Spouse and I are both Christians. We bowed our knee at the Cross early in life. When we married, there were three of us involved in making this union succeed. And we wanted to make all of those relationships prosper: as individuals, as a couple, and us with God.
There are many different paths this journey can take, but some basics stand out, to set a good foundation. First, we talked. Before we married, we discussed everything – from the number of children we wanted (she – probably none, he – maybe one someday. And Him – we now have eight).
We chatted about our beliefs about baptism, salvation, church attendance. And that became a sticking point. He – Sunday morning is fine. She – Daddy was an Air Force Chaplain, and we were the church! We didn’t just go every time the doors were open. We opened the doors! Him – a combination of the two, depending on our season of life and the positions we carry: soloist, audio technician, deacon, teacher, nursery, cleaning the pews or bathrooms.
We compared notes on social issues: family topics, raising children, war and peace. We talked about everything. Looking back, I chuckle. Spouse – from whom words do not flow – was profoundly full of wisdom, ideas, and opinions when we were dating. Was it a courting dance? And we both thought we were so very smart and wise – with all of twenty-something years under our belts. But, we didn’t skirt the issues. We walked the white beaches of north Florida, talking, and found our hearts melting together.
We invited God into every area of our lives. We met with our pastor in premarital counseling. We set financial and life goals.
And then we were blissfully wed.
After thirty years, we find that in many areas our youthful wisdom has been replaced by His infinite wisdom. As we have walked this journey together, there are specific activities we have chosen which have strengthened our union.
Since I am the early bird, my eyes closing soon after our late evening meal, we had to set times for our “hot discussions.” Nothing after 8:00 pm. It just doesn’t turn out well for us. And the discipline of waiting produces good results. We have time to think and pray through heart matters before we talk.
Expressing prayer requests to each other, then remembering to ask about them has brought us close. Learning to pray together has been a great reward: sharing, caring, bearing.
There are many Bible studies for couples to enhance the marriage relationship. Yet, almost any Bible study is good to go through as a couple. Learning about marriage or any other topic together enlarges the marriage foundation. It opens to more discussion on topics, in light of God’s word.
Listening to teaching tapes, CDs or watching these on DVD strengthen the bond. Sometimes, when the season of life is very full, we might be able to fit only fifteen minutes of listening before bed, or while traveling in the car. However, we are amazed at how much we can accomplish in a month or a year, with just these little megabytes.
And one of the major godsends in our family has been going through a financial class together. There are many available through your Christian bookstore, and some offered at local churches. We bought a kit and watched the DVDs at home with the family.
Going through the worksheets offered us the opportunity, once again, to discuss. Where do we really want to put our money? Are we giving enough to our church and charities? When will our debt be paid off? And we both sidled over a bit to be on the same page about our finances. I became more of a saver. Spouse became more vocal about his preferences.
Growing together spiritually is a choice. Both husband and wife must see a need, and make the effort to build up that area. And for us, this dance continues on.