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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing the seven pillars of connection that are foundational to every romantic relationship and essential to our work here at Core Values Counseling. 


Each of us has needs for connection in seven distinct areas:

  1. Emotional Connection
  2. Relational Connection
  3. Spiritual Connection
  4. Physical Connection 
  5. Sexual Connection
  6. Financial Connection
  7. Recreational Connection


Today, we’re covering the third pillar: Spiritual Connection.


For many of us, the spiritual connection we share with our partner is informed by a variety of elements: our family story, various spiritual beliefs, different practices, and life experience.


To develop a rich spiritual connection, it’s important for you and your partner to understand one another’s family history. 


What has your journey been? What pieces of your family’s spiritual history do you still hold to? What have you let go of? Are you in alignment with your partner’s spiritual beliefs and practices? If not, can you live out your spiritual lives together, peacefully? Even if you aren’t in perfect alignment, can you support your partner’s beliefs? Can you discuss your spiritual connection together?


To be honest, this can be a conversation you don’t even think of having. For a lot of people, spiritual connection with their partner might not be at the forefront of their minds. But when couples bump up against a crisis in their life, like the death of a loved one, or even just a big life change like having children, these questions often bubble up. 


How do we raise these kids? Do we want to emulate for our children the beliefs that we were raised with or have come to adopt as our own? 


Perhaps one partner is Catholic and the other is Jewish. Chances are they’re going to have to have discussions about how they raise their kids in that context — incorporating different ideas, deciding how to celebrate the holidays and which traditions to keep, etc. 


If you find that discussing your spiritual connection with your spouse brings up a lot of conflict, don’t worry. It’s not uncommon, and we have some resources to help you. 


Learning about dreams within conflict, as the Gottmans put it, can help you better navigate difficult conversations, particularly surrounding a gridlocked issue. Understanding your partner’s dreams within the context of your conflict can help you discover how to reach a compromise


While learning about and developing your spiritual connection, take the opportunity to decide on the different rituals of connection, shared rituals that bring meaning and are things you can count on in your life together.


Now, I realize that some of you may be shaking your heads, thinking, “There’s just no way I can talk about this.” 


Maybe you hold your spiritual life a little close to the vest. Perhaps your ideas about spirituality stay in your head and heart alone. You might even be afraid to speak out or take action on the matter of spiritual connection because you want to keep peace in your relationship. 


Whatever the case may be, it’s critically important that you sit down and communicate and explore that as a couple. What things in the past have triggered you? What experiences were good or bad? What is holding you back from sharing this with your partner?


I would encourage you not to push any of this under the rug. It will inform why you do what you do and affect the two of you more than you know, especially if you have kids. 


Consider this: your kids won’t figure it out on their own. If you aren’t promoting anything, spiritually speaking, you’re promoting nothing. And whether they say it or not, your kids are looking for guidance. We all have this inner desire to know and understand our world, and part of that is the spiritual side of our world.


That’s not to say, however, that you’re expected to have it all figured out — for yourself, your partner, or your kids. Far from it.


Don’t be afraid to have conversations where you don’t understand and don’t have all the answers. Try to be okay being in a place of unknowing. It’s good and healthy to embrace the uncomfortableness of not knowing. That’s where we grow.


Wherever you are with your spiritual connection, we’d encourage you and your partner to set aside some time to talk about this important aspect of your relationship.


If working on your spiritual connection feels daunting, we highly recommend our two-day conference for couples called The Art and Science of Love. Created by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, The Art and Science of Love has been shown to achieve results similar to those of six months of marital therapy. You’ll get practical tools and strategies for connecting better — in all areas — and it’s great for couples of all ages and stages in their relationship. Register today for our next session! 


For help individually or as a couple, our counselors are always here for you. Get in touch today; we’d love to connect with you.