Are you lacking spiritual intimacy in your marriage? Not sure? Take a look at some of the signs spiritual intimacy may be missing from your relationship:
1. You may experience conflict in many areas.
2. You may feel incomplete.
3. You may lack a firm foundation for your marriage commitment.
4. You may lack boundaries for guarding your marriage.
Spiritual intimacy occurs when you as husband and wife surrender your lives and relationship to the Lord. You grow together spiritually when you live out your marriage relationship according to God’s ways and aim to please him in all things.
But spiritual intimacy isn’t available to just anyone. Spiritual intimacy is an ingredient available only to those who have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and who live to please him. When you are joined with another Christian in marriage, you have the wonderful privilege of seeking spiritual intimacy in your marriage. When husbands and wives are growing in their vertical relationships (individually with God), their horizontal relationship (between the two of them) comes together as well.
Spiritual growth is the job of both husbands and wives as individuals. But spiritual intimacy happens when you experience God together and share what you have learned. So what’s stopping you and your mate from growing together spiritually? You may be experiencing one of these roadblocks to spiritual intimacy:
* “I don’t have time for spiritual things. We have more pressing issues right now.”
* “I’m afraid God will expect more than we can do.”
* “My spouse isn’t interested in spiritual matters.”
You may not realize the power spiritual intimacy can have on your relationship with your spouse. We often describe it this way: Emotional and physical intimacy ignite the rocket in your marriage, but spiritual intimacy fires the afterburners and gets you into orbit! Emotional and physical attraction is what drew you together, but the spiritual connection is what keeps you together. Just take a look at some of the benefits of spiritual intimacy in a marriage:
* It empowers celebrating love.
* It allows you to connect at the deepest level.
* It links you with God’s purposes and plans for you.
* It allows you to bless each other with God’s love.
* It brings your deepest values and desires into agreement.
* It opens the door to the deepest levels of communication.
* It empowers your marriage to survive.
* It connects you to a supportive body of fellow disciples.
So how can you and your mate begin to grow spiritually as a couple? Here are some of our recommendations:
* Read the Bible. Schedule daily times to read God’s Word. Make an appointment with God, and keep it.
* Share the Word. Talk together about what God is teaching you.
* Pray aloud together. You can’t get any more intimate than praying together as a couple. If you haven’t prayed with your spouse before, start slowly – but start today.
* Hold hands and pray. Joining your hands as well as your hearts and voices as you pray is a great way to draw close.
* Study together. Do a Bible study or a devotional book together, or work through a study independently and then discuss it together. Our book Renewing Your Love is a thirty-day devotional designed to help couples study a passage together, reflect on its meaning for their marriages, pray together, and practice ways to love each other more deeply.
* Make Sundays relaxed. Plan ahead so that going to church is not a hectic event. Replace the race to church with relaxation and heart preparation. If you have children, you and your spouse can share the responsibility for getting them ready and in their classes before you sit down for worship.
* Be accountable to each other. Your spiritual relationship will grow deep if you allow yourselves to share and receive correction from each other.
* Encourage accountability to others. Help each other find an accountability group – men for him, women for her – that will serve as a sounding board and spiritual support. Choose groups that will ultimately strengthen your commitment to each other, not weaken it.
* Spend time with other couples. Choose wisely. Link up with couples who are intent on developing strong marriages and have boundaries.
* Find mentors. Ask a mature Christian couple with a healthy marriage to mentor you as a couple.
* Speak up. When you see your spouse take steps of spiritual growth, compliment him or her about it. Cheer your spouse son to more of the same.
* Seek God’s will for your life. Start by telling God that you want to do life his way. Read Scripture, and heed the advice of more mature Christians in discovering what it means to live out God’s will.
* Teach your children to follow God. One of the greatest responsibilities of your shared commitment to Christ is passing on your faith to your children. Strategize together about how to make faith vital for each of them, and act on your plans.
* Count your blessings. Set aside time to thank God of everything he has done for you.
Don’t ever stop working toward spiritual intimacy. One of the greatest gifts you can give your lifelong partner is a lifelong commitment to spiritual growth.