When I first met my husband, Jeremy, I was coming out of a very unhealthy place spiritually. I was jaded and tired of the hypocrisy I saw around me, and I desperately wanted something authentic, even though I knew the hypocrisy in my heart was a big part of the problem.
I remember getting on my knees and being brutally honest with God. I didn’t care much to read my Bible in that season, my heart was hard toward people, and I knew I didn’t want to pretend to be something I’m not. When I finally asked God to change me and give me a new desire for Him—to do something truly miraculous in my heart—He did.
Shortly after this, I met Jeremy, and we began our journey of pursuing the Lord together.
It started with us simply reading in the same place of Scripture every day, a practice that allowed us to connect with God on our own and then invite each other into that space. We’d read until something stood out to us, and then we’d talk about what it meant to us and how it impacted our lives at that moment. If something we read was confusing, we’d work it out together.
We didn’t realize it at the time, but this practice set the tone for our relationship. This small act created a habit for how we related to God and each other and kept us moving forward in our walks with the Lord and each other.
In our overly distracted and self-sufficient society, we’ve underestimated how vital a relationship with God is to having healthy relationships with each other. We need to understand that our greatest needs are truly met in Jesus first.
Psalm 103:14 says, “For he [God] knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.” Oftentimes we look to our husbands to fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts, but we’ll always be unsatisfied if we’re looking for “dust” to fill us. None of us have what it takes to be the solution for our spouses. I can encourage Jeremy, and he can encourage me, but only out of our personal connection with God will unconditional love truly flow from our hearts toward each other.
In the best seasons, Jeremy and I have been intentional in our spiritual growth and prayer times together. But I’ve learned the hard way that my pursuit of God can’t be based on whether Jeremy is pursuing God.
For years I desperately wanted Jeremy to initiate us praying as a couple. I felt it was the man’s responsibility to lead in this area, and I really longed for that. So, I waited. I waited and waited and waited, and nothing much happened. Then one day, I thought, What am I waiting for? It’s on my heart to pray, but we’re not doing it together because of my preference for it to come from him. But why does it matter who initiates it? So now, sometimes when we’re sitting quietly together, I’ll start a time of prayer, or I’ll say, “Hey, would you pray for us?”
In our marriage, it’s so important to keep reminding ourselves we’re building the same team. It’s not my spirituality versus Jeremy’s. Same team! We both win from spiritual growth, no matter who initiates it. Jeremy has grown so much in leading this area of carving out times of intentional prayer together. We both have strengths and weaknesses in our walks with the Lord, and we need grace, humility, and encouragement from each other as we grow. This is an important part of the lifelong journey together. Like we read in 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude” (NLT).
In almost twenty years of marriage, seasons have looked vastly different. But one thing we believe is that strong, thriving marriages don’t happen accidentally. When our kids were younger, it was an exhausting and chaotic season, and at times it felt like we were two ships passing in the night. We had to learn patience as we were both growing and figuring out life, but we still tried to be intentional to check in.
Instead of “How’s your day?” with generic answers of “Great; fine; OK,” we would regularly ask each other, “How’s your heart?” This forced us to be transparent and evaluate things on a deeper level.
We haven’t always gotten it right, but we’ve made the commitment to pursue God together. We want to be intentional about growing together, walking in forgiveness and humility toward each other. We fully believe that prayer and seeking the Lord are vital to a healthy marriage.
This looks different for every marriage and in every season. Most of the time, we read entirely different things in our devotional time, but we come together through times of discussion and times of prayer. Something new we recently started doing was fasting and whiteboarding. We fasted for three days and then sat down with a whiteboard and wrote down prayer requests in one column and in the other column visions and dreams. For example, What do we want our marriage to look like five years from now? OK, now let’s work backward from there to implement things today. We truly believe the seeds we sow today will be the harvest we reap tomorrow.
Perhaps it’s been a completely foreign thing in your relationship to communicate with each other about spiritual things, so start small. People often make the mistake of creating completely unattainable goals. Start somewhere; start anywhere! Anything is better than nothing. It might feel uncomfortable at first, and you may even need to begin by giving voice to disappointments you’re carrying in your heart from unmet expectations and desires that you need to prayerfully surrender to the Lord.
Use Scripture as a guide for your relationship. Am I practicing what I’m reading? Is any part of this true about me? About us? Ask the Lord to soften your heart toward each other and give you a desire to seek Him.
Growing in the Lord together is one of the most beautiful and rewarding things you’ll do in your marriage. As you grow, you’ll see the qualities of love, humility, patience, tenderheartedness, and so much more deepen your friendship. It’s a worthwhile, rewarding journey.
Did you love this post from Adrienne Camp? Check out her latest book, In Unison, co-written with her husband, Jeremy Camp.
Adrienne “Adie” Camp grew up in South Africa and moved to America at age nineteen. She was the lead singer of the Christian rock band the Benjamin Gate before launching her solo career. She released two solo projects—Don’t Wait and Just You and Me. Adrienne is married to fellow musician Jeremy Camp whom she met on tour in 2002. They have been married since 2003 and have two daughters, Bella and Arie, and one son, Egan. She has authored two books. Even Me is an illustrated children’s book about her daughters’ adventurous trip to Uganda and how, no matter your age, skin color, or circumstance, God can use your life to touch others. She coauthored In Unison with her husband Jeremy about their relationship, marriage, and how they live life together. Adrienne is currently writing a Bible study for Lifeway Women on the book of Psalms, set to release in July 2023. She is passionate about sharing God’s love all over the world in any way she can. Her greatest desire is to know Him and make Him known.