A few months ago my husband and I wanted to renew our focus on not only growing closer to God, but to each other. From the outset of our relationship, we wanted to make God the focus. We firmly believed that whole triangle diagram thing they show you in (Christian) premarital counseling where the closer each of you get to God, the closer you naturally come together. I think that in a solid Christian marriage, that the vice versa must also naturally be true to some extent. In other words, if you work on building a Christian marriage, the only way to successfully do that is to draw closer to the creator of your faith.
Anyways (I say that a lot when I’ve started to rabbit trail don’t I?) …
We scoured online and two local Christian bookstores for just the right devotional to do together. We didn’t want marriage counseling and we wanted a devotional that was not just geared towards a single reader.
We were getting pretty frustrated until we were shown the book by Dennis and Barbara Rainey Moments Together for Couples: Devotions for Drawing Near to God and One Another.
We don’t really “do” the book in the way that it’s intended-as a daily, short devotional where the couple spends maybe 15-30 minutes tops reading and discussing that day’s entry.
Instead, we do it “Smith style” (in other words, our own way that fits our needs). We set aside time every Sunday to read an entry indepth and we each write our own response to the discussion question(s) silently then share our answers. We get into pretty deep relationship and spiritual discussions that have allowed us to explore issues in our faith and in our marriage.
I strongly recommend this book for couples. Don’t let the dated entries daunt you if you can’t do it daily or if you’re starting in the middle of the year. Just go in order! Really, not a tough concept…even for mildly OCD folks like me who must have things a certain way sometimes. Use a notebook, even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer.” That way you can not only keep track of where you are in the book, but can look back at the lessons you’ve learned.
So what’s to like? We like that the book truly is about growing closer to God and each other. As trite as that sounds, it’s literally what were seeking. I also like that each devotional entry is based on Scripture but also has realistic life application. I see a lot of churches get so heavily into the idea of applying Scripture that they forget to go into much study or detail about the book they are supposedly applying! On the other hand, other messages are so entrenched in Scripture that they don’t help listeners understand what to do with that information.
This book is a good mix of the two.
I also appreciate that most of the time, the discussion questions are solid enough to be meaningful but usually aren’t exhausting to discuss. They foster good discussion and give chances to go deeper into the subject or related ideas.
Finally, I like the fact that it has a suggested prayer topic at the end. Usually this kind of thing bugs me because I can’t help but feel like the book is telling me what to say to God. But either my spirit is at peace when we read this book or the wording is such that I don’t feel ordered, I feel guided. Big difference for headstrong chickadees like me!
I’m not good at giving ratings so I won’t do stars or cookies or whatever seems appropriate for a Jamie blog. I will say this: If you’re looking for a guide to growing closer to God as a couple, this book is most definitely worth your time.