01 December 2006

Beans on the Table - Part II

Continued from here.



I guess I had been somewhat misreading my wife's signal and I should have known better. When she says XYZ she means XYZ and not XYZZ.

Recently we had spent more time than usual discussing religion, probably because I'm often directing the conversation in that direction. And I heard what I wanted to hear. My wife nor I recall the exact words I used to break it to her, it was that difficult. She knew right away that I was serious and she was just shell shocked. Take it from me - lack of Emunas Chachomim is not lack of Emuna. Cynicism is not skepticism. They may be related but they are totally different.

It turns out that my wife has no doubts about basic tenets of Orthodox Judaism. She's no pushover; she won't believe bubbe maises from rebbes 100 years ago and does not generally believe in rebbes and mekubalim. The splitting of the sea, Mattan Torah and all the miracles of the past are exactly that. They occurred in a far away time when miracles did happen and Jews really were holier then now. And "then" is not now. And OJ is what God expects of us. Maybe OJ is not exactly the same now as then, and we don't know details about Gan Eden, Moshiach, but it's all basically true.

At first it seemed to me like it was going to be a non-event. There was almost no reaction, I guess that's the meaning of shell shocked. "But what do you believe?" she asked. I was not prepared to get into that discussion at this point.

She is very concerned and worried. She wants to know what it means.

I say it doesn't mean anything. I've been this way for 8 years and I'm still the same me. Just my beliefs have changed. I go to shul, daven. She is well aware of this, she sees me running to shul and going to shiurim. She is confused. I don't know where this next question comes from but she asked me "do you keep Kosher?". I said "of course".

As a way of assuring her I also say I have no plans of leaving or anything like that. It's just something I can no longer keep to myself.

She is relieved and she tells me she loves me even though she does not understand what's going on. We talk some more, lots more.

She says she is happy I did not tell her eight years ago. There's no way she could have handled it then. Twenty five years ago, I'd have been out the door.


"I'm not the only one like this", I said. "You mean M___________"? she asked. I said no, I don't know anyone personally. "There are people on the web, lot's of them." And then it clicked. "All that time, you spend on the computer?" I said yes. She laughs and says she is relieved I'm not surfing for porn.

My wife spends very little time on the computer, Every now and then I handhold her while she shops at her favorite mail order place. But that's it. She has never even seen a blog, she just heard the word.

I forge ahead, "I have a blog".


"What? You're the ringleader?"

I'm laughing now, "Not quite, a blog is nothing, just some nobody posting what's on their mind and other people responding"

But there are lots of people like me. Hundreds, maybe thousands.

"Do you want to see the blog?". a look of worry comes over her face.

"Not now. I mean tonight, after Shabbos."

Once again she is relieved. "Well, I don't know what you mean".


I tell her how it happened, how a regular guy like me can just change his mind. I didn't go looking for it, it just happened because of books that I read.

"Well, why can't you just read another book that will explain it differently"

I try to explain that it wasn't a book that I read directly about Yiddishkeit that disproves it. Just science & History. We go through some of the basic stuff you hear on Blogs. How I just see things from a different perspective.

And then comes the expected. "There must be someone you can speak to".

"Not really."

"Why not?"

"Because no one really knows for sure".

She acknowledges this. She realizes that religion is faith and there are no proofs.

At this point I want to get it all out in the open. I press on with something else. My wife knows about Hella Winston because we talked about her book recently, a book that she took out of the library for me. She also knows that I attended an event recently that Hella chaired. My wife also knew that I wanted to volunteer for Footsteps. But she did not know that I ever had any direct contact with Hella.

I press ahead telling her that I met Hella Winston for lunch. At this point my wife starts crying while I re-assure her that it just happened two days ago and I had no choice but to keep it from her, until now. She is once again relieved.


We talk for a long time.

Motsoei Shabbos I show her my blog. My latest post at that time is a humorous one - 10 reasons why I hate weddings. Lucky for me. It breaks the ice. She says she never knew I wrote so well. But then I show her some other posts and she is not amused.

But she does take it well.

She has a great sense of humor and uses humor to deflect some of her hurt.

She is very understanding.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


It's now a week later - We have survived.


I can't help feel that I let my wife down but this is life. I am in a much better frame of mind. I don't need to go sneaking around on the phone when I call Footsteps or spend time on the computer.

My wife feels she now has something new to daven for.

