My wife and I have two very different spiritualities. How do we deal with this in our marriage?
Marriage helps us to satisfy three deep human hungers:
A hunger to belong: You are a couple, a family, a household of faith!
A hunger for meaning: You call out each other’s gifts. She appreciates the new sidewalk he laid. He is in awe of how she manages to keep all the bills paid on time.
A hunger for God: Humans are not satisfied with mere humanness. They long for the transcendent, for the God in whose image they were created.
What is wonderful in a marriage is that you seek to satisfy these hungers with your beloved. You are not alone. You have a “running buddy” on the arduous path of life.
Now, while you make the journey together, you still experience it uniquely. At times your pace differs; your ability to navigate hills and rugged terrain may not be
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equal. What’s easy for one, may be a sharp pain in the side for the other. You may even wear different brands of running shoes. What’s most important however, is that you are on the path together. You are headed in the same direction; you are seeking ultimate union with God.
Our spirituality is very individual. We each ponder many questions: What is my image of God? How do I pray? What spiritual practices nurture my relationship with God? How do I seek God in the everyday? What is my response to God’s love?
No one, not even a spouse, can answer these questions for his his or her partner.
While the questions are intrinsic to every human journey, the answers are wonderfully unique. One of you finds intimacy with Jesus at eucharistic adoration; your partner feels closest to God while walking in the woods. A favorite CD of spiritual songs played in the car on the way to work is morning prayer for him; she prefers the reflections in her daily devotional. Together, they share Eucharist on Sunday morning.
This diversity brings richness and depth to the spirituality of your family, but now another important question: How do your individual spiritualites nourish your household of faith? How does each individual’s relationship with God cause him/her to love better, to serve better, to live more fully as a disciple of Christ? We can’t run the path with our heads under bushel baskets.
Our light must shine. What are the fruits of your individual spirituality that build up your marriage and family? Ultimately, the two individual lights are to become one stronger, brighter beam that illuminates the Kingdom of God in this world.
In a marriage we can help one another “live the questions” and we can share our experiences of that endeavor. We become united on the journey we make individually, together.
(Christ is a consultant in ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The married mother of four young adult children, she gives talks and workshops, leads retreats and is a spiritual director. Christ self-publishes materials for parishes, and is the author of “Journeying with Mark,” “Journeying with Luke” and “Journeying with Matthew.” Published by Paulist Press, the books are intended to be used by families in the car on the way to Mass.)