Can Marriage Survive Conflicting Spiritual Beliefs?
Can the Couple Fix Spiritual Differences?
The Impact of the Differing Spiritual Beliefs on Marriage
Spiritual beliefs are fundamental conscious view points and values that inform a person’s attitude and way of life. These foundational blocks are acquired through various social institutions starting with the family and community informal education system; they are accumulated throughout life and therefore transcend the grave.
Marriage is a matrimonial agreement between the two adults that socially binds the parties to provide affection and share conjugal rights, financial support, domestic support, family commitment, recreation companionship and all other human wants and needs. Marriage is a legal social system through which children born out of such social bond are given legitimacy which secure general protection and sustainable spiritual, social and financial resources.
Possible cause of conflicting spiritual beliefs!
- Communication flaws during dating: Dating is a period of revealing self to the other person with a purpose of ensuring that all important information gradually is freely disclosed and discussed in a safe environment of intimacy. When both parties openly talk about deep personal issues, they will be able to address their spirituality because it is an integral factor of matrimonial agreement. It is a root socialization tool which informs moral standards and a point of reference of starting a family. It is ideal for dating couple to express they spirituality because it is a deciding factor at that stage
- Poor pre-marital counseling: The subject of spirituality is an important one if the couple worships at the same church. If not, most counseling professionals include it as an opening session because it is truly important. Nonetheless it could be overlooked by those who look for compatibility on career, sexuality and social aspects of life. If it is not addressed at this stage, it becomes a serious oversight.
- Intentional omission: Spirituality subject could be omitted intentionally where one party eagerly seek marriage and regard the matter as something that will be sorted out later. That is would be a serious omission because marriage is a life-long binding arrangement and issues of spirituality must be addressed and agreed upon by two parties.
Can Conflicting spiritual beliefs in a marriage be fixed?
Life is dynamic and requires marriage couples to address ongoing learning and spiritual exposure as and when it comes, openly. Most unmarried adults people do not want to address their spiritual beliefs differences even to their parents because they would not want to hear any contrary view from their own children. Often this tip-toeing attitude around spiritual (and political) issues encourages intentional omission of these subjects. Can conflicting beliefs be left unattended forever? No! In marriage this subject is a burning issue and directly impact daily family norms therefore must be addressed. Let us consider the conditions under which they could be discussed safely:
- Individual personal growth: If you are like most of us, you gained most of life changing knowledge later in life and therefore it was not a deciding factor at the dating stage. In an ideal marriage environment, there is no fear in addressing challenging subjects like spiritual beliefs. This means it is expected that the couple discloses their feelings as part of daily briefing about their respective experiences. It also says you can tell your spouse about the direction of your spiritual growth so that you can get his support. That is, you must truthfully tell him or her how you want to respond to a particular spiritual knowledge that changed your initial spiritual beliefs. It is amazing to note that most people have adequate social intelligence but lack the most integral contents of the real being – the spiritual self and its needs. Often the couple would not have a serious problem on social growth and its ensuing family norms interruption. For an example, your promotion which requires you to travel a lot but brings salary increase would be tolerated because you probably discussed such upward mobility when you projected your career plans prior to tying the knot.
- Principle of individualism: While you probably agreed to married your spouse because of physical attraction and the level of compatibility, you knew that it would be impossible to agree on everything. If the principle of individualism has not been addressed as a subject initially, it would be ideal to engage in this difficult talk before issues of spiritual beliefs emerge. This denotes that you have to agree to disagree. Because mankind is a spiritual being with both social and spiritual gifts, it follows that to live a fulfilling life; the subject of individualism cannot be ignored. The impact of changed spiritual beliefs in one marriage partner brings a stir in family routine because:
- On daily basis that member will require a separate time to satisfy this need.
- He or she will attend certain meetings or worship ceremonies and that must not be subject to the other partner’s approval.
- When raising children, it will be a huge gap to bridge. While such a member would want to change his/her lifestyle, raising children under such environment would be challenging. For an example, while the couple would have agreed on the principle of individualism, the husband would want to keep the family together as part of his functional role as a head of the family. Understandably, rearing children in such environment would challenge the father position and efforts of establishing a strong family bond! On the other hand, as a couple, they would have to consider the fact that children are temporary companions who will soon leave and pursue their own lives. So, should parents put their lives on hold until the children leave home?
These are real challenges which have already ruined many families. From the woman’s point of view, most religions including Christians would advise the woman to remember to submit under the husband. Now the burning issue would be to what degree should a woman submit under the unbelieving husband on issues of her spiritual belief? On the other hand if it were the husband who has joined a cult for an example, the wife would be coerced to submit to her husband’s spiritual directives.
The issue of spirituality is subjective and cannot truly be fairly addressed without infringing on one party’s personal rights. In this era of information explosion, married couples are impacted by different religious groups. This matter has become a spiritual thorn. With the advent of the growing publicity regarding human rights and changing ideology regarding same sex marriage, abortion and stem cells concepts; issues of spiritual beliefs are growing and there is a dilemma with regard to married people’s reaction to most of them. From the spiritual point of view, marriage is a permanent legal agreement which cannot be terminated unless if one party has committed an adultery. The burning question is, should families and the society weigh adultery against differing spiritual beliefs to justify a divorce?
Agree to Disagree!
Spiritual Personal Growth Could be a Positive Change!
Love without trust is like a car without petrol. Negotiating for support in respect of personal spiritual growth is a major challenge. It requires both parties to remember their commitment to cleave to each other until death. It is looking at the subject of spirituality with an open mind and seeking information from those who are on the route of spiritual enlightenment. As the contesting spouse acquire knowledge he or she may see that perhaps he or she is the one who left behind and therefore take a lesser harsh approach in accepting such spiritual change. Often spiritual growth tends to impact a person positively.