Posted by Sam on February 17, 19100 at 08:08:13:
In Reply to: Buddhist v.s. non-Buddhist spouse? posted by Blueocean on February 16, 19100 at 08:43:47:
While not actually -- or rather, strictly -- a Buddhist myself (I practice all sorts of religions, picking and pulling those parts of the differents faiths which best express my own views), I do lean heavily on Buddhism as a way of life. I am a pacifist and a vegetarian and an inner seeker and a deeply religious person. My fiancee is different. She is, in her own way, also religious, but we disagree on many aspects of our beliefs. She eats meat. She does not meditate and probably never will. This is simply who she is. She is far more skeptical than I -- or I could say, I am far too trusting compared to her more realistic approach. Sometimes she isn't happy with certain aspects of her life, and I think I know something from my readings or meditations that can help. But I'm learning very quickly to leave it be. For one thing, I came upon many of the answers I have by myself, and could never have gotten through them simply because another "explained" them to me. I sought answers from those I read and listened to on my own terms. I cannot expect any different from anyone else, including my fiancee. For another thing, my beliefs are very much my own, as hers belong to her. Sometimes, when she tries to point out a particular belief of hers that contradicts my own, I become stubbornly resistant, even if she's right (which she often is!). The reason is because it's not MY belief. I have to find this things out on my own, make them my own, and live them because they are my own. So I could never try and force a belief of mine on her. Sadly, I did try just that early in our relationship, with dreadful results. I brought about too much pain by trying to force my beliefs on her. Once I stopped being so arrogant, once I let her believe what she wanted to believe, I found that she did the same for me and always had. She, in fact, supports me in my new vegetarianism more than my own family, and she accepts my beliefs even if she doesn't agree with them. Our relationship has continued to grow stronger because of these things, and I love her very much not because she bent to my will or because she's nonconfrontational, but because she does confront me, does challenge me to new thought, and does love me no matter my beliefs.
I believe we must follow our own path, discover our own truths. I believe your husband must do the same. Perhaps Buddhism is not for him now; perhaps it never will be. That's OK. Let him find his own path.
As far as how to cope with that, I have some questions for you that may help:
Do you love your husband enough to endure the differing attitudes, even if he never finds his own peace during this lifetime?
Does he love you enough to accept your practices?
Do you often argue about religion, and if so, who is usually the antagonist? (Be honest!)
Are you finished in your spiritual quest (i.e. is Buddhism the final stop for you), or is there room left still to explore? If so, could the same be said for your husband?
How tolerant are you of others' beliefs?
Have you attained enlightenment? Are you a boddhisatva? If so (or if not), is it your duty to try and bring enlightenment to your husband in this lifetime?
How do your children react? (You mentioned a family -- I assumed you have children.)
And again, after you have considered these things, I ask again because it is so important -- How much do you love your husband? Are you attached to his affection, or are you attached to your religious practices, or are you nonattached?
I ask questions, by the way, because I don't have the answers and would presume to tell you what to do if I did. You must find your own answers, as well. I hope you find the right ones.
Peace, compassion, and good luck... Sam :)
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