One of the joys of being in a relationship is having a partner to explore life together. You get to learn from each other, overcome challenges together, and begin new life experiences such as traveling or starting a family together.
What do you do when your spouse or partner asks you to attend church or happens to have a different religious background? Often times couples assume they are on the same page when it comes to their beliefs about spirituality, faith, or God without ever having honest conversations with each other about this important aspect of life.
It is common for many young families to feel a desire to attend church or to get back to their faith when they begin a family and have young children. It may be important to one partner that their children have a religious influence in their life. But what do you do when there is disagreement among parents or partners when it comes to faith?
Talk About Faith Early In Your Relationship
One of the hallmarks of healthy relationships is the ability to communicate well. Talking about your religious or spiritual beliefs is an important part of who you are. Your significant other probably wants to know what you find meaningful in life, and your religious beliefs can have a big impact on what you find to be important in relationships.
When I am helping young couples with premarital counseling I make sure to have each of them discuss what religious beliefs they hold, and their expectations for family and faith if they decide to have children together. Often times couples will find that they have some different expectations in this area of family life, and this gives them an opportunity to communicate before they start having children and conflict arises about their differences.
Encourage Your Partner’s Faith Or Religious Beliefs
Often times there is the misperception that supporting your partner’s beliefs requires you to share the same beliefs. It is possible to respect each other’s different ideas about religion, without holding those same truths in your own life.
You can encourage your partner’s beliefs by asking them to share with you what they find to be important, and why those beliefs have made such a big impact in their life.
You can show your support for your significant other by attending church with them. Let them know that you are open to learning about their faith without the expectation that you take on the same beliefs.
Encourage Diversity Of Thought
Don’t expect your partner to think just like you. Learn from each other and spend time participating in spiritual practices that give each of you meaning to your life. Spirituality and faith are about finding meaning and purpose in life and you should encourage that in each other’s lives.
If you don’t share the same beliefs, take time to share spiritual practices together to build a bond. If you happen to have children together this can be a great opportunity to model to your children about diversity, and appreciating the differences that exist in our world.
Religion and spirituality does not need to be a divisive issue in your relationship. Mutual respect and encouraging what is important to your partner will create trust in your relationship that will last for years to come.