November 20, 2008

Marriage & Spirituality

Tim Keel, founder and pastor of emerging church Jacob's Well has some very helpful words for couples who are seeking to practice some kind of spiritual practice together. I know for myself his words are helpful and wise, because we have failed in so many areas to have a consistent discipline that is "super" spiritual. Here's the meat of his post:

"That is a good question, and not one that I am sure that I have a good answer for. Most couples I know have struggled to find a good way to answer this question. I do know a few people that have navigated these waters successfully, but I know many more who have tried and wounded one another significantly. Mimi and I do not have common devotional practices, besides sharing public worship and service to our children. I once had a pastor share with me that doing such things is very difficult because we are often attracted to someone who is very different than we are and as a result the way in which we experience and practice the presence of God, and express it in our personalities, is likewise different (at best) and threatening (at worst). That can be good or bad, but it is always challenging emotionally because our spiritual lives are such a place of intimacy and thus, vulnerability. That is not to say it shouldn't be undertaken but rather to say it should be attempted with gentleness, low expectations, and humility. I do think the spiritual practice of conversation can be a really good one to develop, especially if you will listen to one another as you talk about your own journey, what you are learning, and how you experience God, etc. Also serving God by serving others together can be a really healthy way to engage one another, and it also sets the relational precedent that you are focused not just on your own inward life in God, but how that inward life gets express outwardly as well. Reading a book together can be good, but likewise challenging if one is a reader and the other is not. Anyway, I guess my counsel is to try a few things, have fun, laugh, and do it all with a recognition of God's presence among you. I hope that helps."

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