The Unequally Yoked Club (UYC) is a reference some ex-Christian friends of mine made to what it’s like being in a marriage with still-Christian spouses. Sometimes a couple strikes the jackpot and both deconvert at once. Sometimes an individual ex-Christian gets super-lucky and that person’s still-Christian spouse doesn’t really care if they’re deconverted or not as long as the important stuff remains true. But if that remaining Christian belongs to a flavor of Christianity that really stresses conformity and threatens serious punishment for non-compliance, or rattles on and on and on about how important shared belief is to a marriage, then that ex-Christian finds him- or herself waltzing into the Unequally Yoked Club.
This series is a really long one, and it’s been really popular and enduring because there really aren’t a lot of materials out there for people in our situation. Most of what you find about these relationships is written from the point of view of the Christian half of the marriage, and isn’t very much in touch with reality (at least, any more than anything else is that such Christians say about how people and relationships work). Much of it treats the ex-Christian partner like a recalcitrant or sullen child who needs to be getting with the program and reconverting; much of it is stuff about how to get the spouse reconverted–or whining about how awful it is to be with an ex-Christian, or openly wishing and craving for this situation to be totally temporary.
So I began writing–and am still writing–the ongoing chronicles of the Unequally Yoked Club.
This series is for ex-Christians who want to get a little perspective on what’s going on, and for Christians who want to understand their deconverted mates a little better. I hope it fosters greater communication and understanding between couples. If you’re in one of those two boats, and take nothing else from me, then please take this:
Religion only has to be a problem in a relationship if someone in a relationship makes it one. I truly believe and am persuaded that religious authorities and teachers tell people that it’s a problem to drive up the cost of deconversion, to make non-believers seem less human and sympathetic, to stop Christians from getting too close to non-believers who might make them start wondering about their own religious convictions, and to make deconversion scarier–not because it really is a problem in and of itself. Millions of people are discovering every single day that it’s more than possible to be happy in a mixed-religion relationship! And you might be one of them, one day. My own unequally-yoked first marriage fell apart because I didn’t know then what I know now, but yours does not need to end that way.
The UYC posts:
* You didn’t sign up for this. A short message to Christians stuck in the UYC.
* When promises must be broken. What promises are, and under what circumstances it is fair to break them.
* Tell me what you want (what you really really want). The power of communication.
* Questioning assumptions. The (largely untrue) assumptions I operated under as a Christian.
* The bargaining table. Wherein my Christian spouse tried to negotiate with me.
* How many soulmates can one cavern hold? A quick look at the idea of “soulmates” as it applies to the UYC.
* Turnabout was fair play. When I found myself on the other end of the UYC, long after Biff and I’d broken up.
* Why can’t things just go back the way they were? (I’ll tell you why.) The Christian fear of change, especially in relationships.
* He’s in love with a church girl. A close examination of the trailer for an especially odious new Christian movie about a couple in the UYC and what that trailer reveals about how evangelical Christians view the club.
* The terrible bargain. The bargain I almost struck to keep my marriage at the expense of my sanity, dignity, and pride.
* As I lay dying (to myself). Why the concept of “dying to oneself” is so bad.
* Bad Advice, or the real things I wish I’d known before getting married. Your Captain takes on a poorly-conceived blog piece making the rounds about three things one Christian newlywed wishes he’d known before he got married, and discusses why those three things aren’t actually very good advice.
* The Difference Engine. Wherein we take on some other horrible advice about handling conflict in a mixed-religion marriage.
* It’s my house too. One of the most popular pieces in the series–about standing up for yourself and who you are.
* What changed, and what didn’t. The various stuff that changed for me and my Christian husband upon conversion and deconversion. Some of it might surprise you.
* Building a better husband. Discussing a “non-negotiable” checklist of attributes found in a good husband, and where this wishlist falls flat.
* Why “one flesh” is two disasters in the making. I talk about enmeshment and the dangers it poses for a mixed-religion marriage.
* Differing conversations. Big problems erupt when two Christians pray but get totally opposite responses from “God.”
* Praying for reconversion. How hurt I got when Biff ostentatiously prayed for my reconversion.
* An open letter to an open letter writer. A guy writes a “letter” to his fantasy wife-to-be, who he hasn’t even met yet, and exposes more than he should want to expose about what he really wants.
* Dale’s new book. Dale McGowan wrote a book called In Faith and in Doubt and I’m featured in it.
* The One Pillar. Why basing a marriage on “Jesus” is a ridiculous idea, written in the wake of another state allowing same-sex couples to use their right to marry.
* The most important thing. Some of the bullshit that Christians believe about non-Christian spouses and why it’s not a good idea to try to “Jesus-fy” one’s entire life.
* Yes, yes, but what does it look like? Often Christians mouth platitudes and have no idea whatsoever how to actually enact those empty words in real life.
* The real threat. The real threat to marriage isn’t letting same-sex couples marry, any more than the real threat to Christianity is accepting same-sex marriage as a thing that’s happening whether they like it and approve of it or not.
* The second fiddle. A heartbreaking cry from the heart of an ex-Christian aching for his Christian spouse to put him first sometimes.