Thursday, November 24, 2011

Should I tell my significant other that I AM Wiccan?

Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy finds out girl is a Witch. This formula proved successful in the TV classic Bewitched. In real life this scenario could produce less entertaining relationship issues.  Hiding an interest in or practice of Wicca from someone who is supposed to be an intimate partner is a recipe for disaster.  If being involved in a budding new romance raises concerns about whether to let your suitor know you are Wiccan the question that arises is, ‘Why’?
Why would a new relationship be threatened by your faith? If you have concerns that your significant other will not understand your religion, you may be correct. If this is the case, keeping your religion a secret will not foster a healthy, open relationship. If your partner would not be accepting of your religion it holds true that there is a part of yourself that your partner does not accept, whether it is a secret or not. When the truth surfaces, as truths have a habit of doing, you will need to contend with the damage of secrecy and lack of trust in your partner regardless of their own misinformation about what you believe. Starting a relationship with secrecy or hiding an aspect of your identity should be a warning sign that this relationship lacks a healthy foundation. If you have already been involved in a relationship and then desire to pursue Wicca, it is still necessary to discuss your interests with your partner.  If they would not accept a choice you make to enhance your lifestyle through spirituality, then this speaks to the level of trust in this relationship and should be considered carefully.

How one discloses being Wiccan can play a role in how accepting others are. To discuss the basic beliefs involved in Wicca openly with a partner requires a candid discussion free of judgment on both sides. It is not a topic to be brought up during an argument, or when busy or distracted. It is helpful to use a lot of examples of what your beliefs entail. Since spirituality can be an amalgam of esoteric concepts, being able to link the tenets of your beliefs with actions you take can be helpful. Try to make comparisons to practices with which your partner is familiar. For instance, in telling a romantic interest about Wicca and the reverence for Mother Earth, one can give examples of the spiritual significance of mundane things that your partner has likely observed you doing- such as recycling or keeping a garden. These actions can be explained in their relevance to your religion to emphasize what Wicca is about as well as the fact that “acting Wiccan” doesn’t necessarily place someone on the fringe of society. Lots of people plant gardens and take care of the Earth, Wiccans see it as a spiritual practice. 

 It is important to address misconceptions candidly. Resist the temptation to judge your partner for not knowing what Wicca is.  The challenge now is to build understanding. Your words start this process, but actions must follow. Ask questions to ascertain what your partner has heard about Wicca, and be prepared for their response, good or bad. The goal of this discussion is to correct misunderstandings. This cannot be done successfully unless one takes the time to figure out what information their partner has gleaned. When possible, point to information in your own life, environment or social circle that contradicts misinformation obtained by your partner from other sources. For example, if your boyfriend has only heard of Wiccans being power hungry, flighty, or lacking in serious commitments, you can  point out that your practice of Wicca demands a level of humility, respecting your place in nature, concentrated focus, perhaps you have finished college and have been building a steady career for years etc.

In the long run, it is hoped that a partner can remain respectful and learn from your experiences. Some red flags would be a lack of respect, a demand that you give up your religion, or verbalization of understanding but consistent passive aggressive put-downs regarding your faith. Whether someone believes your religion or not, it is essential in an intimate relationship that each party respect each other’s views enough to not judge, make fun of or criticize the other.

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