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Marriage with an atheist

Melodist

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Are there any members on here married to atheists? I know they happen (I know at least one couple), and I also know this is not the norm. I've been dating this girl over the past year who is an atheist. My question is not whether or not such a marriage can work (I'm not asking for a blessing/permission from an internet forum), but looking for feedback /advice on what is involved in making such a marriage work if there is any available from anyone who may be/have been in such a situation.
 

Peacemaker

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My room mate and I thought of this the other night and we came to the conclusion that Atheist aren't married and can never be married. Marriage is a sacrament of the Church (not just Orthodox), and since Atheist don't believe in God(s) that means they can't possibly be married. They can sign a paper for the state claiming they are "married" but we (man) do not have the power to bring two people and make them one.

Just my random thoughts on Atheist "marriage"


On a serious note however I heard from an Abbot a story about a man he knew who was married for over 70 years. The old man said there is only one way to make it work, you put God first, your spouse second and yourself last. If you can't do this, it wont work because pride (the mother of all sins) will get in the way and that is the sin that cause Satan to fall. If your spouse can't put God first and you second, but instead she wants to be first, or equal to you and she wants to fill what is suppose to be for God with something else. I don't see how it'll ever work. Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Are you willing to potentially give up your salvation for this girl? I say, if I was in your shoes and I have been in this situation before. Cut your losses and pray God will lead you to where He wants you to be, not where you want to be. You may like this girl a lot and even want to marry her, but maybe it's not the girl God wants you to be with. I wouldn't want to take that chance. If she was showing no signs of ever converting, I wouldn't marry them because they are suppose to help you and you are to help them get to salvation. It is hard to get to heaven with someone who wants to go in a different direction.  Have you talked to her about your faith? Have you let her know it is the most important thing in the world to you and nothing else is more important? Is she willing to except that you'll love God more than her? Have you ever asked he "come and see" in other words, invited her to Church? These are serious questions to ask.
 
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In case you are not aware of this, if you marry a non-Christian, you will not be able to marry in the Orthodox Church and you will also fall out of good standing and lose your sacramental privileges. In order to regain your good standing and participate in the sacraments again, your wife will have to convert to Christianity and you will have to receive the sacrament of marriage in the Church. You should consult your priest to make sure this is accurate for your situation, of course.

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/marrynonchristians/conchal
 

quietmorning

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I am married to an Atheist.  We just celebrated our sixth year anniversary.  I married my husband before I converted to Orthodoxy - I found the Orthodox Church through marriage counseling with my husband.  (Our counselor is Orthodox).  

If I were to caution anyone against it, I would.  In a heart beat.  The Lord has used it for His good - but there is a constant battle between light and dark in our relationship.  Things are a lot better now - but there have been many wars over things as simple as prayer and reading my Bible. . . giving to the poor. . . doing anything that might be for the sake of my faith.  

My confession is that **I** denied Christ when I married Him.  I was not Orthodox, but I was a Christian.  I chose death over life - my Husband is and always will be My Lord - and to marry someone out of my faith, I deny that Holy Marriage that He died to bring me into.  

As an Orthodox Believer - I not only would strongly caution you against it, but I don't think it would be an allowable union - and rightfully so.  We are born of life.  We are born of the Spirit.  I've often thought and realize daily, if this were a material marriage, I, in essence, married a zombie. . .decaying living dead.  

He is changing. . . by prayer . . . slowly.  But who knows if he will ever make a confession of faith.  Now I would probably guess that perhaps my husband might be a little on the agnostic side. . . but that's my guess.  Only God knows the heart.
 

vamrat

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Never been married but have been in an LTR with an atheist.  Not going to do that again.  Sorry, I have no idea how to make it work other than the obvious that things any relationship needs.  But if there are any, ANY, problems beforehand, then religion is just going to be yet another point of contention, one that could bugger your soul as well.
 

Jetavan

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Melodist said:
Are there any members on here married to atheists? I know they happen (I know at least one couple), and I also know this is not the norm. I've been dating this girl over the past year who is an atheist.
Has she ever studied religion, or is she an atheist who has absolutely no interest in even thinking about religion whatsoever?
 

