What do you do when you and your partner no longer agree?
I know all about it. Lisa and I were there. Still are!
For years, even decades, we were pretty much on the same page. Then, as deconstruction set in and our beliefs and theology began to undergo a dramatic and traumatic shift, we drifted apart.
We used to be so much on the same page we were indiscernible. There was never any thought about feeling different. There was no concern about arguing things through to an agreeable position. There was never the effort to compromise our beliefs or values.
It really hit us when we left the ministry and the church in 2010. It was then we realized we were no longer on the same page, maybe not even in the same book, maybe not even in the same library!
Sometimes it felt like she went her way and I went mine. She went to get her nursing degree and I went to teach at a university. We used to share the same beliefs, spirituality, and church life. We were joined at the hip. Then we weren’t. It felt strange and scary! There were times we didn’t think we were going to make it.
We got help. We learned how to renegotiate. We wondered if maybe this was a good thing. Perhaps before we were so enmeshed that we weren’t really individuals. Maybe before, even though we were very happy, we were kind of codependent on one another and lacked a healthy autonomy. I don’t know. It worked for us then, but it no longer did now.
Good news: we made it! We’re good. Really good. Better than ever!
What did it take?
Help in the form of therapists, counselors, coaches.
Patience because we still hoped we loved each other and this would work itself out.
Wisdom to realize that love keeps us together, not compatibility.
Humility to embrace the other in all their profound complexity.
And love, the glue that joined us together so many years ago and keeps us together still.
We’ve been married 37 years and the romance is still alive! Even though we are on different pages theologically and spiritually, love is what keeps us together.
This is totally possible for you too!
I want to add something here: sometimes, when deconstruction hits you and you change your beliefs, you might realize that you were never really in love in the first place, or that your love has died, or that the pressure and expectations of your church forced you to marry and stay together even though it wasn’t right. The veil has been lifted and you see your marriage for what it is and it might be better to go your separate ways. Understood!
But… if you suspect you’re still in love, even if everything seems a mess, I think your marriage can be make it! I talk with people all the time in this situation, and my own experience along with my observations of other relationships convince me that almost any marriage can be saved!