Sunday

Are You Roommates or Lovers?

My husband and I struggled for years to have a consistent quiet time together. Every marriage book we read said we should read the Bible and pray together if we wanted to have a godly, successful marriage. So every Christmas I'd buy a new couples devotional, and we'd make a commitment to read it daily.

And we would. For about 3 days. 

Then one day we'd forget, or get busy. Before we knew it, it was bedtime, and we hadn't cracked the cover. And then a week would go by, and before long, the commitment to have a daily quiet time together would fall by the wayside once again.

Until I decided to do something drastic.

We were in the tenth year of our marriage, with 5- and 2-year old daughters,  and we were in trouble. We weren't arguing, fighting, or disagreeing. In fact, we were united in mind and purpose over the direction of our work, home, and family. We had just begun homeschooling our eldest, I was working very minimally outside the home, and we were engaged in ministry at our church.


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But the spark was gone from our marriage.

We were living more like roommates than lovers. We were planets orbiting the same sun, yet seldom intersecting. We were busy living out our callings, content to come together for exchanges that were more like business meetings than family meetings.

We seldom thought of each other during the day, and when we tried to make conversation, we struggled to find something to talk about. We were emotionally distant, and our marriage was starving.

Is this all there is? we wondered. Maybe this is just the way it is after 10  years of marriage. . .  

That's when I decided to shake things up.

I instinctively knew that the key to reviving our marriage was somehow connected with us spending time together in God's word and prayer. But finding the right time, a time when we were most likely to be consistent, had thus far eluded us. Our good intentions were consistently shipwrecked on the rocks of reality.

I knew the key was finding a time when there would be few distractions. And a time when it would be as easy as possible for my husband to participate.


On a typical workday, my husband would rise early from sleep and begin his day. He'd shower, pack the lunch I'd made for him the night before, and leave for work. After years of rising at all hours of the night with babies, I'd sleep in as long as I could before one of the girls awakened.

Well, our girls were no longer infants, and the time of frequent night awakenings had passed. There was no excuse for sleeping in except that I enjoyed it. Not a bad thing, in light of the physical demands of 24-hour motherhood, but it was now a luxury, not a necessity.

 "Honey," I said,  "if I get up with you in the morning and fix you breakfast (I knew this would be a draw, what husband wouldn't accept the offer of breakfast?), do you think it would be OK if I read from one of our couples devotionals while you ate? And then when you're done, maybe you can share one thing I can pray for you about during the day, and I can do the same?"

He agreed.


Five o'clock came awfully early that next morning, but I was determined to do everything in my power to make this attempt succeed. I don't remember what I fixed for breakfast. Perhaps I just poured cereal in a bowl and set out a banana, but as he ate, I read. I was careful to choose a devotional with brief selections. When I finished, I asked him how I could pray for him that day. He did the same. 

After a week or so of consistently implementing this new plan, a strange thing began to happen. First, instead of just reading the devotions, we began to talk about them. We'd share ideas, ruminate on the topic during the day, and sometimes pick up the conversation when he got home. 

Additionally, as I prayed several times a day for the request he'd shared that morning, I'd find my heart strangely warmed. My commitment to pray for his request, even those that were seemingly mundane, kept drawing my thoughts back to my husband during the day. Instead of "out of sight, out of mind," as I prayed for him, I began to feel warm feelings for him. Prayer was linking our hearts together.

And when he returned home in the evening, I had something to talk about with him. "How did that meeting go with Paul," I'd ask. "I prayed about it several times today." 

"It went really well, " he'd say, and proceed to tell me about it. By praying together, we were investing in each others' day and sharing our worlds.


Reading and praying together wasn't a magic bullet that revived our marriage, but it was a step in the right direction. It required sacrifice and commitment, but the payoff has been worth it. Eighteen years later, we still consistently meet together in the early mornings to read and pray. This practice seldom takes more than 5 minutes, but it is the key that has helped our marriage survive some very difficult challenges. 

If your marriage is struggling, or if it's healthy, but needs an extra boost, prayerfully consider what  you can do to draw nearer to God and each other. What are you willing to sacrifice to make that happen? Theologian Andrew Murray proposed that it is better to be sleep deprived than God deprived.

And join the conversation. Post a comment below and share a tip that's helped you draw near to God and your husband. May God richly bless you as you seek to honor Him!

Some of our favorite devotionals:
Night Light by James and Shirley Dobson 
Moments Together for Intimacy by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
A Godward Life by John Piper
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Love Languages Devotional Bible by Gary Chapman 



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28 comments:

  1. I love this idea! Perhaps I should try implementing it in my marriage :)

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  2. My husband and I have been committed to praying together daily and we've been working on sharing our quiet time thoughts with each other, but haven't made that a consistent habit yet. I like the idea of getting up for breakfast together and doing it then. I'll have to look at our schedules and see if we can raise the bar in this way. I know that praying together daily has really helped along the way. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog too, Lori!

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    1. God bless you, Beth, for realizing how important it is. I'd challenge you to try it for 5 days, and see what amazing things God will do. You'll be hooked! Thanks for visiting :)

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  3. I love this post, Lori. Very practical and insightful. I think it is so easy for couples to become simply roommates. Now that Michael is mostly retired and we spend so much time together, I think it's important that we put down all that we're doing, look at each other and talk about real things for at least a few minutes every day. Because being together doesn't mean connecting.

