Godly Growing Together

Brad Says…

Spiritual intimacy is something that is often missing in marriages. Even if it is “OK” many couples desire to find ways to grow closer to God and each other. Unfortunately, this level of intimacy often feels illusive for couples. They go through cycles of trial and error that many times ends in them tossing up their hands and giving up. Spiritual intimacy doesn’t have to be this way. With a few adjustments in expectations, some tools, and new ideas these times together with your spouse and with God can be highlights of your marriage.
Couples Devotions

Mixing Metaphors

All too often spiritual intimacy is mixed with learning to be a better husband or wife. Of course these are not different, but most couples strike out in their attempts to have couple’s devotions with books like, “The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with books like this, but I think they are at the root of why many couples start and stop couple’s devotions. They are trying to accomplish two goals at the same time. 1- Spend time with God together, and 2- Work on their marriage.

Obviously these are not opposite goals, but when things get hard, when there is even the slightest thought like, “is this chapter going to lead into an argument tonight?” You are raising another element that can easily keep you from consistently spending time together with God.

Unless you are already in the habit of regularly doing devotions together I would not start by mixing both goals. The goal of spending time with God together by itself will help your marriage. Focus on that to start.

Get Back To Basics

Devotionals are excellent tools to help us grow. They can challenge us in different areas of life and give us encouragements we may not have considered before. However, don’t overlook the power of God’s Word to speak directly to your life and situation. If you are not reading the Bible then you need two things to get started; a modern translation and a reading plan

If you can’t understand the words you are reading then it is difficult to apply them. There are many good modern translations of the Bible. I like the New Living Translation because I find it very easy to read and understand. Reading plans give good encouragement of what to read without making you feel overwhelmed. Project 345 offers a plan that in an average of just 3 minutes and 45 seconds a day, five days a week, you are able to read the complete New Testament in one year.

Pass on Perfect

You might start with a goal of spending 30 minutes every evening in devotions and prayer with your spouse. That would be awesome, however I would guess that goal would fall short within the first week of your new attempt. The real test happens the night after it falls. Do you pick right up again where you left off, or do you stop all together? We expect perfection and when we don’t do it we are quick to abandon the attempt all together.

Forget about perfect, focus on picking it up again with no guilt or condemnation. I promise you when God sees you coming to spend time with him He isn’t saying, “Where have you been?” He’s just glad you are there.

Power of Prayer

Do you pray with your spouse? You should, it is one of the most intimate things you can do together. Start today! Need encouragement? Kate and I recently read the devotional, “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” It’s a great guide to help you spend time praying together over your life, your marriage and your dreams!

Have you stopped and started devotionals together?
What do you think is keeping you from consistently spending spiritually intimate time together?
Do you have ideas or resources that you enjoyed?
Share in the comments!

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9 Responses to Godly Growing Together

  1. My husband and I have always struggled here, and the thing that keeps us apart has always seemed to be how we approach God. I am more of an emotional relator, I read the bible and have an emotional reaction, where as he is an analytical relator. So when he reads the same scripture passage he is thinking about other passages that say the same thing or going over what it intellectually means. You may think ‘perfect match’ they complement each other!’ but really what ends up happening is that we look at each other like we are speaking totally different languages. So what was intended to bring us closer to God turns into something that has left this big gap between my husband and myself. Let me just say I believe both approaches are necessary, but do you have suggestions on how to make talking about our mutual love of our savior without alienating each other? Thanks for making me think about this topic again, it kind of ends up on the back burner for the above reasons.

    • Hi Charvel! You bring up a great point and share a great example. Learning about your spouse and yourself is a huge key in being able to share. I think one of the keys is both of you learning what the other needs (almost like love languages). You need to be able to listen when your hubby wants to relate analytically and your hubby needs to listen when you relate emotionally. Once you do it over time, you will be better at it. Sometimes you will need to just appreciate what your hubby is thinking even if you don’t understand it or can relate to it and he will need to do the same. I think once you start to do it, it will get easier. Not sure if that is helpful or not, but we greatly appreciate you sharing! Blessings, Kate

  2. The entire time I was reading your post I was thinking…”I wonder if they’ve heard of Draw The Circle?” It’s a book that is currently playing a major role in our marriage and lives. It’s a game changer if you let be.

    My wife and I have found nothing more intimate then praying out load together.

    Great post Brad.

  3. I definitely agree with your first point about mixing metaphors. My husband and I tried to use a marriage devotional for a while, but it actually ended up in arguments more than spiritual closeness. We quickly abandoned it.

    Now we read a devotional focused on God and his work in our lives (not our marriage!) and we finally find ourselves looking forward to doing this together.

  4. Our problem is that whenever I approach my wife about becoming more spiritually intimate (ie: reading the Word, prayer together, etc), she accuses me of trying to force her into MY wants and desires and what I think should be done in our marriage. She insists that taking part in these activities is “just not me”, and I shouldn’t expect her to want to participate. She reads on her own, and she talks scripture with her mother, but when it comes to spending real time together as husband and wife in the Word, she doesn’t seem willing. I don’t know what to do! She even told me that I was trying to force our kids to be religious when I suggested we have a weekly prayer/study as a family. Prayer would be much appreciated.

    • Hi anonymousMe! It breaks my heart to hear that your wife is not receptive and is pushing you down when you are trying to lead. That being said, she is most likely doing so because she feels inadequate and self conscious! The BEST thing you can do for her is to keep praying for her! To bot push, but let her know that if she ever wants to, you are there and then keep praying for her! Some people when pushed, push back regardless! Keep praying for her, that God would bless her! I know that doesn’t seem like much but only God can change your wife! You can pray and seek to be the husband God is asking you to be, even while your want badly to be seeking God with her. Know that I am lifting you up! Blessings, Kate

  5. I also agree that getting back to basics and utilizing the power of prayer are very effective ways to refresh spiritual intimacy.
    Thanks for your insights brad 🙂