The season of lent is just around the corner. For those of you unfamiliar with lent, it is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter that’s characterized by fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Christians do these things as a way to join in Christ’s redemptive suffering, and also as a way to draw closer to God. As Christians, this should be our primary focus leading up to Easter, but it doesn’t mean it has to be our only focus. Lent can also be used as a way of drawing closer to your spouse by following the same three actions.
Fasting: When we think of fasting, we usually think of “giving something up”. By giving things up, or abstaining from things like sweets, social media, or gossiping, we are both making small sacrifices and hopefully replacing these things with something more positive and fruitful. Some ideas for fasting to strengthen your marriage might include “giving up” critical comments, the need to “keep score”, and giving up an activity you do alone and replacing it with an activity you can do with your spouse.
Prayer: Prayer can be a powerful tool used to strengthen your relationship and draw you closer to your husband or wife. Some ideas for how to use prayer for this purpose include praying privately for your spouse and your marriage, praying together with your partner, and turning to prayer when you feel bitterness and resentment creeping up. (*Note: this does not mean you should never share these feelings with your partner)
Almsgiving: One definition of almsgiving is giving to others as an act of love. Being more intentional about giving to your spouse can help you both feel closer, more connected, and more loved. Some examples of giving you could try: giving your husband or wife a back rub, writing a letter expressing how much you appreciate them, and giving them your time and attention at a set time each day.
The examples given are all things we could be doing year round for our lover, and yet how often do we find ourselves pushing the most important people aside when life gets busy? Let’s take this lenten journey to be intentional about both making sacrifices for Jesus, and also to practice fasting, prayer, and almsgiving to draw closer to our most beloved here on earth.
As always, my thoughts and prayers are with all your marriages.