During the month of November, Dianna and I read through the Psalms together. We chose November for several reasons, the foremost of which being that the themes of praise and gratitude seem strongest during November, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Also, November has 30 days in it, and I just like how the 150 Psalms fit nicely into that 30 day window of time!
This was a wonderful exercise that I very much enjoyed doing. It was super-simple, informal, meaningful, and easy to stick to (we only missed a few readings together for the whole month – on those days, we just read separately).
For us and our stage of life, we decided the best time to read together was each night after the kids’ bedtime. I’m almost embarrassed to post our “process/plan” here, in that there was so very little structure to it. However, I feel compelled to share it, specifically because it was so simple and easy to do!
We would each grab our Bibles, sit down on the couch (or bed) together. Then, we would take turns reading aloud back and forth to each other – she would read from The Message, and I would read from the New Living Translation.
Both of us had total freedom to interrupt the reading at any time to make an observation, or to offer an insight, or to ask a clarifying question of the other, or to offer a spontaneous prayer in response to what was being read.
Sometimes these prayers would be supplication for ourselves – or our family – or our work. Sometimes the words of a particular Psalm would remind us of a difficult situation in which a friend was currently struggling, and we would pause to pray the words of the Psalm over them in intercession.
Many times, the Psalms would drive us to praise! We would just begin listing back and forth our own examples of God’s blessing – or provision – or protection – or unmerited favor! I must say, this daily exercise really did enhance our “Thanksgiving month”!
The Psalms led us into worship together as a couple before God. They caused us to think of others and to lift them up to God together in prayer. The Psalms taught us anew things to be praying over our children and our home – over our working lives – over our ministry – over our friendships and other relationships. The Psalms inspired us to pray for those around us, and for the circumstances of those nearest us.
Some nights, we would read our Psalms for the day without any interruption of thought or insight or praise or prayer – and that was okay. We didn’t set any expectations that we had to have some magnificent encounter with God every single time we read together.
The value of those “non-magnificent” readings to me was the shared experience with Dianna. That we sat together, for 15 minutes, giving each other and God together our undivided attention. That is special and valuable – even if no great spiritual insight emerges!
We have not yet selected our next Book of the Bible to read together, but I believe we will soon. I think we were both quite surprised at how easy doing a daily devotion together like this could be! While I don’t want us to become legalistic about it, I think we may have found a way to spend time with God together as a couple!
So, here is a recap of a simple plan for doing daily devotions with your spouse:
- Select a Book of the Bible that you would like to read together.
- Select a 15-minute time of day that works for your marriage rhythms and schedules.
- Each of you grab a Bible – I would recommend two different translations for a more full experience.
- Sit down somewhere cozy together.
- Simply take turns reading aloud to each other!
- Read slowly, and welcome interruptions – both within your own heart/head/spirit as well as from your spouse.
- When those “inspirational interruptions” come, stop your reading, and share them with each other!
- If any inspiration interruptions lead to an action point (such as prayer, or praise, or confession, or whatever), don’t rush through the moment – do it right away.
Your objective is not to complete the assigned reading for the day; it’s to connect with your spouse and with God. If you only get through 3 verses together, then you get sidetracked by some question, thought, or action step, it’s very likely that you have “accomplished” exactly what God had in mind for you in that particular moment.
I’m trying to figure out a way to make this more complex, but it’s just not necessary! Simplicity is our friend!
May you and your spouse enjoy wonderful times of devotion together, simply reading God’s Word aloud to each other in small increments each day, allowing room for the Holy Spirit to guide you into discussions, prayers, and other actions together as a couple!