The path to becoming more spiritually evolved can take many routes, but they all include learning self-awareness, integrity, love, compassion, courage, kindness, acceptance, and maturity. Is it possible for a relationship to stay strong when one partner is following this path at a different pace than the other or when one is not on the path at all? Does personal growth mean that you are so open-hearted that you can accept anyone into your life, regardless of his or her impact? Or does it mean that you are so aligned with your path that you know when to cut someone out of your life?
Define More Spiritually Evolved
Judging yourself as more spiritually evolved than another person may be something that indicates you still have some growth to do yourself. All the flowers in a garden bloom in their own time. Is there greater value in a tulip that blooms first in early spring versus a rose that flowers later in the season, but then continues to flower for many months to follow?
Check in with yourself to make sure your judgement of others as less evolved isn’t a way to make you feel more evolved. Remember, often the things that annoy you about others are a mirror of something you need to work on yourself.
What Might Evolved Look Like?
- Operate intentionally
- Listen curiously
- Have open-minds
- Embrace opportunity
- Aren’t ego-centered
- Practice detachment from outcome
- Don’t equate their worth with their financial statements
- Feel connected to others
- Are altruistic
- Choose love over fear
Think about what it is you want your partner to be a part of and present them with the opportunity. Often people assume that just because someone isn’t doing something, that they don’t want to do it. The invitation to join you might be all it takes.
When you open a dialogue about things you would like to share with your partner, you may be surprised to discover that they are already on a similar but different path. Make a list thinking about the why behind your reasons for wanting a shared spiritual path. There isn’t just one path to the top of a mountain, and by opening the discussion, you may be surprised to learn that your partner is climbing a different route. You might meditate each morning at home and they might be listening to a guided meditation on the morning commute without you even knowing.
But What If They Don’t Want to Evolve?
The only thing that I feel certain about is that I will continue to change and grow. My husband and I have made it a regular part of our practice to check in annually and see if we still think that being together is allowing us both to flourish. By having this conversation regularly, it does the following:
- Makes us both really aware that we value what is important to the other.
- Opens discussion about priorities in all areas of our marriage.
- Gives us the opportunity to see where we are the same and where we are different.
- Reminds us regularly that if we don’t work together, we could easily come apart.
Sometimes people would rather live with familiar discomfort than open themselves up to the possibility of the unknown. If your partner is actively abrasive about your growth, it might be that they are really scared that you will outgrow them. Sometimes your partner may develop in a way that is entirely contrary to your growth; for example, drinking excessively, talking negatively all the time, or playing video games for hours on end.
How Do You Deal with Their Downward Spiral when You’re on the Way Up?
One the best analogies I have heard on this topic is flying a plane. In order for a pilot to fly a plane, he or she needs to consider thrust, lift, drag, and weight. A plane needs lift in order to reach new levels; some people you may encounter lift you to see new levels or inspire you to lift yourself. Sometimes a situation with your partner can thrust you to prioritize a deeper level of growth. After periods of difficulty or chaos, there are often periods of massive growth. There are other times when your partner can seem like a weight, holding you back from reaching your highest potential. And in the worst case, they can even feel like they are trying to drag you back to a less evolved state.
There will be times in your relationship where you lift your partner and there will be times where they seem to carry you. This should an ebb and flow like the tide. If one is doing all of the lifting and the other is doing all the dragging, that is the time when change may need to occur.
Your choice here is to find friends and mentors who support and share your path while you allow your partner time to bloom or to end the relationship.
When you come to the point where you are questioning the role your partner plays, remember that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Sometimes when you detach from needing your partner to be a certain way, it allows the opportunity for a new season to begin.