Another couple I know plans two retreats a year. One of the retreats they do is a getaway together. They go away to a cabin in the mountains or a place at the beach. At different times they have read books together, listened to tapes, or followed a Bible study booklet. Their time together is spent taking extended time to walk, rest, pray, relate, and focus on their marriage and their yearly goals. They also participate in one retreat a year with other couples. They attend a marriage conference or go to a retreat center where the topic is marriage and family.

These are some of the people we would consider “mentors” in our lives. They do really well in the area of spiritual intimacy because they invest heavily in their marriage. Another couple I know reads at least one book a year together on marriage. They got started doing this because in the business world he was reading about three books a year on his specific business to keep up with his line of work. One day it dawned on him that he had never read even one marriage book to help keep his marriage in shape, so as a couple they instituted the “once-a-year book plan.” They choose the book together and then plan when they are going to read it. One year they went on a long driving trip and read a book on sexuality out loud to each other during the trip.

Spiritual growth and intimacy is like anything else. It takes time and commitment. It is more about training than trying, and just like the Scripture says, you will reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7–8). Don’t shortchange yourself or your spouse by not focusing on spiritual intimacy. At the end of your life you won’t be focused on your IRA retirement plan, the kind of house you live in, or what your bank account looks like. You will be interested in a right relationship with God and a right relationship with your loved ones. Since that is doing relationships with an eternal perspective, why not start sooner rather than later?

Growing Towards Spiritual Intimacy

Questions for Me

1. Which of the following blocks to spiritual intimacy affect your life the most?

  • busyness
  • low-level anger
  • lack of forgiveness
  • lack of respect
  • spiritual warfare
  • other_________________________

2. What can I personally do to bring more spiritual intimacy to our relationship?

Questions for Us

1. Share with each other your answer to question #1 from Questions for Me.

2. Complete this sentence: If I could receive more spiritual intimacy from you it would be in the area of ________________________.

Heart-to-Heart HomeWork

Our Spiritual Growth Plan

Create together a simple plan to enhance your spiritual relationship as a couple. Remember to keep it short and simple so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Put down on paper things like:

  • Pray daily.
  • Worship together weekly.
  • Join a couples group.
  • Participate in a marriage or spiritual retreat.
  • Develop a regular spiritual growth time together.

To get you started, how about taking a few minutes and working through the Weekly Time together.

Our Weekly Time

  • Devotional time of the week (If you need an idea for this week, try reading through Ephesians 5:22–33.)

  • Greatest joy of the week

  • Greatest struggle of the week

  • An affirmation

  • A wish or a hope

  • Physical goals

  • Prayer

  • Book of the month

Excerpted from Creating an Intimate Marriage by Jim Burns. Copyright 2006. Used with permission by Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Jim Burns, Ph.D., founded the ministry HomeWord in 1985 with the goal of bringing help and hope to struggling families. As host of the radio broadcast HomeWord with Jim Burns, which is heard daily by more than one million listeners, Jim's passion is to build God-honoring families through communicating practical truths that will enable adults and young people alike to live out their Christian faith.

In addition to the radio program, Jim speaks to thousands around the world each year through seminars and conferences. He is an award-winning author, whose books include The 10 Building Blocks for a Happy Family and Devotions on the Run. Jim and his wife, Cathy, and their three daughters live in Dana Point, California.