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Congratulations! You did it! 8 days of reading God's word as a couple, discussing what you read as a couple, praying as a couple, and spending time together as a couple. 8 days, in a row! Wow!
It really is an accomplishment. Think about it. Many couples struggle to find enough time to simply say, Hello, as they pass each other in the hallway to the bathroom. Throw in kids and family responsibilities and the challenge for time only increases. So to set aside time and commit to 8 days of devotional exercises is quite a feat.
Let's review the last 8 days. Our goal was to set aside 8 days and commit as a couple to do four things...
Our hope was to deepen our intimacy
We know how easy it can be to put your marriage and relationship on the back burner. It's often great when you first get married. Those early years can be a lot fun when it's just the two of you. But as life together changes, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep the focus on each other. Children, careers, activities, organizations, friends, church ministry; the distractions can add up. And, while none of these activities in themselves is bad, they do pose the risk of consuming your time and attention.
We have five kids, make that five active kids. Quite often we found ourselves in seasons of intense busyness. There were many a night where we crawled into bed completely exhausted. Intimacy? Not a chance. But even in the busiest of seasons, we knew that we had to squeeze in time for one another. It was our commitment to put each other first that helped us navigate those busy seasons.
Make the commitment to put each other first.
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Commit to do something to grow spiritually.
From day one of our marriage, we said that we wanted God to be at the center of our relationship. In order for that to happen, we have to do the work to keep God at the center of our marriage. Regular church attendance, bible studies, small groups, mission trips, volunteering, serving, personal quiet times, and prayer have been a significant part of our journey. They have helped us weather the storms and challenges of life. And, they have helped us to grow spiritually.
As a couple, commit to growing spiritually. Find and attend a healthy, Jesus-center, gospel-filled church regularly. Participate in a group bible study or small group. Join a men's group and a women's group. Find a place when you can serve; individually and as a couple. Encourage each other to take time for personal study and prayer. And of course, pray together. By doing these things, you will grow.
Sexual intimacy is an important part of marriage.
We were made to have sex!
Commit to weekly one-on-one time.
Commit as a couple to set aside time each week to be intimate. It can be spontaneous and when no one's expecting it. Or it can be scheduled like a date night. However it works for you, do it. And not just once, but as many times as you can. Wake up early. Stay up a little later at night. Make plans to have "lunch" together. If it's too much pressure to set a schedule, then simply make the commitment to be as intimate as possible whenever possible. Remember, it's about you doing what's best and what works for your marriage.
The important thing that we hope you keep in mind is not how much sex you have, or how often you read the Bible and pray together. The goal is that you deepen your intimacy, with each other and with God. That being said, sit down as a couple and ask, "What do we want for our marriage as we go forward." When you settle on your goals, go after them. And, let this be a new beginning for you and your marriage!
- jay and amy