A few years ago, I revealed to my wife that I was no longer a Christian. Through the transition in our life, she has been very supportive of my journey. Today, where we place our day to day faith, is vastly different from the day we said our vows.
Here are 3 ways:
Keeping Respect Paramount
Unfortunately, there are too many relationships and marriages out there where the spouses simply do not respect one another. Things usually do not start this way, but sometimes the unfortunate trajectory of the relationship bring them to this space. Same faith or not, without mutual respect between spouses, your marriage is susceptible to countless pitfalls. On the other hand, with a healthy respect for one another as individuals, along with a common goal based on the empowerment of the relationship, there’s almost no peril the both of you cannot overcome.
My wife and I respect each other’s journey as people first. Every person, every relationship, and every marriage is on their own journey. Every story is uniquely their own and no two are destined to be the exact same.
Pursuit of Understanding
You can’t hope to get to a point of compromise without first understanding where your spouse is coming from. Too many people have conversations with the intent of responding and not the intent of listening. This cycle leads to a breakdown in communication because eventually we anticipate our spouses responses and choose not to bring up certain topics (sex, cleaning, chores, parenting styles, money, football night, etc.). We don’t bring them up, because we believe we know exactly how the conversation will play out. Sometimes we’re right.
But we have to understand that we are the script writers. Every conversation can be written differently if we allow it to be. We can approach the most sensitive topics with the goal of attempting to genuinely understand our spouse’s point of view. In many cases this is all we truly want – someone to understand us. How many relationships begin their steep decline into the abyss with the statement, “Why try? They won’t understand me anyway.” Once we believe the person who is supposed to be the closest to us, doesn’t even get something that is what we consider core about ourselves, it’s a slippery slope from there.
I can’t understate how many of my wife and I’s conversations revolved around, simply trying to explain why we feel the way we do, at that time.
Priority of Not Forcing our Beliefs
This is just as important as the others. We choose our life partners to share our life experiences with – to build together – to grow together. We don’t choose partners to dictate all of their life’s choices. If you can’t trust your partner’s judgement, then you have larger issues on your hands.
Faith is deeply intimate. How a person comes to their faith cannot be crammed down someone’s throat like a bad meatloaf. The attempt to do so violates both previous stated tenants that guide our union. Your spouse has to be your biggest supporter in life. You can’t be that, if you’re attempting to change who your spouse is at every corner.
We choose to walk together and support each other’s journey, as long as we’re both able to without violating who we are as a person.
Our journey is unique and so is yours. We define our own path, and so can you and your spouse. You are married to no one else besides one another.
BMWK, are your spiritual beliefs the same? How does that effect your marriage?