This Fundamental Difference Bodes Ill for a Happy Marriage

By Margo Howard

May 11, 2012 4 min read

Dear Margo: After two years of research and soul-searching, I have rejected my faith and become an atheist/humanist. I grew up in a Christian household, and all of my family and most of my friends are Christians. I was once devout, and I married a Christian man. I have been honest with "Kurt" since I started doubting my faith — telling him of my doubts and updating him on my thoughts and findings. He was patient and supportive. However, that all changed several days ago when I told him I realized I was an atheist.

Kurt completely shut down and ignored me for the rest of the evening and the following day. When he finally did talk to me, he told me he felt like a failure as a husband, that I'd betrayed him, that he's no longer proud to be married to me, and that my atheism is a "dirty secret" he has to keep. He proceeded to list all of the things that are wrong with our marriage and implied the fault was all mine. When I tried to interject my opinions, he told me to shut up because he didn't care what I had to say on the matter. Then he went to bed. We have not spoken of it since.

Needless to say, I am heartbroken. Since this incident, we have coexisted politely, like roommates. We obviously need counseling, but in the past when I brought it up, he said he wouldn't go since I'm the one with the problem. Do you have any advice about how to proceed? I don't know whether our marriage can survive this. — The Apostate

Dear Ap: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I believe the marriage is a goner. Your husband is clearly very religious. He is embarrassed that you have arrived at this decision and is unwilling to hang on to the marriage through counseling. I think your life will be happier when you two part, as this new barrier between you is such a basic issue. I salute you for taking two years to arrive at a decision, and I do not believe you have "a problem." Good luck. — Margo, thoughtfully

Any Rules About Showers (of the Baby Kind)?

Dear Margo: My boss and his wife are expecting their first child. My co-workers and I are thrilled for him because many of us know he's been waiting for this moment for a very long time. He and his wife opted not to have a baby shower, partly due to the fact that she's a doctor at a busy urban hospital and now is on mandatory bed rest. My co-workers and I want to honor this occasion, and we all decided to contribute money to buy a gift and throw him a small office shower.

My task is to create the greeting card, as I do this as a part-time gig, but I am at a loss. Because the shower will only be for him at our office, I was going to have the card say something along the lines of "For the soon-to-be daddy." But not including her doesn't feel right. (Personally, I intend to send them a gift addressed to both, as I know them both socially.) Any advice? — One of the Girls

Dear One: Since the boss is held in high regard, I think it's fine to have him be the single honoree at the shower. He knows his wife was involved, so don't give it a thought that there's no mention of the mom-to-be on the card. The interest of everyone in the office sounds quite sweet. I know the shower will be a great success. — Margo, festively

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers' daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

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