This month’s couple devotional is focused on the responsibilities of marriage and, in particular, the thriving marriage trait of shared spiritual core.

Pray

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

Assess

Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together.

Shared spiritual core: Shared spiritual core: Thriving couples deeply honour their spiritual commitments and help each other in spiritual growth. Their spiritual convictions shape their day–to-day decisions. They pray with and for each other and are active participants in a faith community.

On a scale of 1-10, (1 = low, 10 = high) how are you doing in regards to developing a shared spiritual core?

As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?

Read

Read the following Bible passages.

  • Colossians 1:27-29
  • Philippians 1:9-11
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • 1 Peter 2:9-12
  • Hebrews 5:11-6:1
  • Reflect

    At last count, I have about 120 marriage books on my shelves – and I have actually read most of them! Some of them are very helpful, but most deal with the symptoms of marital problems and do not address the root issues. Some deal with certain techniques of communication or conflict resolution, and all of that is good, but I have often wondered if we need couples to go a little deeper. I also wonder, if couples helped each other to develop in godly character whether many of the standard problems couples face would be minimized if not outright cleared up.

    Many of us in our marriages spend much of our time wrestling with the symptoms of spiritual shallowness, dealing with insecurities, feeling inadequate about our bodies and fighting over personality issues, parenting skills, sexual struggles and communication. In reality, these problems are symptoms of a root problem. There is nothing wrong focusing on these areas, but many of these problems could be avoided if we spent more intentional time together developing spiritual depth and godly character in our marriages. God could then change us from the inside out and make us into terrific spouses.

    I imagine that, if a couple placed godly character development as top priority in their marriage, their kids would benefit greatly. I would think that if a wife had helped her husband develop godly character (and she was seeing a deepening in his walk with God), it would likely bring her tremendous security. She would have confidence knowing her husband was a man of Biblical integrity. Likewise, if a husband took the time to help his wife develop godly character (and he was seeing a deepening in her walk with God), I would think that would bring him tremendous security, and a great deal of confidence knowing his woman was a woman of Biblical integrity.

    No doubt about it: if couples made godly character development priority one in their marriage, conflict would be resolved quicker, communication would be sweeter, sex would be hotter, affairs would be inconceivable and enjoyment would be maximized.

    Many couples struggle with helping each other develop in godly character. Many couples seldom pray together, study the Bible together or even serve together. The closest many couples get spiritually to one another is sharing the same pew in church. Thriving couples understand that helping one another in their walk with God is top priority.

    When it comes down to it, "who" we are is so much more important than "what" we are. The spiritual depth we have as husband and wife is so much more helpful than the tips we know about marriage. Depth of godly character brings us true satisfaction as people made in the image of God. It also will ultimately help us build a deep and meaningful relationship with our spouse and help us be effective in building a godly home.

    Helping each other develop a close walk with God is not a technique or something we do here and there. It is not something that can be mastered at a weekend seminar; this is the daily responsibility we have to one another.

    Spiritual oneness is the highest form of intimacy. Many couples shy away from this because of fear, shame or just plain confusion. But spiritual oneness is fundamentally important to marital health and it is worth aggressively pursuing.

    Reflect on the scriptures you just read a few moments ago. What is God saying to you as a couple? Remember: helping each other develop godly character is top priority!

    Discuss

    Review the list below and discuss how these issues impact your ability to help each other grow in your relationship with God.

  • Busyness
  • Different levels of spiritual maturity
  • Distractions in the home
  • Fear of being vulnerable
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Thinking that marriage is more about happiness than holiness
  • Fear of doing the hard work necessary to develop character strength
  • The vagueness of how to actually go about helping each other develop godly character
  • Going deeper

    1. Close your eyes and take a moment to envision what your marriage would be like if you were true "soul mates." What does that look like? Share your thoughts with your spouse.
    2. What is one thing your partner could do to help you grow spiritually? Share this with each other.
    3. Consider going away for a spiritual retreat. This could be overnight or simply an afternoon in the country. The goal of this getaway is to help each other to connect more deeply with God. Find a good devotional book and discuss this together.

    Pray

    Take a few moments to listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas in 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.  

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