feedback

I received an interesting piece of feedback this weekend.  A new friend from the Atheist Meetup was frustrated by my statement that my deconversion was something I “put my husband though” or that it was something he “had to put up with.”  My friend’s point was that it wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t blame myself.  I considered this and decided it was a fair warning.  But also, in my view, being an atheist means I take full responsibility for my actions, and being a good person means that I am aware when my actions harm someone else.  So while it’s certainly true that I am not responsible for what my husband does or how he reacts, I must always do my best to be responsible for my own actions.  This is especially true in a marriage where everything one partner does affects the other.  Besides, while I do maintain that I didn’t intentionally lose my faith in God, I know that my embracing of the atheist position was something that I did choose.  I could have faked it or kept quiet about it, or I could have commenced a period of “struggling” with my faith and ended up coming back around to Jesus.  But I didn’t.  To be honest, I tried the “struggling with my faith” thing for a week or so but I knew it wasn’t true.  I wasn’t struggling.  I was recovering.  And now I have to deal with the consequences of that sense of betrayal (for lack of a better way to put it) between my husband and I.

 

But it was good feedback in that I do need to be careful how I frame the stress in my marriage.  I know it wasn’t my fault.  At the same time, the friend who gave me this advice is married to a woman who is a Catholic.  They have always been an Atheist-Catholic couple and so I don’t think he can appreciate what my husband and I experienced.  Also, my friend being a male who never took religion seriously, I am certain that he can’t appreciate the subconscious pressures on me to be a good little wife and don’t do anything that would make my partner sad and be careful of every little thing you do because it affects your husband.  That last part is true.  But the tension between self and partner-in-a-marriage is a tricky one.  Being a woman makes it harder, and I’m not sure how much of the people-pleasing pressure is cultural.  The source is less important than the effects, though.

 

In summary, I appreciate feedback.  It seems to me that there’s precious little of it going around, which is unfortunate since honest feedback is so useful.  When it turns into scolding, however, I draw the line.

 

Weekend summary: went to concert at an LA Jewish Cultural Center and my socks got rocked off, hosted Atheist Bookmobile where I and a friend brainstormed an atheist prayer group (not a serious title, but a serious need; more on that later), dressed up for a 1920’s era murder mystery party and got murdered, skipped church for the Farmer’s Market, went to a potluck, and received about a hundred pounds of grapefruit, along with one delicious guava, all from a friend’s backyard.  I have kept the guava seeds and will try to propagate them.  I think trees don’t reproduce predictably from seeds, however.  But it’s worth a shot.

 

Also, Catalina Island has a Pirate Weekend in October.  Costume preparation will commence immediately.  Should I get a monkey or a parrot?

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2 Responses to “feedback”

  1. atimetorend Says:

    Hey, found this post rather randomly. It is a well thought out post, I find it especially gracious in the way you take responsibility where you can in your relationship with your husband.

    I tried the “struggling with my faith” thing for a week or so but I knew it wasn’t true. I wasn’t struggling. I was recovering. And now I have to deal with the consequences of that sense of betrayal (for lack of a better way to put it) between my husband and I.

    I went through the “struggling with my faith” thing for several months, but really did it for my wife after a point, where I felt more confident in my changed beliefs, but wanted her to know I wasn’t “throwing the baby (Jesus) out with the bathwater prematurely. What she called a “crisis of faith,” for me seemed more like a freedom from faith and a “coming to my senses.”

    I feel bad knowing that she didn’t choose to marry an atheist/agnostic/someone who doesn’t believe in conservative Christianity, now she’s stuck with that and it pains me at times. But sometimes that is what marriage is about.

  2. Lorena Says:

    I find that no-one understands my marriage, so I don’t talk about it.

    I started the local atheist MeetUp, and I had bimonthly potlucks at my house, but the atheists just didn’t like my husband. Almost as if being a Christian made the guy into this awful person worthy of hate. So I was less than pleased.

    But, as you say, they haven’t been in my situation, so they don’t know. The truth is that all marriages are different and the dynamics are only understood by the people involved.

    But the meetup group was good at the beginning, when I really needed to talk to somebody about the stuff. I feel that I no longer need it. With my blog and the e-friends I’ve made through the years, I seem to have enough.

    Good luck to you!

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