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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  • Nadina

    This is so powerful and loving…..

  • Laura Pringle

    There are some people who just HAVE to acknowledge the negative aspects of life, and can’t accept or conceive of a life where someone could progress past that stuff. I am one of those people, so I know how it is.

    Maybe he is worried that you’ll progress so far that you won’t be able to relate on his level of thinking. Maybe he sees merit in the negative things, or a reason why they are there, and is afraid that you won’t want to be with him anymore if you are no longer on “his level”, so he tries to bring you “back to reality”.

    After being married to a “Glass Half Empty” type of guy for half my life, I finally got the courage to break away and find my own life where the glass is half full.
    In doing so, I realized that, although I needed to remove myself from that way of existing, the negatives are very real, and they are sometimes quite difficult to transcend.

    It has occurred to me that they ARE there for a reason, to be acknowledged, processed, and from there we decide who we are against their backdrop. Maybe some people are supposed to dwell more on their level for some karmic reason we just don’t understand.

  • SL

    Thank you for this beautiful, courageous answer Annie. Very inspiring and helpful!

    Lovingly,

    SL

  • Jannietta

    I found this article and the comments very helpful. My husband often dwells on the negative side of life or ‘reality’ as he sees it and I findit difficult sometimes to stay positive and hopeful around him. And yet at other times he is very open to seeing things differently. As SL says perhaps this is just his path for now – instead of getting sucked onto his path I need to remain faithful to mine – and too the marraige too of course. This asks me to be both creative and loving in the ways I handle my life.

  • mewabe

    Great insights in this article, yet can we look at the issue from a complementary perspective?

    Many people seek something, whether it is spirituality or something else, to attempt to lift themselves of a preexisting condition, a general state of unhappiness and lack of satisfaction in their lives.

    They appear to do so with some effort, yet are often so extremely vulnerable to being brought down again and almost instantly, by another person’s negative remark, by world events, by anything seemingly “negative” that comes to their attention, to the point that they become very fearful of all “negativity” and often end up choosing extreme emotional and psychological protection and denial.

    Shouldn’t we ask why that is?

    Is it “normal” to be so vulnerable to “negativity”? Isn’t this an indication that the foundation of the personality is not very solid? That negativity is still inside the person, and only needs a trigger to come out again, from within, in devastating force, as when feeling “slayed” by a remark?

    So wouldn’t a better process be to acknowledge and heal this inner negativity, this inner wound, this unstable foundation, whatever it is, rather than run away from it, rather than trying to rise above it?

    When true inner healing and true inner peace are achieved, no remark, from anyone, can slay a person, cut a person to the quick. All negative remarks are immediately, spontaneously, fully understand to be coming from a place of hurt or/and fear in the other person, and compassion is the natural, spontaneous response.

    Just some thoughts, as all relationships are as a mirror held by another to reveal what we do not not know, what we have suppressed about ourselves.

  • Therese

    mewabe,

    You said:
    “Just some thoughts, as all relationships are as a mirror held by another to reveal what we do not not know, what we have suppressed about ourselves.”

    I agree, mostly, with what you said, but not entirely. Sometimes looking in that mirror, and seeing what is reflecting back, is a way of remembering what we have already noticed about ourselves. The trigger feeling is a reminder that we have already dealt with it, but, perhaps, not practiced it long enough, or well enough to eliminate the automatic response to it. The response is a habitual physical response, not necessarily a “real” response, if you will.

    That being said, I can certainly tell you that I raised a mighty outcry when it was suggested that my response to my mother in law was because I was mirroring her behavior! Dang it, if, upon truthful examination, it wasn’t true! Not in exact behavior, but what was behind that behavior.

    Those three words, “I love you.” really do have the power to transform, especially if they come from a place of knowing they apply to ourselves as well.

    Therese

  • mewabe

    Therese,

    I understand, no one likes to be told that, in a crisis with another person, they are mirroring each other. I would personally not do this in person, because it is not my role to tell anyone else how to be. I believe that for insight to be effective and powerful, it must come from within, not from another person. Likewise, a good therapist never tell you what you are feeling or should feel, but lets you figure it out.

    I agree that habitual responses are not always easily relinquished, and that at time, the behavior or the issue is not totally unconscious. When it is unconscious, it is a lot harder to face of course.

    It is all a matter of choice, do we choose to heal or do we choose to keep perceiving ourselves to be victimized by others and highly vulnerable to the slightest negativity, as are all “walking wounded” whose wounds have not been attended to and mended?

    Saying “I love you” is always good when it is really meant, but there is more than this in healing. It’s a good foundation, but inner work must be done, if one is to “know thyself” and to choose growth.

  • Inger Lise

    Mewabe, Laura, Theresa.

    It is much wisdom about these things told by you.
    “To face oneself” is not easy. To me it became “hard work”…a step-by-step-process,” and am sure it is not “over and done with” either. It is always new conceptions coming up. It is no violence in the marriage of mine….obviously of us talking about “the normal” partnerships in this case ?
    I have learned “to know myself” through a long marriage, which of could not have done in the same amount of to find “other places.”

    Happiness must come from “within,” nobody can tell you how to be happy if not to find it within.
    The Advice of Nancy will be good if you are searching for it, but as Mewabe says, you will have to find the own solution. It is no “cases” to be the same.

    If any violence in a marriage…then it is better of to leave each others, even if it is the kids involved(it is the own opinion of course).

  • Inger Lise

    sorry, a correction ..not “Nancy” but Annie.