TheTrisagion

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Good gosh.  I am married to a protestant and that is tough enough to negotiate.  I could not even imagine being married to an atheist. My wife and I can at least talk about God and Jesus in general terms, but there is always a degree of tension. I would imagine that would be x1000 with someone who did not believe that God even exists...
 

Achronos

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Good question OP. I dated an atheist for a few months AMD pondered the same thing. People told me to end it and wouldn't work out. Just seemed like ill advice at the time.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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quietmorning said:
I am married to an Atheist.  We just celebrated our sixth year anniversary.  I married my husband before I converted to Orthodoxy - I found the Orthodox Church through marriage counseling with my husband.  (Our counselor is Orthodox).  

If I were to caution anyone against it, I would.  In a heart beat.  The Lord has used it for His good - but there is a constant battle between light and dark in our relationship.  Things are a lot better now - but there have been many wars over things as simple as prayer and reading my Bible. . . giving to the poor. . . doing anything that might be for the sake of my faith.  

My confession is that **I** denied Christ when I married Him.  I was not Orthodox, but I was a Christian.  I chose death over life - my Husband is and always will be My Lord - and to marry someone out of my faith, I deny that Holy Marriage that He died to bring me into.  

As an Orthodox Believer - I not only would strongly caution you against it, but I don't think it would be an allowable union - and rightfully so.  We are born of life.  We are born of the Spirit.  I've often thought and realize daily, if this were a material marriage, I, in essence, married a zombie. . .decaying living dead.  

He is changing. . . by prayer . . . slowly.  But who knows if he will ever make a confession of faith.  Now I would probably guess that perhaps my husband might be a little on the agnostic side. . . but that's my guess.  Only God knows the heart.
This is a great testimony for those contemplating marriage to an atheist.  Lord, have mercy on this marriage. 
 

Melodist

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Jetavan said:
Melodist said:
Are there any members on here married to atheists? I know they happen (I know at least one couple), and I also know this is not the norm. I've been dating this girl over the past year who is an atheist.
Has she ever studied religion, or is she an atheist who has absolutely no interest in even thinking about religion whatsoever?
She was raised in a Christian home, but she is not that close to her family. She says that she "never really got it" about religion.
 

Asteriktos

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I found discussions about the upbringing of children, their education, what they would be told/taught, what they would be exposed to, etc. to be helpful. Often when two people really care about each other they are willing to yield and sacrifice quite a bit, but when it comes to child-raising they are sometimes more willing to take a stronger stand. That could help in multiple ways, including: figuring out what would/could happen if and when you do have children, gaining some insight (possibly mostly speculative) as to how their position and your position, sometimes only implicit or tacitly held, would play out in various areas of your life, and what life would/could be like if either person decided down the road to become more active or overt in living out their religion (or lack of it) and it started going further into the other person's "territory" (so to speak).
 

stanley123

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I think it would depend on the type of atheist that you are going to marry. I know some Buddhists, for example, who are very congenial to Christians and Christianity and are of very high moral character. Although in some sense they may be atheists or perhaps agnostics, nevertheless they seem to appreciate being invited to Catholic Masses and discussions.
 

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If she just never felt that she agreed with or was comfortable with her family's faith there may be hope there even if she's agnostic but a full blown atheist that doesn't believe a god exists at all I don't think there would be. I'd definitely ask more questions regarding beliefs and the raising of children.

I'm looking at converting to Orthodoxy right now and am unsure if my husband will convert or not. When we married neither of us were Christian. We were both raised in "nominally Baptist" homes and our religious stances have been agnostic/pagan. I never could really get into paganism past the fact that I could basically follow my own moral code and have respect for nature. There was something spiritually lacking though and Orthodoxy has been a blessing so far. My husband is okay with me converting and agrees that the kids should be given religion and be Orthodox if I convert but he's unsure if he'll convert. He DOES believe in a god/creator though so there is a chance that Orthodoxy may make sense to him as he finds out more on my journey. If he didn't believe in the existence of a god at all I don't see how that would work. Honestly even as a pagan I don't see how I could have been married to an atheist. Seriously.
 

scamandrius

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Do you really want to separate yourself from the church by going through with this?  Also, consider what may happen if children were to be born.  How would they be raised?  These are important questions.  Remember that marriage is a sacramental union where husband and wife are married to each other to guide each other towards Christ and theosis with him; and that children are a gift from God to be raised in the Orthodox faith.

