One in the Spirit

By Greg Smalley
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Cultivating romance and fostering spiritual growth with your beloved takes discipline and intentionality

Just as it takes effort to build physical, emotional and relational intimacy in your marriage, many couples discover that it’s tough to to be spiritually intimate with one another . The reasons for this are similar to what hinders intimacy in other areas: limited time, busy lifestyle, demands of childrearing, careers, and yes, even church.

Another barrier to spiritual intimacy in marriage may be differing backgrounds and beliefs. She might hail from a family that attended a church that was outwardly expressive during worship. His family, while also close to the Lord, may have been introspective and reserved about worship. It can take a lot of work to find comfortable common ground in situations such as these.

The bottom line is this: Just like cultivating romance with your beloved, fostering spiritual growth – both individually and in your marriage – takes discipline and intentionality. It won’t “just happen”.

And that’s true of everything in the Christian life, isn’t it? Let’s face it – we’re all guilty of compartmentalizing our faith at times. We do “church stuff” on Sunday, and “regular stuff” the rest of the week. But in reality, we’re always in God’s presence, whether we’re singing hymns in a congregation or washing dishes at home. The same is true of date night. Your dates represent a wonderful opportunity for you to dig deep and connect spiritually as a couple.

DATE NIGHT

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: Pick a date night activity that turns your thoughts heavenward.

For example:

  • Attend a Christian concert
  • Visit a museum or exhibit dedicated to religious art, Christian iconography, or biblical history
  • Go for a hike and consider God’s handiwork in nature
  • Reach out to someone in Jesus’ Name – volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc.

Step 3: Relax and unwind

The purpose of this date is not to have a one-time spiritual discussion and then return to your regular routine. It’s about making spiritual intimacy a regular feature of your marriage. After your activity, find a quiet place for dessert or coffee to slow down and emotionally connect through good conversation. Pray together, asking the Lord to grant you encouragement, determination, and resolve in your efforts to foster deeper spiritual intimacy. What was your favorite part of the evening?

  • Share your testimony with me the way you’d share it with a new acquaintance.
  • Who is the one person in your life who has been most influential in shaping your view of God?
  • How can I pray for you?
  • How can we continue to help one another grow spiritually — on a regular basis?
  • What has God been teaching you lately?

Step 4: Home sweet Home

As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Also, think about additional ways you can express your lifelong commitment to one another in the coming week. Once you get home, however, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!

© 2012 Focus on the Family.

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