When we start weaving our lives with another person, it's interesting to me what areas we find to be important when it comes to compatibility. Over the course of our lives, our interests, morals, motives and more change. I'm not who I was five years ago, and I know my spouse isn't either. We adapt. We become enhanced. We grow. And when we begin building a life with someone else permanently involved, we hope our partner's interests, morals, motives and more change in a compatible way with our own. I've been in relationships where our spiritual beliefs differ greatly, and yes - it makes for a very challenging relationship, but it doesn't have to. It's always great to gather information, debate, and learn different ideas so we can decide what is right for us, but we should never push our specific belief on someone else just because we believe in it. It just might not be the right fit for that other person. Getting to know, understanding and valuing your partner's opinion on his or her spiritual life can be a solid foundation for your relationship and existence together. Below are four ways to open up your spouse to spirituality:
APPRECIATE HIS OR HER OPINION
My spouse and I had a conversation about past lives. He mentioned that past lives weren't something he believed in, but he casually talked about "our next life together" in the next breath. Well, now hold on. How can there be a next life - a future life - and not a past one? He had an answer for that. "Well, how do you know this isn't my first life?" he asked me. Now, I couldn't really answer that. And neither of us could really prove otherwise. But I liked that he had thought about it, and if this feels like his very first life to him - who am I to say it isn't?
An important aspect to opening up your spouse to spirituality is teaching yourself to value what it is your partner believes in. You might be doing this already, or you might feel the pull to challenge your spouse, but a great reminder is that each person's spiritual journey is 100% unique. No two people should share an exact set of opinions or beliefs. We should have varying degrees on what feels right. Spirituality is about the self and what resonates with you. So if your spouse mentions he doesn't believe in reincarnation - but you totally do! - this should actually make you feel really good. It shows that he has an opinion and a belief, and is actually connecting with his own spirituality. Does it matter that his belief is not a mirror image of your own? It can't be. No two belief systems are alike. By appreciating what your significant other believes in, you're creating an encouraging environment to keep exploring spirituality.
BE WILLING TO EXPLORE SOMETHING HE/SHE BELIEVES IN
Showing support and encouragement for something your spouse finds meaningful is mutually beneficial. You might discover another side to your partner that you didn't know. And you might just discover something you really like - or don't like! But at least you were open and you tried. If your spouse has a family tradition to always go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, but you aren't Catholic, where is the harm in attending if it means a lot to him? By showing your main squeeze you'd rather do something that makes him or her feel loved and supported instead of creating conflict, you're strengthening the bond you share together. When this bond is strengthened, your partner might be more willing to attend a reiki session you want to go to together, or go to temple with you to chant. And who knows what shroud of inspiration you might receive by expanding your spiritual horizons for doing something important to him or her.
TALK A LOT
Communication can be a baffling thing in relationships. Keeping an open stream of spiritual conversation can do wonders for your life together. Keeping the conversation about beliefs casual encourages your spouse to share his or her thoughts and opinions, too. Not every spiritual conversation you have together needs to be a serious sit-down event. "Honey, I'm putting this rose quartz by our bed to help our intimacy and sex life," is a real sentence I've said before while cleaning our room. Talking about our beliefs can seem so taboo - but it doesn't need to! By mentioning, "I feel like your mom is around lately... I can't stop thinking about her," over your weekend breakfast, you're showing your spouse that these topics are OK to talk about - and that you like talking about them. I still remember the first time Derek said something tender and spiritual and it made me love him even more. It shows me he has been listening, even if I wasn't sure that he was. My efforts were not for naught!
MAKE NEW BELIEFS TOGETHER
One of the best ways to connect and open your spouse up to spirituality is to share a new meaningful experience together. Spending the day at a sweat lodge is a great way to experience something new while learning about a new culture and spiritual system. Traveling to foreign places and learning about different cultures is another way to solidify your spiritual bond together, mutually sharing an appreciation for the way others think about spirituality. Another bonus of trying something different is learning how your partner felt about it afterward. This can teach you a lot about how he or she thinks about his or her own spirituality. What's beautiful about this, is your spouse might actually realize something about themselves that they hadn't realized before. Many people haven't been immersed in many experiences that allow them to explore their spiritual side. By encouraging these types of experiences you are doing your partner a tremendous favour in the realms of self-discovery.
ONE MORE THING: NEVER INSULT
I've made this mistake and it's a lethal one. Never insult your partner for believing in something, and never chastise, ridicule or make him or her feel silly for thinking a certain way if it doesn't match how you think. If you are hell bent on a scientific perspective to your belief system and your partner believes in intuition and feelings, by making fun of your spouse you're opening up an avenue for him or her to ridicule you right back. All this will do is cause a fight and create distance between the two of you. Spirituality is about connection and trust - in yourself and also in others. By driving to prove why your point is right, you're only further proving why it's not right for that other person. If you are tossing out insults, try to keep them in your head, and ask yourself why you feel the need to put your spouse down just because his or her opinion doesn't match yours. Try to focus on what beliefs you do share, and learn to appreciate the ones you differ on, as mentioned above.
Spirituality is a sacred and special thing that differs from person to person. Since we love our partners and cherish sharing things with them, it's only natural to want to share something intangible like spirituality as well. What have you done to help open up your partner to a more spiritual life?