I know I have traded in my own piece of mind at her expense. I can think of the analogy of someone confessing an affair to a spouse but this is different. An affair can be over and done with and someone can put it behind them (I only imagine this, I have no first hand experience). But skepticism does not go away. It was literally tearing me apart and it is better that she found out thru me directly and not some other way..

Of course life is never simple. Now there is a new challenge. How to explain my skepticism in a way that will not affect her faith.

My wife's advice to other skeptics out there is to think long and hard before confiding in your spouse.

In general I am confident we will do well. I have reclaimed my best friend

______________________________________________


On a personal note, I'd like to thank all of you who wished me well in the prior post and via Email. It was much appreciated.

BHB

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    52 Comments:

    At December 02, 2006 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am deeply moved.

    I am sure you did the right thing. I wish the best of luck/love to the two of you.

    PS - try not to let your love be dominated by guilt. It'll interfere with your ability to receive love.

     
    At December 02, 2006 10:39 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Bhb

    This feels like a love story!

    I think the bonds between you seem to have been stengthened if anything.

    The fact that she didn't blame you and accepted you shows it wasn't about shared religious values. It was because there is something between you that mutual.

    Imagine kids today. They are told to marry people with same hashkafa and when people don't "grow" the friction starts.

    I'm curious about how you met your wife, and what topics of religion were part of your dating, if any.

     
    At December 02, 2006 11:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Shiptzle, thanks. I hope I did the right thing, only time will tell how my wife will be. I advise others in my shoes to wait as long as possible. You can always tell, but you can never untell.

    Happy, yes, I think our bonds have been strengthened.

     
    At December 03, 2006 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    BHB,

    Tell her, that you have this real frummie charedi guy from lakewood who you met in blogworld, and you keep up with him. That will uplift her, no?

    Hatzlucha,

    LY

     
    At December 03, 2006 1:41 AM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    Sigh. I guess this can never be easy. I think it will be OK though.

    Good luck to both of you.

     
    At December 03, 2006 4:18 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    Yeah, good luck to you.

    "How to explain my skepticism in a way that will not affect her faith."

    That's going to be tough. I don't know how argument prone the two of you are (I don't mean in a bad way, but even in a good natured way where the two of you debate things) but you get into a bind if you do get into a debate.

    You can either argue your side which, if you are a good debater, will very possibly damage the other's emunah. Or you can play down your side so that you let the other person win. But if you do that then the other person won't understand your skepticism and/or will think you reject dogma for poor reasons.


    The thing is also that once a person truly understands the simple logic behind according belief based on the evidence then their emunah virtually automatically takes a hit.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, but you should take it slow - that is assuming your wife isn't willing to just ignore your heretical thoughts altogether.

     
    At December 03, 2006 9:57 AM, Blogger B. Spinoza said...

    hope everything turns out ok. Does this mean you have less reason to blog now or more or the same?

     
    At December 03, 2006 10:54 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    LY & BJ thanks.

    Daniel, what you say is very true. I got to run now and I'll write more about this later.

    Baruch, LOL, very astute. You're not a philosopher for nothing.

    Blogging has become an end unto itself. If I would not blog about Skepticism, I'd probably find something else to blog about. But some of the intensity may be gone.

     
    At December 03, 2006 6:07 PM, Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

    Keep us updated. This must be a scary time for you. Hope everything works out okay!

     
    At December 03, 2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >The thing is also that once a person truly understands the simple logic behind according belief based on the evidence then their emunah virtually automatically takes a hit.

    Daniel, my wife is not willing to just ignore my beliefs and I am in somewhat of a bind. As you say, I don't want to get into heavy stuff such as refution of the Kuzari, etc or formal letter to my Rabbi.

    So I just say, there are things that's best not to discuss because I don't need your belief affected. But ironically that itself may have the opposite affect. If she truly believes I have some bombshell that I'm loathe to drop, then that knowledge itself puts her position on the defensive.

    The best thing she has going for her, is the simple fact that people with *intact* Emuna who WANT to believe will probably not get swayed even by reason. Just look at the blogs. I suspect that people that are impacted by science and history are those that bump into it casually, i.e. Meseeoch Lfi Tumo. But someone like her who is on the extreme defensive now and recognizes that what I say is challengable (and I even tell her that) will not be so easily swayed.

    I think all will be fine.


    Jewish Atheist, thanks. I think the scary part is over for now. It's a matter of adjustement.

    I hope to be moving on to my usual blogging shortly and will update in the future.

