We have to write these Wiki Board posts for Family Systems. Dr. Carrol gave us a list of things healthy families do and have. One of them was a strong sense of religious or spiritual belief/practice. I picked that one to write more on how it impacts families and marriages. Thought I’d share my thoughts with here:
To discuss the importance of spirituality within marriage and family, I first want to begin by defining spirituality. I’ve come to really share Dr. Brene Brown’s thoughts on spirituality, which don’t require a belief in theism, as a great guide to what being spiritual beings is about:
We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong…” (being human means being spiritual beings. It is innate in our desire for connection, joy, love, and belonging).
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” -The Gifts of Imperfection
“Spirituality emerged as a fundamental guidepost in Wholeheartedness. Not religiosity but the deeply held belief that we are inextricably connected to one another by a force greater than ourselves–a force grounded in love and compassion. For some of us that’s God, for others it’s nature, art, or even human soulfulness. I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits.” -Daring Greatly
I believe, personally, that practicing a high degree of religiousity or spirituality does the following for us:
- Gives us a sense of meaning as individuals and as a marital and/or family unit.
- Gives a sense of belonging to something much grander and larger than ourselves.
- Gives us a sense of how intricately connected all of us are with one another.
- Gives us a idea of just how impacting our thoughts and actions are on everyone.
- Gives us a foundation for honoring the divine, spiritual, and person within everyone.
- Gives purpose to our lives.
- Gives us perspective in the face of our sufferings and the suffering of the world.
These are but a few things I’ve found that spirituality or being spiritual provide us as we are spiritual beings. The impact these 7 things have upon us definitely impact our marriages, relationships, and families. I’m divorced, but I hope to one day remarry. I was just telling people the last day or two how it was the spiritual connection Emily and I shared that led me to chose her, be attracted to her, and pursue a relationship with her.
Our spirituality is very like-minded, similar, and in tune. She and I share many of the same spiritual values, beliefs, and practices. For me, that brought me a sense of peace about being with her because those things are strong foundational and core things upon which to build a relationship together. Sharing that much in common with her spiritually brought me a sense of belonging and connection with her.
Spirituality is deeply existential and core to our being; it for many of us is definitely part of our ontological make-up as humans. Thus, sharing spirituality/religiousity with one another in marriages and families connects us at the most profound and intimate level. In the Christian Bible, the Genesis creation myth says that God made man and woman for one another and that Adam “knew” his wife. Knew in this sense speaks to the deeply transcendental and spiritual act of sex and sexuality. Marriages are about knowing one another in that deeply spiritual way, which in part, brings to the light all of one’s self and being in the mutual sharing of one another. This is in and of itself a very deeply spiritual connection more than it is physical.
We see spirituality as a means through which we come to know one another, non-sexually and sexually, and to form these deep, close-knit connections to our partners and children. Clemson University listed some amazing insights into how spirituality impacts the family:
- Families with a sense of spirituality carry a gratitude and sense of hope that recognizes even the little things of life as special events.
- Spirituality gives families a sense of belonging to and being loved by a higher being.
- Spirituality gives meaning and purpose to families that provides strength and hope in times of adversity. It provides a greater sense of purpose and a stronger sense of support from family and friends.
- Spirituality provides a way to deal with successes and also failures, especially in family relationships. It teaches us to ask for forgiveness when we have wronged another, and to accept forgiveness when we have been wronged.
- Families with strong spirituality celebrate life as a gift. They carry a gratitude and optimism that enjoys even the little things of life as special events.
Dr. Brene Brown “Daring Greatly” and “The Gifts of Imperfection”
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