Spiritual intimacy can be the deepest form of intimacy that married couples experience together in their lifetime. Spiritual intimacy takes place when husbands and wives surrender their lives and their relationship fully to the Lord. Couples grow together spiritually when they live their relationship according to God’s ways and love each other with a selfless lasting love. When husbands and wives are growing in their individual journey with God (vertical relationship), they grow closer together in the process as well (horizontal relationship).
When there is a lack of spiritual intimacy within a marriage relationship, there are many deficiencies that can show up along the journey. First, couples can experience an increase in unresolved conflicts as it shows a focus on selfish ambitions instead of selfless love that seeks to serve each other. Moreover, couples can encounter a drift in connectedness as they are not being intentional to take the time to engage with each other in Godly ways. Additionally, couples can undergo a disrespect for boundaries that guard their marriage as they are not intentionally seeking out godly living together. Couples face a lack of a firm foundation in their marriage commitment if they do not feel a meaningful connection with their partner.
There is tremendous strength and satisfaction that comes through spiritual intimacy, and many couples do not ever unleash its power. Dr. Gary Rosberg (Christian psychologist) attests that emotional and physical intimacy lights the rocket in marriage while spiritual intimacy fires the afterburners and gets you into orbit. Physical and emotional attraction often draws a couple together while spiritual connection keeps them together. Couples who prioritize prayer have a stronger connection and tend to stay married.
Spiritual intimacy provides many incredible benefits for couples who want to connect in the deepest form of intimacy. First, it allows them to understand God’s purposes and plans for their marriage. God has intentional and incredible plans for marriage, and desires to fulfill them in and through couples. Also, it enables couples who love each other with the selfless love of Christ to get a small taste of heaven on earth. It empowers them to interconnect their deepest values and desires to help them experience how to live an emboldened and exciting life together. Moreover, it equips couples not only to survive marriage but to thrive within it for many decades together. Lastly, spiritual intimacy provides the opportunity to be a source of strength and encouragement to other couples as they see Christ’s love shining through as an example.
As a married man, pastor, and professional counselor, these are prime recommendations I can give for intentionally engaging in spiritual intimacy in marriage:
- Daily Devotions (15-30 Minutes): Schedule this opportunity at the same time each day to provide consistency and to enable this to become a habit. During your time together, read the Bible together (a few verses or a chapter a day), apply it to your daily life (What does this mean for us today?), and pray for each other. Other options for this time include reading a couples devotional together, listening to worship music together, engaging in a sermon podcast, memorizing Scripture, or journaling biblical insights together.
- Weekly Worship Service (1-2 Hours): Experience a local church worship service together in person or online. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow in your relationship with the Lord as a couple and with other people with similar desires and goals. It is a powerful experience to worship the Lord together and learn from the Bible in unison. After services, it is meaningful to spend time connecting with other couples.
- Weekly/Biweekly Small Group (1-2 Hours): Participate in a married couple’s small group out of your local church to experience life together with other couples. We can learn so much from other couples, we can have our needs met from other couples, and we can care for other couples. When couples of similar interests, situations, and needs come together, relationships form deeply and quickly for exponential relational growth.
- Monthly Service (1-2) Hours: Engage in opportunities to serve your local church or your community as a couple together. A sense of meaning and purpose arises in us as we use our spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personalities, and experiences to serve others. It can be as simple as being a greeter in your church to helping sort food at a local food bank.
- Yearly Missions Trip (1-7 Day Trip): Plan an opportunity to get away from the normal routine of life and work to serve others in need. You could do a Saturday service project or a short-term missions trip to another country. Connect with your local church missions ministry to find exciting adventures to use your gifts and talents to help others.
One of the greatest gifts that you can give your marriage partner is a lifelong commitment to spiritual intimacy, which is the phenomenal opportunity to engage in the deepest form of intimacy given to us as a gift from God. It is the clearest path to establish a lifelong love and a guaranteed investment that will produce benefits and rewards for eternity.