What If I'm Spiritual And He Isn't?


What If I'm Spiritual And He Isn't?
Are you worried about your relationship because you are on a spiritual path & your partner isn't?

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.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her new 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

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.

Connect with Margaret on Facebook: Inner Bonding, and Facebook: SelfQuest.

More couples counselor advice from YourTango:

This article was originally published at Inner Bonding . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Margaret Paul


Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
Other Articles/News by Dr. Margaret Paul:

Are You Addicted To Love?


Have you ever felt confused about whether your feelings in a relationship were coming from a healthy place or from a wounded place? This is Mari's concern: "How would you describe the difference between obsession/addiction and devotion? When you are deeply in love and moved to be emotionally and physically intimate with someone, how can you tell ... Read more

How Do YOU Feel About That? Avoiding Projection In Relationships


"I think I'm an open person, but Sarah keeps telling me how closed I am. She gets furious when she wants to talk about our relationship and I don't." Matthew, in his late 20s and married to Sarah for 2 years, had consulted me due to relationship problems and was feeling a lot of confusion about their relationship system. "There ... Read more

Get Over Fights Like A Grown-Up


Most couples fight at times. Unless they fight unfairly—hitting below the belt and saying very hurtful things or becoming physically abusive—this is generally not a problem. Couples who engage in verbal or physical abuse need to either get help on both an individual and relationship level or leave the relationship. Ongoing verbal and physical ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.