How do you and your spouse plan to grow together spiritually? For most couples, it is trying to get to church every week, or at least somewhat regularly. But just having a Sunday to Sunday plan isn’t enough for the most important aspect of your marital health.
- An athlete doesn’t train one day a week.
- A student for med school doesn’t study one day a week.
- A diet doesn’t work if you’re on it only one day a week.
- You don’t talk to each other only one day a week.
- You get the idea….
Actively cultivating your spiritual growth as a couple throughout the week will draw you closer together relationally, bring deeper understanding, infuse your marriage with more grace, and increase your satisfaction at every level. Here are five spiritual practices you can bring into your marriage to grow together spiritually at home:
“Church is optional. If church fits in our schedule, if it’s convenient, and we feel like going—-we will try to get to church.” While couples may not actually say those words, their actions and choices reveal their values. This seems to be the growing belief held by couples and families today.
If you’ve ever been through the apartment hunting or house shopping process, you know what it’s like to walk into a place and just know it isn’t the right spot to call home. Our neighbors told us that they had walked through over fifty homes before they chose the one near us! Eventually you either settle for a place that has most of the things on your wish list, or you find the home that made you go, “Ahhhhhhh!” the first time you walked through it.
That’s not unlike like the search for the church you will both call home. We’ve known couples who have tried numerous churches before landing on the “Ahhhhhhh!” church. Others found their home church on the first visit.
So how does a couple find a church home together? Here are a few guiding suggestions:
Do you know what your spouse’s spiritual gifts are? When was the last time you two talked about your spiritual gifts? If you’re like most couples, you may not know what your gifts are, let alone your spouse’s spiritual gifts..
Learning about spiritual gifts can set you and your spouse on an exciting and new spiritual trajectory!
- You have the opportunity to learn new things about your spouse.
- You are empowered to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus.
- You can help them find a new expression of who they are in Christ.
As a result, the partnership the two of you share will deepen your intimacy with each other and with Christ.
“Where have you seen God at work lately?” That is the opening question Brad asks men every week at the Thursday morning Bible study he leads. Initially, Brad was met with blank stares and a couple of half hearted responses. (It’s tough to get guys to talk at 6:15 in the morning!) But over the years the men have learned to show up ready to talk about different experiences they have had with God.
In the busyness of life it can be so easy for couples to keep conversations on the surface. We discuss our schedules, kids’ activities and any chores that need to be done around the house. We may talk briefly about anything interesting happening at work. But after that, the nights and the weekends consume our time and we rarely take our conversations deeper.
What do these words have in common: portfolio, friends, title, power, possessions, celebrities, armies, weapons, the judicial system, and politics? They are all places where people put their trust. In nearly 30 years of ministry we have seen individuals and couples place their faith and confidence in varying degrees in these areas.
As a couple, when things get hard in your marriage or life, where do you turn for advice? Where do you get your strength and confidence? Where do you place your trust?
Photo by Christopher Michel on Wikimedia Commons
He was laid off from his job. The day had started normally. He went in to meet with his boss for their weekly meeting. He was prepared to discuss strategies, goals that had been met, and opportunities for the future. Twenty minutes later he walked out having been told his position was being eliminated.
In 2001 that was our story.
Have you ever done something you deeply regretted? It may be only known to you or a few others. It may have little or no effect on people around you. Or what you’ve done has been made public—very public—and the effect and consequences on others has been devastating. It may be a sin or a mistake against your spouse. It could be an event outside of marriage from some point in your past.
We’ve known spouses who are unable to fully engage in their marriage because they are weighed down with guilt and shame from their past. They struggle with receiving their spouse’s love and forgiveness because they keep themselves in a prison of regret. Even worse, they can hardly believe that God could fully forgive them for what they have done.
So how do you forgive yourself and move on?