.g. only socialising with other religious people.

    Sam Goldwyn: "I'm tired of the old clichés. Bring me some new ones."

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,303 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Sam Goldwyn: "I'm tired of the old clichés. Bring me some new ones."

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,890 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    What support network does she have?

    You said her mum has recently died and her family live in another country.

    I think the fact that this is a complete 180 for her is more pointing to some form of post natal depression.

    Being a first time mum, without a support network, during a pandemic when lots of baby groups were not operating would be very isolating.

    It sounds like this is the support network she has chosen.

    It took about 18 months after my first for the "fog" to was only after it lifted I realised how much of a fog I was the phn did raise it with me, but you can't really help someone who's not seeing the woods from the trees.

    I'd try to let this run for now, she's doing no harm to anyone especially your child. As for the stories they are not really doing any harm either. We're a non religious household but they go to a Catholic ethos school....I just view religion as a rounding of education....we may not subscribe to it but their peers will and will mention it,so don't want them totally clueless on the issue either.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,857 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    I don't see why there can't be space for both beliefs, however if in future she is teaching her daughter that it's sinful to have sex before marriage or be gay etc, I wouldnt want any part in it

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,079 ✭✭✭✭yourdeadwright

    Iv never meet you or your wife obviously but i think you need to have a serious conversation with your wife,

    To me and i'm no expert it sounds like your wife has some serious past trauma & religion is a coping mechanisms, strangely in the last years year's i know 2 people who suddenly became devoted to religion & in both cases it came out they where dealing with some serious issues form there childhood / late teen years,

    I'd be almost 100% convinced something from her past has triggered this maybe set off by being a mother & now having a child of her own ,

    Might sound a bit much to take in but you don't wake up one day as an adult & think all of a sudden you need a god to solve your problems ,

    There is also strong links with adults who suddenly become obsessive with religion & schizophrenia

  • Posts: 0 Carl Short Stud

    I'd say make your peace with it, to be honest. You'll be dealing with the same stuff when it comes to starting school, religion classes, communion, confirmation etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,159 ✭✭✭dublin49

    hmmmm,maybe in the short to medium term find a little religion yourself ,enough for your wife to leave you be ,you really don't want to lock horns on this where they may be other issues at play like Post natal depression,or the need to believe so her mother is alive somewhere else ,any amount of underlying reasons ,the sudden conversion is worrisome although I suppose if you are going to move from non Believer to believer it probably won't be done in a half hearted way.Try not to look too far down the road for now as that tends to entrench views.Best of luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,379 ✭✭✭✭gormdubhgorm

    Come on. It is not a question of whether religion is real or not.

    It is a question if it benefits the person in question. I would not judge anyone who finds solace in something and finds a benefit to their lives. And it makes them a better person for it. Clearly the Op's partner has found solace and comfort in religion. In essence that is what religion is just another mode of survival.

    Guff about stuff, and stuff about guff.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,379 ✭✭✭✭gormdubhgorm

    As for the OP's issue with the child. The child can simply opt out of religion class and chose their own religion or none when they are older, That is what children of people of different religions did when I was in primary back in the 80's. One girls parent was I assume Hindu/Muslim and the other Catholic. There was no issue with the other classmates we just knew she did not have to religion class like we did.

    Guff about stuff, and stuff about guff.

This discussion has been closed.