Here’s the thing: every relationship you have in your life, romantic or otherwise, is a spiritual relationship.
Yes, yes, I know this is not a particularly popular stance because everyone wants to feel as though they’ve found that “super special person” that they were cosmically destined to meet.
But when we understand that spirituality is not just a transcendent truth but also a down-to-earth reality, we realize that every person in our lives offers us something of spiritual significance.
This might be teaching us the value of generosity, patience, self-respect, compassion, or another virtue that only comes through seeing ourselves in the mirror of another.
With that being said, there are some relationships we have in life that are not necessarily “more” spiritual, but they do have a deeper impact on us at a soul level.
These unique spiritual relationships positively challenge us in ways that no one and nothing else has before, and they excavate the hidden diamonds buried within us, bringing out our better nature.
How do you know when you’re in a spiritual relationship? And what does this mean?
Table of contents
- A Word of Warning
- What is a Spiritual Relationship?
- Types of Spiritual Relationships
- 9 Signs You’re in a Spiritual Relationship
- 1. You feel an immediate intuitive recognition or a feeling of kinship
- 2. Your connection goes deeper than surface trivialities
- 3. You feel more vulnerable than usual
- 4. You can talk for hours without getting bored
- 5. You feel as if you’re actively growing around this person
- 6. You feel affirmed but challenged
- 7. You feel safe and truly seen, warts and all
- 8. Your inner child and shadow self may be more activated
- 9. You realize that you’ve permanently expanded on a soul level
- What Does the Spiritual Relationship Teach Us?
- Spiritual Relationships Are Doorways to Awakening
A Word of Warning
There is a lot of obsession in this day and age with finding your “one true soul mate” or “twin flame.” But I’m not here to enable any of this false outsourcing of one’s happiness onto an idealized other because it only increases one’s sense of lack and suffering.
Do you need to be in a spiritual relationship to find happiness? No. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. No, you don’t need to find that “perfect other” to feel satisfied and complete because no one makes you whole. You and your soul are innately whole – other people just have the effect of mirroring that back to you.
Some people also feel the most empowered when they’re alone, and they don’t feel drawn to buying into the idea that someone out there holds the keys to their fulfillment.
These solitary folks thrive in independence and solitude, so if that’s you, kudos. I’m not here to convince you otherwise, and I trust your deeper wisdom. At the same time, you might not find this article of very much value (but you might find The Power of Solitude a better read!).
However, if you do want to find a spiritual relationship, that’s fine as well. Just don’t base your happiness on it – it will come when or if it comes. Until that day arrives, keep finding sources of joy that come from the inside out, and you’ll be more receptive to the outside in.
What is a Spiritual Relationship?
A spiritual relationship is a romantic or platonic connection that we have with another person that helps us to grow, evolve, and flourish on a deep soul level. While many connections have the effect of bringing about surface-level changes, spiritual relationships reach the core of our being and mirror back to us our shadows and light.
Metaphysically, we can say that spiritual relationships have the potential to exist between people (and even places or animals) who operate on the same energetic wavelength. These beings are part of our soul family, and we’ll likely feel a strong and immediate connection or recognition in their presence.
Types of Spiritual Relationships
The underlying premise of a spiritual partnership is a sacred commitment between the partners to assist each other’s spiritual growth.– Gary Zukav
As someone who has been in a long-term spiritual relationship for over a decade now, I know both the value and the disservice of labeling the connections we have with others.
Personally, I don’t like labeling my relationships at all. However, I also know that it can sometimes be helpful to label our connections if only to understand them a bit better from a new perspective.
Here are the various types of spiritual relationships out there:
- Karmic relationships – The purpose of these kinds of relationships is to “work out your shit,” aka., karma, together. As such, they tend to be quite uncomfortable, dramatic, and tend to end on a negative note. Karmic relationships can exist between romantic partners but also between friends, siblings, colleagues, and other family members. Once you’ve finally “learned the lesson” that the karmic relationship was meant to teach you, you’ll typically move on or revisit the same kind of relationship later until you work your karma out.
- Soul friend – Having a soul friend goes deeper than typical surface-level friendships because your soul friend truly “gets you.” Not only will you both share similar likes and dislikes, but you’ll, most importantly, share the same values and yearnings, which makes your friendship unusually deep.
- Soul teacher – Soul teacher connections can exist in any kind of situation, such as the typical student-teacher relationship, as well as between lovers, friends, acquaintances, and work colleagues. Even a random person that you meet once but has some kind of impact on your life can be a soul teacher with spiritual guidance to offer. Most of us have people whom we admire and whom we’ve never met before who play the role of soul teacher. We all have many soul teachers, and in reality, we could say that every soul we come across on our paths is a soul teacher in some way, shape, or form.
- Soul mate – Soul mates can be romantic or platonic, and they play a special role in our lives by helping us to be the best version of ourselves possible. It’s common to feel a sense of deep recognition when first meeting your soul mate (although this doesn’t always happen). You’ll both have a deep understanding of each other and exist on the same wavelength; even on the surface, you may appear to be total opposites. Soul mates may be long-term or short-lived companions, but they always have a profound impact on our lives, supporting us in growing, evolving, and flourishing to our fullest potential.
Can one person play multiple roles? Yes. You can have a soul mate who’s also a soul friend, for example – or a karmic relationship that also acts as a soul teacher. But I don’t necessarily believe that a karmic relationship and a soul mate connection go together. I mean, maybe. But in my understanding of soul mates, they tend to be healthy (although at times challenging) connections, as opposed to toxic ones.
Also, why have I not included “twin flames” here? I find the twin flame concept problematic because it often encourages the toxic narrative of “one rare person out there who is literally the other half of your soul.” Can you imagine how much pressure and burden of expectation that places on another? The term “soul mate” to me feels much easier to work with.
