Are you asking yourself, How Can I Grow Spiritually with My Mate?
We can help.
Spirituality is an important part of life and, therefore, of relationships. Those couples who grow spiritually together often find a deeper connection that enables them to endure disappointments, overcome disasters and face the challenges that life brings them. Ancient scripture says, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” The strands are, of course, you, your mate, and God. So how do you build a shared spiritual life with your mate?
Intentionality is the key. Intentionality is what it takes to begin to grow spiritually as a couple. You must make deliberate choices and diligently follow through to achieve a rich and rewarding shared spirituality. It doesn’t just magically happen, and it will, in fact, never happen until you decide that this is what you want and take steps to achieve it.
- Discuss spiritual issues. Spirituality is personal, but it shouldn’t be private between you and your spouse. Don’t be afraid to talk about your thoughts, opinions, and feelings regarding spirituality. Respectfully discuss with each other what you believe and what you struggle with in regards to spirituality. With an open mind and consideration for one another, answer such question as:
- What was your spiritual background?
- What is your “world view”? Is there a God and creator of the universe? If so, how does God interact with creation?
- Can someone personally know and relate to God?
- What are your current spiritual beliefs, and do they answer the big questions for you, i.e., questions of meaning and purpose?
- What are your dreams and goals in life?
- Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? If so, how do you get to Heaven and avoid Hell?
Whatever you do, do not dismiss your partner’s thoughts as invalid, uninformed, or simply wrong! Don’t argue. Make your discussions safe. Everyone is at a different place on their spiritual journey. You don’t have to agree on everything to grow spiritually as a couple.
- Learn and grow together. Read scripture and discuss it. Don’t be intimidated by it! Many churches and religious organizations offer classes and sponsor home groups to learn and grow with other couples. In community with other couples, you can also find support and encouragement for your life and your relationship.
- Pray together. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God. First, discuss what you both need individually and what you need as a couple. If you are not comfortable praying aloud with your partner, then hold hands and each of you pray silently for the other and squeeze hands to signal when you are done. You can practice praying aloud when you are alone to get used to the sound of your voice in prayer. Then you can say short, simple prayers out loud with your spouse. For example: “Dear God, please give us the wisdom to make the right decision on buying a house, ” or ” Thank you for (spouse’s name). Please give him/her a good day.” The more you pray together, the more comfortable you will become. You can’t do it “wrong”!
- Worship together. No doubt there are places of worship in your community. You may even be able to check out worship services in your area online first before you attend in person. There are classic or traditional services and contemporary or modern services to choose from. Make it a shared spiritual activity to find a service and a group of people you would like to worship with. Once you have decided where and with whom you will worship, make it a priority to be regular in attendance. And remember, there are no perfect people, so there are no perfect places to worship! Focus on God and not on people when you attend a worship service.
- Serve together. One of the most rewarding shared spiritual experiences that you can have is serving together. You may discover a new dimension in your spouse as you watch them tutor a child or interact with those in need at a local food bank. Some spiritual communities sponsor opportunities to travel to third-world countries to dig water wells, build schools, teach hygiene, and more. You will both have a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what you have and what you have in each other.
How Can I Grow Spiritually with My Mate?
- Give together. In much the same way that serving draws you closer to one another, so does the spiritual practice of giving. In responding to a need, as you discuss and pray about what to give, you will see into each other’s hearts. Nothing reveals what’s in a person’s heart like giving to others for a good cause. Some couples have the practice of first praying individually about the amount to give and then coming together to share what each believes their gift should be. It is amazing how often the number is the same!
- Develop a Couple’s Vision Statement. You have no doubt heard the term “vision statement’ as applied to businesses and corporations. It can also apply to your marriage. Simply stated, a Couple’s Vision Statement describes how you as a couple will contribute to the world and what legacy you wish to leave. As a spiritual couple, you realize that it’s not all about you and what you can acquire or achieve yourself. It is, instead, about the unique contribution that the two of you can make together. It takes into account the passions, giftings, and talents of each of you. It combines them into a powerful statement that will guide your lives and your decisions. You can’t do everything, so a Couple’s Vision Statement brings clarity and focuses on what you can best do together.
Growing together spiritually together is like growing deep roots for your relationship. When the winds and the storms of life come, you will be able to weather them and grow even stronger!