Marriage provides incredible opportunities for two people to grow as Christians. No one will ever know you better than your spouse. No one will appreciate your spiritual strengths and no one will experience you at your worst than your spouse. He or she knows how and when you are tempted.
At our best, we can help get each other through the spiritually tough times, for example with a promise from the Bible at the end of a tough day. Sadly, at our worst, we know exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Let’s use the countless opportunities and resources the Lord has blessed you with as a Christian couple to grow, grow, grow.
Family worship can be as simple as reading a portion of the Bible at the dinner table, singing a Christian song, and praying together. Like individual disciplines, consistency is more important than the length of time or even the depth of material covered. Find a time when you are usually together (for our family it is dinner time). Leave a Bible on the table with a bookmark in it. Try to read a little each time you’re together. You could sing a familiar hymn or praise song (pull it up on YouTube and sing along). Then, pray for a few prayer requests relevant to your family.
Certainly, family worship looks different depending on the contours of your family. With little children, these times need to be brief. But brevity doesn’t mean that they will lack meaning. You will be surprised at the times one of your children recalls something helpful that was said during family worship. If the children are older, they can participate in reading the Bible, asking questions, or even accompanying the singing if they play an instrument. If you don’t have children, you can enjoy rich times of prayer and Bible reading together.
Marriage also provides an opportunity for the right kind of love triangle. As two people draw near to God together, they discover that they are also drawing closer to each other at the same time.
Seek to develop the habit of regularly asking each other for prayer requests. While you should try to be faithful to continually pray for each other throughout the day, sometimes stop and spend a moment or two with the Lord in prayer right there. God has told us to be, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The cares of couples can weigh a family down. Take advantage of the Lord’s offer to unload them on his strong shoulders.
Too many couples do their spiritual growing in isolation from each other. Take time to check in with each other. What is your husband reading in his Bible lately? Who is your wife meeting with for spiritual encouragement? Is your spouse reading a helpful book? Should you find time to read it after he or she is finished?
Is this about accountability? Yes, but it ought to be far more than just jabbing each other to be more faithful. Hebrews 3:13 commands all of us, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” The command was issued to a group of persecuted people that were being tempted to turn away from Jesus. The verse also shows, however, that our hearts are like modeling clay—they dry up and get hard if they don’t receive the daily water of encouragement, comfort, or exhortation.
God has given you your spouse. He or she was handcrafted before time by God for you to be married to right now. God wants you to grow together to glorify him as a couple better than you could do on your own.
Never allow the busyness of life crowd out time to talk together about the things of the Lord. The world, the flesh, and the devil will oppose any such discussions (not to mention the screaming infant). Fight back. It’s worth the effort to check in with your spouse. How can you fulfill your family roles as leader or helper if you don’t check in with each other?
There are plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord at church. It is fair to say that every person you see in church represents an opportunity for service. Many families, however, become distracted as they pour out their energy in all different directions.
While serving the Lord in different ministries is not wrong (and is sometimes necessary), look for ways to serve God together. Most couples have different gifts, talents, and desires. Creatively seek out (or make up) a way to utilize each of your strengths by serving together.
It may not be your thing to work with young people or to visit shut-ins. But how about your spouse? Can you join him or her in the effort, and then join in the blessings that follow? If the Lord has given you a home, make use of it together through Christian hospitality. Opening your home can provide countless opportunities to minister to groups and individuals, building up Christians or reaching out to unbelievers.
Marriage is designed by God to be a blessing. Ideally, both a husband and a wife love the Lord and are helping one another to glorify God together better than they could alone.