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Relationships and Spirituality - Part 1

  • Dr. Neil Clark Warren for the eHarmony Research Library
  • 2003 12 Jun
Relationships and Spirituality - Part 1

How and why does the agreement on spirituality between two people play such a vital role in their partnership?

Perhaps the most central part of our personality is that part which we refer to as spiritual. When we have blending and harmony between two people in the spiritual area, we become woven together at our deepest levels. I'm convinced that two people who are spiritually alive and vital and who use that spiritual vitality in relation to the other person ultimately end up with a great marriage. When we fail to have spirituality in common, much about us fails to bond. I'd like to discuss the five key parts of the spiritual dimension that two people need to hold in common.

The Essential Internal Nature of Spirituality

The first thing I want to talk about is how internal spirituality is.

You see, what goes on in us, within the very central parts of our beings and our hearts, has to do with the most tender issues of our beings; when we begin sharing all those parts with our mate, then our mate or potential partner has an opportunity to know us at the most fundamental of levels. It's the knowing of another person at the most fundamental of levels that spirituality is really all about. Let me give you a for instance. If you encounter a problem in your life, a problem that really makes you wonder what you should do in response to it, there are several ways that you can approach that problem.

On the one hand, you can go off to a mountain and you can reflect about the problem. You can consider the various things that you can do. You can also pray about it. You can talk about it to this living being called God and you can open up the whole issue, think through it, and receive at the deepest level of your inner being all the bottom-line consequences of that process.

On the other hand, you can go to your office and sit down with a sheet of paper in front of you. You can draw a line down the center of the paper, put "Pros" on the one side and "Cons" on the other side, list all the pros and cons of approaching the matter in each way, and with your rational brain you can think through the best way to deal with this. That's what I would think of as a less spiritual approach. I'm not saying it's a wrong approach, but instead of going inside, into the deeper reaches of yourself, instead of carrying on a conversation on the spiritual level with God, you stay pretty much in the top level of your brain. You approach the problem rationally.

Two people who approach problems differently, one spiritually and one rationally, will often miss each other in the process. My wife, Marylyn, and I share our approach deeply. This can be seen in our response when our daughter was about to have twin sons and she was going through all kinds of difficulties. She eventually was admitted into the hospital and we received a call from our son-in-law that things didn't really look very good. They were probably going to have to take the boys prematurely, and it was so early in their prenatal development there was a good chance things wouldn't work out well.

As soon as we put down the telephone after receiving this news, my wife moved over close to me in bed and we held each other and began to pray. We prayed for those two little boys who were trying to be born healthy, for our daughter who was working so hard to give them longer in prenatal development so that they could be healthy, and for our son-in-law who was working so hard to keep her spirits up and keep her strong. We prayed for a long time, my wife and I.

And when we got done with that, I can promise you that if we could have taken an x-ray of our understanding of our souls and the being of God, we would have seen that we were totally enveloped in God's being. There was a oneness about us and a oneness in our relationship with the Lord that was so vital to our understanding of a proper solution to the problem. When the next morning we discovered that the heart rate of the two little boys had gone up and they wouldn't have to take them at such an early phase, you could imagine our gratitude to this God to whom we talked the night before. But beyond that gratitude there was the sense that Marylyn and I had that we were so much closer together because that event had taken place.

Whenever you encounter a major issue in your life that the two of you can approach on the same spiritual level, one that is such a fundamental and central part of your being, how wonderful it is for the two of you. Entering the internal world is key in all spirituality.

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