by Col Larry & Bobbie Simpson, USAF (Ret.)
A close look at thriving Christian marriages reveals intentionality–a purposeful plan and pursuit of spiritual growth, revealing its depth in increasing relational service and contentment.
At Puget Sound’s recent Climb On! Regional Training Conference for equipping OCF members, we challenged couples to resist going through the motions of marriage and lukewarm service to one another. Christian military marriages thrive when couples purposely:
- Open the dialogue box-and keep it open
- Seek to understand your wife or husband’s need, goal, or point of view
- Commit to caring for the other’s concerns
- Catch, pray for, and cooperate with God’s vision
- Serve each other with proper motives
Following an interactive session, a young spouse asked us, “So how do you grow together spiritually?” Our response was to start with these basics of good communication:
- Routine spiritual pulse check. Safeguard from serving on an empty tank.
- Weekly calendar merge. Share, know, and be involved with what each other is doing.
- Inquire about what your husband or wife is learning through personal quiet time and study.
- How can I pray for you today? Be deliberate and discerning in praying for your spouse.
- Give permission to ask each other difficult questions. If you don’t, who will?
- Challenge, support, and encourage deeper spiritual growth: journaling, Scripture memory, extended time alone with God, fasting…
- Ask yourself: How am I serving my spouse today? Is he or she on my “calendar” or “to do” list?
- Extend grace- daily. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. Think the best of your spouse’s motives and intentions.
In the Book of Acts, we are introduced to a married couple that moved in tandem, seamlessly serving others with humility and excellence-Priscilla and Aquila. “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26).
They worshipped, studied, encouraged others, and even taught together. How exciting that on any given day God could use them individually or together for His purposes.
In essence, this couple hosted an OCF fellowship in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19). As they opened their home and lives, the members of their small group fellowship would have likely seen in them how couples grow together spiritually and keep pace with each other for the sake of the gospel.
As a spiritually smart couple in today’s military and society, what do you need to add or remove to be intentional about God’s priorities for you? Open the dialogue with your spouse and discuss what you believe is God’s purpose for your marriage. Get intentional in your marriage.
This article originally appeared in COMMAND magazine, or an OCF Ministry Report.