You have probably heard the old adage, “couples who pray together stay together.” You may be pleased to discover that this expression is more than just popular wisdom. Research studies have verified what Bible believing, God fearing people have understood for ages. Married couples who pray, study scripture, attend church, and otherwise jointly participate in spiritual activities really do enjoy significantly higher levels of marital happiness and satisfaction.
One such study, conducted by the University of Virginia National Marriage Project, also found that couples who think about, talk about, and practice their religious beliefs at home enjoy an even stronger positive effects in their relationships compared to those couples who only attend church together regularly. Belonging to a church assembly and participating consistently produces many benefits in a marriage that are often greatly underestimated. Churches typically provide couples with marital and family support (formally or informally), model successful unions, define ethical behavior for relationships, encourage partners to fulfill marital and familial roles and responsibilities, promote constructive conflict resolution, and so forth.
However, as the study revealed, couples who bring home these reflections on marriage and live their faith together through shared prayer, study, and devotion achieve the greatest success in their relationships. Their religious belief system provides them with a sense of purpose and meaning about life in general, and their relationship, in particular. But experiencing their faith through involvement in spiritual activities in the home has been found to be the key influence with respect to marital success and home life happiness.
Engaging in these shared spiritual activities have also been found to offset negative factors that typically threaten the success of marriage. For example, lower levels of income and education are generally correlated with lower relationship quality among married couples. But, shared involvement in prayer, scriptural study, church attendance, and so forth virtually erase the negative effects of the above factors in terms of relationship success.
There are many ways to incorporate spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study into married life. If you are not already faithfully attending weekly worship services and Bible studies together as a family then this is a critical starting point. But merely showing up for these events will not – by itself – produce the highest levels of happiness and satisfaction in your lives and relationships. Go a step further by becoming involved!
Why not inquire about ways to serve through your church together as a couple? This could be something requiring a weekly commitment such as participating in a prayer group, joining the choir, assisting with children’s ministry, or helping with a hospitality team. Or it could also be something that involves more flexible participation such as joining with the outreach, evangelistic, or community assistance efforts of your congregation. Whatever the case, becoming involved in this manner will dramatically increase not only your personal sense of spiritual fulfillment but also your sense of marital bondedness and enjoyment when done together as a couple.
Most importantly, expressing and experiencing your faith together at home will bring even deeper levels of contentment to your marriage. There are many ways to achieve this – but generally keeping it simple and natural will foster greater meaningfulness and consistency. Some examples include: conversing about theme of a recent sermon or Bible study together over lunch or coffee, reading through a book of the Bible together and discussing the life applications, reading a couples devotional or Bible-based marriage enrichment book together, or simply incorporating a brief time of prayer together into your day. Virtually any method of practicing your faith both at church and at home will reap many positive benefits. Be creative and spontaneous with it – but be consistent. Remember that these spiritual investments made into your marriage will build a stronger, healthier, happier, and more enjoyable relationship that will last a lifetime.
Courtesy of MarriageMoment.org – Used with permission.