    BHB

     
    At December 03, 2006 8:01 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    Hey BHB, I told you that it was not so bad. My wife is a hi=oly roller, davens twice every day and she understands what I am going through ( of course she thinks that I had a stroke ) but nontheless understands. Credit where it's due. HOORAY FOR AVI. AVI FOR PRESIDENT. aVI

     
    At December 03, 2006 8:07 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    can we get a guest post from your wife?

     
    At December 03, 2006 10:23 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >of course she thinks that I had a stroke )
    Avi,
    A stroke of genious?

    Happy, nah she'll start her own blog ;)

     
    At December 04, 2006 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    BH,
    Glad it worked out. Still, my advice to other frum skeptics is "don't try this at home."

    Another anon

     
    At December 04, 2006 12:22 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Another anon, thank you.

    It's funny you should say that. I was going to start the post with this - "Warning - Don't try this at home - Professional Driver", but then I figured it would take away from the seriousness of the post.

     
    At December 04, 2006 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Baal Habos,

    Amazing post.

    It's true that people that are on “extreme defensive” are unlikely to be swayed. But, from my experience, that's only true in the short term. After a few months, she'll loose that defensive stance, and the arguments you made will sink in, and they'll have an impact on her.

    Best of luck with this.

     
    At December 04, 2006 12:49 PM, Blogger Hasid_Letz said...

    BHB,

    I can only say I hope it all works out for you. Her relief that you're not surfing for porn is not going to carry your waters for years to come. In the end, to maintain an harmonious relationship, each of you will have to meet the other somewhere in the middle. You've done tht already, and more. But will she be capabale of making that compromise? It remains to be seen.

    Good luck.

    Letz (AKA Madinwilly)

     
    At December 04, 2006 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's been a couple of years since I came out to my wife. At this point, I can safely say that the disclosure hasn't had much of an impact on our relationship one way or the other and I'm glad I did it. A secret like that can't be a healthy thing for a marriage (though I did keep mine for a long time). I know of several other skeptics that have told their spouses and while it can be tough in the short term I think that in most cases it's a good thing.

    Mikeskeptic

     
    At December 04, 2006 3:32 PM, Anonymous jewishskeptic said...

    B.H.
    As long as you remain orthoprax,& make kiddesh & havdoleh & raise the kids frum,it wont make any difference in your family life.
    BTW does your wife read your blog now? If not,she'll think you hiding things from her.If yes,you wont be as forthcoming,knowing that your wife is looking behind your back.You are not completely anonymous!
    Good luck!

     
    At December 04, 2006 4:50 PM, Anonymous Gil said...

    Wow - I must say that took guts.

    I can't seem to work up the courage to tell my parents that I want to be a Rabbi ... but at JTS. Perhaps it has something to do with them holding some purse strings.

    I echo the question from above, how did you meet your wife? She seems quite understanding.

    I just read this post - do you have any children? If so, how/what do you plan on teaching them.

     
    At December 04, 2006 5:11 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Littlefoxling, thanks and welcome. (I like your blog but am still at Aleph Beis with that DH stuff, I'm reading "In the day" now, but I need to get hold of who wrote the Bible)

    I see lots people on these blogs holding on to their beliefs so she may do the same. She's going back to some old reading now (One People - Two worlds, etc) for chizzuk to resist the Kofrim like me. Time will tell.



    MadinWilly, hi! I recognize that name, I'm not sure why you call yourself "mad"; you sound normal too me ;)

    We have a long history of compromise, she'll be ok, (as long as I don't touch the thermostat).


    MikeS, thanks for the encouragement!!! I appreciate your letting me know. Most of the feedback until now seemed to be "Good luck - you'll need it."


    I'm think you're the first other skeptic that I spoke with or heard from who would be in the same position as I. (Actually as I write that, I remember Avi; well, maybe he has come tact issues; I don't know).


    Mike, I would be curious to know how the spouses fared in their belief after six months or so.


    Jewish Skeptic, thanks. Not much childraising left at this point, i.e the dies are cast; but I think being respectful & Orthoprax is the key.

    Are you in the same or simliar set of shoes?

    Yes, my wife now sees the actual posts, but does not really get into the comments. You're aboslutely correct, it may impact my being candid if I had something to hide.

     
    At December 04, 2006 5:19 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Wow - I must say that took guts.

    Gil, more like desperation!!

    >I can't seem to work up the courage to tell my parents that I want to be a Rabbi ... but at JTS.

