I’m just coming out of a failed marriage (#2 and the last marriage for me). A big part of the problem was that we really didn’t know each other when we moved in together and, later, when we married. I found that there just was no intellectual curiosity in her. At first, I was able to rationalize it away, but as I began to come out of my 25 year long shell after my first marriage, I returned to my intellectual and artistic roots, and I began to feel like a penguin in the Sahara Desert; lonely, lost and starving.
My embracing of atheism was certainly a part of the schism, although not directly, as she was not particularly religious and didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t (at least she never said as much). It did have an effect in the sense that a huge reason I came to my non-belief was that I had been reading, thinking and writing, engaged in a quest of intellectual exploration that required all of my rational and critical thinking skills, skills that had laid dormant for a long time.
For me, the conflict was not that of a non-believer versus a believer, but an intellectual versus a complacent non-thinker. While religion did not play a part in the dynamics of the falling out, the clash of rational and critical thinking versus passive acceptance of the norm did, and this kind of conflict is at the heart of any religious versus non-believing clash.
My question to you, my dear readers, is; how important is it that you have a partner who thinks like you? And by thinks like you, I mean someone who not only has the same general world view, but who also actively engages their mind in relating to the world around them.
For myself, I have learned that I absolutely must have someone was is at least my equal in the pursuit of intellectual inquiry and who shares the same skeptical, rational world view. I am eager to hear your thoughts on this question.