Do you feel spiritually connected with your husband?
We focus so much on making sure we marry good, Christian guys who share our faith, but how many spouses actually take time to foster a spiritual connection with that great Christian guy?
We’ve got a great post from Sophie Elise today on the blog with a new way of looking at couple devotional time. Love her idea of the tiny group!
Check it out:
Five years ago, I did something that led to a huge fight between my husband and me.
Our church was launching a small group book study initiative and I put our names down to join a small group without really discussing it with him first. Not only that, but I kind of put a check mark in the box beside our names that said we would be willing to host.
Having sealed our fate, I quietly returned to my seat in the sanctuary and promptly forgot about it.
A few weeks later, he approached me with a less than understanding look in his eyes. “I’ve just been informed,” he said in a measured tone. “That we will be hosting a small group this fall. I’m sure that’s a mistake, right?”
Oops. The ensuing argument was unpleasant, but after we’d worked through his concerns about having people over on a weekly basis, we went on to host the group—not just for that year, but for four years. These people, with whom we’d had no prior connection, became our family, an unshakable force of support and love through some of the most formative years of our lives.
Each summer, when our church asked if we would like to divide into multiple small groups, we were adamant that we remain together. Each of us felt that the bond we shared was unique and that we weren’t ready for a change in that season. Personally, I didn’t know what I would do without them.
I knew that my dependency on the group wasn’t necessarily healthy, but our meetings and fellowship were so life-giving that I refused to consider an alternative.
Then, one day last summer, my husband was preaching and the Spirit of the Lord came on me quite strongly.
He gave me a vision of our future that was, though startling to me, emblematic of exactly what we needed. He also gave me a clear first step He wanted me to take on the path to realizing that vision.
Let go of the small group.
My heart skipped a beat at the thought—how could He ask me to give up something I loved so much? It didn’t make sense to me, until He followed it up with His reasoning.
I want you to devote that time to connecting more deeply with your husband and me.
As soon as I heard this, I was convicted that this was the right thing to do. In fact, we’d only been in the car for a few minutes on our way home when I brought up the idea that we should replace our small group with a tiny group: just the two of us. He was surprised by the idea, but agreed to try it.
From then on, every Tuesday night became tiny group night.
We met in the family room after the younger kids were in bed and the older ones were settled in to watch a movie. We mostly followed the structure of our small group meetings, but we didn’t do a book study or discuss our pastor’s sermons.
Instead, we dug deep into fellowship, sharing our prayer requests and praying together freely.
One of the drawbacks of small group was that with eight to twelve people there, each person could share only a narrow sliver of their prayer requests and the amount of time we could spend praying was limited.
With a tiny group, no such issues arise. You have the space and time to share your innermost concerns, even if it takes a long conversation to unearth them. You feel free to pray as much or as little as you are able. Some nights, I was so tired that my husband did all of the praying, but, as we were united in spirit, I felt as deeply involved with our communion as though I’d prayed myself.
The Benefits of a Tiny Group
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that everyone should eschew their small groups in favour of one-on-one time with their spouses. Small groups are vital and have an important role to play in our lives. But for us, in the season we were in, our individual relationships with God and with each other required greater attention. I, for one, was leaning too heavily on the spirituality of my group while neglecting the foundations on which my spiritual practices should have been built.
If you’re in the same situation, you may find that starting a tiny group brings many benefits, chief among them:
1. Deeper connection with your spouse
Setting aside a dedicated time to pray together each week keeps you abreast of both the major and the less significant matters of your spouse’s life and allows you to take an active role in them. This knowledge and participation draws you closer to each other, strengthening the bond you share.
2. Deeper connection to God
While our private communion times are still critical, there is something different about praying together regularly with your spouse. The Holy Spirit often just takes over and starts speaking to you through your spouse’s prayers—and even through your own—revealing new insights that had previously eluded you. The Lord takes delight in us when we gather in His name to pray and to support and encourage each other, and significant spiritual breakthroughs occur when you are faithful in this.
3. Setting an example for your kids
Our kids—by nature of their deep dependence on us—usually take precedence in our lives. Their needs get elevated above almost everything else in our lives and everyone else—God, spouse, self—gets whatever’s left over, which often isn’t much. Letting your kids know that there is a regular time each week when you’re going to put your relationship with your spouse and Jesus first sends an important message to them about priorities.
They realize that these other relationships are also important to us and that they require intentional nourishing to flourish. This is such an important lesson for them to learn as they grow in their own faith and toward the day when they’ll have marriages of their own to build.
Tips for a Successful Tiny Group
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you decide to try your own tiny group.
1. Meet whether you want to or not
Some days you’re not going to feel like meeting with your spouse. You might feel too tired, too stressed, or like you have nothing to discuss. Meet anyway. God will show up and reveal more in these meetings than you think He will.
One night, my husband and I had a fight right at the beginning of our meeting. I felt like it was a spiritual attack from the enemy, and I wanted to press on through it, but my husband felt like it was inauthentic to pray together while we were upset. I decided to go ahead and pray anyway, and we ended up praying our way clear through the fight and beyond it.
The Holy Spirit will do powerful things through you if you show up, but you have to show up.
2. Hold the date firm
It’s easy to cancel on your spouse. He’ll understand. But if you don’t hold the date firm, your tiny group will be over before it’s barely started. Hold that appointment in your calendar like it’s set in stone. If you absolutely must reschedule, do it for the nearest possible day.
3. Worship together
We find it immensely powerful to listen to and sing a couple of worship songs together before and after our meeting. It helps to set the time apart and transition our spirits into the sacred place where we can commune with God.
4. Keep your expectations low
As in anything else, setting your expectations too high is a surefire way to be disappointed. Don’t expect that every meeting will be transformational, that your spouse will perfectly understand you, or that every prayer will move a mountain.
This is a long-term endeavour. Results will come from consistently showing up week after week, renewing your commitment to Jesus and your spouse, and opening your heart to the work of the Spirit in both of your lives.
This is where true transformation occurs.
What are some ways you spiritually reconnect with your husband? Have you ever tried anything like the Tiny Group? Leave your answers in the comments!