    LOL. Parents are a whole different ballgame that spouse. That realy takes guts.

    >I echo the question from above, how did you meet your wife? She seems quite understanding.

    Sorry I didn't answer that because of anonymity concerns.


    >I just read this post - do you have any children? If so, how/what do you plan on teaching them.

    My kids are basically past the point where I would have any religious influence on them. And even 8 years ago when I did have influence, the stage was really set and it's hard to change course in mid-stream, espcially with my wife not being skeptic and I believing that I must be out of my mind.

    So that's one question that's not really relevant.

    You may want to check out the sidebar - "The essential baal habos" for a flavor of whence I come from.

    Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with the Rabbinate.

     
    At December 04, 2006 6:58 PM, Blogger smoo said...

    I’m surprised you violated the prime imperative of your blog: ‘Ignorance is Bliss’

    First off, I want you to know I support you and hope all goes well. But it was painful to read your post. I sensed your desire to balance your needs with those of your wife. Yet, I feel the calm before the storm and I pray I’m way way off.

    Some comments:
    ‘I guess I had been somewhat misreading my wife's signal and I should have known better. When she says XYZ she means XYZ and not XYZZ.’
    I am confused by this because I have never met a woman who doesn’t attach more meanings or implication in her words.

    ‘She wants to know what it means.’
    You see by all the follow up questions that a simple question will branch out into all areas of your life- Kosher, shabbat, etc

    ‘My wife's advice to other skeptics out there is to think long and hard before confiding in your spouse.’
    Sometimes we are speaking about ourselves but can only phrase it about another.

    I hope she can pick up the pieces and put back the intricate puzzle of marriage and love.
    Good Luck to both of you.

     
    At December 04, 2006 7:32 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    "We have a long history of compromise, she'll be ok, (as long as I don't touch the thermostat)"
    BHB
    LOL!

    Those are the much bigger issues.
    I'm forever fighting with her re lowering the heat. Sometimes I think she wants to suffocate me.

     
    At December 04, 2006 9:38 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Smoo,

    > I’m surprised you violated the prime imperative of your blog: ‘Ignorance is Bliss’

    Me too.

    > First off, I want you to know I support you and hope all goes well.
    Thank You.

    > But it was painful to read your post.
    I know, almost like a soap opera.

    > I sensed your desire to balance your needs with those of your wife. Yet, I feel the calm before the storm and I pray I’m way way off.

    I'm happy to say, that so far, it's really pretty good. We even manage to have meaningful conversation about things other than religion.


    >Some comments:
    I guess I had been somewhat misreading my wife's signal and I should have known better. When she says XYZ she means XYZ and not XYZZ.’
    I am confused by this because I have never met a woman who doesn’t attach more meanings or implication in her words.

    I'm not sure you mean, but some people say what they mean and mean what they say. My wife is like that, usually.



    ‘My wife's advice to other skeptics out there is to think long and hard before confiding in your spouse.’

    >Sometimes we are speaking about ourselves but can only phrase it about another.

    No, she meant it about others. About herslef, she is torn about my having to had live that way for many years and her preferring not to know at all.

    >I hope she can pick up the pieces and put back the intricate puzzle of marriage and love.

    Smoo, You misunderstand completely. There is no issue of putting back the together the marriage & love, and I was almost certain that would be the case.

    My primary concern is about her losing faith. It was bad for me and I hope she does not go through that. That's basically it.


    > Good Luck to both of you.

    Thanks again.

     
    At December 05, 2006 12:28 AM, Blogger BTA said...

    BHB, I wish I'd seen your post sooner. I'd have some advice for you, but luckily, you already knew the first commandment:

    Don't lie.

    Of course, it's not so simple. I was where you were 2.5 years ago. I am much happier now and it took my relationship with my wife further.

    I haven't the time to post right now, but I can put a couple of links from my blog that show the mindset I've gone through. Still, by the time I started blogging, around a year ago, my wife and I had everything on the table, but it was about working out where she was holding, and what she could handle.

    This post is pretty straightforward, but the comments people made are what you really should read:

    http://offthederech.blogspot.com/2006/01/frum-skeptic-married-to-frum-believer.html

     
    At December 05, 2006 12:29 AM, Blogger BTA said...

    Another post where people made comments that might be of use to you.

    http://offthederech.blogspot.com/2005/11/otd-what-now-what-so-what.html

     
    At December 05, 2006 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    BHB,

    Good for you!

