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When my daughter asks questions about how animals were created—“God made them, right?”—my husband replies, “Well, some people believe that, but I don’t.” We now have to talk about mealtime prayers and whether or not to send our daughter to Vacation Bible School.
Despite my own uncertainties, I still show up to church with my two little children in tow.
It’s difficult to enjoy date night, for example, if you’re constantly angling to save your partner’s soul from hellfire.
As a rule, I don’t try to convert my husband over breakfast dishes or any other time.
“I’m done,” he told me a few years ago over Christmas break when our daughter was just two years old. We had gotten married and pledged ourselves equally to God as to each other, and his turn from faith left me stranded.
We had never been the couple who did nightly devotionals or even prayed together regularly, yet we had shared a conviction that following Jesus was what our life together was all about.
His deconversion happened a few years ago, throwing our marriage and family into a tailspin. The trend of millennials walking away from faith and/or church has been well documented.
A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center indicates that “the number of US adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing” and “the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults.” Although the rise of the so-called religious nones has been thoroughly discussed in Christian circles over the past few years, we don’t talk as purposefully about the marital complications that come with this trend.In the midst of these fractures, we need the church to ask for and value our contributions.I need the Christian community to support me as I struggle to raise my kids in a mixed-faith home, and I need it to love my husband in the midst of his unbelief.For one, I know it would only alienate him further.I have to trust that God is still pursuing my husband and that it is the Holy Spirit’s role, not mine, to woo him back to faith. I was listening to the final keynote speaker at a conference, so far back in the nosebleed seats that I had to squint to make out the tall, tattooed pastor standing on the stage. Those who aren’t sure, who can still be surprised.” I barely heard anything after that.