spiritual transition and marriage

spiritual transition and marriage May 4, 2012

Lisa and I at our engagement party in 1979.

This is a photo of Lisa and me at our engagement party in 1979. Oh my God what a babe. And she’s gorgeous too! Today we celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. It’s been an incredible journey, and I love where we are.

I have been thinking a lot today about spiritual transition and marriage. I was talking with someone recently who said that when one of the partners in a marriage goes through profound spiritual upheaval and transition, their marriage almost always “ends up in the shitter“. That’s what he said. I agree. That’s what I’ve witnessed as well.

Lisa and I have gone through some pretty scary spiritual transitions throughout our marriage, but none as profound, cataclysmic or traumatic as the past two years. Well, when you get right down to it, the last 6 months. Let me be honest: there were days I did not think, nor did she, that we were going to make it. But we did. So far. We’re stronger for it. And that’s all we can ask for.

What has kept us together? It certainly has not been theological agreement. It has not been spiritual compatibility. It has not been authority and submission or adherence to basic fundamental beliefs. We do not even believe it has been divine intervention.

I’ll tell you what I think it is that kept us together: love! And this is what our love looks like: we affirm an individual’s right, responsibility and privilege to search for, find and walk their own spiritual path. I love Lisa. She loves David. Whatever path she is on or I am on is not her or me. It is just our respective paths. I am one of the most confused people on the planet. But I admit it. And she knows it. However, she loves me in spite of it and affirms my search. Because when the sun sets, it is still David lying next to her, loving her and believing in her and appreciating her beauty, inside and out.

This applies to church, to religious community. This is how we practiced being pastors of our churches. We affirmed the spiritual walk of others. We loved the person, affirmed their search and edified their paths. This is how relationship works. This is how our inherent unity is manifested.

It is not from agreement, similarity or compatibility, but from an affirming, inclusive love.

To celebrate our anniversary today, all my art is 50% OFF!! Just type in the word “anniversary” when you go to my gallery. Today only!

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  • Blessings and congratulations, David and Lisa. May you have many more incredible years together.

  • /gratz 😀

  • Helen

    A big congrats to you both. And I am love-ing the words that you wrote above. I googled 32nd wedding anniversary and it said “This Wedding Anniversary does not have any traditional materials or symbols associated with it”. So how about that.

  • Nancy B

    Dave and Lisa, congratulations on your anniversary. I have seen your love when it was new and fresh, and have observed the challenges you faced as individuals and as a couple over these many years. David, you have never lost the heart of a seeker, and Lisa, you are steadfast, an anchor, the strong harbor of life. Blessings to you both.

  • thanks my friends 🙂

  • David,
    Congratulations to you both. I really appreciate your openness in what you write. Both my wife and I are at a similar place in our journey of detox from the RM (religious matrix). We just celebrated # 33 in March. I love what you said about individual paths. That really helps. So thank you for sharing your story, it has provided encouragement.

  • thanks michael. it’s nice to know we’re not alone. blessings!

  • MLE

    …and also provided encouragement for a mere three yearer. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mad =^..^= (AKA ccws)

    Wow. Just wow. Here’s to (at least) 32 more great years! (((((HUGGZ)))))

  • Ruthie

    Happy 32nd Anniversary! May you have many many more happy years!

  • Sarah

    That’s like me and my partner. Well done, David and Lisa x

  • Well said David. You really do have an amazing wife and I know that you know that! And she has a very courageous husband.

  • Daisy

    Wow! Congrats on your anniversary and thanks for sharing. Individual paths – oh so true!

  • Congratulations David. I hope you can keep it together through everything.

    I must admit, I’m scared about the possibility of my own marriage ending up in the shitter, for the reasons you give. I love and trust my wife, and I don’t see how that could happen, but I’ve seen it often enough that I’m not going to make the mistake of assuming that we’re completely different from everyone else.

  • yep. assume nothing. take nothing for granted.

  • This has been my experience almost exactly. I think when we realize that our faith is just one part of the person that we love, it makes it much easier to grow & change. Congratulations to you for the years behind, and on the years ahead.

  • Tom Wallek

    I am thankful for you David and especially grateful for your honesty. I wish I had those words you wrote ten years ago when I had a spiritual breakdown. But I’m on the other side now and have found the Peace again. Change is painful but the freedom I know now is worth all the confusion and pain. The mystery grows but so does our faith. Congratulations on 32. “Love” as the muskrats say, “will keep you together”. Much blessing and gratitude for your input everyday !

  • You give me hope. I’m going through a spiritual upheaval right now, and it’s been hard on my wife.

  • Thanks so much Tom for your very kind words. Same to you 🙂

  • That. Is wonderful. And on SO many levels. “Inclusive love” – that covers – everything! Congratulations to you both! & may the years ahead grow ever richer!! xx