Biblical wisdom and popular research show that couples with thriving marriages tend to make progress in certain areas of marital life. This month’s couple devotional is focused on nourishing your marriage.

Pray

Begin your devotional praying that God would impact both you and your spouse with His truth.

Assess

Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together:

Nourishing your marriage: Thriving couples do what it takes to nurture their relationship. They realize that a good marriage requires constant attention and hard work. They learn new skills and release bad habits. Thriving couples invest in ways that are meaningful to each person and understand the unique ways that their spouse wants to be loved and cared for. There is evidence that the investments they are making in their marriage are paying rich dividends.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high), how do you and your spouse evaluate your relationship in regards to nourishing your marriage? As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?

Read

Read and reflect on the following Bible passages:

  • Ephesians 5:25-32
  • Psalm 1
  • 1 Timothy 4:6-12
  • Reflect

    Ephesians 5:25-32 is a pretty tall order. How in the world are husbands to love their wives the same way that Christ loved the church, His bride? Wives, you’re not off the hook. Although it’s not explicitly stated, this passage also implies that wives ought to show a similar commitment to their husbands. This passage implies that when a man and a woman become one flesh, both need to prioritize the nurturing of their marriage.

    I do believe, though, that most husbands would indeed be willing to lay down their lives for their wives. I know I would. Similarly, most wives would be willing to lay down their lives for their husbands. Very few couples will ever be called to pay this ultimate sacrifice, yet every spouse is called to lay down their life daily for one another.

    What does this actually mean? Essentially, a husband puts his wife’s needs before his own needs and a wife puts her husband’s needs before her own needs. We are to nourish our spouse and nurture our relationship. This is played out in everyday life and is the recipe for a meaningful marriage.

    Husbands and wives also ought to nourish one another spiritually. As it says in 1 Timothy 4:6: "Nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed." This can involve regular devotional times like you are doing right now. It may also involve helping each other practice spiritual disciplines like reading God’s Word, going to church and engaging with God in solitude. Couples who spiritually nourish their marriage are setting themselves up for a fruitful future.

    What are some other ways that you can nourish your relationship? How can your marriage be reflective of Psalm 1:3 and be "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither"?

    Nurturing your marriage means helping it grow and develop, and it begins with a keen understanding of what makes each of you tick. What you like in terms of temperament? How are you wired? What makes you happy? What causes you to be sad? What do they fear? What is it that makes you feel loved and cared for? Your answers to these questions will likely be different. But nourishing your marriage means taking time to answer these questions and become aware of your relationship’s dynamics. This awareness also allows you to speak into each other’s lives in meaningful ways that touch the heart and build secure attachments with one another, thus increasing the sense of being one flesh.

    Maybe you’ve felt frustrated when your spouse doesn’t seem to be investing into your marriage; this is normal, but it doesn’t mean you should wait for your partner to take initiative. Do all you can to nurture your marriage. Follow God’s advice to feed and care for each other, and watch as your relationship grows to new heights!

    Discuss

    1. What have you done in the past that helped you deeply connect with your spouse?
    2. How can you help each other feel deeply loved and cared for?
    3. What is one new relationship skill you could learn that would help nourish your marriage?

    Going deeper

    Choose one thing you can do this week to care for your spouse the way Christ cares for the church. Discuss the possibility of attending a marriage enrichment seminar. What is one new relational skill you could learn that would help nourish your marriage? Remember: To nourish your marriage implies action, not just sentiment.

    Pray

    Listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas within your marriage.


    Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.

    © 2013 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.  

    If you liked this article and would like to go deeper, we have some helpful resources below.

    Our recommended resources

    Free advice on marriage, parenting and Christian living delivered straight to your inbox

    View comments ()