We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
Is marriage only for Christians? No. Theologically, we believe that marriage, like the sunshine and the rain that fall upon "the just and the unjust alike" (Matthew 5:45), is part of the common grace that God has poured out on all of mankind. Even so, couples with a strong shared faith do have an advantage over those who don't. Husbands and wives who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ are in touch with the Life that pulses at the center of the universe in a way that others can never be.
But having a shared spiritual intimacy with your spouse doesn't mean that you have to agree on every issue. You may prefer ancient hymns while your husband resonates with modern praise and worship music. You may believe that God created the Earth in seven literal days, while your wife feels that a proper interpretation of the book of Genesis allows for the possibility of an "old Earth." That's ok! There is great diversity within the body of Christ, and that certainly includes the realm of marriage.
It's also important to note that spiritual intimacy is not a guarantee that your marriage will be "perfect." We know from Scripture (and from firsthand experience!) that all of us—believers included—are fallen people in a fallen world. We wrestle with sin, selfishness, and interpersonal conflict and will continue to do so until the day we meet the Lord face to face.
At its core, spiritual intimacy in marriage requires each spouse to realize that while they're in the process of being sanctified, they have not yet reached the goal. Because of this, they can't hope to maintain healthy relationships with one another unless they're willing to humble themselves, confess their faults, and seek forgiveness on a daily basis. Marriage is enriched beyond all human expectation when it draws its strength and inspiration directly from its Designer!
Remember, always act like you're trying to get a second date! Sometimes in marriage we forget that we need to pursue and "woo" our spouse. So dress up a bit. Be polite and open doors. Compliment one another. Be affectionate – hold hands, cuddle and steal kisses. Remember to protect your date night from conflict by cutting off any arguments and agreeing to talk about the issue at a later time.
Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.
Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.
Step 2: Do something fun!
Focusing on the spiritual aspect of your relationship doesn't mean you have to resort to sackcloth and ashes. In fact, one of the most important ways you can glorify God in your marriage is by having fun together! Consider one of the following activities, and as you engage in it, be sure to remember that in addition to having fun, you're also investing in your relationship and celebrating God's gift of marriage:
- Attend a sporting event
- Go to the zoo or visit a local museum
- Play a round or two of miniature golf
- Venture outside the city limits and engage in some star-gazing
Step 3: Relax and unwind.
After your activity, find a quiet place for dessert or coffee to slow down and emotionally connect through good conversation. Answer the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting and encouraging.
- What was your favorite part of the evening?
- What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn't know about me before?
- As followers of Christ, what advantages do we enjoy in our relationship that other couples don't? And what do we have in common with those couples?
If you feel so led, spend some time praying for couples in your circle of influence who may not have the same spiritual intimacy that you enjoy.
Step 4: Home Sweet Home
As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Also, talk about additional ways you can foster spiritual intimacy in your relationship over the coming week. Once you get home, however, it's up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!