    You believe in what you are doing, and you now have the support that you need. What more needs to be said?

    I remain,
    Chaim

     
    At December 05, 2006 12:45 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    BHB,

    Let me echo and underscore everything smoo said. (I find it interesting that I had the same thoughts even before I read his comments. "Great minds think alike"?)

    I truly understand your need to "come clean" with her, but in the end it was a selfish thing to do. You feel better, but she gains nothing from this knowledge. (Sorry for being so blunt.)

    And like you said, now you can never go back. You will forever be branded a skeptic. I know you feel that you will not change, but you've sorta painted yourself into a corner now.

    And as far as the thermostat. I've long ago learned that I touch it at my own peril. LOL (Another one of my secerts: I will sometimes lower it when she's not looking.)

    Best of luck!

     
    At December 05, 2006 1:05 PM, Blogger dbs said...

    BHB,

    Good for you. I hope that it works out for the best. My own experiance doesn't have a happy ending, but my marrage was in major trouble without any of the religious issues.

    Unfortunately, the normal response is to figure that you are going through a 'phase' and wait for you to get over this insanity and come back to the derech. Eventually, your wife will go and confide in someone who will most likely tell her something like "people have a lot of stress and they sometimes go a little crazy...hang in there and, you'll see, he'll get over it."

    The big question, in my opinion, comes down to respect. You understand and respect her point of view. Will she, with time, come to respect your point of view? Or will she just be there waiting for you to get over it.

    For the record, I think that whole idea of waiting as long as possible before telling your spouse is nuts. Are you in a relationship or not? Are you adults? Wouldn't you want to know about something as significant as this if it was going on with her?

    And, I also don't get all of the hyper-sensitivity of maybe changing her point of view. It would be great if she changed her point of view - then you could go about deciding how to proceed together. And you would have a much better chance of saving your marrage. But, more importantly, she is a responsible adult who can and will make her own decisions. Your ideas are based on things which are very meaningful and important to you, why wouldn't you share them with her. She can agree or not, but at least this gives her a chance of understanding and respecting you.

    I'm not saying that you should be lecturing her on religion. But if she is asking, you should be answering.

     
    At December 05, 2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Bta, thanks. Most of the comments seem to be centered on child raising and we're past the point of decision making. And even when I first went skeptic, the die was cast. I'm please to say that so far things are working out well with my wife. I think though that your advice (of being truthful) may not always be appropriate. As I said, had I broached the topic many years it might have been disastrous. But thanks for your input. I seemed to have found the blogworld just after you closed down shop earlier this year. I did however, catch you first return post and I remember putting in my two cents. I like your methodical posts.

    Chaim Chusid, thanks!

     
    At December 05, 2006 1:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >I truly understand your need to "come clean" with her, but in the end it was a selfish thing to do. You feel better, but she gains nothing from this knowledge. (Sorry for being so blunt.)

    Moshe Kappoya, you are correct in that it was selfish. I tried to spare her the issue for many years. I agree it was a matter of weakness that I felt I had to come clean. That being said, at this point in my life, where my skepticism started being externalized with getting involved in volunteering and blogging, coming clean became a necessity. Trying to maintain secret activities is way beyond harboring heretical thoughts. Maintaining secret activities would be inviting disaster to an otherwise great marriage.


    > And like you said, now you can never go back. You will forever be branded a skeptic.

    Yes, my wife says I'm her own little Koifer.

    > I know you feel that you will not change, but you've sorta painted yourself into a corner now.

    I'm not sure what you mean.

    > And as far as the thermostat. I've long ago learned that I touch it at my own peril. LOL (Another one of my secerts: I will sometimes lower it when she's not looking.)

    Simple solution - give her her own thermostat ;)

     
    At December 05, 2006 1:44 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >>BHB,

    Good for you. I hope that it works out for the best.


    DBS, Thank you, much apprciated.

    > Unfortunately, the normal response is to figure that you are going through a 'phase' and wait for you to get over this insanity and come back to the derech. Eventually, your wife will go and confide in someone who will most likely tell her something like "people have a lot of stress and they sometimes go a little crazy...hang in there and, you'll see, he'll get over it."

    My wife knows this is not a phase (8 years is a long phase!) I think she will keep this secret as long as I remain orthoprax.


    > The big question, in my opinion, comes down to respect. You understand and respect her point of view. Will she, with time, come to respect your point of view?