If she converts, great, but make sure she does so for the right reason and not for you.
 

Nephi

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My wife was an atheist when we first started dating. Things were difficult at times, especially since I was also going through my overzealous convert phase. I eventually cooled off, and as time went on and we married she started to slowly shift. She became agnostic, then somewhat deistic, and now she is a full theist but not (yet :p) Christian. Now we share a strong belief in God (generally), his active involvement in the world, etc. We religiously get along pretty well, and our biggest difference is pretty much Jesus I suppose.

That said, I think the most important thing was that, religion or not, we shared a similar worldview/morality. We both agreed on most things, and had no problem agreeing to disagree on others. She also became supportive of my faith as I became less pushy about it.

So for advice, I would say a couple things. First, figure out what kind of atheist she is - you seemed to describe her as the indifferent sort. So long as she truly is indifferent, she would be no different than a nominal Christian in practice. In fact, even a nominal Christian could be worse since they may judge your piety as superiority and self righteousness etc. Biggest thing here either way is to leave considerable room for her to breathe and absolutely do not push it on her in any way. That's like relationship 101 stuff, and you probably already know if you've dated a year. If she isn't truly indifferent or tolerant, she most likely will (begin to) oppose your faith, which can take many forms, and it will cause conflict much of the time.

Second, see how much you share in other life views (family, morality, child rearing, politics I guess, etc.). If these are too different, then I imagine the difference in religious belief would exacerbate the tension over them.

That said, if she is a truly selfless and loving person even extreme differences can be bridged with effort. Although, be prepared to live your Orthodoxy alone to a large degree. Even if my wife is supportive of me and my faith, she still doesn't really share in that aspect of my life as much as I may sometimes wish. So while we get along amazingly well and I don't regret marrying her even for a second, that is something I'm willing to live with in case she doesn't ever convert. You will need to be ready to accept that possibility as well, and not hold out expecting an inevitable conversion.

Sorry this was so long and meandering, hopefully it's of some use.
 

Melodist

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Asteriktos said:
I found discussions about the upbringing of children, their education, what they would be told/taught, what they would be exposed to, etc. to be helpful.
We have discussed the issue, it doesn't put a stop to things, but does remind us to slow down and put some thought into it. She  knows it's important to me.
 

Melodist

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stanley123 said:
I think it would depend on the type of atheist that you are going to marry. I know some Buddhists, for example, who are very congenial to Christians and Christianity and are of very high moral character. Although in some sense they may be atheists or perhaps agnostics, nevertheless they seem to appreciate being invited to Catholic Masses and discussions.
She's been to church with me a few times. At first she tried to go through the motions (crossing, venerating icons, etc) for the sake of fitting in (which caused stress), but we had a talk about it and I told her not to do anything that made her too uncomfortable insincere in her actions. She'll probably be with me when I have memorial service (1 year) for my sister (who she knew) in a few weeks. I'm curious to see if she goes (she probably will) and how she handles it. I'm hoping she will feel less pressure to "conform" and feel free to participate to the degree to which she is comfortable.
 

Melodist

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Nephi said:
My wife was an atheist when we first started dating. Things were difficult at times, especially since I was also going through my overzealous convert phase. I eventually cooled off, and as time went on and we married she started to slowly shift. She became agnostic, then somewhat deistic, and now she is a full theist but not (yet :p) Christian. Now we share a strong belief in God (generally), his active involvement in the world, etc. We religiously get along pretty well, and our biggest difference is pretty much Jesus I suppose.

That said, I think the most important thing was that, religion or not, we shared a similar worldview/morality. We both agreed on most things, and had no problem agreeing to disagree on others. She also became supportive of my faith as I became less pushy about it.

