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Are You Roommates or Lovers?

  • Lori Hatcher Contributing Writer
  • 2013 10 Jul
Are You Roommates or Lovers?

We were in the tenth year of our marriage, with 5- and 2-year old daughters, and we were in trouble. We weren't arguing, fighting, or disagreeing. In fact, we were united in mind and purpose in the direction of our work, home, and family. We had just begun homeschooling our eldest, I was working very minimally outside the home, and we were engaged in ministry at our church.

But the spark was gone from our marriage.

We were living more like roommates than lovers. We were planets orbiting the same sun, yet seldom intersecting. We were busy living out our callings, content to come together for exchanges that were more like business meetings than family time.

We seldom thought of each other during the day, and when we tried to make conversation, we struggled to find something to talk about. We were emotionally distant, and our marriage was starving.

Is this all there is? we wondered. Maybe this is just the way it is after 10 years of marriage...

That's when I decided to shake things up.

My husband and I struggled for years to have a consistent quiet time together. Every marriage book we owned said we should read the Bible and pray together if we wanted to have a godly, successful marriage. So every Christmas I'd buy a new couple’s devotional, and we'd make a commitment to read it daily.

And we would. For about 3 days.

Then one day we'd forget, or get busy. Before we knew it, it was bedtime, and we hadn't cracked the cover. And then a week would go by, and before long, the commitment to have a daily quiet time together would fall by the wayside once again.

Until I decided to do something drastic.

I instinctively knew that the key to reviving our marriage was somehow connected with spending time together in God's word and prayer. But finding the right time, a time when we were most likely to be consistent, had thus far eluded us. Our good intentions were consistently shipwrecked on the rocks of daily life.

I knew the key was finding a time when there would be few distractions. And a time when it would be as easy as possible for my husband to participate.

On a typical workday, my husband would rise early and begin his day. He'd shower, grab the lunch I'd made for him the night before, and leave for work. After years of rising at all hours of the night with babies, I'd sleep in as long as I could before one of the girls awakened.

Well, our girls were no longer infants, and the time of frequent night awakenings had passed. There was no excuse for sleeping in except that I enjoyed it. Not a bad thing, in light of the physical demands of 24-hour motherhood, but it was now a luxury, not a necessity.

"Honey," I said, "if I get up with you in the morning and fix you breakfast (I knew this would be a draw, what husband wouldn't accept the offer of breakfast?), do you think it would be OK if I read from one of our couples devotionals while you ate? And then when you're done, maybe you can share one thing I can pray for you about during the day, and I can do the same?"

He agreed.

Five o'clock came awfully early that next morning, but I was determined to do everything in my power to make this attempt succeed. I don't remember what I fixed for breakfast. Perhaps I just poured cereal in a bowl and set out a banana, but as he ate, I read. I deliberately chose a devotional with brief selections. When I finished, I asked him how I could pray for him that day. He did the same.

After a week or so of consistently implementing this new plan, a strange thing began to happen. First, instead of just reading the devotions, we began to talk about them. We'd share ideas, ruminate on the topic during the day, and sometimes pick up the conversation when he got home.

Additionally, as I prayed several times a day for the request he'd shared that morning, I'd find my heart strangely warmed. My commitment to pray for his request, even those that were seemingly mundane, kept drawing my thoughts back to my husband during the day. Instead of "out of sight, out of mind," as I prayed for him, I began to feel warm feelings for him. I realized that prayer was linking our hearts together.

And when he returned home in the evening, I had something to talk with him about. "How did that meeting go with Paul?" I'd ask. "I prayed about it several times today."

"It went really well," he'd say, and proceed to tell me about it. By praying together, we were investing in each other’s' day and connecting our worlds.

Reading and praying together wasn't a magic bullet that revived our marriage, but it was a step in the right direction. It required sacrifice and commitment, but the payoff has been worth it. Eighteen years later, we still consistently meet together in the early mornings to read and pray. This practice seldom takes more than five minutes, but it is the habit that has helped our marriage survive some very difficult challenges.

If your marriage is struggling, or if it's healthy, but needs an extra boost, prayerfully consider what you can do to draw nearer to God and each other. What are you willing to sacrifice to make that happen? Theologian Andrew Murray proposed, “It is better to be sleep deprived than God deprived. I think he’s right.

Some of our favorite devotionals:

Night Light by James and Shirley Dobson
Moments Together for Intimacy by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
A Godward Life by John Piper
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Love Languages Devotional Bible by Dr. Gary Chapman

Article originally appeared at, Hungry for God...Starving for Time. Used with permission.

Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her marriage and ministry partner, David, and her freckle-faced, four-footed boy, Winston. A homeschool mom for 17 years, she’s the author of the devotional book, Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God...Starving for Time.

Publication date: July 10, 2013