Understanding and Developing Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage

By October 30, 2012General

(Note from Kat: This is a guest post from Kellie M.)

A few months before my husband proposed, I had lunch with my boss and good friend.  He asked me a lot of pointed questions about my relationship and how things were going.  He asked me if I had any reservations about my (now) husband.  And I hesitated.  I didn’t have any reservations about him, as a person or as my best friend, but rather my hesitation was in my struggle to form some type of appropriate spiritual connection while dating that would build a foundation for our marriage.  

I knew that he believed in God (heck, I met him at church), so that was easy to cross of my list.  But the real problem was understanding what people meant when they said that husbands and wives should be spiritually intimate.  

What does that actually look like?  I asked my boss what that looked like in his marriage.  He struggled for a response and in the end he ended up asking me if we prayed together. That was a rather unsatisfactory answer to me. And that started a long journey of thoughtfulness.  

I’ve spent a long time thinking, researching, reading, and asking what spiritual intimacy in marriage looks like.  Every answer is so different, I’ve learned there are many different ways to be spiritually intimate.  Unless we take a minute to stop and understand what those ways are, we can’t appreciate the spiritual intimacy that we already enjoy with our spouses and we underestimate the spiritual intimacy that we could develop. 

Individual Spiritual Intimacy

One of the most powerful types of spiritual intimacy that we can experience with our spouses is not directly with them.  It’s the individual spiritual intimacy with God that ties us to our spouses.  The spiritual bond that we share with our spouses by doing life together in submission to God is powerful, but it is much more powerful when complimented by a fervent prayer life of intercession for our spouses. Often disregarded as simplistic, this easy task can create unpenetrable  bonds with our spouses.  

The act of praying for another requires a great investment–not only is it an investment of time and energy, but of spiritual care.  We spiritually care for the well-being of our spouses when we pray for them.  Often times, praying a spouse through a hard day can create space for the other aspects of spiritual intimacy to thrive.  

Shared Purpose / Lifestyle Spiritual Intimacy

 
Lifestyle spiritual intimacy may be both the easiest and the hardest kind to achieve. This type of intimacy is built up over time.  Time spent driving miles and miles together, experiencing life’s firsts together, raising children together, getting ready for bed every night together, and battling life’s hurdles together all create opportunities to develop spiritual intimacy as you work together as a team to do life well.

The shared experiences facilitate the growth, but it’s the shared purpose and values in those experiences that truly develop this type of spiritual bond. Building a team grounded in God’s purpose for your lives (and importantly, God’s purpose for your joint lives) can only bring you closer. Every time you make a decision based on God’s purpose for your life, you are drawing your spouse spiritually closer. 

Accountable Spiritual Intimacy

Now here’s where this whole thing gets dicey.  This isn’t a license to nag but rather an enormous amount of pressure to love your spouse as Christ loves the church. For me this often means picking up the dirty socks from the bedroom floor and cleaning up the dishes off the coffee table without yelling at my husband…no, it’s more then that.  It’s loving by example.  Thinking together about how you spend your money, how you tithe, how you prioritize your time.  

All these things you may be doing bits of already but think if you did them with a bit more intentionality, wouldn’t that have a huge impact on how spiritually connected you feel. Spiritual intimacy will develop as you hold each other accountable to going to church, getting involved in a bible study, tithing regularly, being available for friends, and doing those things that God has laid on our heart.  Allow your spouse to help you to grow spiritually and as a result so will your spiritual intimacy.  

Hopefully, thinking about these different ways to be spiritually intimate with your spouse helps to break down the enormity of the challenge and to identify ways that you are already forming spiritual bonds. Inspired To Action has been a great resource to me in this journey. Below are links to a few resources that I have found helpful.

Good luck on your journey!

Resources

 
Individual Spiritual Intimacy – I’ve been using Kat’s Husband Prayer Calendar for two years now and find that it guides my prayer time each day.  

Shared Purpose / Lifestyle Intimacy – Do you know what your goals or purpose in this life are?  Check out these posts on goal setting.

Accountable Spiritual Intimacy – I know how much Kat loves music and sharing her favorites.  If you are not familiar with Derek Webb check out his album called “I See Things Upside Down”.  It’s all about how Christ loves the church.  My favorite song is “I Want a Broken Heart”.  

About Kellie:
As a new mom (and wife, and daughter, and employee, and lots of other titles) Kellie is still figuring out what she is all about and what normal really looks like. Kellie talks about all of life’s good things on Punctuated Goodness including baby wearing, cloth diapering, and all sorts of crafty things.

Click here to check out her blog.

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4 Comments

  • Gina says:

    So much truth here. I think so many couples long for Spiritual intimacy, but just aren’t sure exactly what it’s supposed to look like on a practical level. Who initiates? Where? When? What? How? I think that patterns we observed in our families of origin also play in here. What we grew up observing in our own parents definitely shapes our ideas and expectations for what things should (or shouldn’t) be like in our marriages. Thank you for sharing this! Much needed!

  • Darcy says:

    Great post! Really enjoyed reading and reflecting on what I am doing, could be doing and should be doing. Thank you! 🙂

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  • Larissa says:

    Wow!! For the last week & a half I’ve been feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray *intentionally* for my spouse – that God open his eyes & his heart to the things He would have him see, to cover him in a protective shield against attacks from the enemy, to draw him ever closer to God, and to deepen his connection, faith & reliance on the Only True & Living God … and all this even before He has brought us together!! I’ve been praying on and off over the 20 months for this guy, but the prompts have been super fierce and consistent over the last week – to pray into His promises, and to ask for my desires (that He bring us together as He sees fit) … and then I read this…
    Thanks for your openness & guidance, from a girl who looks forward to following God’s guidance through the highs & the lows, with the one man God’s ordained my life to be lived alongside!!