So for advice, I would say a couple things. First, figure out what kind of atheist she is - you seemed to describe her as the indifferent sort. So long as she truly is indifferent, she would be no different than a nominal Christian in practice. In fact, even a nominal Christian could be worse since they may judge your piety as superiority and self righteousness etc. Biggest thing here either way is to leave considerable room for her to breathe and absolutely do not push it on her in any way. That's like relationship 101 stuff, and you probably already know if you've dated a year. If she isn't truly indifferent or tolerant, she most likely will (begin to) oppose your faith, which can take many forms, and it will cause conflict much of the time.

Second, see how much you share in other life views (family, morality, child rearing, politics I guess, etc.). If these are too different, then I imagine the difference in religious belief would exacerbate the tension over them.

That said, if she is a truly selfless and loving person even extreme differences can be bridged with effort. Although, be prepared to live your Orthodoxy alone to a large degree. Even if my wife is supportive of me and my faith, she still doesn't really share in that aspect of my life as much as I may sometimes wish. So while we get along amazingly well and I don't regret marrying her even for a second, that is something I'm willing to live with in case she doesn't ever convert. You will need to be ready to accept that possibility as well, and not hold out expecting an inevitable conversion.

Sorry this was so long and meandering, hopefully it's of some use.
Thank you for this.
 

Gorazd1942

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Melodist said:
Nephi said:
My wife was an atheist when we first started dating. Things were difficult at times, especially since I was also going through my overzealous convert phase. I eventually cooled off, and as time went on and we married she started to slowly shift. She became agnostic, then somewhat deistic, and now she is a full theist but not (yet :p) Christian. Now we share a strong belief in God (generally), his active involvement in the world, etc. We religiously get along pretty well, and our biggest difference is pretty much Jesus I suppose.

That said, I think the most important thing was that, religion or not, we shared a similar worldview/morality. We both agreed on most things, and had no problem agreeing to disagree on others. She also became supportive of my faith as I became less pushy about it.

So for advice, I would say a couple things. First, figure out what kind of atheist she is - you seemed to describe her as the indifferent sort. So long as she truly is indifferent, she would be no different than a nominal Christian in practice. In fact, even a nominal Christian could be worse since they may judge your piety as superiority and self righteousness etc. Biggest thing here either way is to leave considerable room for her to breathe and absolutely do not push it on her in any way. That's like relationship 101 stuff, and you probably already know if you've dated a year. If she isn't truly indifferent or tolerant, she most likely will (begin to) oppose your faith, which can take many forms, and it will cause conflict much of the time.

Second, see how much you share in other life views (family, morality, child rearing, politics I guess, etc.). If these are too different, then I imagine the difference in religious belief would exacerbate the tension over them.

That said, if she is a truly selfless and loving person even extreme differences can be bridged with effort. Although, be prepared to live your Orthodoxy alone to a large degree. Even if my wife is supportive of me and my faith, she still doesn't really share in that aspect of my life as much as I may sometimes wish. So while we get along amazingly well and I don't regret marrying her even for a second, that is something I'm willing to live with in case she doesn't ever convert. You will need to be ready to accept that possibility as well, and not hold out expecting an inevitable conversion.

Sorry this was so long and meandering, hopefully it's of some use.
Thank you for this.
I am also in this situation at present and this helped me a lot as well. Please keep me and my girlfriend in your prayers, and I will do the same for all of you in your relationships and marriages.
 

Gorazd1942

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Melodist said:
stanley123 said:
I think it would depend on the type of atheist that you are going to marry. I know some Buddhists, for example, who are very congenial to Christians and Christianity and are of very high moral character. Although in some sense they may be atheists or perhaps agnostics, nevertheless they seem to appreciate being invited to Catholic Masses and discussions.
She's been to church with me a few times. At first she tried to go through the motions (crossing, venerating icons, etc) for the sake of fitting in (which caused stress), but we had a talk about it and I told her not to do anything that made her too uncomfortable insincere in her actions.
Are we the same person? lol
 

JamesR

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To be honest, I imagine that marriage to an atheist would be a bit better and more desirable than marriage to another Christian or "Orthodox" person at that. Atheists, imo, are more chill and levelheaded in many regards than religious people are. And in a strange way, they seem more accepting of Orthodoxy than most other Christian sects seem to be. Very few atheists are as radical and vocal as the New Atheist movement may lead you to believe (that's mostly just atheist teenagers). For the most part, they're just like everybody else, except a few IQ points smarter and a bit more rational.

