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Ethics & Religion
Column #2039
September 10, 2020
Couple Bible Study
By Mike McManus

For decades my wife and I set aside time for devotions and prayer. This includes reading Scripture daily. Recently we have started using the Couples' Devotional Bible (Zondervan) that is tailored for couples like us who want to grow in the Lord together.

It is designed to apply the Bible's teaching to everyday life. More importantly, it helps couples to better bond through the joys and challenges of marriage. And it enables us to connect with one another daily in the Lord. When the weather is good, we go outside to read in God's sunshine or shade.

Each chapter of the Bible begins with a one-page summary of the life and goals of the writer of a particular book of the Bible. In recent weeks, my wife and I read all of Ezra the prophet who oversaw the reconstruction of the Lord's temple in Jerusalem about five centuries before Christ. Then we moved on to Nehemiah, a next generation leader who oversaw the reconstruction of the city's walls that had been destroyed.

Neither of us had ever read either prophet's writing.

We learned that Nehemiah, who had been cupbearer to the Persian king, wept when he heard that Jewish exiles returning to Jerusalem without walls "were defenseless." Nehemiah had to motivate people "who had given up, combating mean-spirited neighbors who opposed the project."

Once the physical work was done, our Devotional Bible reports "Then the job of rebuilding the spiritual boundaries of the people began." It then adds, "We too need walls to maintain a Godly focus.. When we separate ourselves from the unholy influences of the culture around us (pornography, infidelity, overspending, etc.) we are better able to follow Christ."

Before the Biblical text begins, the Devotional Bible features a page, "Rekindling Our Connection" that helps couples reflect on their relationship. The book asks, "What might our marriages need protection from, and what kinds of safeguards can we put in place? Infidelity. Now there is an obvious (though not necessarily fatal) poison in a marriage. One way to protect our marriage from that threat is to intentionally include our spouse in any friendships we have with members of the opposite sex."

The text gives an example of Tucker and Gigi who had lost interest in each other's lives. "So they made a commitment to daily ask one question about something the other cared about." Gigi gave an example: "What are you thinking about the novel you are reading?" That one simple discipline has gone a long way "to rebuild intimacy between them."

In a section of the page called "Talk," several questions are asked:

"What outside forces threaten our intimacy? What fences can we put up to keep those forces at bay?
What possible aspects of our marriage do we want to hold on to? What can we do to build walls around our marriage to help keep these good times in?
Have we suffered a breach in the walls around our marriage? If so, what can we do to rebuild them?"

One quote from Nehemiah itself is relevant: "Then I said to them: 'Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.' They replied, 'Let us start rebuilding.'"

Thus, the Couples' Devotional Bible could be a tool to help you build a stronger, lasting marriage. However, two things are more important.

First, agree as a couple to set aside time to read Scripture together every day. This will add moral and spiritual depth to your marriage.

Second, take advantage of a book such as the Couples' Devotional Bible to illustrate how Scripture can inspire you to build a marriage for life.

Why not add these elements to your marriage so that it is built upon the Lord? You will then find your marriage enhanced. What is the value of becoming a student of the Bible?

Most healthy couples are close physically and emotionally. Sharing couple time with a Bible adds an important spiritual element. Feelings come and go. But a daily common faith component adds a spiritual depth to your relationship.

If you invite the Lord to join your relationship, then your marriage will be more fulfilling. "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12)


Copyright (c) 2020 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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