You likely have heard marriage illustrated as a triangle. God is at the top of the triangle, and the husband and wife are at the bottom corners. As each of you draw near to God, moving up the sides of the triangle, you will be moving closer to one another. The intention is to illustrate the benefits of having God at the center of your marriage relationship.
Praying together as husband and wife is one of the best ways to improve your marriage and enhance your union with God. So I ask my friends, “Besides dinner, bedtime with children or during church, how often do you and your wife pray together – just the two of you?”
What kind of answers do you think I am hearing? Virtually every time the responses are in the extreme. Answers like:
- Maybe three times a year
- Hardly ever
- When it is needed – problems or crises, of course
- Not enough
And I love this one: “When she asks me to!”
We typically don’t get very far into this discussion before my friends feel convicted and guilty – just as I did during a fateful conversation with my wife about my failure to consistently lead us in prayer during a tough time for our family.
Some of my friends have had tears in their eyes, but over and over, I have been amazed as they testify to the perfect timing of this challenge for their lives and marriages.
This discussion about intentional spiritual intimacy in marriage may strike a chord with you, too. As a husband, you can become more intentional, rather than haphazard, in your spiritual leadership. You can pursue more regular times to pray with your wife, if you are equipped with a practical approach like the one in my book, Just Say the Word, using the Bible as a guidebook for your prayers.
You likely expect your wife to be available to you for a diet of physical intimacy that works in your marriage. This dimension of connection in marriage is important to holistic marital health. Certainly this is vital to you as a man and husband. Typically men more regularly desire and need sexual intimacy. We know it. Our wives know it.
Yet we also know she has spiritual and emotional needs, and we might not be making ourselves available to her! Over time, we have taught our wives to learn to live deprived. How would we fare if our wives were not available for our physical needs? Yet we have abdicated our responsibility, depriving her of spiritual intimacy.
Sometimes we think ourselves disqualified from spiritual intimacy with our wives because of the issues, sins and shortcomings in our lives. But I dare say we rarely, if ever, disqualify ourselves from physical intimacy because of our issues! When is the last time you said, “Honey, let’s not have sex because I have some struggles in my life”? It seems we find a way to put things aside when it comes to sexual intimacy. Hmmm. What is that about?
In part of that fateful conversation I had with my wife, she said to me, “Honey, if we had sexual intimacy as often as we prayed together, you would be pretty disappointed.” Wow, that's not pulling any punches!
You are welcome to laugh, but how true is this in your marriage? If you are making time in your marriage for physical intimacy, you need to be making time for spiritual intimacy.
Tension over physical intimacy in marriage is a common issue. I am not minimizing this complicated issue at all. And I sincerely do not intend this as a tool of manipulation. However, if we were to connect more consistently with our wives spiritually and emotionally, the benefits and blessings are likely to show up in our physical intimacy as well. If we love our wives as expressed in reading and praying through the Bible together, they will more likely desire to give themselves to us more fully.
The bottom line is this: We can begin a vital connection with our wives that will yield abundant spiritual, emotional and relational fruit.
Sam Ingrassia is the author of Just Say the Word: A Simple Way to Increase Your Passion for God and Your Wife. For more information about creating spiritual intimacy by praying with your wife, please visit justsaytheword.net.
Publication date: March 24, 2014