    I think she already does,

    > Or will she just be there waiting for you to get over it.

    Affirmative on this as well. Maybe not waiting, but certainly hoping.


    > For the record, I think that whole idea of waiting as long as possible before telling your spouse is nuts. Are you in a relationship or not? Are you adults?

    Wouldn't you want to know about something as significant as this if it was going on with her?

    And, I also don't get all of the hyper-sensitivity of maybe changing her point of view. It would be great if she changed her point of view - then you could go about deciding how to proceed together.

    Very complex issue. I have some posts about this and basically I say that my issue with skepticism is that I see religion as a great carrot. I'm not saying I'm unhappy now, but I was happier ten years ago. And as I get even older, I think I'll have issues with purpose in life. I personally I would love it if my wife changed her Dox. But what might the cost be. I've seen very little about issues of personal fulfillment in these blogs and that may be a function of the age of most bloggers. I have no idea how old you are, but there's a possibility I'm twice as old as you.

    > And you would have a much better chance of saving your marrage.

    That was never the issue. See prior posts & comments.


    > But, more importantly, she is a responsible adult who can and will make her own decisions. Your ideas are based on things which are very meaningful and important to you, why wouldn't you share them with her. She can agree or not, but at least this gives her a chance of understanding and respecting you.

    I'm not saying that you should be lecturing her on religion. But if she is asking, you should be answering.

    DBS, you must understand that I find that most people want to believe. And even more so as they get older. I see everyone around me getting Frummer. Part of it is society but a big part of it, in my peers, is that we're all closer to that big Carrot in the Sky. Consider, even if my wife totally changes her belief, it is a possibility. There is almost no benefit to us. What are we going to do, break away from all our societal ties (remember our age)? Eat out publicly at some 5 star zagat restaurant with violins ( I wish). It's not going to happen. So what's the cost benefit? What does she gain by changing belief. It can only serve to take away the "rock of ages" in her life.

    BHB

     
    At December 05, 2006 2:43 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    Just to clarify, my use of the term "selfish" was not a criticism, I was just pointing out that you accomplished nothing other than easing your own pain. Apparently you feel is was worthwhile, I don't know how much you were hurting.

    I had a similar dilemma a while back, on a very different topic, and I am very happy I kept quite. Now I can put the whole thing behind me and as far as anyone else is concerned, it never happened.

    If you ever do decide to come "back", not matter how sure you will be of yourself, your wife will always have some doubt about you. She can not read your mind to know what is truly in your heart.

    I wish you all the best.

    P.S.
    If your wife truly does say what she means, she is an anomaly amongst females of the species, and I have never met the like. Perhaps she is proof of Darwinism? LOL

     
    At December 05, 2006 4:03 PM, Anonymous jewishskeptic said...

    BHB,
    I don't see what's all the big deal is about.
    It's not like you converted or started to be mechalel shabbes befarhesia...or eat publicly a shinken sandwich...
    It's something akin to you telling her you believe in Spinoza,or Aristotle or whatever philosophy & you still continue to practise yiddishkeit.Why should she care,i.e if everything else in your marriage is o.k.?
    UNLESS she so frum that she hoped that in 'yene velt'she'll be zoiche to sit on a footstool (hadom leraglecha)next to you on account of you being such a great tsaddik...
    One of my daughters became religious,(not in a fanatic way she wears slacks & doesn't cover her hair),keeps strictly kosher & loves shabbat.Her husband is more agnostically inclined but goes along with it & enjoys it(& he is a scientist who is going to Yale to do a post doc.)
    They seem to find fulfilment in that without bothering them if it's true or not.
    It's different for me .I discarded religion already in yeshivah.
    What I am saying is that since you are orthoprax your philosophical views shoudn't have any effect on your marital relationship.She might end up becoming more frum,hoping to save you from 'dina degehinom',just like R.Meir prayed & saved Acher...
    (BTW I am sure I am older than you..)

     
    At December 05, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Hasidic Rebel said...

    BHB, congratulations on a courageous but wise step. I hope it all works out well.

    "And then comes the expected. "There must be someone you can speak to"."

    Of course. And the inevitable follow-up when you say you've done that: "You probably didn't speak to the right people."

     
    At December 05, 2006 4:23 PM, Blogger smoo said...

    I did not mean to imply that you marriage is on the rocks. Rather, there is a level of tension or uncertainty in the air.

