Grow Towards Spiritual Intimacy in Your Marriage
- Thursday, July 26, 2007
Praying together can bring about spiritual intimacy and it can also restore a broken marriage. Praying together can strengthen a marriage that is lacking in communication and intimacy. It is certainly worth a try. The saying is true: “Couples who pray together, stay together.”
Worship Together Regularly
As I’ve already mentioned, the Scripture teaches us that the Lord inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3 kjv). If you want the Lord to inhabit your relationship, then a natural ingredient is worshiping together. Unfortunately, some couples don’t have the benefit of worshiping together. Perhaps one works or just won’t go to church. This is an area to keep on your prayer list; look for ways to find meaning together when you can.
I know of a husband who agreed to go to church with his wife once a month. Instead of nagging or condemning about the other three weeks, she made a big deal out of that one morning a month by serving fun food and turning it into a pleasurable event. Within the year he was going most Sundays. Today, after many years, he is a leader in their church. Set the tone for a good experience. Pray for God’s Spirit to inhabit your worship.
Develop a Regular Spiritual Growth Time Together
It isn’t easy to discipline yourselves as a couple to spend regular time together focusing on your spirituality. Even though Cathy and I speak and write on this subject, we have struggled throughout the thirty-one years of our marriage in this area. We have tried reading books together and doing Bible study booklets. We have listened to CDs and watched videos together on spiritual growth. We have tried to have a daily time and a weekly time to focus on our spiritual growth. Like so many others, it hasn’t always worked for us.
Sometimes the reasons were found in the list of blocks to spiritual growth found earlier in this chapter. We always meant well, but it just didn’t seem to last. Finally we found something that worked for us. We call it our Weekly Time. It’s really rather simple, and for some it may be too short, but it has worked for us. We have shared it with thousands of people and some are now actually more faithful at it than we are. It started from our need to focus together spiritually, but we didn’t want to just do another Bible study or devotional. Both Cathy and I are disciplined with our own daily devotional time, and adding one more devotional as a couple just wasn’t working. That’s when we came up with the following.
Jim and Cathy’s Weekly Time
- Devotional time of the week
- Greatest joy of the week
- Greatest struggle of the week
- An affirmation
- A wish or a hope
- Physical goals
- Book of the month
We decided to take the pressure off of meeting more often than once a week, and just share with each other what we had been learning from our own time with the Lord. Sometimes that takes a few minutes and other times it is a bit deeper. Then we move to the greatest joy of the week. For Cathy, it is almost always something about one of our kids. For me, it might be about our kids or a ministry experience.
We then share our greatest struggle. Yes, there have been times when Cathy has said, “The greatest struggle of the week is you, Jim!” Then we may have a conversation about the struggle before we can move back into our devotional time.
We each share an affirmation about the other. Next, it’s a wish or a hope we share. I don’t remember why we added that section, but it is a catch-all for good conversation. When Cathy’s father was near death, we talked about her relationship with him. Other times it has been a hope for a vacation weekend. Then we deal with our physical goals. Since Scripture is clear that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), we try to work on our physical goals. If you were looking at both Cathy and me in person, you would see that she does a better job in this area than I do! However, that weekly checkup is a very good accountability factor for both of us.
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