This month’s couple devotional is focused on the heart of marriage and, in particular, the thriving marriage trait of spending time together.
Begin your devotional by praying that God would impact both you and your spouse with His truth.
Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together.
Time together: Thriving couples sincerely enjoy spending time with each other. They develop meaningful traditions and rituals characterized by laughter and playfulness. They regularly schedule time together for dates, hobbies and adventures. They value shared experiences.
On a scale of 1-10, (1 = low, 10 = high) how are you doing in regards to spending time together?
As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?
Read the following Bible passages.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” (Song of Solomon 2:15)
“But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:10b-15)
Spending time together is an important way to build stability and happiness in your marriage. Most couples understand this intuitively. They know that if they spend time together, there is greater opportunity for closeness. Couples also intuitively know that if they do not spend quantity and quality time together, they put their marriage at risk. But this is not just a pop-psych idea from the self-help section of your favourite bookstore. This is one of the ideas expressed in the Biblical word “cleave” (Genesis 2:24).
Unfortunately this is not an easy word to understand. The word has come to mean opposites in our culture – to both separate and join. But the Biblical word provides insight. The Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:24 means to cling or stick to, to be joined together or to pursue closely. In other areas of the Old Testament, this term can be used to denote the strength that can be a result of close association. The New Testament Greek word for cleave means to glue together or to be glued upon, and is used to describes a strong bond.
A couple can hardly imagine having a sense of being glued together if they don’t spend time together. Yet sadly, many couples put distance between themselves through busyness at work or being over-extended with the children. Solomon calls these disturbances “little foxes” that interrupt and destroy a couple’s garden of love. Great caution is needed for couples to avoid the tyranny of the urgent and instead ensure that they are spending as much time as possible together. Time apart weakens this glue; time together strengthens it. Shared experiences and adventures often can be a catalyst in deepening relationships, but you’ll never have adventures with your spouse unless you make the effort to plan and prioritize time spent together.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 speaks about building up the church on the foundation of Jesus Christ. It gives us both a challenge and a warning to build well. Although this is not speaking directly about marriage, some principles can apply. As you build your marriage on the foundation of Christ, what kind of building materials are you using? Are you using gold, silver and costly stones? Or are you using wood, hay or straw? Often, we give our spouse whatever we have left over from a busy day (i.e., wood, hay and straw). When relationships are not given the attention they deserve, trouble can easily set it. Instead, let’s build our marriages with gold, silver and costly stones.
You can do this by scheduling opportunities for shared experiences or adventures. Perhaps you can even begin a few rituals such as a long hike every weekend, or making sure you have regular dates and romantic times away. Give your marriage top priority. Nothing says “I love you, I care” than by actively spending quality time together, which is at the heart of marriage.
- As you reflect upon these principles from God’s Word, what do you sense the Spirit of God wants you to understand?
- How can you build your relationship with gold, silver and costly stones?
- What would quality time look like in your marriage?
- What is your most significant obstacle in spending time together?
- What “little foxes” are disturbing your garden of love?
- What rituals or hobbies could you engage in which would strengthen the glue that holds you together?
- What wild adventure could you two share together?
Take a few moments to listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas in your marriage.
Written by Laird Crump
Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.
“Reprinted by permission. © 2017 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.”