    I did understand your concern that you might cause her to lose faith based on the ‘arguments’ you could provide. I just feared that instead of seriously evaluating your position, she might choose the path of the righteous devout and reject not only the news but the bearer as well.

    ‘…where my skepticism started being externalized with getting involved in volunteering and blogging, coming clean became a necessity. Trying to maintain secret activities is way beyond harboring heretical thoughts. Maintaining secret activities would be inviting disaster to an otherwise great marriage.’
    Very good point.

    I modified my post somewhat based on what you told me. See http://shmuzings.blogspot.com/2006/12/skeptical-about-coming-out.html

     
    At December 05, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger dbs said...

    BHB,

    I'm 45, (if you're twice my age, then your really doing great-;)).

    It is great that your wife respects your point of view and accepts that it is (probably) not going to change.

    Absolutely people believe what they want to believe. And no, she isn't going to want to mess up her entire life. Nor is she going to want to lose her relationship with you. But my main point is that you do not control her belief process. You don't have that power, so don't take on that responsibility.

    Besides, how do you know what you and your wife would actually do if you both decided that you did not believe. You may do exactly what you are doing today. You may not. (And, you may take a few vacations where you may be able to explore what practices you really want to do and which you don't.) But that really isn't the point. The point is that it will be much easier for the two of you to go forward together if you have a clear understanding of where you each stand.

    Believe me, I have a lot of empathy for what you and your wife are going through. This is very difficult, and really isn't fair to anyone - you or her. You're doing great and hopefully you will both have enough love and patience to see you through.

     
    At December 05, 2006 6:03 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    MK,

    > Now I can put the whole thing behind me and as far as anyone else is concerned, it never happened.

    Understood, but you can't put skepticism behind you. It's not something you ever get over.

    > If you ever do decide to come "back", not matter how sure you will be of yourself, your wife will always have some doubt about you. She can not read your mind to know what is truly in your heart.

    The only way I can see myself coming back, is a direct revelation from God accompanied by Moshe Rabbeinu & R' Eliashuv. Shlita.

    And if that happens, my wife will check me in to the nearest hospital.


    > I wish you all the best.

    V'chain L'mar.

     
    At December 05, 2006 6:16 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Jewish Skeptic,
    >I don't see what's all the big deal is about.
    It's not like you converted or started to be mechalel shabbes befarhesia...

    I think you're smoking something. It's a very big deal. And no, my wife says it's not about spending time with me in Olam Haba. She admits no one has ever come back and no one knows what happens then.
    Maybe the biggest issue is that I, who have really been extremely stable in the past n years, is, and has been for a while, something different when expected. No one likes the rug pulled out from under them.


    But you're right, it would be much different if I started turning on lights, etc.

    >One of my daughters became religious,(not in a fanatic way she wears slacks & doesn't cover her hair),keeps strictly kosher & loves shabbat.Her husband is more agnostically inclined but goes along with it & enjoys it(& he is a scientist who is going to Yale to do a post doc.)


    Zults zein asach asach nachas fin alle de kinder!
    >


    >>She might end up becoming more frum,hoping to save you from 'dina degehinom'

    LOL, It's funny, she sort of threatened that.

    > (BTW I am sure I am older than you..)

    Maybe. Maybe not. Happy Birthay ;)

    BHB

     
    At December 05, 2006 6:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Hasidic Rebel,

    > BHB, congratulations on a courageous but wise step. I hope it all works out well.

    Thanks.

    >Of course. And the inevitable follow-up when you say you've done that: "You probably didn't speak to the right people."


    LOL., You've been there?

     
    At December 05, 2006 6:19 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > I just feared that instead of seriously evaluating your position, she might choose the path of the righteous devout and reject not only the news but the bearer as well.

    Looks like we're ok on that count.

     
    At December 05, 2006 6:27 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    DBS,


    >I'm 45, (if you're twice my age, then your really doing great-;)).

    Hey sonny, I've been around.....

    LOL, Just kidding. No I'm not anywhere near twice as old.

    How old were you when you became skeptical? Do.did you have any issues of purpose or meaning. I don't want to go nuts like XGH, but there is that issue to contend with. Maybe if you had twenty years already to live without Olom Haba you got used to it. Not that I was ever a grosien Tsaddik, but the hereafter was part of my identity.


    >But my main point is that you do not control her belief process. You don't have that power, so don't take on that responsibility.

    I'm not so certain about that. She is quite rational.