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    1. You're right, Gail, we can easily become orbiting planets. It takes constant effort, even when you're around each other alot. Sometimes BECAUSE you're around each other a lot, it's easy to take interaction for granted. Thanks for visiting :)

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  4. This was so encouraging to me...I am not a morning person at all, and with three small kids, I have been doing the same thing and sleeping as long as I could until someone woke up. But my husband had been asking me if I would get up with him partially because he loves mornings and partially because when I stay in bed, he's tempted to stay in bed too. For the past 2 weeks, we've been getting up together, early in the morning, and it has done wonders for helping us both get back into a devotional routine.

    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives
    www.thewarriorwives.com

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    1. Good for you, Elizabeth! You've tasted of the joy God intended for us when we share not just our physical existence, but our spiritual existence. There's nothing sweeter than fellowshipping around God's table. Thanks so much for adding your AMEN to my post. It packs a powerful witness.

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  5. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. My own Dear Hubby and I struggle with sometimes feeling like roommates, and your post is a reminder to go back to the source! God.

    I can also say just from my own experience that we also connect a lot more when we read to each other "for fun" (like read a book). And when we do feel a little like roommates, we also remind ourselves that feelings can change based on the weather, the time of the month, whether you're hungry or tired...feelings come and feelings go.

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting. You're right, we need to be prepared for the winds of feelings to come and go and realize that love is a choice, even when we don't feel like it. And our family has always shared read alouds, long after the girls were old enough to read by themselves. Now that they're out of the house, I still read to my hubby, who's an auditory learner and LOVES it :)

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  6. I know in my head how important this time is together, but we've fallen into that routine of never getting it done. You've encouraged me to think more on how to make it work. Thanks for linking up with WIP!

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    1. Mary Beth, it's so easy to overlook our one on one time with our husbands, especially with small children around, but it pays off in spades, I promise! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  7. Good encouragement- I know that when my husband and I take the time to pray together, it gives us more intimate views of what's going on in the other's heart, and thus makes us feel so much closer. So wise!

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    1. Rachel, it's true, and one of the blessings that believers experience in the context of a Christian marriage -- the way that talking to God knits our hearts together in a sweet, special, supernatural way. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

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  8. This is awesome! My husband reads a personal devotion every morning before he goes to work, but he probably wouldn't mind if I joined him. I have always yearned for us to have a devotional time together, but like you it always seems to falter after only a few days, and I feel like I'm forcing it...but if I get up early and do it on his time, maybe it would work? Thanks for the idea and thanks for linking up with Thriving Thursday

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    1. Crystal, I think you're on to something. Your husband already has this discipline built into his routine. I bet he'd be delighted to have you join him. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. One word of caution -- don't try to change what he's doing, just politely ask if you might join in :)

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  9. Thank you, Lori, you've given me a new idea in my quest to make my marriage better. This was a thoroughly engaging post.

    Thank you for linking up over at WholeHearted Home. Have a very special week.

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  10. My husband and I read the Bible and pray together every night after our daughter is asleep. It has been so great for our marriage. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Jenni -- good for you! You're ahead of the game. Keep it up, girlfriend :)

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  11. Hi Lori! I am coming to you from the WIP link up at New Life Steward. I really appreciate your specific suggestions. My husband and I were talking just today about ways to reconnect. Thank you!

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    1. Mandy,
      thanks so much for stopping by. My prayer is that you and your husband will rediscover the joy God has for us as we intentionally pursue a marriage that honors Him. blessings to you!

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  12. Anonymous12:07 PM

    Thank you for sharing this...it is much needed, an inspiration and motivation to set into motion something similar.
    God bless.

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  13. Lori,
    This was lovely. I really enjoyed reading this. I've been thinking for awhile that it would be nice to get up with my husband, even though it is very early. I shall start working towards that now. Thank you for a lovely blog! I'll be back!

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  14. Wow. I really enjoyed this post and plan to adopt something similar as we are still in the middle of the night feedings stage with our son.

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  15. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing, such an encouragement to see marriages still have fire and love and passion :)

    www.gratefulwithtwo.com

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  16. Thanks for sharing your heart! There is so much power in praying together!

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  17. I so needed to read this, however it is with a heavy heart that i ask each and everyone of you to pray for me and my husband...our marriage is in dire need of repair...i am a strong woman with great faith...but i have grown weary of trying to revive anything...my husband has become despondent and unwilling to respond to any and all things i try...thank you for praying...In Him I Trust...

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  18. I so needed to read this, however it is with a heavy heart that i ask each and everyone of you to pray for me and my husband...our marriage is in dire need of repair...i am a strong woman with great faith...but i have grown weary of trying to revive anything...my husband has become despondent and unwilling to respond to any and all things i try...thank you for praying...In Him I Trust...

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  19. I so needed to read this, however it is with a heavy heart that i ask each and everyone of you to pray for me and my husband...our marriage is in dire need of repair...i am a strong woman with great faith...but i have grown weary of trying to revive anything...my husband has become despondent and unwilling to respond to any and all things i try...thank you for praying...In Him I Trust...

    ReplyDelete