June 20, 2008
marriage / spirituality
My wife and I have been married for just over four and a half years. We got engaged in May of 2003, and married on December 6, 2003. We were 20 years old.
I haven’t written a lot of marriage-related posts on this blog, but I have beginning thoughts of some things that I feel are worth saying. The first thing is something that I’ve observed since we were dating: very close relationships affect Christian spirituality.
When we first started dating, one of the things we immediately liked about each other was that we both wanted to honestly see what Jesus might have to say about, and contribute to, our relationship. We were careful to pray together, worship together, and include spirituality in our conversations.
During those times, we learned that it was much easier for us to get into stupid arguments if we let this dimension of our relationship slip. Since we’ve been married, the spiritual connections between us have only deepened, and this has proven to be both a good thing and a bad thing.
Prior to getting married, I was very much a solitary person. I was (and still am) perfectly content to eat alone, sit alone in class or church, go to concerts alone, and spend lots of time alone in thought, work, prayer, worship, etc. Since I’ve been married, though, I don’t have as much time alone. I share my meals, my thoughts, my events, and so on with my wife.
Where this begins to relate to “married spirituality” is in my struggles, sins, victories, and in the seasons of my life in the Spirit. I’ve often spoken about the seasons that we have in seeking to live a spiritual life. There are dry seasons, rainy seasons, mountain experiences, and valley experiences. All of these are valid, and they all exist whether one is married or single.
As a married person, though, I have learned that many, if not most, of my seasons coincide with those of my wife. If she is struggling with something, or finds it difficult to connect with God, it is very likely that I do also. If she is being obviously transformed, or is enraptured by his presence, it is very likely that I am also.
I don’t want to assume that all married couples are like this, but I also do not want to understate the importance of this concept. Only recently have I begun to honestly accept that this is the case and think about its implications: not that my spirituality depends on that of my wife or that we can blame our weaknesses on each other, but that our spiritualities are inextricably and, to an extent inexplicably, linked.