Partnership & Marriage as a Spiritual Path...
I guess it is all a spiritual path. Everything. All the time. Everything that happens to you. For you. It is all your human experience, being enlightened with each event. Some are soul crushing, others lift you up to the calmest high you could ever dream of, still others bore you to death with their monotony. Life and all its events and happenings is a spiritual evolution, at least that is what I believe.
I think it matters little what your particular religious beliefs are or are not. Where and what you worship is less important than the fact that you seek guidance from source. And you can call that source whatever you want. Finding likeminded people who can and do support you and worship in the same ways can be life changing and affirming.
Someone asked me years ago if I knew any happily married couples. I immediately said no. But then I thought about it and over the course of a few days, I came up with five couples. Vary ages, socio-economics, different religions (Buddhist, Southern Baptist, Mormon, Catholic and one couple who worships in the house of recovery). And what struck me was that these “successful” couples all had one thing in common: they both shared the same spiritual path. They both turned toward the same God for solutions and solace. They both shared a faith. And while that is not for sure the only things required to make a marriage work, I think it is important.
Accessing and using the same spiritual principles to resolve conflict, celebrate holidays, raise children, spend time, spirituality is best used, in my opinion, as a framework for living. It isn’t something to blindly follow without question but for me, true spiritual growth and peace comes from seeking. And remaining open to all the permutations life brings our way.
I have come to see all my relationships as teachers. My current relationship teaching me a great deal about myself that I would really rather not know. Seriously. I so prefer being single and delusional about my relational capabilities. I can maintain that delusion when the actual relationship part is just theoretical. I am fucking fantastic in those theoretical relationships. I am amazing!
But put me in an actual, intimate relationship with a real live person and all kinds of weird shit starts happening. I am insecure. I do not trust, myself or the other person. My very inconvenient feelings get hurt and I respond badly, often. That whole facade of this fully functional, totally Zen woman begins to crumble as soon as intimacy and authenticity are in what feels like peril.
But I have come to know that all of this means I am growing and evolving as a spiritual being. Forcing myself to grow beyond my current limitations, fears, insecurities and defects. And my relationships are the best and worst place to do this.
For me, relationships, all of them, but most especially intimate, loving, sexual ones, are the place where I see how far I have come and how far I have to go. And on any given day, I have so much work to do and I can pat myself on the back, and enjoy the amazing progress I have made.
I used to date abusive assholes. A string of them, one after the other. Men that weren’t worth my time or energy or love. But as I grew on my own spiritual path, I outgrew those shitty relationships with men that were not capable of ever meeting me where I was, and most didn’t even want to. This feeling of worth and self esteem grew and that caused me to evaluate all my relationships, friends, business associates, employers, my family, my children. And they all got a major overhaul last year. And it was painful. But my life today is better and I feel much further along on my spiritual path, even though I am still sad about some of those that I had to leave behind.
To me, partnership and marriage or just a committed, loving relationship is always where I am going to be forced, and I do mean forced, to do the work. The hard, painful work of growing beyond the places I am comfortable and moving into those areas that scare me. And so long as I look at marriage and commitment in this manner, everything that happens is all news I can use. Sure, it may hurt but life is painful. That is just life. And so are relationships because they are part of life. Today, I judge my spiritual progress by the status, content and nature of my committed, intimate relationships. If they are in chaos, confusion and filled with a great deal of strife and heartache, this is a good indicator that there are good reasons and information to grow beyond my current spiritual station.
Partnership and marriage are not easy. They are hard and involved and often demand things from us that we really do not feel we have to give. For me, so long as I look at these relationships as my spiritual path, I seem to keep evolving, ever changing and finding strength, resolve and faith to keep growing more toward the ideal of who I would like to be. It is hard work, but so far, it is worth all the sweat, effort and pain. I grow because of who I surround myself with, no exceptions. I am always provided the choice to move toward people and relationships that vibrate at a higher frequency, or I can remain mired in those low vibrational ones that make me hate living and loving. I get to choose my spiritual path. And that really has made this journey of life and love so much more rewarding.