It’s very easy to romanticize spirituality. Spirituality promises peace, relief, happiness, healing, strength, and it delivers on these and more. What we don’t realize is that none of the benefits of spirituality are promised as a pouring in from the outside. No benefits are available without personal responsibility.

Spirituality is an inner orientation and it uncovers the peace, healing and happiness that are already there.

Each of us has these two forces at work inside us: an embryonic wisdom that wants to blossom from the depths of our being, and the imprisoning weight of our karmic patterns. From birth to death, these two forces are always at work, and our lives hang in the balance. Since human nature always contains these two sides, our journey involves working with both.

— John Welwood

There’s bliss in spirituality, but the path isn’t all blissful. It’s not always smooth and harmonious. It’s not made for avoidance. It’s not a shortcut or bypass. There’s traffic and dirty dishes, horrid emotions and physical aches. That’s existence.

Bliss is incredibly seductive. If it’s there as a result of being real with oneself, a fountain found under our debris, bliss is a gift. If it’s there as an attachment or vehicle for avoidance, it’s no different than any other addiction.

two paths
We ourselves must walk the path. — Buddha

This is where spirituality is romanticized. We think just because we have teachings and are dedicated, we get a free pass. Spirituality works wonderfully as long as we realize that it’s a process and not a forgone conclusion.

There’s also quite a bit of misinterpretation of the actual teachings. Spirituality predominantly emphasizes goodness, love, kindness, forgiveness, giving, compassion, and rightly so.

These aren’t romantic notions. They’re not meant to be practiced to our own detriment. We can be kind to a coworker, but we can also speak up when needed. We can forgive someone who keeps hurting us, but we don’t have to stay with them.

When spiritual teachings are put into practice at our own expense, they lose all power and effectiveness.

Where we really get into hot water is when romanticized spirituality is carried over into any committed relationship.

Relationships are a huge subject. We spend our entire life interacting in familial, intimate, social, and work relationships. This focuses on one major area:

  • Having a partner who isn’t actively pursuing their spirituality

A disclaimer: Spirituality can be many things. Here it is the active, conscious, daily, practice-based application of teachings.

If a partner claims their spirituality is ‘something’ else, that may be valid as long as it helps them show up in openness and harmony, from a place of growth and accountability so that the relationship is enriched.

Most often it’s the case that the partner simply doesn’t have a spiritual orientation to life.

This is a hard subject to write about. There’s no hierarchy, no ‘better than.’ Only an accounting of what many are living with and the pitfalls of such situations.

Practice-based teachings have a time factor. It’s not any different than committing to a workout routine, or whatever suits a person. The difference kicks in when the non-practicing partner questions the value of one’s sacred time. Questions begin about its value, contribution to the household, time away from the relationship, and most importantly there’s no understanding as to ‘why.’

This creates a rift. It can’t be spun. It can’t be rationalized. The rift then widens because spirituality taken to heart shifts one’s worldview in radical ways.

The practicing partner is left with a couple of choices:

  1. Compromise and/or miss practice time, reducing quality of life
  2. Negotiate practice time, but live with a growing sense of disconnection

Neither is so great.

The practicing partner wants to be loyal to the teachings, wants to behave in the right way, to give their partner love, understanding, support and encouragement. This is part of the practice after all. And s/he has more resources to be giving. But there’s an inherent trap.

Being a couple can’t be one-sided. It’s engineered for equality and sharing.

Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes.

— Patricia Fry

It’s understood that no one is whole in the full sense of the word. We’re all healing many wounds, consciously or not. And there’s the rub. While one person is working on themselves and the relationship, the other is perhaps at a standstill. Unawakened healing and growth can be detrimentally slow, if it activates at all.

Only one partner growing within themselves is a sure recipe for growing apart. The growth container of only one partner cannot forever hold and carry the other partner. It’s bound to self-destruct.

There’s a slow poison that seeps into the relationship. It creates tension, walking on eggshells around each other, and mutual resentment. It saps the peace out of one’s practice, and undercuts the couple’s bond.

True spiritual teachings tend to be aspirational. They are expansive, inclusive and inspire us. Ironically this leads to easy misinterpretation. Teachings aren’t meant to be used to make excuses to ourselves about our partner. They aren’t meant to create more self-deception.

We must learn to love wisely.

I will no longer allow anyone to manipulate my mind and control my life in the name of love.

— Miguel Ruiz

Please seriously consider contributing. Teacher / Master-Practitioner and sole proprietors like myself, have been severely affected by COVID-19. The note below is always attached, but I’m making a special appeal for your generosity. Thank you in advance.

Each post for the Reiki Help Blog can take up to 7 days to write/research, proofread/edit, and post with an appropriate image and formatting. If you leave this space with any value, knowledge, joy or understanding, please consider making a donation of your choice.


“I meditate but my partner does not”

6 thoughts on ““I meditate but my partner does not”

  • 02/05/2013 at 2:07 PM

    This is a very thoughtful post that’s full of truth and wisdom. Parallel growth patterns don’t exist in relationships. We are each unique individuals on our own healing journey. Our needs get us into most relationship problems. We seek out people,
    consciously or unconsciously, that fulfill our needs, rather than filling our needs ourselves. A true loving relationship that is free of dependence on the other is a relationship built on complementarity rather then need. Maintaining a relationship that’s not poisoned by insecurities and unrealistic expectations driven by neediness is no small feat, for it does seem that most are in relationships based on need.

    • 02/05/2013 at 4:39 PM

      Thanks and welcome! What you say is very true and well put. Relationships are entered into without healing the core wound, and not doing so inside the relationship either, thus ‘needs’ and a whole lot of drama. I may have to quote you when I post about “relationships.” This post is specifically about the unique challenges of one partner engaging in a daily practice, while the other doesn’t.

      • 02/06/2013 at 6:37 PM

        I’m pleased to know you found value in my words because commenting is not my strong suit. I find overcoming the introvert’s choice to remain silent is not an easy thing to do. I do apologize for what appears to be an off-topic comment, but isn’t the challenge for those in who do have a spiritual practice not to judge those who don’t have one, whether or not they reside under the same roof and sleep in the same bed?

        • 02/06/2013 at 7:06 PM

          You write and express yourself very well, and have a lot to add. I encourage you to keep commenting here and elsewhere.

          Maybe we got our signal crossed. It’s not off-topic. It’s just that relationships are a large topic, and what I wanted to address here was one, rather unique aspect that I don’t see too many writing about.

  • Pingback:Year-end 2013: A Review of Posts | Reiki Help Blog :: Oasis Reiki Dojo

  • Pingback:Romanticizing Relationships | Reiki Help Blog :: Oasis Reiki Dojo

Comments are closed.