    >(And, you may take a few vacations where you may be able to explore what practices you really want to do and which you don't.)

    Emm.. errr.. We already push the envelope for our circle. I don't see pushing ot much more. But hey, you never know ;)

    >Believe me, I have a lot of empathy for what you and your wife are going through. This is very difficult, and really isn't fair to anyone - you or her. You're doing great and hopefully you will both have enough love and patience to see you through.


    Thanks, I'm really feeling pretty positive about it all.

    BHB

     
    At December 05, 2006 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Mike, I would be curious to know how the spouses fared in their belief after six months or so.

    I think my wife has gradually become more skeptical. There hasn't been a material effect on her level of observance, but that doesn't mean much. I think even after you become a skeptic it takes a long time to internalize it to the point where you don't feel guilt anymore.

    Mikeskeptic

     
    At December 06, 2006 5:19 PM, Blogger dbs said...

    >How old were you when you became skeptical? Do.did you have any issues of purpose or meaning. I don't want to go nuts like XGH, but there is that issue to contend with. Maybe if you had twenty years already to live without Olom Haba you got used to it. Not that I was ever a grosien Tsaddik, but the hereafter was part of my identity.

    I was 40. ("...ben arbaim l'binah..." perek 5:25)

    Many issues; happily resolved, for the most part. But it takes time.

    http://daasdiybur.blogspot.com/2006/05/tuesdays-with-mortality.html

    http://daasdiybur.blogspot.com/2006/06/life-universe-and-uy-everything-part-1.html

    http://daasdiybur.blogspot.com/2006/06/life-purpose-part-ii.html

     
    At December 06, 2006 6:16 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Mike, very true about the time.

    DBS, Thanks. I'll check out those posts.

     
    At December 14, 2006 8:40 PM, Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

    Baal HaBos
    You're not a bad soul. Continue to leave your wife a frum lady. You can assure her that miracles still happen.

     
    At December 14, 2006 8:40 PM, Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

    Baal HaBos
    You're not a bad soul. Continue to leave your wife a frum lady. You can assure her that miracles still happen.

     
    At December 14, 2006 11:31 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >You're not a bad soul. Continue to leave your wife a frum lady. You can assure her that miracles still happen

    RG, Thanks. And I'm trying.

     
    At December 16, 2006 9:27 PM, Anonymous BishrirusLibi said...

    BH

    A weight indeed. And the swing of the load (off whom and unto whom) is an eternal moral dilemma.

    For me I always felt it unfair to burden my wife with my lot. Moreover, I thought it wrong even to try and convert her. Instead I carry my own baggage to the best of my ability.

    I started seeing the light at the age of 20. I must say that the passage of time impacts a lot on the depressing need for disclosure, even to at least those who are dear to us. To me the notion of a double life evolved into a living reality, requiring coping with. And of course time makes that coping much, much easier.

    Emuna - by its very nature – elicits an acceptance of an incomprehensible. With this as a given, I have always maintained that it is appropriate to harbouring unanswered questions, since I don’t NEED to understand. I have even used this at later stages in the rejection of silly apologia on the grounds that ration should act as the border of what is understood and what not. So if you think; THIS IN ITSELF is a coping mechanism. It allows you to talk about ideas more freely, since there is a clearly signposted exit strategy.

    You can apply this to discussions of social justice and morality of given theological positions. And to a lesser degree, even to discussions of science such as physics and biology.


    I recall the time when my wife was experiencing a difficult and prolonged labour with our first child. I was near the labour unit, saying Tehilim in a rather emotional state. My then sheer heart ache about my doubts and its impact on the situation at hand was practically intolerable. What amuses me today is that I suddenly stopped and unleashed a litany of profanities on the almighty’s expense, in case he was a pile of bull…

    Enjoy your blog and keep giving us unhindered views…

     
    At December 17, 2006 8:44 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    BishrirusLibi,

    Interesting tale you relate. Shirtlay after my "apostacy", we had somewhat of a prolonged medical issue in the immediate family and I was pretty moved, but it was prayer to God not to Hashem.

    Anyhow, I'm realy glad to say that at this point, my skepticism is barely even discussed anymore between us. And my wife is not repressing anything, (I know, I can tell), she's just very accepting of it; just as much as she understands that a Christian has different beliefs.

     
    At December 17, 2006 9:50 PM, Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

    Your wife can name her blog "Living with and feeding a Lovable Skeptic"

    Lots of good luck to you and the Misses.

     

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