By Alecia Rice
Q: I’m evolving out of my religion into more of a neutral spirituality, yet my husband is still content being a Christian. He’s having difficulty understanding some of my changes. How do we navigate this transition to stay together?— Questioning My Beliefs
A: Dear Questioning My Beliefs,
My response is based upon your husband being more of an “open” Christian who may not share your new beliefs but is conscious enough to understand that you get to choose what brings your soul peace. If he’s not, that’s much more complex and may not give you much wiggle room to work with, especially if you’re raising children.
Many are standing in your shoes, not quite sure which way to turn, as they’re torn between the questions that their minds and hearts are seeking answers to while not wanting to put distance between them and their loved ones who seem content in their belief systems. It can be an adventurous—often uncomfortable—journey which requires varying amounts of time to settle into a place that finally feels safe and solid. It requires much courage to continue forth in the midst of spousal uncertainty, but respect and good communication have a way of bridging troubled waters in the relationship, when love and flexible mindsets are held up as essential tools and goals for continued connection. Clear, honest communication is key to keep resentment from building through your changes. Seeking comfortable mediums that serve and support both of you, is the goal that we’re looking for, rather than attempting to persuade another to believe differently.
Changing the dance steps—let alone the music—of the relationship in big ways can really upset the equilibrium of the partnership because our shifts affect how our partner engages, dances and flows alongside us. Multi-faith marriages require mutual respect, maturity, curiosity and lots of empathy, held on behalf of our partners as we try to understand where the other is coming from while learning a new dance. Without these tools in place, it’s easy to inadvertently step on each other’s toes as we blindly seek our way forward in the midst of the uncertainties of change.
Seeking new ways can be a very scary, messy process. It’s hard enough to see our own way through it, let alone deal with the potential insecurities, fears and questions of another who seems in disagreement with what we are doing. This dynamic can easily lend itself to a “crabs in a bucket” mentality where, as a crab begins to crawl up and out of a bucket, the others will pull it back down to keep it from escaping. This is a real phenomenon by which our relationships can sometimes be affected. Friends and family can fear the changes we’re making, thereby judging and trying to run interference with our choices, because as we change it also affects their lives. We know that most people resist change, especially when someone else’s changes are rearranging the life that we’ve become comfortable in.
First and foremost, we must be true to our connection with the God/Source, what we’re feeling, and why we’re seeking in new places. We alone are responsible for the state—and peace—of our souls. This is one thing that shouldn’t be compromised away just because another doesn’t agree with us. Faith is a quiet, deeply personal issue on which we’re not necessarily going to be in perfect alignment.
If your husband is flexible, invite him to visit your new place of spiritual fellowship to help remove some of the mystery of what you’re now learning. Share articles or videos that you can read or watch together of your new favorite topics which may be helpful to him understanding your changes. The more he understands, the better chance you have of him being supportive even though he still may not agree. Sometimes we can hear things differently coming from a stranger than we can from our loved ones. It’s also important that you accompany him to church or social functions on occasion to reciprocate him sharing in yours. You may not share the same beliefs anymore, but you’re still a couple that, hopefully, wants to remain bonded through whatever your differing faith journeys are and supporting one another accomplishes this.
Divergent belief systems can be a challenge to navigate, but they’re not impossible if you both stand in a place that respects and supports the right of the other to believe differently. If you have a strong foundation of friendship, chances are you’ll come out the other side of this dancing a beautiful new dance
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker and gatherer of women. For perspective on life issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to 681-321-1109. Discussions continue at Ask Alecia on Facebook.