9 Signs You’re in a Spiritual Relationship
Relationship can be the ultimate yoga, yes, an ever-depending adventure and rediscovery of ourselves and each other, rediscovering ourselves in the mirror of each other, a continual letting-go and a meeting, a dance of aloneness and togetherness, not losing ourselves in either extreme but resting and playing somewhere in the middle. Sometimes coming together, sometimes moving apart. Closeness and space. Intimacy with other, intimacy with self. Breathing in, breathing out. Morning and evening. Birth, and death.– Jeff Foster
Below, you’ll find a collection of signs that take the best parts out of the above types of spiritual relationships and combines them. Here are nine signs you’re in a spiritual relationship:
1. You feel an immediate intuitive recognition or a feeling of kinship
There can often be a feeling of déjà vu or a sense of immediate kinship at the beginning of a spiritual relationship. You might feel drawn to this person as if an invisible thread has tied the two of you together. Some people report feeling as though they’ve shared one or more past lives with their special soul connection. Trust your intuition first and foremost, it will tell you all you need.
2. Your connection goes deeper than surface trivialities
Many of the relationships we have in life generally hang out on the surface. A spiritual relationship dives beneath the superficial trivialities into the world of ideas, hopes, dreams, longings, and values. There might not be much small talk, but that’s totally fine and ultimately irrelevant.
3. You feel more vulnerable than usual
In a spiritual relationship, the typical shields and layers of the ego that keep you protected and separate in an isolated bubble will no longer work. You’ll feel as if the other person can “see through you,” which may leave you feeling vulnerable on the one hand but more authentically seen on the other.
4. You can talk for hours without getting bored
Conversation will feel free-flowing, inspiring, and profound when you’re in a spiritual relationship with someone. While you may typically feel bored or limited by usual conversations, within a spiritual relationship, you’ll be able to go off on endless tangents without dullness or uncomfortable self-consciousness.
5. You feel as if you’re actively growing around this person
It’s normal to feel stuck sometimes in relationships, even spiritual ones. But, in general, spiritual relationships tend to propel us forward more – they ask that we grow instead of staying stagnant in the same place. Even the heavier kind of spiritual relationship (such as the karmic one) asks that we more actively examine the places we’re blocked inside, helping us grow and evolve to new heights.
6. You feel affirmed but challenged
If you’re in a spiritual relationship, you’ll feel supported and affirmed by the other (with the exception of more toxic karmic relationships) but also challenged at the same time. You might find long-standing negative beliefs about yourself and others questioned so that you can grow out of self-limiting patterns. At the end of the day, the other person wants to see you happy and continuing to grow.
7. You feel safe and truly seen, warts and all
At the foundation of the spiritual relationship is trust and mutual respect – this allows you to feel safe and truly seen by each other. You’ll feel comfortable enough to open up about your fears and traumas, and so will the other person. As both of you listen to and witness each other in your light and darkness, you will feel a deep sense of being seen and valued for who you are, warts and all.
8. Your inner child and shadow self may be more activated
As your ego can no longer sustain many of its usual defense mechanisms in a spiritual relationship, you may notice that your inner child and shadow self may be more activated than usual.
Your inner child is a younger part of you that tends to carry a lot of unresolved pain, and your shadows are the shunned and repressed aspects of you (such as greed, jealousy, rage, and grief).
Depending on what type of spiritual relationship you’re in, whether karmic and dense or more on the harmonious soul mate spectrum, this will feel anything from annoyingly challenging to downright exasperating! This pain and darkness is coming to the surface to be witnessed and worked through, and the spiritual relationship can often be a helpful healing chrysalis for this to take place.
If you find that either your inner child or your shadow (or both) are more active in your life due to your spiritual relationship, my highly rated Inner Child Journal and Shadow Work Journal will be of great help.
9. You realize that you’ve permanently expanded on a soul level
When you’re in a spiritual relationship, you’ll notice that the you prior to the relationship and the you within or after it are two very different beings. You’ll find yourself feeling more open, expanded, wise, aware, and appreciative of the mysteries of life. It’s thanks to seeing yourself reflected in the mirror of another kindred soul that you have grown so much, and you realize that you’ve changed forever due to this special journey.
What Does the Spiritual Relationship Teach Us?
There are many lessons that we have the potential to learn in a spiritual relationship. Some of these lessons may include the following:
- To reclaim our projections (both our shadows and light) and transmute them within ourselves
- To become more aware of our behavior, patterns, and choices and how they impact others and, therefore, ourselves
- To see ourselves as mirrors within all our relationships
- To value difference and diversity
- To see the spiritual in the physical, and vice versa
- To discover our true needs and grow in self-awareness
- To learn that true happiness and wholeness come from within
- To develop qualities of generosity, kindness, patience, and humility
- To be more honest and transparent
- To become more compassionate towards self and others
- To discover the joy of co-creation
- To find a clearer sense of purpose
- To learn the power of loving and being loved
Spiritual Relationships Are Doorways to Awakening
For many people, spiritual relationships serve as doorways to spiritual awakening – I know for me this was certainly the case.
My spiritual relationship with Mateo has helped me grow in more ways than I could ever have fathomed, and as I reach my next anniversary milestone with him, I am forever changed (and grateful) for his presence in my life.
To close, I’ll leave you with some precious words from wise teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, who summarizes the purpose of spiritual relationships perfectly:
A true spiritual partner is one who encourages you to look deep inside yourself for the beauty and love you’ve been seeking.
Have you found a spiritual relationship? What do you think it’s teaching you? How is it challenging you? I’d love to hear from you below.