Want More Positive Interactions with Your Spouse?

Want more positive interactions in your marriage? Become more spiritual! That’s the findings of a research team from Bowling Green University. They explored the connection between spirituality and marriage in a study involving 164 heterosexual couples having African American Couple Laughing On The Floortheir first child (click here for full article). The members of the research team defined “spirituality” as the “disclosure of one’s journey, questions, and doubts” to a spouse who “offered non-judgmental support when receiving the disclosure.” The results suggest that couples who report more spiritual intimacy also exhibit more positive behaviors and fewer negative behaviors toward one another, even in the midst of high conflict discussions. Perceived spiritual intimacy motivates couple to remain kind and increases their desire to preserve and protect their spouse and marriage. This study also found that those who view their marriage as sacred—as eternal and holy, reflective of God’s intentions—experienced more positive marital interactions as well.

So, we ask again: do you want a marriage with more positive interactions, even in the midst of conflict? Become more spiritual…and here are 4 ways to help you do this.

  • Consider how your marriage reflects God’s intentions. For instance, Ephesians 5 tells us that marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. The opportunity to serve your spouse represents an opportunity to reflect the servanthood of Christ as described in Philippians 2. There are more to consider…like 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 4:25-29, Colossians 3:12-17. Reflect on how your marriage reveals God’s intention.
  • Share your life’s journey with your spouse. Recognize that life is a journey for all of us. Like any journey or adventure, our life’s journey is more enjoyable when shared with another. Share it with your spouse. And spouses, listen to that journey. Allow yourself to recognize the miracle inherent in your spouse’s story. Sharing our journey and standing in awe of the miracle of that journey will increase respect and intimacy in ways you never imagined.
  • Accept your spouse where they walk in their journey. We are all in different points on the journey. We all have doubts and questions. Listen to your spouse’s doubts and questions. Accept those doubts and questions and join your spouse in his or her struggle with them. Enjoy the intimacy that grows from exploring those doubts and questions. You might be surprised at how much your intimacy grows through the struggle.
  • Recognize the sacredness of your marriage. When you married your spouse, you set your relationship apart as sacred. Your relationship with your spouse is holy, a step above all other earthly relationships. You set your marriage apart as the place to share your deepest joys and your most profound sorrows. Your marriage is a place set apart to share your greatest creative work, the raising of children. In marriage you ordain your relationship as the place of personal growth, a place of sacrificial giving, a place of dying to yourself in order to promote your spouse’s growth. Marriage truly is a most sacred place.

Consider how your marriage reflects God. Share your life’s journey with your spouse. Accept your spouse’s journey. Recognize the sacredness of your marriage. Take time to do these four things and you will experience greater intimacy, more positive interactions, and more joy in your marriage. (And, might I say a more satisfying sexual relationship? Yes, I think I will! You will experience a Sacred Sex, as Tim Alan Gardner so aptly names it.)

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