Laying the Foundation, The Meat of Your Marriage, Day 7
Before I dated Adam, I suffered from iron-deficiency anemia. While I knew better, I rarely ate breakfast. Adam and I started doing breakfast dates together before classes. Within a week, I noticed I had more energy, I didn’t feel as tired, and I could concentrate better. I no longer suffer from anemia.
In order to be healthy, you have to eat regularly. Skipping meals can lead to fatigue, lack of energy, disruption of mental concentration, mood swings, headaches, and a whole other host of health problems.
When you ‘skip’ over the things that help feed your marriage, the health of your marriage will suffer and slowly decline.
The Meat of Your Marriage: Healthy Spiritual Intimacy
Just like meat gives your body vital protein, a strong spiritual foundation gives your marriage vital building blocks. Without the right amount of protein, your energy levels will start to suffer, you’ll feel tired when you shouldn’t, you’re muscles will weaken, and the likelihood of injury will grow.
It’s important to maintain a strong personal walk with the Lord, and also to work toward thriving spiritual intimacy with one another. Without the meat of God’s Word at the heart of your marriage, your marriage will suffer.
Healthy marital spiritual intimacy begins by placing God first in the center of your marriage, and walking with each other in the Lord.
Fostering Healthy Spiritual Intimacy
- Start each day with God. Pray together in the mornings when you get up. Take him your worries and concerns. Ask God to help you keep Him as your focus throughout the day. [Psalm 5:3]
- Take your worries to God. Something I love about Adam is how he just starts praying right then and there when I’m worried, upset, or in pain. He doesn’t wait. He prays immediately. [Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7]
- Strengthen your muscles by ‘working out’ in the Word. Read God’s Word daily both individually and together. It doesn’t have to be long. In fact, it can just be one verse if that’s all you have time for, but regularly see what He has to say. Meditate on Scripture. Memorize Scripture. [Psalm 119:105; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:97]
- Share what God is doing in your personal walk. [Matthew 5:16]
- Encourage one another. Let your husband know where you’re growing and what God is teaching you. [1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24]
- Pray for one another. [Colossians 1:9-12; Galatians 6:2]
- Confess your sins to one another and hold each other accountable. Share your struggles with each other. Ask for prayer, support, and encouraging suggestions in the areas you struggle. [James 5:16]
- Worship God together. Strive to make all of life worship – glorify God in all you do. [Colossians 3:16; Romans 12:1]
- Get involved in a local Body of Christ. This doesn’t have to be Sunday morning worship, although I’d highly recommend setting aside one day a week to go to a church. (Adam and I attend Sunday services and are involved in worship team and a fellowship group that both meet once weekly.) Get into a Bible study group, a support group, a discipleship program, a mentorship program, children’s ministry, worship team or choir, or another group with other believers to use your gifts together to serve and to also be encouraged and blessed. [Hebrews 10:25; Proverbs 27:17; Matthew 18:20; Colossians 2:2; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 12]
- Trust God with your finances. Pray about your finances. Tithe 10% to the local church from your gross income. [Proverbs 3:9; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8]
- Watch the messages you intake. Be careful what you watch and read. Choose media materials that honor God. Discuss the things you see. Watch who you listen to. Surround yourselves with marriage-affirming friends. If something is causing your marriage to suffer, cut it out. [Matthew 6:22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Psalm 1:1; Philippians 4:8-9; Proverbs 13:20]
- Measure what your spouse says against Scripture. If your husband asks you to do something that is unbiblical, make sure your heart is right with God first. Pray that God would give you wise words. Confront him in a respectful, gentle, non-threatening manner. [1 Peter 3:1; Matthew 18:15; 1 Corinthians 13]
- Readily resolve conflict with one another. Forgive readily. This doesn’t mean that you resolve things right that second. I often need to take some personal space to get my heart right with God before getting right with Adam. But don’t let conflict drag on for too long. Work out a conflict prevention strategy. [Ephesians 4:31-32; Proverbs 15:1; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:26]
- Practice living out the fruits of the Spirit. Love like Jesus. Be joyful and take joy in one another. Work toward peace. Be patient with one another. Be kind to one another. Seek to do your husband good, instead of harm. Be faithful in devotion. Be gentle, especially when confronting. Control how you act on your thoughts and emotions.
