Many people think of spirituality as something connected to organized religion. Certainly that is one path to spirituality. Some people also consider being spiritual as the opposite of being physical. If it has to do with the body it doesn’t have to do with spirituality. Actually, spirituality touches the lives of those who go to religious services and those who don’t. It touches our physical selves as well as our souls, or unseen selves.
One newly-married wife said that she had been raised in a very religious family, but when she met her fiancé she stopped practicing her faith. He did not have a strong religious background and had no desire for a faith community, though he believed in God. Over the last year, however, she began to feel a need to attend church again. She discovered that when she goes to church she feels more peaceful. He discovered that they get along better. Even though he still does not go to church, he supports her desire to go. They both realize it will be a challenge when they have children, although he has no objection to raising them in her religious tradition.
Couples like this one do not share the way they express their spirituality, but they respect each other for the way they live out their spiritual lives. This is key. Couples who do share the same faith expression experience many benefits. Worshiping together helps them to feel closer. In difficult times their shared reliance on religious beliefs can bring comfort.
Spirituality influences how we view the world and relationships. After 9/11, the United States saw a kind of spiritual awakening. Attendance at religious services increased and people talked about the meaning of life and the spirit of sacrifice. Married couples talked more openly about their love for each another and not taking the other for granted.
For most people, the desire for a spiritual dimension in their life is strong and finding a way to express it is a quest. We live out, as best we can, what we believe is a good life in conformity with our values. This sometimes puts us at odds with our culture. “Love does no evil to the neighbor;” says St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, “therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Our efforts to live a good life, to live with love as our north star, will be the hallmark of our spiritual selves.
For Further Reading:
- Together but Alone: When God Means Something Different to Your Spouse by Donna Erickson Couch
- The Busy Family’s Guide to Spirituality by David Robinson
- Six Sacred Rules for Families: Spirituality for the Home by David Gibson
- Prayers for the Domestic Church: A Handbook for Worship in the Home
- A Community of Love: Spirituality of Family Life by David Thomas
- God is Love: The Heart of Christian Faith by Father Anthony Kelly
- Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making by Father Timothy Gallagher
- Called to Marriage: Journeying Together Toward God by Carol Luebering
- Spousal Prayer: A Way to Martial Happiness by Deacon James Keating
- 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other by Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes