In this first part of this series, Leslie uncovers God’s plan for building a strong, vibrant, and romantic marriage relationship – and her answer may surprise you! When it comes to relationships, it’s easy to focus on the emotional aspect of marriage. It’s time to shift our gaze to cultivating spiritual unity before and during marriage for a relationship that goes the distance and is tinged with the beauty of Heaven itself! This episode casts vision for those who are single, in a relationship, or married and will leave you stirred and equipped to place Christ at the center of your relationship, whether that is at present or future!
One of the best pieces of relationship advice I have ever received is to lay a strong spiritual foundation together as a couple, then add emotional unity, and then, in marriage, enjoy physical unity. It’s easy to swing our focus onto the emotional or practical side of a marriage relationship, but we must remember that spiritual unity is constant because it is based on the unchanging truth and nature of Jesus Christ.
As you are purposeful about growing together spiritually, exploring God’s Word together, and studying the lives of heroic Christianity, your focus and attention will be fixed upon Christ and miraculously you will feel closer to your marriage partner. What I found is that maintaining strong spiritual unity becomes more difficult after you say I do. Eric and I both walked through a process of evaluating how we were spending our free time and hobbies and devoting that time instead to activities and pursuits that would bring us closer to Christ. James 4:8 reminds us that we must first draw near to God. Spiritual growth as individuals doesn’t happen automatically and it remains the same for those who are married. You must seek the Lord together in order to feel Him draw near to you as a couple. The following practicals can help cast vision and direction for how to center your marriage relationship around the pursuit of maintaining spiritual unity so that every area of your relationship and home is a thriving, stunning reflection of Christ and His Bride.
1. Grow together spiritually
Be purposeful in growing together in your walk with Christ. Often planning the time to grow is the hardest step, so do whatever is necessary to institute that new rhythm. As you seek to set Him as a priority in your schedule together, you will grow to love and protect this time.
Ideas to try:
- Set aside an hour once a week to read Scripture
- Go through a Christian biography as a couple
- Study out a concept from God’s Word together in the evenings
- When traveling listen to audio Bible together
- Prayerfully consider what simple steps you can take in this area
2. “Go” Together
As much as possible, attend outside events and activities together as a couple. It can be easy to fall prey to the culture’s mentality that you need to “get away from it all,” but as a married woman, the fact is that God has made you one flesh with your husband. God didn’t intend for us to get away from our own flesh. Let us remember and say that, “what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
While there can be certain value to spending a short season seeking the Lord alone, be careful about adopting the wrong perspective.
Ideas to try:
- Attend conferences, events, and retreats together as a couple
- Guard your heart against taking vacations from your spouse and family
- Share significant milestones together
As an encouragement, if your husband is less than enthusiastic about cultivating spiritual unity alongside of you, don’t lose heart. Instead begin to pray fervently for a turning of your spouse’s soul. Refuse to complain and criticize, and instead encourage him while setting a beautiful example of what a Christ-centered life looks like.
- Leslie uncovers God’s pattern for a vibrant marriage in her online course available here!