Photo courtesy weirena

Over the course of the next several weeks I’ll be posting in more detail each of the steps involved in creating a Simple Marriage. While this series is not going to be the end-all guaranteed way to simplify your marriage, I do hope it will help you and your spouse in creating a laser-like focus for your relationship.
For an overview of the 5 steps feel free to check this post. Now on to step one: Grow Deeper Spiritually.
No matter how you slice it, we live in a world that is more than just what we see in front of us. There is an interconnectedness among living things. And whether you personally subscribe to a belief that there is a God who created this mess as I do or if you are into a more new age philosophy, deepening your understanding of the spiritual will only aid in growing your marriage.
Allow me to explain, and for the purposes of our discussion, I will be referring to the spiritual nature of things through a relationship with God.
I believe that man and woman were created in relationship and for relationship. While we don’t necessarily need a relationship for our individual survival, we do need it for the procreation of our species.
Everywhere you look, Creation is in relationship. Plants need carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to emit oxygen. Animals need oxygen, food and water and emit carbon dioxide. All living organisms are in relation to something. Just like the beginning of the movie The Lion King, there really is a circle of life.
To further illustrate this point, there was a cemetery that needed to be relocated in order to make way for further urban development. As they were moving the tombstones and the remains of those buried there, they came across a row of graves along a fence with an apple tree growing on the other side. As they unearthed one grave, they discovered that the roots of the tree had wrapped around the bones of the deceased creating an almost perfect skeletal replica. The tree fed off the person who may have once fed off the fruit from the tree.
We are connected to the world around us. Spend any length of time in nature and you’ll notice your breathing and heart rate will slow down to be more in tune with your surroundings. Whenever I go backpacking, it takes me 2 or 3 days to slow down to nature’s pace. Once it happens, I don’t want to return to civilization.
Growing spiritually provides a way to be more in tune with the world around us, and more importantly, the people around us. Have you known people who can sense when something is up in the people next to them? They know just when to ask you, “hey, everything ok?” To become more in tune with others, you must grow deeper spiritually.
How?

  1. Read master’s work. Find works from the leaders of the field. Foundational or seminal works from which spiritual movements began. For me this means spending time reading the Bible as well as other Christian writers. While I may not agree with every writer’s take on things from the Bible, reading what I don’t agree with helps me to firm up what I do believe. If you are more into the zen philosophies, read works from the Dali Lama. The Good Heart, A Buddhist Perspective on The Teaching of Jesus was a great read for me.
  2. Surround yourself with a community of believers. There is a tremendous synergy that comes from a group of like minded people. Being with people who will challenge your belief and you can challenge theirs is a great way to grow.
  3. Ask your spouse what they really believe, tell them what you believe. This may seem like common sense, “Oh I already know what they believe.” Do you really? This may also open up a can of worms in your marriage. But the issue is affecting you both just below the surface, bring it out in the open and address it. When this is done as a way to understand each other rather than a way to try and get your spouse to come around to your way of thinking, it can be very productive.
  4. Pray. Spend time in quiet prayer. After praying, meditate, relax, and wait for a response. See if anything surfaces from your subconscious or your thoughts. Listen for the spirit of God. I believe God is active and alive in the world today so I can learn to be more in tune with Him through prayer.
  5. Have sex. What? Did I just recommend sex for spiritual growth? Yep. There is a spiritual component to sex. Quit “spectatoring” (focusing on performance) and get in touch with your spouse. For a more detailed guide, go here.

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