- Let your husband lead. Being submissive doesn’t mean you are weak. It shows a strength of character that you’re willing to let go of your control and let your husband provide for you, protect you, make decisions for the household, etc. Respect him as a man and follow his guidance. [Ephesians 5:21-24]
- End each day with God. Praise God for all that He did for you today. Take him your worries and concerns. Ask Him to bless your sleep. [Psalm 4:8; Psalm 119:62]
Today’s 30 Minute Challenge (Nov 7th) Laying the Foundation
[15-20 mins] Plan a time where you can just “be” with your husband.
Let him no there’s no pressure for conversation. (Surprisingly, I notice when I do this with my husband, he might be suspicious at first, but he goes along with it, and then later he’s much more willing to talk; in fact, he often initiates conversation!)
Stillness and quiet can build intimacy too!
- Hold hands and go for a walk.
- Go for a leisurely drive.
- Read separately while cuddling.
- Make a puzzle.
- Play Jenga (Tumbling Tower) [This game requires concentration. Adam and I love playing this quietly.]
- Build something.
- Clean a part of your home.
- Write letters.
- Make Christmas wish lists.
- Hold hands and pray silently for one another.
- Pick up coloring books at a dollar store and color.
- Do another artistic activity (i.e. painting)
- Play a computer game.
- Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle.
*Don’t forget to stop for occasional kissing and hug breaks! ;o)
Focus on enjoying your husband’s presence and on being still before God.
[10-15 mins] After your “quiet time” together, begin a conversation about spiritual intimacy. Use these ‘Let’s Talk’ questions from Dr. Gary & Barbara Rosberg in their book 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate as a guide. Choose a level you feel most comfortable with.
Level 1: Dip Your Toes in the Water
- “Tell me about your family’s spiritual life growing up.”
- “In what areas did you take on leadership as you were growing up? Does leadership come easily for you? Why or why not?”
Level 2: Up To Your Ankles
- “What helps you grow closer to the Lord? What things interfere with your spiritual life?”
- “What do you think are your spiritual gifts? How can you work at developing them, and how can I help you in this?”
- “What are you reading in your devotional time with the Lord? What are you praying for and about?”
Level 3: Bouncing on the Waves
- “Are you satisfied with the time we spend together reading the Bible and praying? What can we do together to meet each other’s needs in this area?”
- “How would you define your role as the spiritual leader of our household?”
Level 4: Diving in Head First
- What do we focus on in our prayer life? How can we improve our prayer life?
- “In what ways can I challenge you to spiritually excel – without nagging or making you feel inadequate?”
- “Do you feel I’m taking over in areas of leadership where I shouldn’t b? Where am I stepping on your toes?” How can I step back and let you lead?
5 Minute Marathon
When your husband arrives home from work, instead of starting a conversation with him, let him be for five minutes. Be close to him (if he wishes) – cuddle in the quiet without talking. For some of you, this may be harder than others. This doesn’t mean don’t greet him. Just let him know you want 5 minutes of quiet with him. No strings. (Or give him 5 minutes of quiet by himself).
Lord, I pray for my marriage’s spiritual intimacy. May we thirst after You. May we long to spend time in Your Word and in prayer. May we continue to grow in our walks with You. Build a strong spiritual meaty foundation for our marriage. Build our home on the Rock. Amen.
Take It a Step Further
*Ideas inspired by 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate
- Ask your husband how you can pray for him today and then do it. Follow up with him later. (i.e. if he asked for prayer about a meeting at work, ask him later how the meeting went).
- If you’re reading the Bible and you have a question, bring it up with your husband. Ask for his insight.
- Act on one of the comments your husband made during your conversation. (i.e. he tells you an area where you’re stepping on his toes, follow through and work on it)
This post is is Day 7 in of the 30 Dates in November Challenge. Check out related posts –Where is Your Spirit?, P.R.A.I.S.E.-filled Heart, Move Over, Honey, I’m Taking the Reins, and 5 Ways to Feed on the Bread of Life First.
Share With Us
Where do you struggle letting your husband lead? How do you work to maintain healthy spiritual intimacy in your marriage? What practical strategies do you use to keep God first in your marriage?
- Posted in: 30 Dates in November ♦ Change and Growth ♦ Communication Tips & Techniques ♦ Encouragement ♦ Fruits of the Spirit ♦ Knowing God ♦ Listening ♦ Prayer ♦ Real Marriage ♦ Spiritual Leadership ♦ Submission ♦ Worship
- Tagged: 30 Dates in November 2013, Encouragement, Prayer, Spiritual Intimacy, Spiritual Leadership, Submission