Here are seven ways to make a relationship work between an atheist and a spiritual person.
I’ve never liked the word devout. Whenever I hear it, I imagine bloody knees, bent in prayer, belonging to a person who spends more time praying about life than actually living it.
Yet, it’s the only word I can think of that truly captures how I would describe my relationship with spirituality.
I had my Come to Jesus moment after a suicide attempt went awry, resulting in my life being saved. As I lay in a pool of my own blood, I felt warm, magnetic energy around me—uplifting me.
That was more than a decade ago, and, ever since, spirituality has become an inseparable part of my life. From daily prayer to meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, Spirit Guides, and beyond, I live and breathe my beliefs, acknowledging them every minute of every day.
So, when I first met my partner, who is an I’ll believe it when I see it kind of guy, I didn’t expect anything—except for nothing to happen between us.
Fast-forward three years, and we’ve built a life together. We share a home, a bank account, a child, and more. He has become one of my best friends, and one of my closest confidants, and we support each other through everything. Like when I told him I wanted to start a spiritual business, and he said it was a great idea and asked how he could help. And how when he told me he wanted to try military contracting to make more money, I said I’d support whatever he wants to do.
So how do we make it work? By understanding and accepting these things about ourselves and our relationship:
1. There are times when our world views collide.
This happened when I miscarried months before becoming pregnant with our daughter. For me, while difficult, I knew wholeheartedly there was a bigger picture at play. But he didn’t. And to him, it was a devastating blow that sent him spiraling into a deep depression that lasted for weeks. During that time, it felt like we were operating in silos, as strangers rather than loving partners. And to make it through, we had to both set aside our egos and be there for each other in a loving and gentle way.
2. His reality is just as real to him as my reality is to me.
In my world, everything happens for a reason, and when challenges arise, I ask myself What can I learn from this? In his world, everyone is dealt a hand, and sometimes life is just unfair. We recognize we each experience life differently and this allows us to communicate more openly and empathetically in the process.
3. We’re driven by different forces.
He has a money-first mindset (which is why he was willing to risk his life in the Middle East to make more money), and it affects all of his decisions. I have a purpose-first mindset (which is why I prioritized starting a spiritual business rather than focusing on building a corporate career), and it impacts all of my decisions. While sometimes these differences cause tension, we’ve realized compatibility and similarity aren’t synonymous.
4. We’re still evolving.
Life is constantly evolving, and so, too, is our relationship. We aren’t the same people we were when we first met, or last year, or even last month. Our lives will always be in flux, and so too will our relationship. In the future, it’s possible we’ll grow together, but it’s also possible we’ll grow apart. Knowing this, we’re able to detach from a particular outcome, and let our relationship flow more effortlessly.
5. Our love isn’t about conformity.
When it comes to my relationship, I’ve realized that our love isn’t about conformity or ownership—it’s about patience, support, and connection. He has his beliefs and I have mine, and that’s okay because I’m in love with him, not his beliefs.
6. We make decisions for us, not for other people.
There’s no pressure in our relationship, and we don’t do things according to external timelines. Like getting married—even though we share a family, we feel no need to formalize our relationship. We make decisions for us, when and if we feel they make sense.
7. At our core, we’re both the same.
Both of us are spiritual beings, having a human experience. And our relationship has brought us together for a moment in time, to grow and learn from one another. And that’s why it doesn’t matter if he’s an atheist and I’m a spiritualist or any other label, because at the end of it all, as Doris Day once sang, “Que será, será / Whatever will be, will be.” And whatever that is, I will remain grateful for our time together, however long or short that may be.
Keep reading: "Mindful Sexuality, Divine Sexuality."