Becoming Soul Mates: Cultivating Spiritual Intimacy in the Early Years of Marriage

 
9780310200147: Becoming Soul Mates: Cultivating Spiritual Intimacy in the Early Years of Marriage
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Every couple has a restless aching, not just to know God individually but to experience God together. But how? How do you really allow God to fill the soul of your marriage? Becoming Soul Mates gives you a road map for cultivating rich spiritual intimacy in your relationship. Written by the creators of the dynamic Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts book and program, becoming Soul Mates is a unique and insightful devotional that helps you dig deep for a strong spiritual foundation in your marriage. Fifty-two practical weekly devotions help you and your partner cross the hurdles of marriage to grow closer than you've ever imagined. In each session, you'll find: - An insightful devotion that focuses on marriage-related topics - A key passage of Scripture - Questions that will spark discussions on crucial issues - Insights from real-life soul mates like Pat and Shirley Boone, Bill and Vonette Bright, Norm and Joyce Wright, and John and Barbi Townsend - Questions that will help you and your partner better understand each other's unique needs and remember them in prayer during the week - A brief prayer that will help you both draw closer together and close to God. Becoming Soul Mates is a valuable resource for mining the rich potential of your marriage. Its principles, proven in the Parrotts' own relationship, will help you make your journey as a couple all God intends it to be. With the strength that comes from a deeply shared spiritual intimacy, your marriage can flourish in the midst of life's challenges. Start building on the closeness you've got today -- and reap the rewards of a deeper, more satisfying relationship in the years ahead.

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About the Author:

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott are founders of RealRelationships.com and the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University. Their bestselling books include Love Talk, Crazy Good Sex, and the award-winning Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. Their work has been featured in the New York Times and USA Today, and they have appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and Oprah. They live with their two young sons in Seattle.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction
Why Daily Devotions for Couples Often Fail

"It’s my turn to read first!" Leslie hollered from the shower.

"No way! You read first last night," I shouted back.

"Pleeeease. Let me read the Old Testament passage first," said Leslie.

For about a week and a half—or up to the eighth chapter of Genesis, whichever came first—this exchange became routine for us. Each night we sparred with each other over who would read the Bible first during our devotional time. We had set our sights on reading the Bible clear through as a couple, and each night before we went to sleep we would take turns reading a passage from the Old Testament and then one from the New.

But after a few evenings, the focus of our lofty spiritual quest was more about sleep than Scripture. We fought over who got to read first, not because of our spiritual passion, but because that person could doze or even fall asleep while the other was reading his or her passage!

Spending a systematic, meaningful quiet time with each other, reading God’s Word and praying, has never come easy for us. We have tried setting aside time in the morning. And we have tried it in the evening. Time seems to make little difference. We could never stick to it and our times were never what we hoped for. Worst of all, the problem made us feel guilty. If we were good Christians, with God at the center of our marriage, wouldn’t setting aside time to cultivate spiritual intimacy be something that would come easy?

Not hardly.

We know and admire couples who open their Bibles together after breakfast, read a passage, share their secrets, and kneel to pray. But that never seemed to be our style. We wake up at different times on different days. We don’t have the same routine every day. And, to be honest, we need an activity that doesn’t seem like a duty that hangs over our heads.

Still, we have a restless aching, each of us, not just to know God individually, but to experience God as a couple. But how? How do we really allow God to fill the soul of our marriage?
OUR SPIRITUAL QUEST

When researchers examined the characteristics of couples who had been married for more than two decades and were fulfilled, one of the most important qualities they found was "faith in God and spiritual commitment." We never needed scientists to tell us that spiritual meaning was important to our marriage. We knew it from the start. Marriage is not a superficial bonding, a mere machine that needs routine maintenance to keep it functioning. Marriage for us is founded upon a mutual exchange of holy pledges. It is ultimately a deep, mysterious, and unfathomable spiritual endeavor.

Several years ago we started a program for engaged and newly married couples that eventually became a book and video package called Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. Thousands of couples have gone through this program and for a number of years now we have formally and informally surveyed and interviewed many of them. In addition, we have interviewed many churchgoing couples who have been married for years. We wanted to learn how successful couples tend the soul of marriage.

So we asked Christian couples to measure just how important spiritual intimacy in marriage is to them, often on a ten-point scale. And the answer was almost always the same: very important. Nearly every couple said they place a high value on spiritual intimacy.

But when we asked these same couples how satisfied they were with the current level of spiritual intimacy in their marriage, their answers again became predictable: not very satisfied. "We agree on tithing and stuff," one woman confided, "but we don’t have any deep or meaningful conversations about spiritual matters." A husband told us, "I feel so uncomfortable praying with my wife. I mean she sees me seven days a week, she knows how I live!"

So, for some time now, we have been on a quest to find a means to spiritual intimacy in marriage that works—for us and the couples in our program. This book is the result. We believe it provides the tools for you and your partner to have a consistent and meaningful time together that is both enjoyable and spiritually enriching.
USING THIS BOOK FOR ALL ITS WORTH

The key to making Becoming Soul Mates work for you is its flexibility. There is no one right way of using it. Think of this book as a resource you mold and fit to your personal style.

Since we found that a weekly approach works best for most couples, the book provides fifty-two sessions. You may have your own personal quiet time each day, but meeting once a week as a couple is critical to becoming soul mates. Once you establish a pattern (each Sunday evening, for example), you will find that these sessions become a spiritual refueling station for the soul of your marriage.

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