The way of the householder is actually the harder of the two paths.
There are two spiritual paths: the Way of the Recluse and the Way of the Householder.
The way of the recluse is to become secluded from society, enter into a monastery or convent, and spend your life praying. Not too many modern people choose that life-style!
The way of the householder is to be spiritual while living in mainstream society, having a job, raising a family and so forth.
To grow spiritually while living in the hurly-burly of life is a challenge. (That would have to be the understatement of the year!) Whether it’s the stresses or the temptations that distract you from the spiritual path, it’s not easy.
It is possible though. That’s what the Tantric and Taoist approaches to life are all about (and many other traditions) - finding personal and spiritual growth within regular society, and in all aspects of life, from parenthood to work life to sex.
The key in large part is devotion. Devotion is defined as “love, loyalty or enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause”. When you live your life with devotion, the boring and mundane elements become purposeful and satisfying. You move away from a martyr mentality.
You therefore become less needy of ‘reward’, whether that’s money or food or sex.
The simple things in life become pleasurable and there is a greater ease in life.
With this ease, you can, if you choose, devote yourself to larger causes, finding joy and satisfaction in these too, even when the going gets hard.
You feel a connection to something greater than yourself.
The way of the householder starts with the little things - doing the housework, dealing with the children, managing all the many aspects of life in cooperation with your partner. When this comes from a feeling of devotion - with love, loyalty and enthusiasm - it’s actually a really good feeling.
It’s a hard shift to make, finding pleasure and joy in the little things while having a feeling of greater purpose. It’s essentially about slowing down a little, becoming present in the moment and in your body, and actually experiencing each moment fully in the moment.
I’ve written about this at length in terms of approaching sex mindfully, so that it becomes deeper and more fulfilling. You can’t rush around frantically all day, stressed and harried, and then switch into a mindful mode for sex. It needs to be a natural progression, and the more you can live mindfully throughout the day, live with a sense of devotion and spiritual awareness, actually living within each moment and not rushing through a stressed life interspersed with ‘rewards’.
And if you and your partner both live like this, you’ll feel an ease of connection between you and, well, the foreplay never ends!