Couples who have a deep and shared faith at the centre of their marriage have more satisfying relationships and deeper intimacy.
Spiritual intimacy is all about having a strong spiritual connection, to each other and to God. Besides that, shared spirituality is also about what we believe life is about and what our values and character are. Together and individually, husband and wife actively pursue a deep relationship, spiritually. With a shared faith and worldview, a couple can tackle challenges and seek spiritual guidance together.
To say this another way, the couples who have the best chance of going the distance in marriage are those who have a clear understanding of their spiritual journey. Experts agree that this common spiritual commitment is a strong predictor of marital success and longevity.
Why should this be so? And what are some things you can do to shore up the spiritual foundations of your marriage? Answers to these questions fall into the following four categories:
The miracle of marriage
Male and female. Two in one. The union represented here may be one of the greatest miracles in all of creation. But it’s also something more. For in addition to everything else marriage means for a man and a woman, it has a deep spiritual significance – an eternal and cosmic significance, if you will. Couples who grasp this idea and really believe it are able to approach their marriages from an entirely new perspective. They learn to view their relationship as a total partnership – a one-flesh union within which spouses cultivate intimacy and interpersonal communication at every level. Marriage is a gift to all mankind.
Just as it can be a struggle to build physical, emotional, and relational intimacy in your marriage, many couples discover that it’s tough to be spiritually intimate with each other. The reasons for this are similar to the reasons why it’s difficult to build intimacy in other areas: limited time, a too-busy lifestyle, the demands of childrearing, career etc.. It’s hard to find time to fit in spiritual activities with your spouse.
The bottom line is that, just like cultivating romance with your beloved, fostering spiritual growth — both individually and in your marriage — takes discipline and intentionality. It won’t just “happen” automatically.
It may sound daunting, but in the final analysis it’s simply a question of incorporating spiritual elements into your everyday routine.
Diversity in unity
As we’ve been saying, marriage is about something more than two people living and getting along under the same roof. Couples who share this understanding stand the best chance of experiencing the joys of marriage at their fullest.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that your spiritual journey has to be exactly the same as your spouse’s. Nor does it imply that the two of you will always prefer the same styles of worship or derive the same degree of benefit from different types of study or different forms of spiritual practice. Each individual has a unique spiritual temperament, and we can’t hope to live with integrity if we don’t remain true to ourselves. A healthy marriage is one in which spouses are free to affirm these differences and to learn from each other as they grow together towards the common goal of becoming more spiritual. It’s a matter of learning to become one.
Our “Self-Centered” vs. “Spiritual-centred”
This leads to one last thought. When we’re talking about spiritual intimacy, it’s crucial to make a distinction between a marriage that simply involves two individuals and a genuinely spiritual-centred marriage. A spiritual-centred marriage is a marriage in which both spouses actively acknowledge the presence and the authority of God, and where God makes an observable difference in their lives. It’s a three-cornered relationship that places God at the apex of the triangle. When this perspective isn’t present—when couples don’t express their shared faith in practical terms by going to places of worship, speaking about religion and reaching out to other people spiritually, there is no real intersection of two lives at the deepest level of the heart.
From the Focus on the Family website at focusonthefamily.com. © 2016 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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