by Jim Mitchell
My wife and I are both Christians, but we’re not always spiritually matched. Let me explain.
No, we’re not what you would typically call a “spiritually mismatched” couple, where one spouse loves the Lord and yearns for his/her unbelieving spouse to embrace the truth of the Gospel. Many Christians are facing this heartbreaking struggle and I do not intend to equate my situation with theirs.
We’re also not like the couples where one spouse has passion for God while the other is lukewarm at best. No, we both have a desire to grow closer to God.
We’re more of a spiritual “miss-match.” We just keep missing each other and can’t seem to get on the same schedule when it comes to spiritual things. It looks something like this:
Sunday morning rolls around. She’s up early getting ready for church, while I’m moving slowly due to a long day of yard work the day before. When I finally ready myself for church, she’s already running behind because the kids won’t cooperate. Of course, I’m partly to blame due to the fact that I’ve not been very helpful… but I won’t admit it. And a fight breaks out on the way to church. So we enter into worship in a state of separation instead of oneness.
Or the week is in full flow (we both work full time), and I make a discovery in my quiet time that I’m excited to share that evening before bed. I look forward to it all day because I just know it will draw us together. The evening goes relatively smoothly, with dinner and bedtime rituals coming off without a hitch, and the time arrives for our moment of spiritual intimacy. Only, I never told her to clear space for that. And, unknown to me, she has papers to grade (full-time teacher) before she’ll have the luxury of falling asleep. So I catch the end of a late baseball game on the TV and wait. Before you know it we’re both asleep in different rooms with the lights on, the TV running, and her papers spread over the bed. Again, separation instead of oneness.
I could list many other examples. Songs that inspire her but don’t fit my taste… prayer times where one of us is distracted with outside life pressures… service opportunities that energize only one spouse’s gifting… etc.
What I’m discovering is that “missing” each other spiritually, being spiritually miss-matched, wasn’t avoided when we both said “I do” to the Gospel, just as being one in marriage didn’t magically happen when we said “I do” on our wedding day. There are just so many things working against spiritual intimacy in marriage that, I’m ashamed to say it, we miss more than we connect.
It takes forgiveness, patience, communication, and lots of other things that require energy. But as hard as it is, we work at it. Practical tips if you can relate:
1) Agree with one another to clear your minds on Sunday morning for worship. Just decide to set aside the worries of the world, come before the Lord, and “see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). This will help purify you and make you like Him… together.
2) Start somewhere. Set aside two minutes today to discuss real, heart matters. Even if that’s all you can spare today, it’s worth starting there. God will be pleased and He will draw you back for more.
3) When you pray, really pray. Even if it’s only a moment during the day, like before meals, don’t just bless the food… open your heart up to Him… especially you husbands. You are the spiritual leader. That just means you take the initiative to be vulnerable. And by opening up your inner life to your wife and kids (1 Thess.2:8), you will breathe life into your family. Take the initiative!
“God, forgive us. Please give us the strength to start again today. Draw us to You, together, at the same time, with the same mind. Please clear away the clutter of our lives. Please shield us today from the enemy who would keep us Christian, but spiritually miss-matched.