I really wouldn't mind marriage to an atheist. Sure, it's against the Church's rules. But I'm speaking about what I wouldn't mind; not what's allowed. I think it'd certainly be better than marriage to a Protestant or Evangelical or whatever that'd always be trying to convert you or get you to fall into the fringe-group mindset. In a way, it'd probably also even be better than being married to most "Orthodox" people. I could imagine an atheist wife being more sincere, reliable, and levelheaded than a religious woman that expects to be treated like a queen all the time and may be emotionally unstable.

I wish you luck in your pursuits.
 

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JamesR said:
Atheists, imo, are more chill and levelheaded in many regards than religious people are. And in a strange way, they seem more accepting of Orthodoxy than most other Christian sects seem to be. Very few atheists are as radical and vocal as the New Atheist movement may lead you to believe (that's mostly just atheist teenagers). For the most part, they're just like everybody else, except a few IQ points smarter and a bit more rational.
I think it's a whole different ballgame when you're talking about the dynamics of a long-term committed relationship, and not to mention after living together for any extended period. It's not the same as merely having an atheist as a friend, or being that atheist friend yourself. I've been in committed relationships on both ends of that one, both with an atheist partner and being the atheist partner.
 

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My wife is not an atheist, per se, but she has absolutely no interest in religion or spirituality. I was baptized after our marriage, and while my involvement with the Church hasn't caused too many problems, it has been awkward, to say the least. I would definitely caution anyone who is coupled with an atheist against baptism... or at least advise a careful consideration of all of the variables involved. My wife has accompanied me to a few liturgies, but again, it's been awkward. A priest online actually cautioned me about going ahead with becoming a Christian given my situation at the time. I now wish I had taken his warnings more seriously.
 

Opus118

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JamesR said:
Atheists, imo, are more chill and levelheaded in many regards than religious people are.

For the most part, they're just like everybody else, except a few IQ points smarter and a bit more rational.
I want to comment on these two statements because they are wrong.

[item 1] Most atheists are non-thinking sheep and if you latch on to an atheist you are more likely to latch on to an non-thinking sheep. They latch on to idiotic wolves that that give them meaning through self-righteousness. You see this here, but I would say that the atheists are more on par with the evangelicals in this regard.

[item 2] Atheists are no different.

If you disagree with this let me know.
 

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quietmorning said:
I am married to an Atheist.  We just celebrated our sixth year anniversary.  I married my husband before I converted to Orthodoxy - I found the Orthodox Church through marriage counseling with my husband.  (Our counselor is Orthodox).  

If I were to caution anyone against it, I would.  In a heart beat.  The Lord has used it for His good - but there is a constant battle between light and dark in our relationship.  Things are a lot better now - but there have been many wars over things as simple as prayer and reading my Bible. . . giving to the poor. . . doing anything that might be for the sake of my faith.  

My confession is that **I** denied Christ when I married Him.  I was not Orthodox, but I was a Christian.  I chose death over life - my Husband is and always will be My Lord - and to marry someone out of my faith, I deny that Holy Marriage that He died to bring me into.  

As an Orthodox Believer - I not only would strongly caution you against it, but I don't think it would be an allowable union - and rightfully so.  We are born of life.  We are born of the Spirit.  I've often thought and realize daily, if this were a material marriage, I, in essence, married a zombie. . .decaying living dead.  

He is changing. . . by prayer . . . slowly.  But who knows if he will ever make a confession of faith.  Now I would probably guess that perhaps my husband might be a little on the agnostic side. . . but that's my guess.  Only God knows the heart.
I see a significant point to this:

The disagreement of faith is not significant enough for your husband to leave which, scripturally, he could and you would not be held accountable for consequences of finding someone new. He obviously values you and who you are above the fact he does not currently believe it. This is good. If he was completely committed to his non-belief then living with a Christian would be too infuriating to compensate for how he feels. For the most part this suggests to me that God is working on him.

