Advice needed on an amicable separation.
My wife and I have been married for 3 years.
My wife wants children.
My wife is a strong christian.
I used to be a strong christian.
Within the last year, I have become an atheist.
As I am an atheist, I feel as if having children with a christian would be incredibly difficult. As such, I do not wish to have children.
Understandably, my wife has been struggling with the fact that my religious beliefs have changed. This is something that has shaken her to her core. Because of this, she recently informed me that she can not continue our marriage as the pain is too much for her. Having children is quite possibly her most important goal in life. As much as I would like to save our marriage by having children (this would, in fact, save the marriage), I don't feel like having children would be a good solution to our problems. As we now have vastly different views on religion, I believe that having children would only cause new problems and new pain for both of us. I understand that there are couples who have successfully had children while holding to different religions. Unfortunately, I do not think that we would be successful. Not least of all because I would want to keep our children out of church while she would insist on the opposite.
This being said, she still loves me strongly and I still love her. Our relationship has just come to the point that we must choose between two painful options. Remain in a marriage where both of us will be very unhappy, or attempt an amicable separation. Neither of us wants to separate, but we are both coming to understand that we will be extremely unhappy if we remain married.
I believe that the least painful, and therefore the best option is a separation/dissolution. Of course if we do separate I hope for the best and most amicable end to our marriage, but I have no idea how to go about it. I am out of work right now and if we separated today, I would be unable to support myself for very long. As such, I want to take the process slowly enough that I can find new work so I can support myself once we separate (I wholeheartedly revile legally mandated spousal support). Unfortunately, I'm afraid that if we draw this out too long, I will just end up hurting her more than necessary.
I would like advice from anyone who has successfully achieved an amicable separation. I don't know the best way to do this so as to minimize her pain. I obviously need to take care of my own needs, but I do not want to be cruel. Any advice will be appreciated.
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