Posts Tagged ‘free will’

On some level I feel responsible for dragging my spouse into my various religious excursions.  Sure, he has free will and I never forced him to attend Dharma classes, retreats, or church services, but I encouraged him.  I also brought home the teachings.  I shared what I was learning and debated and discussed with him until he grasped the new perspective.  Dharma helped me in my life and he became a Buddhist because he saw the beneficial effect the teachings were having on me.

When I left our Buddhist group due to the excessive demands for my time, energy, and money and associated guilt tripping, I took a hard line with my husband.  He was invested in the group.  He was more invested than I was at that point (interesting that it used to be the other way and I was the one encouraging deeper commitment).  My husband is an incredibly open-minded, loyal, and giving person.  He is not good at saying no.  Not to me and not to groups with cult-like tendencies.  I know his loyalty to me trumps just about anything else (interesting how free will plays out in the long term committed relationship) and I used this to draw a line in the sand about leaving the Buddhist group and not going back.

Was I right to do this?  On the one hand I probably saved him from his himself here – from his giving and self-denying nature which he knows is often unhealthy.  I acted to protect him.  On the other hand, I acted out of fear of losing him and to protect my interests and the interests of our relationship.  It was controlling.  I didn’t say, “honey, I love you and respect your judgment, please make whatever choice you think is best.”  I said, “this is what I can live with.  This is what I cannot live with.”  At least I was honest about it.

My husband isn’t convinced that the group we were involved with was a cult.  I get that.  I’m not 100% convinced either.  But I am 100% convinced that the pathless land is a better course for us as individuals and as a couple than sticking it out with a dysfunctional group.  He still misses the feeling of belonging to the group.  He misses the feelings of being part of a special elite group and the sense of purpose.  I miss those things too sometimes.  Sometimes he wants to go back, but he won’t.  For my sake.  Because he doesn’t want me to worry.  That’s selfless.  God, I love my husband.


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