I agree with Peacemaker that the union is only on your side not that of the unbelieving partner. The fact that scripture allows an unbelieving partner to leave just because, when this really isn't acceptable for believers, implies that God does not hold unbelievers to an oath they do not take seriously.
 

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Melodist said:
Nephi said:
My wife was an atheist when we first started dating. Things were difficult at times, especially since I was also going through my overzealous convert phase. I eventually cooled off, and as time went on and we married she started to slowly shift. She became agnostic, then somewhat deistic, and now she is a full theist but not (yet :p) Christian. Now we share a strong belief in God (generally), his active involvement in the world, etc. We religiously get along pretty well, and our biggest difference is pretty much Jesus I suppose.

That said, I think the most important thing was that, religion or not, we shared a similar worldview/morality. We both agreed on most things, and had no problem agreeing to disagree on others. She also became supportive of my faith as I became less pushy about it.

So for advice, I would say a couple things. First, figure out what kind of atheist she is - you seemed to describe her as the indifferent sort. So long as she truly is indifferent, she would be no different than a nominal Christian in practice. In fact, even a nominal Christian could be worse since they may judge your piety as superiority and self righteousness etc. Biggest thing here either way is to leave considerable room for her to breathe and absolutely do not push it on her in any way. That's like relationship 101 stuff, and you probably already know if you've dated a year. If she isn't truly indifferent or tolerant, she most likely will (begin to) oppose your faith, which can take many forms, and it will cause conflict much of the time.

Second, see how much you share in other life views (family, morality, child rearing, politics I guess, etc.). If these are too different, then I imagine the difference in religious belief would exacerbate the tension over them.

That said, if she is a truly selfless and loving person even extreme differences can be bridged with effort. Although, be prepared to live your Orthodoxy alone to a large degree. Even if my wife is supportive of me and my faith, she still doesn't really share in that aspect of my life as much as I may sometimes wish. So while we get along amazingly well and I don't regret marrying her even for a second, that is something I'm willing to live with in case she doesn't ever convert. You will need to be ready to accept that possibility as well, and not hold out expecting an inevitable conversion.

Sorry this was so long and meandering, hopefully it's of some use.
Thank you for this.
Melodist, even though you refuse to believe your avatar contains a clarinet, I love you from a distance. In this regard, I just want to point out that you are not going to receive any statistically relevant information to go by from this forum.

She may change her opinion. A good thing. But she may have opinions that have not come up in conversation that you and most people would find abhorrent. If you are serious, there are a lot of things you need to talk about.
 

TheTrisagion

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JamesR said:
To be honest, I imagine that marriage to an atheist would be a bit better and more desirable than marriage to another Christian or "Orthodox" person at that. Atheists, imo, are more chill and levelheaded in many regards than religious people are. And in a strange way, they seem more accepting of Orthodoxy than most other Christian sects seem to be. Very few atheists are as radical and vocal as the New Atheist movement may lead you to believe (that's mostly just atheist teenagers). For the most part, they're just like everybody else, except a few IQ points smarter and a bit more rational.

I really wouldn't mind marriage to an atheist. Sure, it's against the Church's rules. But I'm speaking about what I wouldn't mind; not what's allowed. I think it'd certainly be better than marriage to a Protestant or Evangelical or whatever that'd always be trying to convert you or get you to fall into the fringe-group mindset. In a way, it'd probably also even be better than being married to most "Orthodox" people. I could imagine an atheist wife being more sincere, reliable, and levelheaded than a religious woman that expects to be treated like a queen all the time and may be emotionally unstable.

I wish you luck in your pursuits.
I thought that too until I became and agnostic and started hanging out with atheists.  Then that impression flew out the window and I realized that pretty much people are the same across all spectrums.  They all have their prejudices, crazy ideas, hot button issues that set them off and lunacies that make you embarrassed to be associated with them.
 

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JGHunter said:
quietmorning said:
I am married to an Atheist.  We just celebrated our sixth year anniversary.  I married my husband before I converted to Orthodoxy - I found the Orthodox Church through marriage counseling with my husband.  (Our counselor is Orthodox).  

