Marriages often become a way for us to live out prescribed roles. It can be an easy and simple way of managing a relationship. Husbands do XYZ, wives do ABC. Everyone fulfills there role and things go smoothly.
I like to think of it as going to the store and buying a marriage kit. It doesn’t take much creativity you just color by number and in the end it looks presentable.
This works for a lot of people. It was certainly how I interacted in my marriage for years!
A faith transition can mess up all of this. It can cause one or both partners to questions and reevaluate their respective roles. This basically messes up the equilibrium in a marriage. We hate this part. It feels unstable, and scary and upsetting. We want things to be like they used to be, but we kind of know there is no going back.
If the husband has been fulfilling the role of the spiritual leader and now he is in a faith crisis – that role is now unfulfilled in the marriage. It feels like something has gone wrong or there is a problem.
For me I was the spiritual director of my family and when I had my faith transition, this role was unfulfilled and it felt weird and unsettling for everyone.
It is common for resentment, confusion, and blame to creep in when there is an unfilled role.
Intimacy, real intimacy is not created in marriages based on roles but based on two individuals working in partnership and constantly negotiating and renegotiating.
Intimacy uses the raw material of marriage and create something totally unique and every changing. Intimacy is messy and not always presentable.
It is also what we usually want more than anything in our relationships.
Intimacy forces us to go deeper and see relationship as more than just fulfilling roles. It forces us to negotiate over and over and over and accept the dynamic nature of any relationship.
It forces us to accept the dynamic nature of our partner.
Many couples who go through a faith transition either completely fall apart or come out stronger in the end. Those who lean into intimacy and develop that are those who find their marriage is more satisfying then ever. Intimacy is hard work, it is scary and requires vulnerability and failure. But it is also necessary to really break out of the role mentality and embrace the partner and marriage and make it work in this new mixed faith marriage.
Are you ready to develop intimacy an the skills that come with it? This is what I teach my clients. We figure out what is preventing intimacy and how to let it flourish.
Talk to you soon,