1. Spirituality is like SexIt shouldn’t be shared with just anyone. It’s also intimate and makes you emotionally vulnerable to your partner.
I had a roommate who was elated about a first date with a guy she had just met. At the end of the date, he asked if they could pray together. She thought this was a sign that she had met the man of her dreams. As a spiritual person, she thought it was amazing to find a man who wanted to pray with her. She took his hand and closed her eyes while he prayed a generic prayer. Then, she skipped through the front door and excitedly dished all the details about her date … including the prayer.
I immediately told her that this was not the guy for her! What kind of guy asks a girl to pray with him on a first date? Only a weirdo! The exception to this rule is the occasional and obligatory, pre-meal prayer tradition. In time, my roommate learned that I was right and she dumped the guy.
When a couple practices spiritual exercises it builds an unseen connection – a spiritual connection. Group practices such as attending church or synagogue are completely appropriate with friends and boyfriends alike. However, don’t start to pray or meditate with you partner until you . . .
2. Follow the Intimacy ChainThe “Intimacy Chain” is a term I’ve coined to describe the patterns of intimacy that result in a healthy relationship: social intimacy, mental intimacy, emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and then sexual intimacy.
If you follow the intimacy chain, your romantic relationship should evolve something like this: Have fun together. Exchange ideas. Open up about your hopes and dreams. Make-out. Talk about your spirituality. Have sex. Notice that sex is last. This is because a sexual experience is always a spiritual experience. Even when you intend for sex to be casual, it’s still spiritual. You can’t change this truth. It just is.
When is the time to start a spiritual connection? The appropriate time is somewhere between making out and sex, assuming you first have a mental-emotional connection with the person.
3. A Spiritual Spark Begins with Interest.To start your spiritual connection . . . Talk. Talk. Talk. Then, talk some more. It’s important that your spiritual connection begin with an interest in each other. Before practicing any spiritual exercises with your partner, ask important questions that reveal his or her priorities and preferences. Ask questions like:
- What religion do you practice?
- How do you prioritize spiritual growth?
- What is your plan for maintaining your spirituality?
- What spiritual practices do you enjoy?
- What spiritual practices are you curious about, or would like to try?
4. Honor Your Spiritual SelfJust because you can talk to your partner about spirituality doesn’t mean he’s the guy for you! This is a loud warning to the ladies! You must be true to your spiritual self.
Once you’ve listened to your partner with an open heart and mind, you must assess whether you are truly spiritually compatible. This is a difficult decision to make if we’ve followed the “Intimacy Chain.” No one wants to say ‘goodbye’ to someone they connect with socially, mentally and emotionally. But, in time, your soul will no longer be able to hide the truth. If you’re looking for “the one” then you must be willing to honor your spiritual self.
5. Spirituality is Like DatingLet the man lead. When dating, it’s best for the man to take the lead. He should always plan the first date, and also set the pace for the second date. After a few dates, the woman reciprocates and shows interest by planning a few outings. Ladies must be patient, and men have to step-up. It’s a tradition that leads to a balanced, healthy relationship. Remember this principle when beginning to practice your spirituality.
Ladies, you can take the lead on sparking the conversation. Just don’t take the lead when it comes to follow through. Instead, ask a question that probes the man to action. Ask something like: What is your plan for establishing a spiritual connection between us? Hint: He probably doesn’t have a plan. But, now you’ve planted a seed. Follow up with him later. Then, be patient.
6. Men Need a Battle PlanMen, you’re probably thinking: What’s the plan! First, assess the content of your previous conversations. What spiritual priorities do you share? What interests do you wish to explore? Then, think of ways that you can incorporate these into your dating relationship. Establishing a spiritual connection should start with simple building blocks. You can opt to have a more intense spiritual connection as the relationship grows, or you can keep things simple. Remember, a spiritual connection isn’t something you conquer. It’s something you enjoy. To get started:
- Volunteer together at a homeless shelter (social-spiritual), or
- Attend a religious gathering, and then talk about your experience (mental-spiritual)
7. Women Heat it Up!Once a man has ignited a spiritual spark, it’s the ladies who heat it up! Woman are typically more spiritually tuned-in that men. We are intuitive, emotional and spiritually creative. So, ladies, don’t make your man carry the spiritual torch alone. Bring some spice to the table. Once he’s initiated prayer, it’s your turn. Take him to a meditation workshop, write a prayer list or practice hearing God. Don’t push him, just open a few doors.
For your spiritual relationship to remain balanced, let it be sparked by the man, but fueled by both the man and woman. During difficult times, your spirituality will be challenged. Either partner should be prepared to step in and provide spiritual leadership to the relationship. If you build spirituality into your relationship at the proper time, you’ll develop a romance that can conquer any hurdle.