Those first glorious moments of spiritual or religious awakening can be huge. As we begin to open and seek our true ”selves” we start to ask questions such as “who am I?” or “why am I here?”. The first experience that connects you to your inner self is one of the most, or maybe best of your life and it’s only natural you want to share it. You find yourself reviewing jobs, friends, values, beliefs and your relationship tends to come under the spotlight very quickly because often your dear heart is the first to be affected by the chrysalis of the “new me” starting to form.
The changes however can often cause us to fall out of sync with our partner resulting in conflict and a new attitude of “but my way is a better way for both of us darling”. The one who is awakening can become spiritually egoistic and develop a bad case of spiritual righteousness and will try to drag their partner to all sorts of events and meditation groups in an effort to “help” them find God among the incense and “Om”ing and tell them what to eat to raise “their vibration” to a higher level. It is no wonder then that many partners want to *** off eventually !
As an educator, I see many couples with the “dragger and draggee” disease often manifesting as a tiring tug o’ war game. Generally, but not exclusively, the awakened ones happen to be the women who get terribly distressed because after a weekend retreat or workshop, for example, hubby is not ready to brim over with the same excitement and enthusiasm that their inner journey has cleared out another morsel of their emotional closet. “My needs are not being met”, “I don’t feel heard”, “He just doesn’t get it” are some of the clichéd words I often hear and at some level they believe their partner is frequently resisting the urge to phone the nearest rehab clinic which makes them feel like a freak. Not easy.
I have a dear friend who was persuaded by her husband to go to the doctor because he believed there was something radically wrong with her and she obviously needed pills! It may sound funny but it can become a matter of psycho analysis that can drive both parties nuts as a gradual erosion of what was a generally happy and content relationship, takes place as the newly God filled person races ahead.
At this point I would offer that, in terms of my own personal experience in spiritual awakening, that “it” or God, if you will, chose me not the other way around. I believe we don’t’ have a choice in awakening. You can choose kicking or screaming as the route or the let go and surrender one. Often we bounce between the two dragging our partner by the hair. Ouch!
7 years ago my dear dad passed and with that deep experience came a very natural and effortless meeting of people, courses, books that would create my future. I have loved and agonised over my spiritual development but somewhere deep in me that requires no understanding is a truth that this is exactly where I want to be beyond all things and even relationships with people in general. I believe I am at consequence to a greater force and going with the flow through whatever comes is the easiest route…although it takes practise!
Where I am today is undoubtedly the happiest and most content place so far on “my path”. Has my growth affected my relationships? You bet. Every time. I have been in more than a couple of relationships since I “woke up” which I feel now to be learning grounds, not regrets. In the background I was being propelled along by somewhat unconscious forces, meeting lots of people, reading and qualifying at various complimentary therapies and in the middle of it all was still having trouble in my love life but making the excuse that “well he’s not as spiritual as me, so no wonder this relationship isn’t working” as a way to explain my failing partnerships. I thought I knew better than them and indeed perhaps yes growth rates were different, but different to what?
Many times I have heard “we are all spiritual beings having a human experience” so none of us can claim to be more spiritual than the other really if that story has any grain of truth. But it is so easy to fall into a trap of judging the rights and wrongs of others based on what you believe to be the truth or the right way of life. When we judge from a perceived religious or spiritual angle it is just as harmful as judging about anything else. Don’t forget that truly God like people radiate endless love, compassion and understanding. They rarely judge. They are humble and don’t feel the need to preach or convert the unwashed.
Symbiotic relationships are those that function on great attachment and a feeling of needing the other to fulfil happiness and desires. These relationships can suffer the greatest casualties when one partner starts to understand that happiness does come from within first and the other person wonders what the heck has become of their once needy and comfortable partner.
So how can we become more aware of our spiritual or religious transformation while preserving and strengthening our relationship?
Firstly try to practise the art of allowing. Allow your partner to be different. Your hobby of new found awakening is just yours. I call it a hobby for purposes of comparison with perhaps golf, tennis or tiddly winks that may stir the heart of your boy/girlfriend. You may never see any joy or fun in buying the latest putter but to them it’s as much an elixir in terms of inner joy as the latest writings of Byron Katie.
Understand that your metamorphosis can cause insecurity and worries for your loved one. Take the time to listen and understand their concerns and always the right communication (as discussed in previous articles) will see you both through anything, given a good lump of love and understanding.
Never be under the illusion that your partner should think or be like you. Symbiotic relationships are ultimately unhappy. Differentiation is healthy and the only way forward. Loving your partner because they are different must be the goal. Loving someone warts n all is a challenge for sure, but in the accepting of them you accept yourself. What a relief in the long run!
An age old saying I know but put yourself in your partners shoes as much as you can. For example, don’t assume that changing your house and relationship space into little India will make your partner eventually see the Light. If you came home to find a putting green installed in the middle of your living room, I am sure you would have something to say about it!
By all means share your life together but in a give and take way. Avoid the tendency to know best about God and the Universe, because whatever you have read is only another person’s take on it, a story in essence. Your interpretation of what you know is just that, so share it with your honey rather than ram it as the new gospel according to you. We all have a path that we have an inner yearning to follow whatever are our passions and desires and no one human is the same as another so what fires me won’t be the same as my man but in sharing life it means we can enjoy some of the same things and others we do with others or alone. How good is that!
And lastly one of the biggest and most interesting observations I have made is that even if a couple are following the same spiritual or religious persuasion the relationship is not guaranteed to be a happily ever after.
The educational work I do with couple theorises that healing and growth into wholeness and to complete the unfinished business of childhood, is its ultimate goal. Through suffering in the past you may find yourself on a spiritual or religious path to give you an anchor and a feeling of safety and at all costs you are going to hang onto that as the only right way to be when you enter a relationship. Certain tools or methods may work for you when you experience the next difficult place in life but not your partner and if you are both trying to “tool” each other then you have double whammy know-alls thinking they know best.
As I have mentioned already I believe we are being guided and shown the way every day of our lives and our deepest instinct is the compass for life so simply loving the now and the person you are with is all you can do…let go.