On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate communication with your spouse? Whatever the number, if you are being honest, I’m sure you will admit that healthy communication in your marriage takes work – a lot of work! And, even with good intentions, your relationship with your spouse can easily take a backseat behind parenting, work, running a house, and life.
At the beginning of the year is the perfect time to get a game plan for helping build a stronger marriage. To get you thinking in the right direction, answer these three questions about the focus you place on your spouse:
Do we have consistent conversations that do not revolve around our kids?
Do we often spend time sitting and talking about life, music, culture, sports, or other interests?
Do we have regular date nights without our kids?
If you can’t answer “yes” to all (or any) of these questions, don’t beat yourself up. Most couples with whom I talk can’t answer all three of these questions “yes.”
Since you are answering questions honestly, here’s one more: Do we consistently read the bible today as a couple? This one is a really important question to answer because committing to reading the bible together can be one of the healthiest choices you and your spouse can make for your marriage. Reading the bible and praying together consistently can benefit your marriage in countless ways. Hebrews 4:12 (HCSB) says, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow.”
If you have spent time reading the bible alone, then you know the impact God’s Word has on your life. It challenges, encourages, convicts, and strengthens you as a person. The same can be true for your marriage. As the two of you spend time together in God’s Word and in prayer, this time will strengthen you both while also strengthening your marriage.
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for the two of you to make a commitment to one another and to God to spend time together reading the bible and praying.
Here are five suggestions to kick-start the process:
1. Get It On The Calendar. This commitment will probably never get started if you don’t get it on the calendar now. Why not have a date night and share with your spouse your desire to commit to time in the Word together? Before heading home, get a plan and get it on your calendars.
2. Consider A Little Help. There are countless resources available to help you get going. Consider a devotional book, a DVD series, or an app to help guide your conversations. You can also use the sermons your pastor preaches each week or a study your small group is using at church.
3. Get Some Wisdom From Proverbs. Did you know there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament? Reading a chapter a day together can be a great way for the two of you to start or end the day.
4. Take Turns Leading. To keep things fresh, you can take turns leading the conversation or reading from the bible, devotional book, or app. You can read and then allow your spouse to respond to the passage.
5. Always End In Prayer. Praying with your spouse can be one of the most powerful tools the two of you have in your marriage. Before ending your time together, talk about what is on your mind. Share prayer requests you have. You may even want to keep a prayer journal that the two of you use during your devotional time together. Pray for one another, your marriage, your children, and more.
Remember, the two of you are in this together. You may not always see things eye to eye. Working hard to build a stronger marriage takes exactly this – hard work! As you begin this new year, commit now to spend time together reading the bible and praying and watch what God does in your marriage this year.
Here’s to a stronger marriage in 2020,