Choose Love Ministry Blog
I was raised in the Christian faith as was my husband. We didn’t attend church when we dated and we got married by a Justice of the Peace instead of a minister in a church. Christianity was a culture for us as adults, not a practice.
The culture of Christianity, as we knew it, was about social rules to live by; it was about expectations; it was about family holidays; it was about those four visits a year to church service. (Mother’s Day, Christmas, and 2 for the Easter season.)
What it never seemed to be about, for either of us, was stirring our spiritual wellbeing or filling our souls with inspiration. So, we didn’t raise our children in church and though we celebrated all the holidays as they grew up, religion and faith were small parts of the occasions.
As children ourselves, the experience with Church was different for each of us- as different as Black Southern Baptist and Yankee United Methodist. I can’t really speak to his personal experience deeper than that, but for me, church was about gossip and hypocrisy and pretending. I cannot say that I ever felt the presence of god or the Christ as a Christian- not in church – and certainly not with my family – not ever.
As the years of our marriage has gone on for the past 25 years, I have grown further away from my Christian roots and religion towards a spirituality practice. Free from dogma, hypocrisy, power struggle, shame, and punishment, my new way of viewing creation and eternity and love has aroused my soul and my mind. I feel the presence of the divine in meditation and in creativity and in ceremony. It feels like I found my home.
My husband is still as rooted in his faith as he was before – attached to the connection with his family and his upbringing. His mother is strong in her faith and she is also a giving woman who demonstrates what we could all hope to see as an example of Christianity. I can understand, that for him, the faith of his family has offered hope and love and strength. This brings him comfort and connection and belonging. If faith keeps you connected to your family and community in a positive way and brings you peace, then there is purpose and goodness in that. He feels at home there and I am happy for him.
Our relationship has grown in to a multi-spiritual marriage. Two practices. Two beliefs. Two connections. Two spiritual homes. And yet, it has never once caused a moment of trouble in our relationship. The fact that I have changed from the person I said I was when we began dating has not created a moment of unrest in our marriage. His choice to remain with his faith has never given me pause to judge or condemn him, just as he does not judge or condemn me. He supports my path and I support his.
Is it easy for me to support him when I feel such angst towards his faith -the faith of my childhood?
Yes. Without hesitation. Yes.
Could I say the same thing if he became a more dedicated practitioner of the church who tried to convert me? Could he say the same thing if he believed my practice was going to send him to hell?
I’m guessing that if we were so opposite in character that it would have been evident even early on in our relationship and that we likely would not have lasted, or even married. But, relationships do change, and sometimes so drastically that people are better off not being together. It happens. It happens a lot. No one should stay in a marriage where they are afraid or unhappy or unable to find comfort and support in their partner. That is not love, it’s conditional love. And I would hope that if he and I were so drastically different that we would make the right decision to love each other separately rather than to stay together and hurt one another.
If you are in a multi-spiritual relationship – where you do feel safe and free and supported – there are some ways to help ensure good communication and a judgement free zone for spiritual or religious practice that help you both feel at home.
- Understand the Concept of FREE WILL
- Respectful Communication is Key
- Unconditional Love – Compassion, Forgiveness, Understanding & Freedom
- Self-Awareness of Your Beliefs and Desires
If those four things are missing from your relationship then you have bigger problems than which god is being prayed to in the home. You probably have problems in every area of your relationship.
Remember these things:
You cannot control anyone but yourself. PERIOD.
Everyone is born with free will. EVERYONE.
You have a right to your beliefs as much as others have a right to theirs.
Your beliefs are not better or higher or more right than anyone else’s.
Your beliefs are right for you. Their beliefs are right for them.
Respectful communication means a win-win attitude for everyone.
If your partner loses then you lose. Win-win means you win.
Respectful communication means speaking your needs without fear of judgement or punishment.
Differences do exist in interfaith and multi-spiritual relationships. Do not ignore them. Face them in the open.
Unconditional love means there are no conditions on your love. No “I love you if you meet this requirement.”
Self-awareness is vital for you accepting yourself and knowing what your path is.
If you cannot accept, understand, and love yourself, it is hard to expect that others will.
What is important in multi-spiritual or interfaith relationships is equanimity. This comes with a well-developed Self, compatible life visions, balanced emotions, and sharing common values.
The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.
If you want to love someone unconditionally, you will choose to love them unconditionally. If you want to change them or force them to see life your way, you will choose to love conditionally. The choice is yours.
You are invited to join the Choose Love Ministry Facebook Group – Choose Love Live – to get access on the latest Choose Love Broadcast with Jay and Dr. Genie.