We have never been what you would call spiritual giants, but we did get married hoping for God’s presence in our lives and in our family. We surely haven’t done it right all the time, but it seems like we did make an effort. Today, however, I don’t feel connected to my husband, and I definitely don’t feel a spiritual connection to him.

Those were the words of a woman who was telling me her story after one of our conferences. Her marriage wasn’t on the rocks, but she was realizing that they had become so busy with kids, mortgages, work, school, and so many other things that they were missing the spiritual connection that she hoped for when they first got married. Other couples tell me that they didn’t have much of a spiritual bent when they got married, and I am amazed at how many people tell me that they are spiritually motivated, but their spouse has little or no interest. Regardless of where you are at as a couple in the spiritual intimacy department, there is probably room for growth. For the majority of people who read this book, spiritual intimacy is perhaps the least developed area of their marital relationship.

Jesus described marriage on a very spiritual level: A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together (Matthew 19:5 nlt). It’s very possible that those verses were read at your wedding. And for most of us, those words would be the desire of our hearts. When you look at this beautiful statement, isn’t that what you would hope for in your relationship? A man and woman leave their parents to become united. They become literally one flesh. You and your spouse are definitely two individuals, but if you are like most people, you have a desire to become more intimate emotionally, physically, and yes, even spiritually.

Jesus’ words “Let no one separate” expresses our desire for God’s presence to be in our relationship. But to want something and to have it are two different things. We may desire a spiritual connection as a couple, but sadly it is usually the least developed area of the relationship. It takes time, open communication, humility, grace, and a desire for spiritual growth for any couple to grow together spiritually. Even then, there are major blocks we must overcome to achieve it. It goes back to one of the main themes running through this entire book, and that is intentionality. Before we can put much of a plan together, we have to look briefly at a few of the things that can block our spiritual intimacy. They aren’t that much different from what blocks other types of intimacy.

Blocks to Growing Together Spiritually

Growing together spiritually is not our natural bent. Most people had very few role models in this area; maybe their own parents’ marriage was less than helpful in setting an example. And of course, even with good role models and knowing what we should do in terms of building spiritual intimacy, we often let other less-important things get in the way. Cathy and I have tried every “spiritual growth marriage program” available. They are all good, but too often something gets in the way.

Before you create your own plan that will work for you, you’ll have to ask this question: What is holding us back as a couple? Some people can answer that question easily, while others just don’t know how to get past some of the roadblocks. If you know exactly what to do, then skip this part and move on to creating a plan to grow closer together and connect on a deeper level spiritually. If you aren’t sure why you seem to be blocked, read on!

Busyness

This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but busyness is perhaps the main issue to blocking intimacy of all kinds—especially spiritual intimacy. When Cathy and I were first married we had high hopes that we would have a deep, connected spiritual life together. We assumed it would happen just because we wanted it to happen.