If I were to caution anyone against it, I would.  In a heart beat.  The Lord has used it for His good - but there is a constant battle between light and dark in our relationship.  Things are a lot better now - but there have been many wars over things as simple as prayer and reading my Bible. . . giving to the poor. . . doing anything that might be for the sake of my faith.  

My confession is that **I** denied Christ when I married Him.  I was not Orthodox, but I was a Christian.  I chose death over life - my Husband is and always will be My Lord - and to marry someone out of my faith, I deny that Holy Marriage that He died to bring me into.  

As an Orthodox Believer - I not only would strongly caution you against it, but I don't think it would be an allowable union - and rightfully so.  We are born of life.  We are born of the Spirit.  I've often thought and realize daily, if this were a material marriage, I, in essence, married a zombie. . .decaying living dead.  

He is changing. . . by prayer . . . slowly.  But who knows if he will ever make a confession of faith.  Now I would probably guess that perhaps my husband might be a little on the agnostic side. . . but that's my guess.  Only God knows the heart.
I see a significant point to this:

The disagreement of faith is not significant enough for your husband to leave which, scripturally, he could and you would not be held accountable for consequences of finding someone new. He obviously values you and who you are above the fact he does not currently believe it. This is good. If he was completely committed to his non-belief then living with a Christian would be too infuriating to compensate for how he feels. For the most part this suggests to me that God is working on him.
**laughing** Ohhhhh the wars!! LOL!! I think I was 'kicked out' of the house more times than I can count - over my faith.  But when the reality hit him (ie, packed my bags and started moving toward the door) - he got a little wiser.  It has been an precious difficult go of it. 

Please remember that not all people stay in marriages because of the worth of the other partner - there are many reasons why people stay married. 

I do have hope, daily I have hope - moment by moment I have hope. I've seen him slowly soften and become a more gentle person.  He's not that 'angry atheist' he was in the beginning - I am thankful that we are still moving into each moment one moment at a time.  Prayer is wonderful.  The more praying the better. 

The thing that is not mentioned is that he is not bound to me, but I AM bound to him.  He has the choice to leave, and knows this very very well.  I, however, do not.  Please remember this - as all sorts of circumstances will be used by the evil one to try to force the believer to leave an unbeliever to force them into mocking their holy vows.  It's hard.  We aren't wrestling with flesh and blood.  The wars aren't about my husband the atheist vs myself the Christian.  The wars are about the evil deceiver, murderer, thief and destroyer against the One True God IN the Christian. 

Esther married a pagan - a king that was not Jewish by any sense of the word.  She did so out of obedience and had no choice. 
I was in a very similar position with my husband.  I will, however refrain from going into the circumstance surrounding it.  If you find yourself begging for God's mercy and begging that He would let 'this cup pass' you - then and only then would I say that this is a holy thing and for a higher purpose. . .otherwise, it is the flesh and the unwillingness to die to it for the sake of His life in you.




 

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Cyrillic said:
Wasn't St. Augustine's mother married to a pagan?
Yes; although, to be fair, he was a Cradle Christopher pagan. The only conflict between them over religion was that he did not want her to baptize their children. However, he himself converted to Christianity and accepted Baptism on his death bed because of her example.
 

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My situation is a little different. My girlfriend is willing to be baptized and married in the Church, as well as have our children baptized and raised Orthodox, but her own desire and/or ability to personally integrate the faith into her own life on a daily basis is something that stands in the way of that - she has a very different personality type to me that works brilliantly in most circumstances but causes us to talk largely at cross-purposes on a few intellectual matters, religion being the most pertinent. It makes it an even more delicate balancing act since she is willing to meet me even further than halfway on this, but I know for the purposes of supporting each other spiritually, as well as raising our children without (even unintentional) mixed messages on matters of faith, it presents a lot of difficulties. Progress has been made in a lot of ways, but it's slow and mixed in with a number of intellectual and emotional roadblocks, so all I can really do for now is keep the faith as best as I can, pray as much as possible, and ask that God soften her heart to Him if it be His will. Please, everyone, keep us in your prayers also.
 

