Benefits of Spiritual Intimacy
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
Cultivating spiritual intimacyis a major focus for Christian singles. The Bible tells us to continually focus on Christ and His lordship in our life. Therefore, we must pursue Him within all of our relationships, especially our romantic ones.
One of the most important steps in cultivating spiritual intimacy is dating and marrying other believers. Since we live in a "melting pot" culture filled with people of various faiths, we often overlook the importance of having romantic relationships with other Christians. In Scripture, God tells us to "..not be yoked together with unbelievers.." (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV). God may use our relationships with non-Christians to bring them into a relationship with Him. However, dating and marrying unbelievers often creates long-term strain because of the vast differences in values and wordviews. Another main reason to date and marry other believers is to continue the Christian faith. Christian men and women coming together in marriage and raising children in the knowledge of the Lord encourages the continuation of the gospel. Marrying other believers also increases relationship satisfaction because it provides a common perspective on life events, how to treat others, and how to view the future.
Another benefit to shared spirituality within a romantic relationship is emotional intimacy. Cultivating and maintaining emotional intimacy is often a journey and not a destination. It takes effort and practice to continually share our inner thoughts and feelings with another person and praying together is one of the best ways to do this. As we hear our partner pray, we are listening to the longings of their soul being poured out to Christ. In addition, witnessing our partner's intimate connection with Him can be very tender and bonding, also leading to emotional closeness.
The next benefit to dating and marrying other believers is recreational intimacy. The longer couples are together, the more likely they begin doing activities alone or with others. However, Christian couples have their faith as a major focal point for engaging in shared activities, such as attending church, a couple's Bible study, Christian concerts, Christian conferences, or various other ministry opportunities. Having a common faith motivates couples to enjoy these activities together, increasing their sense of intimacy and oneness long-term.
Last, being "equally yoked" with another believer is beneficial because it provides accountability for our thoughts and behaviors towards ourselves, our partner, and others. Through Scripture, God encourages us to resist our sinful impulses, such as vanity, greed, jealousy, etc. and instead follow Him by being selfless, loving, merciful, etc. Dating and marrying another believer provides a close companion to hold us accountable for our thoughts and behaviors to ensure we are honoring Christ. When we are not, they can gently communicate their observation and encourage us to move towards godliness in that area.
As you can see, there is a plethora of reasons why God wants us to date and marry other Christians. As with all things, His ways are best.