It can be so painful for couples when they do not share the same religious beliefs. They can experience feelings of disconnection and loss with not being able to fully share one another’s spiritual faith and cultural traditions.
When partners enter their marriage being the same faith and one partner then begins questioning that faith or even decides to leave that faith, both parties may experience this discrepancy in their faith and leaving the faith as a betrayal.
Often times, the partner who is going through a faith crisis or who desires to leave the faith feels betrayed by the faith as they come to discover information that contradicts what had been taught by their religious leaders. This partner may also feel betrayed by their partner if their partner doesn’t share the same concerns or feelings of betrayal by the faith and in fact still loves and affiliates strongly with that faith.
The partner who maintains their faith can feel betrayed by the partner experiencing the faith crisis, especially to the extent that they married based on the trust that they would continue as partners in that particular faith: raise their children in that faith, practice the rituals and traditions of that faith and participate actively in that faith community. It can feel like a broken promise and that their dreams of the life they aspired to create for themselves and their children is being taken away by the very person they are supposed to be creating the dream with.
Both partners often feel very alone and isolated in their unique struggles. They often feel angry and hurt as they grieve these losses in isolation from one another. They often view each other as the source of their pain and therefore struggle to turn to one another as a source of comfort and support in processing their thoughts and emotions. They can become paralyzed with fear, hurt and distrust that the other can be a source of finding solutions that address both of their concerns.
Partners in these situations often find themselves either walking on eggshells and growing more and more distant for fear of discussing the deeper things in their minds and hearts: they don’t want to fight and cause a greater disconnect. Or they may actively reach for one another in ways that they misinterpret as criticism and attacks against which they must defend their deeply help spiritual convictions. The chasm grows as they feel more disconnected an unable to navigate the changes.
Faith crises can be very traumatic for both partners. It can make it difficult for them to turn to one another for comfort and support because their fears of losing each other loom so high.
Active members whose partners are struggling with their faith or have gotten to the point of leaving the church, often feel betrayed because they may have married their partner in large part due to the fact they they both desired to build their life together as active members of the church. With many faiths, faith crises carry implications of great fear of loss and genuine risk of loss: loss of connection with the community, extended family, loss of personal and marital identify, and sometimes loss of spiritual connection with each other and with God.
Emotionally Focused Therapy effectively helps couples navigate these challenges in a way that addresses the heart of the spiritual, cultural and relational fears of loss in a way that can help couples reconnect and strengthen their emotional and spiritual bond with one another.
You don’t have to lose each other if one of you loses your faith. You become a safe haven and secure base for each other by recognizing that the fear of losing your connection or the pain of actual loss of connection with each other, your family, your community, culture and God are what is underlying the pain.
The therapists at AZRI can help you navigate this frightening time and help you heal and strengthen your emotional and spiritual bond with one another. We can also facilitate you being able to maintain, repair and strengthen connections with extended family, friends and your church and faith community.
You don’t have to lose each other, you don’t have to lose your connection with God, and you don’t have to lose your connection with your community. It is a transition and it can be a very difficult one, but ultimately it can be accomplished and your marriage and family can come out on the other side of it stronger.
Faith and Spirituality Issues Addressed in EFT Counseling