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.
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!