8 Small Ways To Safe-Guard Your Marriage When One Of You Changes

How to keep a spiritual awakening from ruining your marriage.

Last updated on Feb 05, 2024

couple meditating together in grass PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock

If you or your spouse are becoming more spiritual — while the other one isn't — it can create tension in your marriage. But your religious journey doesn't have to wreak havoc on your relationship with your husband or wife. Perhaps you are discovering a deeper sense of your spirituality. Whether it's a huge transition or a minor one, you want your life to change in spiritually-oriented ways that are in accordance with your beliefs.


But, just because you're seeking a deeper religious or spiritual freedom doesn't mean that everyone in your life is also going to — and this includes your spouse. Perhaps your husband or wife doesn't see eye-to-eye with you when it comes to religion or religious beliefs. And while you're moving toward a deeper, new understanding of your spirituality, he or she wants nothing to do with it. You start wondering how to save your marriage and stay in love, despite these growing differences.

This situation can feel frustrating for everyone involved. And the truth is your evolving spirituality wreaks havoc on your relationship if it isn't addressed properly. For example, you may want to share your newly awakening ideals with your spouse, and when your partner doesn't join in with you, it can wind up with one or both of you feeling slighted, betrayed, or upset. So how can you embrace your newfound ideology while staying committed and in tune with your partner, who doesn't share the same beliefs? 


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Here are 8 small ways to safeguard your marriage when one of you becomes more spiritual than the other:

1. Take time to reconnect

First and foremost, find ways that the two of you can rekindle your relationship and remember all of the reasons you fell in love in the first place. Every marriage needs focus and attention to thrive, just like every couple needs to learn to transition and grow together — both as partners and individually. Planning a getaway around hobbies you once shared might help you reconnect.



You can even pull out photos and revisit memories together. Regardless of what it is you do to strengthen your bond, it's important to carve out regular quality time for you to spend together as a couple so that you grow together, rather than apart. In light of your spiritual awakening, revisit your core values and make sure you're actively living by them. 


2. Be clear about your needs

Developing your spiritual self is primarily internal work, which is why it can be hard for your spouse — who may have no personal experience of this nature — to relate to what is happening to you. Some spouses are very gracious about supporting their partners and excited to see joy and growth in their husbands or wives. They feel secure enough in themselves and their relationships to say, “Find what you need.” However, your spouse may not feel this secure yet. That's why it is important to clearly articulate your need to explore your spiritual awakening with your partner.

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3. Understand that your spouse may feel abandoned

If you are spending a lot of time away alone or with like-minded others as a part of your spiritual journey, your spouse may start feeling abandoned — or even jealous — that he or she can't share that with you.  Every couple's situation is different, but it's important to be aware that your spouse might be feeling lonely during this time, which is why it's important to offer your husband or wife regular reassurance that you are still committed to your marriage, regardless of your need to explore these spiritual experiences. Who knows, your spouse may even be open to joining you along your path. All you have to do is ask!

4. Blend your newfound spirituality with your existing lifestyle

As part of your self-development, it is not unusual to need time alone to meditate, journal, read, and do other exploration. However, don't allow this to pull you away from the beautiful life you currently have. Instead, find ways to honor your spiritual life while participating in the life you've built up until this point. Centuries ago, a person would go off to a monastery to cultivate this inner life. In our modern day, it is much more common to be a “mystic in place,” to stay engaged with the places and people around you while exploring your rich spiritual life and experiences at the same time.


5. Recognize this is a transition period

When you are in a stage of spiritual awakening, it can feel all-encompassing and completely change your life, as a result. You might wind up permanently changing your habits — whether it's getting up early to pray or meditate, becoming a vegetarian, or dressing differently. Once awakened, you can’t go back to your “old” ways, and this sudden change in your expression of who you are might make your partner feel like they're being thrown for a loop. 



That's why it's important to recognize that you will need time to integrate this new awareness into your life, and so will your partner. Something stable in their life has changed suddenly, and they will also need time to adjust. In that same vein, now is not the time to make big life decisions — especially when it comes to your relationship. This is a transition period, so give yourself — and your partner — some time to settle in, see the bigger picture, and understand the role your spirituality will play in your life and relationship.

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6. Accept that things may be uncomfortable at first

New beginnings can often feel uncomfortable for everyone involved! You may find opposition from people whose values once aligned with yours or feel an impulse to distance yourself from people or situations that don't harmonize with your newfound spirituality. This is natural. As you are trying to see yourself more clearly, you need time to explore and understand your values, wants, desires, and sense of self — so try not to take any uncomfortable bits personally. 

Instead, think of it as a way to help identify all how you're shifting and growing. And try to be understanding of others during this time, especially your partner. Hopefully, your patient and loving response will encourage your spouse and others to do the same for you. 

7. Develop and hold healthy boundaries

It is okay to create some distance for a while as you become more solid in your new sense of self. As you solidify, you usually can come back to being in a relationship, but in different ways, with new terms. This happens all the time in marriages and friendships, but because your spiritual sense of self is so core to your own identity, it can feel more intense. Developing healthy boundaries that honor your inner work and the key relationships in your life is an important step in your development. 


8. Find ways to support yourself when the going gets tough

Even though your spiritual journey is an internal one, you might need a little outside support along the way. Whether you choose to journal about your awakening, find a therapist or coach who can understand and support your spiritual growth, or share your thoughts with a family member or friend who is a supportive listener, it's okay to ask for help as you sort out these experiences and explore new ways of creating meaning in your life.

And even though the relationships in your life are important — especially the ones you have with your spouse — remember that this is your life. if you are experiencing a spiritual awakening or find that your spiritual life is becoming more important to you, embrace it and acknowledge that you're evolving and growing for a reason. Find the expression of spirituality that works best for you and follow your heart. After all, this is your spiritual journey!

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​Marijo Puleo holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Psychology. She is a somatic trained coach in energy and the host of the Mindful Living Spiritual Awakening podcast.