We all want to avoid shifting spiritually, but we have an enemy who seeks to take our eyes off Christ. This takes discipline. There are certain disciplines that keep us close to Christ. The key to a great marriage is staying close to Christ. When we have the fruits of the spirit—peace, patience, self-control and we’re gentle—our marriages typically do well.
But to avoid drifting spiritually, it’s important to discipline yourself in key areas. Let’s talk about time in God’s Word, quiet time, rest, and living in a Christian community. It’s a battle to keep these disciplines. Life is full of responsibilities and these disciples are often the first thing we let go. Here are 4 ways to stop the spiritual drift in your marriage.
Be still and know that I’m God… —Psalm 46:10
4 Ways to Stop the Spiritual Drift in Your Marriage
Spiritual Drift 1: God’s Word
Time with God’s Word is not easy. It takes focus. It takes me not picking up my phone first thing in the morning. If I pick up my phone, it distracts me from my time in the Word. But if I don’t pick it up and go straight to time in the Word, it anchors me in the truth. It keeps me from drifting into deception or having a negative spirit.
With deception, I’ve seen spouses get out of the Word and out of focusing on Jesus. After you don’t spend the time you should, it will mess with you. I’ve seen spouses try to explain away how God led them out of their marriage and into another relationship that makes them happier. Neglecting God’s Word opened them up to deception. If you aren’t reading or memorizing God’s Word, start small—even five minutes a day. Or, try to memorize a verse a week. The point is to saturate yourself in God’s truth.
Question: How often do you read the Bible?
Spiritual Drift 2: Quiet time
Another piece of spiritual drift is being quiet before the Lord. Do you take time, not just to read the Bible; but do you sit before the Lord in silence? I love the verse “Be still and know that I’m God” (Ps. 46:10). Do you know that He is Lord? If you sit before him, it puts life in perspective.
This discipline takes time. You’ll have to say no to things, maybe even to your kids and your spouse. “Be still…” there are times when I feel my spirit rising and I’ll walk out on our deck and take five minutes to just stop, look up at the sky, and be still. If I catch my breath, it calms me down and helps me be a better wife and mother.
Life spins fast and hard and we start feeling overwhelmed. We start feeling chaotic. We start getting snappy. When we spend time with the Prince of Peace, that’s where peace is found. Now, try not to turn this quiet time into work. Sit and enjoy being with God. Just listen, have a cup of coffee, and quit doing things so you can hear from him. When I don’t do this, our family gets the brunt of it. When I have quiet time, I enjoy everything more. So, put the phone away and enjoy being with Jesus.
Question: How often do enjoy quiet time?
Spiritual Drift 3: Rest
Brad has been practicing the Sabbath and I’ve been watching him be more faithful to this. Scripture calls us to rest. I have not been consistently obedient in this area. It’s simply committing to not work for an entire day of a week—putting aside work and home projects to enjoy a relationship with God.
Brad’s more present with us the rest of the week when he’s rested. You have to work together in this because you need to be supportive of one another.
Question: How often do you set aside time for rest?
Spiritual Drift 4: Church and Community
We weren’t intended to walk our Christian life alone. We need friends. We need our spouse and we need others around us to support us in our spiritual walk with the Lord. For Brad, it looks like, once every two weeks, he and three friends get together at 7:00 AM and they share life with one another. They ask each other, what’s going well? What’s not going well? How their quiet times are going? Now, it doesn’t feel that beneficial while you’re doing it sometimes, but it is—because God never intended to do life in isolation.
Beyond that community, do your best to stay connected to your local church. Be active in attending worship services weekly. You’ll benefit from it, and so will your marriage. Scripture says, “don’t forsake getting together…” (Heb. 10:25)
Question: How often do you worship in community?
Remember, there’s no condemnation in Christ. None of us perform these disciplines perfectly and we never will. So we have to walk in grace and listen for the spirit. But if we’re not intentional with these disciplines we will drift from Him. Be faithful where you are. Start somewhere.
Question: Are you drifting spiritually in your marriage?
Grace Marriage Mission
Take time to review the four spiritual drifts of marriage. Consider each one and decide, as a couple, which one you can work on separately and which one you can work on together.
Marilyn Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.