When my husband, Tim, and I were first married we had little idea how to relate to one another spiritually. During our season of dating and engagement, we prayed together and established a desire to serve and attend church side-by-side. Occasionally we would share insights about our personal relationship with God, but nothing overly intimate. I believed that should be saved for marriage—another piece of mystery to be shared between husband and wife. Looking back, I’m not really sure what changes in a couple’s intimacy after the wedding day.

Spiritual oneness doesn’t really have the same immediate impact after marriage as physical oneness, if you know what I mean.

So, what’s a young Jesus-seeking married couple to do after they’ve learned how to handle conflict, families, and finances in premarital counseling but don’t know how to worship God together? I assumed every couple had their spiritual walks fit nice and neat together, but I can only say from my experience that it’s a trial-and-error kind of process.

During the first few weeks of our marriage, Tim and I prayed together sporadically, but I knew that I wanted set apart time where we studied God’s word and reflected together. I was nervous to bring up the topic because I had no resolutions for what this time should look like.

About three months into marriage, Tim and I both felt the Spirit leading us to change our daily rhythms and start being more intentional with knowing God together. We agreed to wake up at 6am every morning and read our Bibles and journal separately, then spend 10 minutes in prayer.

It turns out Tim and I connect with God differently. I am the classic Bible study girl who loves her 6-week devotional, decorative notepad, and colored pen. Dwelling on great theological insight is the sweet spot between God and me; journaling my prayers and discussing what I have learned is good for my soul.

Tim, on the other hand, learns and grows best when he is working with his hands. He might enjoy a good book, but he would rather take something apart and put it back together. He is the person who goes to change batteries on the clock and ends up taking the whole thing apart—he is experiential. He wants to be outside hiking or learning a new skill, communing with God by experiencing God’s creation and the abilities he’s given Tim to use.

So you can see how a studious 6am devotional felt a little restrictive to Tim even though I thought it was great…because it was my thing! And, realistically, when we think of spiritual disciples, don’t our minds go to a structured time probably involving some amount of reading and prayer? As if any activity deviating from this passed-down norm is not a legitimate way of spending time with God.

After about a month of trying to force Tim into my comfortably square spiritual box, something still felt off. He loves having a regular time of prayer with me, but was struggling to truly experience the Lord in a way that was meaningful to him. Tim never had to say anything, I could tell based on his body language that this spiritual discipline was defeating to him. Both of us also hated waking up that early. Spiritual disciplines demand dedication, but when they create a day of grumpiness they kind of defeat the point.

So, we readjusted and destroyed the box of conventional ways to grow spiritually as a couple. We found a Bible devotional that was helpful for both of us and created consistent time in our schedule to be outside and experience God’s great creation in Colorado—is there a better place to do it? I don’t think so. We also started reading scripture (out loud) together before bed followed by some discussion and prayer. Once this habit was created, we felt the lack when we didn’t follow through. Bible study as individuals is a completely beautiful thing, but Bible study together has been even more enriching to our relationship.

Psalm 19: 7-11 describes the effects of remaining true to God’s word:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and dripping of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is a great reward.”

Our reward in reading God’s word together, as man and wife, is learning about God through the eyes of two individuals who see the world differently and our knowledge of Him is expanded by our differentness. And the more we learn about Him, the more powerful our collective worship becomes.

In the midst of meshing our different spiritual disciplines, Tim and I actually landed on a shared one. We asked ourselves when we felt most connected to God and found a mutual gift of hospitality. Tim loves hands-on serving—acts of service for you Love Languages people—and I love making people feel welcomed and known. Inviting people into our home on a regular basis is a priority for both of us that we hadn’t previously considered an act of mutual worship. We long to connect, celebrate, and chow down with the people that we pray for and love. In those moments, we see God at work. We see Him changing us into people who lay down their lives for each other as husband and wife as we collaborate in loving our community. And most importantly, we see people changed by God working through the relationships fostered in our house.

Over a year into marriage and we are still adjusting as life changes, our spiritual relationship is a hodge-podge of activities and it works for us.

Whether you’re just married or have been married for decades, there’s always something new to learn about your spouse. How are you making time to dig deeper and try new ways to seek God together? Make time this week to focus on your spouse and build your relationship.

Bailey Hurley
Bailey Hurley

Bailey has a desire for women to be mentored through the written word—to grow and learn about themselves through the experience of others. She wants women to know that embracing their goals and their current circumstances is applauded. Masters of Leadership from Denver Seminary, wife to Tim, and mother to Hunter. Currently residing in Denver, CO.

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