Describing God’s work in the core of our soul is sometimes like trying to fork some pudding. Suffice it to say, spiritual intimacy is challenging for many.
Investment legend and spiritual development author John Templeton says, “No human has yet grasped one percent of what can be known about spiritual realities.” We will never know all there is to know about God or ourselves. We are not only physical beings but are also spiritual beings. Remember, we may have been made from dust, but we are also created in His image.
As spiritual beings, our relationship with God is our most intimate relationship whether we are aware of it or not. Given that, if an overflow of that relationship isn’t pouring into the marriage, there will be a huge chasm between husband and wife. Let’s talk about how to bridge that gap.
An essential element of connecting spiritually is to respect and accept the different ways you connect with God. Ben likes to take a walk alone in the woods, and I like to hang out with 200 of my closest friends in the church lobby after service. If we’re not careful, we can begin to look suspiciously at each other wondering, “Do you really love Jesus? Because you’re just not doing it right.”
These differences provide a wonderful means of living out the gospel and getting to know God more deeply. Being curious about why a certain discipline or soul training is helpful for your spouse - though it seems peculiar to you - can provide a means of spiritual bonding in the presence of broad differences. Accept and respect your spouse’s odd ways. Also look for ways you can connect with one another spiritually doing activities together; we’ve listed a few ideas for you.
Read scripture together, but don’t stop there. After reading, share the impact of the verses on your soul. Do the same after sharing a devotion or passage from another book for the same connecting effect between each of you and with God. I love it when Ben reads to me with his soothing and sometimes crackly voice. We then linger over what he’s just read, absorbing the words and emotions into our souls. I recently read Ben a selection from a book I’m reading. The author talked about “embodying scripture.” She relays an exercise she used with workshop participants to bring the Beatitudes to life without using any words. Her description of this process resonated deeply in my soul, and as I read to Ben my voice was the one that became soft and crackly as tears rolled down my cheeks. I let him in on what the Creator of the universe was revealing to and in me in those moments, and a beautiful connection between the two of us transpired.
Pray together. Praying from the passionate places inside of us feels so vulnerable. Because it is. Being vulnerable is a key ingredient of intimacy. Consequently, praying together from the depths of your soul will bring you closer to your spouse. Share what you need prayer for and ask the same of your spouse. Some days, this might be as simple as asking for a safe commute to and from work. Other days, it might be more complex like asking for strength to just lift your head off of the pillow and put one foot in front of the other. I ask for both from Ben, the simple and the complex. When I know that he prays for me, even if we’re not together while praying, my heart connects to his in a soul-soothing way.
Worship together. In our culture, worship is often a euphemism for music at church. This is a sad reduction of a vast realm. Sometimes we worship to music in our kitchen or in the car. I have been found in my car with hands raised and liquid grace streaming down my cheeks on more than one occasion. Though worshipping through music enriches the soul, it certainly isn’t the only way to lift our hearts to God. Going to church together certainly means worship, but go beyond just sitting in the pew. Begin to engage with the message after the service as an excursion into the depths of your soul that can be shared. Be curious about what was touched in your own soul and that of your spouse.
Enjoy creation. Creation leads to a place of awe and certainly points to our Creator. I truly am on the lookout for the beauty of creation when we walk together, whether it’s wildflowers or the gnarled branches of a dead tree. As I share my observations of that beauty with Ben, we are able to stop and connect not only with one another but with the Creator of that beauty.
Share a ministry. Something happens in our hearts as we do Kingdom work together. Our souls become fertile ground for connection as we feed the homeless, wash dishes for the annual Christmas tea, teach God’s word, lead others into His presence through groups and counseling and a million other ways to serve. Find just one of those million ways and begin serving together, and see what happens in your hearts.
Take a retreat, whether it is together or on your own. (Remember, individual growth is also an important part of this process.) Time away with no distractions is good not only for your connection with God but also with one another. After Ben’s big leap of forgiveness toward me, we took a retreat to a lake house. Just the two of us and the fishies in the lake. We experienced an extraordinary connection of heart and soul as we relaxed on the couch, walked on the shore and read aloud to one another with no TV, no phones and no radio to disrupt that connection.
Simply talking about life and God grows spiritual intimacy. Be sure to have a listening ear and heart as your spouse shares from this vulnerable area. Any moment can be a spiritually-intimate moment. Remember, we are created in His image. We have the capacity to seek holiness in each other’s hearts in any situation, in any moment. Seek and you shall find.
What are some ways you can contribute to soul connection with your spouse?