Do you and your spouse have different spiritual beliefs? If so, you might be wondering how disagreements on issues of faith will impact raising your kids.
While it’s not easy to navigate through differences in beliefs, it can absolutely be done well. If you and your spouse work together as a team, it’s possible to co-parent children who are happy and secure. The key is in finding and focusing on what you have in common first.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get into it.
Focus on Shared Values First
Even though you and your spouse have different spiritual beliefs, it’s likely that you share many of the same values. Focus on those first. Maybe you both value kindness, family, generosity, patience, community, and so on.
It can feel incredibly lonely when your beliefs don’t align. However, getting clear on shared values can help to ease that friction. You’ll want to lean on these commonalities as you raise your children together.
One way to identify and solidify your shared values is by making a Venn diagram with three concentric circles. Have a conversation while you fill this in (you can do your parts separately or together). Once you’ve each created your own circles, find the overlaps and fill in the third circle with the values you share. This can become a guide for the values you want to exercise as parents and pass on to your children.
Spend Time in Prayer and Reflection
Even though you and your spouse don’t share the same faith, it’s important to spend time praying and reflecting. In particular, ask for guidance as you focus on your common values. How can you strengthen your bonds with your spouse and children through the values you share?
When all else fails, bring your focus back to commonalities and why you love one another. You married your spouse because you love who they are at heart. Regardless of spiritual differences, you saw a bright future with this person, full of love and promise. Remember the love you have for your spouse and keep that at the forefront of every decision you make as a couple–including parenting.
Keep an Open Heart
Co-parenting with different faiths can be challenging, but it’s possible to guide your children in harmony with one another. Keep an open heart and mind. How can you be curious and better understand your spouse’s spirituality? What is their heart for your children? Watch how your spouse loves and cares for your kids, and remember the desires you share for their future.
Choose (and Parent From) Your Intentional Traits
Finally, you can successfully co-parent with differing faiths by choosing, and then parenting from, your intentional traits. These are the top personality traits you want to lead from–and pass on to your children, much like shared values. Your intentional traits could overlap with your values and reflect your faith in a way that helps you parent from a place of strength rather than division.
Want to know more about intentional traits and how to choose yours? Our book, The Parent You Want to Be, guides you through the process. Get your copy here.
Do you and your spouse have different spiritual beliefs? How did you approach your parenting with these differences in mind? Share your wins and inspiring stories in the comments below.