I want to grow closer to my husband spiritually, but whenever I suggest praying or reading the Bible together, he doesn't seem interested. What can I do?
A: It's important to first define what you want from your husband. Do you want him to go through the motions of reading and praying with you, or do you truly want deep spiritual growth as a couple? Most pastors agree that reading the Bible and praying together will bring you closer to God and to each other. Yet, I've counseled with couples where doing devotions together intensified their differences and became a chore rather than a blessing. It's the motive that's important, not just the idea of doing couples devotions because you've always been told it's the "right" thing to do.
Growing together spiritually is similar to dating. You want to know where your husband is in his faith, and he needs to know where you are as well. This supportive process should turn both your eyes to Jesus. While Bible reading, prayer, and devotions should be part of your life, it may not be your first step to growth. Rather than setting aside a time for "Bible study," make it a priority to get to know your husband's faith. One of the best ways to do this is to talk about issues in the news, or one you face as a Christian in the world. For instance, you might describe a sticky issue you've been dealing with at work. You want to do the Christian thing and want to get his perspective on the issue first.
Look him in the eye like you did when you were dating. Don't criticize his answer—try to understand it instead. You are getting to know him spiritually, and that's a good thing. Ask if he has Scripture to back up his answer. Offer some of your own thoughts and reasoning. Explore the world of Christianity—together.
Later, revisit the issue. Ask his opinion about the Scripture you found. After a healthy discus-sion, ask him to pray for you. Listen to his prayer, and when you pray for him, thank God for his willingness to share his insights..
Becoming closer spiritually should never be judged by the amount of Scripture you can quote or the quantity of time spent on eloquent prayers. Deep spiritual change (for both of you) means that you not only understand your spouse's point of view but that you appreciate and love him for it. Growth is not easy. Don't expect to agree on everything. Do expect to learn more about where he is and how you can support each other while you grow into better Christians.
Bible study shouldn't feel like a requirement. It should feel comfortable, like an act of love. Don't be surprised when the simple, comfortable growth of your relationship with Christ and with your spouse leads both of you into deeper Bible study and more prayer time.