How to have a happy marriage when only one partner is on the spiritual path?
My husband truly loves me, and I him, yet he rains on my parade sometimes and it cuts me to the quick. I can be in such a happy place and he says something that just slays me. I should tell you that I love CWG and am doing several of the Advanced Programs, but he can’t really “go there” with me. He sort of half-tries, but doesn’t follow through. He’s not one to show his emotions but I think he might be a little afraid when I step out on a limb without him. Although he is quite conservative, he isn’t religious, so he’s not afraid I’ll go to hell or anything like that. Maybe he’s just threatened? How can I stay in my joy when he says things that bring me down?… Nancy
Dear Nancy… Oh, have I seen this before and I feel great empathy for you, knowing this is a huge Soul issue. Although it isn’t easy for some men to open up emotionally, I am a firm believer in completely open and honest dialogue. Even if he has a hard time talking about his feelings, is he a good listener? Have you tried having a sweet, loving, heart-to-heart talk with him about how you feel?
Having been happily married for 22 years some thoughts come to mind:
1. Whenever my hubby, Greg, and I have been at odds about something it’s helped us to remember, We’re on the same team. We are not adversaries, we are team-mates!
2. We share everything… or at least I do! I am a completely open book and there’s nothing I won’t tell him. If there is something that might be potentially hurtful I make doubly sure to say it with great love.
3. I should tell you that I used to embarrass Greg by my happy-go-lucky nature. He was also quite conservative and reserved, but I, like my Dad, never met a stranger, so am very outgoing. I’ll just talk with anybody and everybody and it’s always felt very natural to me. Greg wasn’t like that at all, and really didn’t know how to take me and would say things that hurt me, although he loved me very much. When I ask him now how he got over it, he’s not really sure, but says he realized that people gravitate towards me and that was more interesting than just being with boring people! Maybe over time he realized that there is nothing to be afraid of, by my being happy and outgoing. I certainly wasn’t flirting with other men or anything. I was just enjoying life and all it has to offer.
And that brings up perhaps the most important point: What is your husband afraid of? Does he think he’ll lose you if you go down the spiritual path alone? If you are firm in your conviction to stay committed to your marriage regardless of whether he “goes there” with you, then you need to tell him that in clear, loving language so that he really gets it. I recommend a little getaway in a romantic place for a few days where you can just focus on each other without all the distractions of home. Just doing this important talk over dinner out someplace, then going back home, isn’t enough, in my opinion.
Go somewhere for several days and home in on why you fell in love and got married in the first place. Focus on each other’s positive aspects, not any perceived negative ones. Come back together and re-commit to sharing your lives in the most positive way possible. When the moment feels right, hold his hand, look deeply into his eyes and share very briefly that it feels bad when he rains on your parade. Say it in a sentence or two but don’t dwell on it. Immediately tell him, “I know you don’t mean to hurt me, so I just wanted you to know I’ll feel a lot better if you don’t do that anymore.” Then smile and tell him, “I love you.” Those three little words have the power to change everything.
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Life Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com
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