Your husband, like every Christian husband, needs to be growing spiritually. He needs spiritual connection—with God, with you, and with other believers. This need came in #5 for men in our survey of 700 couples for our book, The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women. Your husband desires spiritual connection with you and others — and he needs your help and support to meet this need!
If husbands are going to take the Bible seriously, then they know that one of the key dimensions of their spiritual life is the spiritual leadership they must provide. (Eph. 5:25-31) And if you could read the hearts and minds of most Christian men, you would find that leadership—real servant leadership—is the biggest challenge they face on a daily basis.
Servant leadership is a two-sided coin. On one side is the great honor and opportunity that kind of leadership offers: honor in being entrusted with such a high call and opportunity to help meet our family’s deepest needs. However, the other side of the coin is that servant leadership is a very tough job!
This spiritual responsibility weighs heavily on your husband when he recognizes that you and your children are relying on him to take the lead.
Your Husband Needs Your Help
Many women are ignorant of the role they play in the spiritual connection between husband and wife. They haven’t seen it modeled by their own parents, or they haven’t learned it in their churches.
Other women try to play Junior Holy Spirit. They so desperately want their husbands to be the spiritual leaders in the home that they try to shame them into action.
Still other women struggle because they aren’t doing so well in their own spiritual lives. For these women, husbands who are spiritually on fire are more like a guilt-producing reminder than an inspiration.
In my life, Barb isn’t the Junior Holy Spirit, but God does use her consistently to help me when I struggle. But that’s because I trust her, and she does it with honor and respect for my role in our relationship, and without a critical spirit.
Meeting Your Husband’s Need for Spiritual Connection
If your husband is going to experience spiritual intimacy and connection with God, which in turn will produce spiritual intimacy and connection with you, he must be grounded in four basic areas. If any of these areas is missing or inadequate, it will be reflected in both relationships.
Personal Time in the Word
Since the Word of God is a believer’s spiritual food and drink, your husband needs to be reading the Word of God daily. Many husbands are on solid ground in their personal Bible reading. If your husband is, reinforce him. Let him know that you love his thirst for the Word. If your husband is not reading the Word, realize that you don’t want to irritate the situation by nagging. What you can do is pray for your husband to have a thirst for the Scriptures. You can model your own thirst and share with him what you are learning.
If you and your husband do not read the Bible together, talk with him about starting that habit. Some husbands will take the suggestion and run with it. Others may be hesitant. If that is the case, suggest that you start by including a Scripture reading as a part of your mealtime. Or you could suggest that you read a passage together before going to bed. Do whatever seems like a natural first step for you.
Consistent prayer is one of the most elusive spiritual disciplines for men. Let me offer you a good hands-on way to approach prayer. This will help you in your own prayer life, but it will also be helpful to your husband. It is the acronym ACTA.
A is for adoration. Pour your adoration and worship on God for what he is doing in your life.
C is for confession. Lay open your heart for the surgery God needs to do in your life. He is always faithful to forgive.
T is for thanksgiving. It is honoring to God when you come to him with a thankful heart for all the blessings he has given to you and your family.
A is for asking. Make your petitions known to God. He already knows them, but he wants you to tell him your needs.
Fellowship and Worship
The need for spiritual connection extends to the entire family of God. We need each other, and your family needs to worship God and grow in relationship to others in the family of God. This is best done in the local church. Does that mean you should never miss a Sunday service or a Wednesday-night prayer group? No. That would border on legalism. But if we are not worshipping and fellowshipping on a regular basis with the people of God, our spiritual growth will diminish. You and your husband need to be in a strong Bible-teaching church that is presenting the Word of God week in and week out. You need it. Your husband needs it. Your kids need it.
Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage and Family
When a husband and a wife are both studying God’s Word, praying, and in fellowship, then spiritual connection in the family is the natural out-growth. When a husband and a wife are sharing what God is teaching them in the Word, the family will benefit. When a husband reaches out and takes his wife’s hand and prays with her, whether in crisis or in calm, then spiritual intimacy in the marriage is the natural outgrowth. When a husband assumes his God-ordained role of servant leadership in the home with his wife and his children, the family will flourish.
Spiritual intimacy and connection in a marriage is the greatest kind of connection of all. If you are living it, rejoice. If you are seeking it, never give up. Keep at it. If you are just getting started, welcome to the journey. God is at work in you