When my ex-husband and I met 50 years ago, neither of us were on a spiritual path. About eight years into the marriage, after our third child was born, I started searching. I knew something was missing from my life—some kind of inner peace and connection that I was yearning for—and I started my spiritual search. This caused problems in my marriage.
My husband was threatened by my searching, and judged me harshly for what I was beginning to believe and experience. He would say things that implied I was weird and crazy for even entertaining the thought that there was something beyond my limited mind.
I tried hard to have control over his accepting me and my new path, and he tried hard to have control over my beliefs. This, of course, created many power struggles.
Was it his not being on the same path as me, or his judging my path that created the problems, and ultimately ended our 30-year relationship? I can say definitively that, for me, it was his judgment. Two people do not need to have the same beliefs and be on the same path to have a loving, healthy relationship, but they do need to be accepting of each other's beliefs.
This is the question that is being addressed by Lola: "What do you say if you have a partner that just can't connect with you spiritually? Like he is very worldly and likes to engage in worldly talk, whereas you only feel deeply fulfilled sharing deep spiritual aspects and of growth and life."
Lola, your challenge is to fully accept that your partner is on a different path of life than you, but this doesn't mean you cannot connect with each other. Hopefully, over time, you can learn to enjoy his worldly talk, and he might become open to some of your spiritual experiences. You may need to seek friends with whom to share your spiritual learning and growth, so that you can have that deep fulfillment. It is in accepting and valuing your differences that your relationship can grow.
The key here is whether the two of you are open to learning with each other. You will feel connected with your partner when both of you are open to learning about each other's points of view and experiences. Both of you will evolve and grow when you are both open to learning. You might never come together regarding your beliefs, but this is not what is important. What's important is to continue to learn from each other and to respect the differences.
Sometimes people confuse being on a spiritual path and having spiritual discussions with what spirituality really is. Spirituality is about loving yourself and others. Your partner does not have to have any spiritual belief system or be interested in discussing what it means to be a loving person. I know numerous loving people who never give a thought to spiritual concepts. They are just naturally good, kind people, and are open to learning. This is way more vital to creating a loving relationship than having a particular spiritual belief system. Many people on a spiritual path are not open to learning!
Had my husband been open to learning with me, things would have been very different. I would never have cared whether or not he shared my beliefs. It's being open with each other that creates connection and intimacy—not agreement. It's being closed and judgmental that creates the problems—not the particular path you are each on.
Lola, I suggest you shift your focus from whether or not your partner is interested in spirituality, to whether or not you are open to learning and whether or not he is. That's what's important.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox"—the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
More couples counselor advice from YourTango:
- Help! My Husband Won't Go To Couples Therapy!
- 3 Tips To Prepare For Couples Counseling
- Is Couples Counseling Right For Your Relationship?