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quietmorning said:
The thing that is not mentioned is that he is not bound to me, but I AM bound to him.  He has the choice to leave, and knows this very very well.  I, however, do not.  Please remember this - as all sorts of circumstances will be used by the evil one to try to force the believer to leave an unbeliever to force them into mocking their holy vows.  It's hard.  We aren't wrestling with flesh and blood.  The wars aren't about my husband the atheist vs myself the Christian.  The wars are about the evil deceiver, murderer, thief and destroyer against the One True God IN the Christian. 
In my defense, I did actually mention that, that he is not bound to you but you are to him.
 

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Jetavan said:
stavros_388 said:
My wife is not an atheist, per se, but she has absolutely no interest in religion or spirituality.
Is she agnostic?
Hmmm... good question. I think if I pressed her on the issue, she vaguely believes in some kind of impersonal cosmic energy or nebulous something but not an interactive personal god that concerns him/her/itself about what goes on with human beings. She is just really down to earth and secular, into the here and now, with a mild aversion to all things religious or "spiritual". She gets offended whenever I accuse her of being an atheist, though.  :-\
 

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stavros_388 said:
Jetavan said:
stavros_388 said:
My wife is not an atheist, per se, but she has absolutely no interest in religion or spirituality.
Is she agnostic?
Hmmm... good question. I think if I pressed her on the issue, she vaguely believes in some kind of impersonal cosmic energy or nebulous something but not an interactive personal god that concerns him/her/itself about what goes on with human beings. She is just really down to earth and secular, into the here and now, with a mild aversion to all things religious or "spiritual". She gets offended whenever I accuse her of being an atheist, though.  :-\
There really isn't a simple name for someone who believes in an impersonal cosmic energy that permeates all things and beings. Perhaps 'energist' comes closest.
 

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JGHunter said:
quietmorning said:
The thing that is not mentioned is that he is not bound to me, but I AM bound to him.  He has the choice to leave, and knows this very very well.  I, however, do not.  Please remember this - as all sorts of circumstances will be used by the evil one to try to force the believer to leave an unbeliever to force them into mocking their holy vows.  It's hard.  We aren't wrestling with flesh and blood.  The wars aren't about my husband the atheist vs myself the Christian.  The wars are about the evil deceiver, murderer, thief and destroyer against the One True God IN the Christian. 
In my defense, I did actually mention that, that he is not bound to you but you are to him.
I understand, now.  You said the union is only on my side - in agreement with Peacemaker - for me, that meant that the union was only valid on my side - so I interpreted your intent differently.  I understand, now, my apologies! :)
 

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Thank you all for your responses. We have talked about a few things. She is an athiest (not agnostic) and just isn't convinced in the existence of any god (including but not limited to the Christian God), or that someone was raised from the dead 2,000 years ago never to die again based on evidence that has been presented to her. She knows that God and Church are important to me, that we must be married in the Church with the blessing of the Church (which is a discussion I have yet to discuss with my priest), she knows that I must be free to practice my faith, and she knows that that includes raising any children that we may have in the faith. I'm not going to try to convince her by repeating arguments she has already heard for God's existence etc (I do try to defend against misrepresentations with her), the best I can do is show her God's existence by showing her God's love based on the love that He has given to me, and she knows that I have no intention of abandoning my faith. I am not basing my decisions/actions solely on messages on an internet forum, but do appreciate any feedback that may or may not be able to be taken into consideration.
 

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quietmorning said:
JGHunter said:
quietmorning said:
The thing that is not mentioned is that he is not bound to me, but I AM bound to him.  He has the choice to leave, and knows this very very well.  I, however, do not.  Please remember this - as all sorts of circumstances will be used by the evil one to try to force the believer to leave an unbeliever to force them into mocking their holy vows.  It's hard.  We aren't wrestling with flesh and blood.  The wars aren't about my husband the atheist vs myself the Christian.  The wars are about the evil deceiver, murderer, thief and destroyer against the One True God IN the Christian. 
In my defense, I did actually mention that, that he is not bound to you but you are to him.
I understand, now.  You said the union is only on my side - in agreement with Peacemaker - for me, that meant that the union was only valid on my side - so I interpreted your intent differently.  I understand, now, my apologies! :)
No problem, these things happen :)
 
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