Are you and your husband spiritually close? Are you growing in your faith together?
Though marriage is touted as an environment that promotes spiritual growth, many couples—even those who attend church together regularly—don’t feel that spiritually close. As my husband and I have fallen into routines, we’ve noticed that stagnancy easily develops. Mutual spiritual growth is not automatic; we have to take intentional actions to facilitate it.
I’ve read over and over again that the most basic Christian disciplines—worship and church attendance, Bible reading, and prayer—are key to growing spiritually as a couple. I believe this is true, but what if you’re already doing these things? What other things can you do to grow spiritually with your husband?
Ways to grow spiritually with your spouse
- Share all the dimensions of your lives. Our spiritual lives are not compartmentalized apart from the other dimensions of our lives: social, physical, emotional, etc. Your interactions with your husband in each dimension influence how you relate in the other dimensions. For example, my husband mentioned recently that he feels we’re closer spiritually when we’ve expressed our emotions and shared our fears about topics that aren’t expressly spiritual (e.g., health, finances). Openness about these topics creates an environment conducive to spiritual growth. Even an act as simple as going on a walk together can set the stage for conversations about spiritual matters.
- Encourage each other. Share with your husband the things you appreciate about him. I’m so grateful that my husband works hard to provide financially for us. I tell him this at least once a week as he leaves for work. I also tell him routinely that I love his patience and his sense of humor. When I watch for these positive things, I find I don’t notice negative things very often. Do you watch for the positive or negative things in your spouse?
- Hold each other accountable. My husband and I have unfettered access to each other’s lives. While it’s not our responsibility to shame or otherwise punish each other, it is our responsibility to hold each other accountable to act in ways that support the principles and goals upon which our marriage is built. We hold each other accountable for things like keeping our budget, serving our neighbors, and having integrity in our work. Take advantage of your closeness to your husband by holding each other to a high standard.
- Give money together. Being in the practice of tithing to your church can really challenge and stretch your faith. This is especially true if you have a tight budget like ours. As we continue to have enough money to meet our financial needs despite tithing, our faith is reinforced. We’ve chosen to give beyond a tithe and the process of deciding which ministry to give to has also kindled growth.
- Serve together. Whether it’s working on the welcome team at church or completing yard work for an elderly neighbor, when you serve you collectively turn your attention away from yourselves and onto the person or people you’re serving. My husband and I have found that we often learn more about each other as we humble ourselves and put the needs of others above our own.
- Share your faith together. Have you ever discussed your faith together with someone who doesn’t share it with you? This is powerful! Simply laying out and discussing the tenets of your faith can bolster your convictions.
- Read together. There’s no substitute for Scripture, so Bible reading should be a priority. If you’re regularly in the Word during your own devotional time or during shared devotional time, then I’d encourage you to also read other books, blog posts, and articles together. It’s amazing how much these can stimulate spiritual growth! My husband and I read about a wide variety of topics, including many that are seemingly unrelated to spirituality. In doing this, we come across topics that require us to search out answers in Scripture and determine how to apply Biblical principles to current events.
- Pray together. Though I already mentioned prayer as one of the commonly recommended strategies to facilitate spiritual growth, I want to highlight it here. When my husband and I first got married, our prayer time together consisted of the blessings we said before meals. We then began praying briefly before he left for work each morning. I’m glad we prayed at these times, but I don’t feel like they really did that much to promote our spiritual growth. Several months ago we compiled a prayer list of specific things that were on our hearts and began setting aside time each Sunday evening to pray together. These deliberate, focused times have been amazing. We always feel so close after we’ve prayed and we often end up transitioning into a time of reflection and dreaming for the future. If the only time you pray with your husband is before meals, I encourage you to carve out more focused prayer time. You won’t regret it!
I realize that all of these approaches will only work if both you and your husband are willing to take part in them. I’m so sorry if your husband isn’t in a place where he’s wanting to focus on spiritual matters. You may find Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas to be very encouraging. In this book, Thomas uses examples from real marriages to illustrate how women can inspire, influence, and help their husbands move in positive directions.
Are you and your husband as spiritually close as you’d like to be? What strategies have you used to grow together spiritually?