The Importance Of Doing A Marriage Devotional Together
Summary: Get the Husband and Wife After God 30-day devotionlas today. https://shop.marriageaftergod.com/products/husband-and-wife-after-god-devotional-bundle Quote From Husband After God on page 16 “Marriage is an opportunity to bring glory to God as you share with the world His testimony by loving your wife the way Christ loves the church.” Quote From Wife After God on page 117 “Being a submissive wife is beautiful, as it reflects God’s divine order. When a husband loves his wife like Christ loves and a wife submits to her husband, that reflection clearly represents God’s grace-filled love story. The benefits in a marriage like this are extraordinary. Why its important to do a marriage devotional together: Cultivating oneness and intimacy Get on the same page Growing in the word of God together Stimulates conversation Being ready in and out of season give an answer for the hope that you have Investment for marriage Example for our children you have something to pass on suggesting do this... Firstly, we wanted to share this information with you today because we are going into a Podcast series starting next week about our upcoming book Marriage After God! We hope you are pumped for this, we are and we cant wait for this book release! This series launching next week will give you insight into the book and of course, leave you with wanting even more! So before we get into that series, we thought we would dive deep into our devotionals for husbands and wives BECAUSE those of you who have already been through them have asked us what's next...which was a catalyst for us to write the marriage after God book...and also for those of you who havent had a chance to go through these devotionals yet or any of you who want to go through them again, we wanted to let you know that right now is the perfect time to do them leading up to the Marriage After God book release. We have about 4ish months till then which is ample time to get through the 30-day devotionals. A few things people have said about these devotionals: Diamond S. Life changing - This book is truly a godsend! My marriage is better using the books! My husband and I read them daily and it’s helping us to grow in our marriage and closer to God! We were just recently baptized December 31,2018 and this has been an awesome read for us to continue to have God at the center of our marriage. Daily this book hits home and I’m learning more about being a good wife!! Thank you so much for this book and I truly hope all Christian couples read these! William M. Just what our marriage needed! Awesome! It brought us closer together while also enhancing our individual walk with God. Opened our eyes to things we were and weren’t doing and being accountable. Very powerful devotionals! Highly recommended! A+++++ Krystal W. Simply AMAZING I bought both bundles; Husband/Wife After God and 31 Prayers for your husband/wife and my husband and I are doing both together. OMGOODNESS, it really is good. Very well written and when I say these will open up your eyes, I'm not kidding. And get your steel toe boots on. These two books have helped us start off in a place where God can show up and take over. We have only been doing these less than two weeks, and God shows up every day relating these books to our daily lives. God speaks through people and uses people to minister to others and boy has he here. If you want God to show up and you really want to love God through your spouse and how to do it. These books right here is where you start!! Dear Lord, Thank you for creating marriage. Thank you for considering our counterpart and complement. Thank you that we do not have to endure life alone. Not only do we get to live with the presence of Your Holy Spirit and our spouse, but we also get to benefit from living in community with other believers. May we walk together in unity as You have always intended us to. Please continue to draw us closer to Yourself and closer to each other. Continue to transform our hearts and our minds, so that our character reflects your character. Help us to intentionally invest in marriage by learning how to fulfill our roles as husbands and wives. Thank you for revealing to us why You created marriage and the purpose it has in this world. May this purpose motivate us to walk righteously every day. Remind us daily that our marriage is a symbol to this hurting world of Your powerful and unconditional love. We pray that as Christian husbands and wives, we aim to minister to one another in our marriages by being obedient to all that You have commanded through Your Word. May we be prayer warriors who do not neglect to pray for one another. We pray that as we make ourselves known to You and to each other, that we experience extraordinary intimacy. We pray for your will to be done in our marriages and through our marriages and may You be glorified. In Jesus’ name, amen! READ: [Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today, we're gonna talk about the importance of doing a marriage devotional together. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life. Love. And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey, as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Aaron] Hey, thanks for joining us this week. We wanna invite you, as always, to leave a review on the podcast. The reviews, the star ratings, those all help other people, other marriages, find this podcast and get the content,. So if you enjoy what you been hearing, and you haven't done it yet, would you leave us a review today? That'd be awesome. [Jennifer] Also, if you've been enjoying this podcast, we would like to encourage you and ask you to shop on our online store as a way to support this podcast. So if you go to shop.marriageaftergod.com, you can see all of our resource there. We just want you to know that we wrote those for you guys, but also it helps support things like this podcast, so thank you so much for shopping with us. Also, I'd just like to highlight the discussion that we're going to be talking about today happens to be on marriage devotionals. So be sure to check out Husband and Wife After God. [Aaron] Yeah, those are our two devotionals that we wrote for husbands and wives to go through together. They can go through them separately, too, right? Yep. But we'll talk about that. [Jennifer] But if you're shopping on the store, you can check those out, and there's more information there for you, specifically on those devotionals. [Aaron] Awesome. So, icebreaker question, all right? [Jennifer] Dun dun dun. [Aaron] What is your definition of "and they lived happily ever after?" [Jennifer]Okay, so, we've talked about this before, but we're not really into this phrase. It's a hopeful and a happy phrase, for sure. [Aaron] Yeah, it's-- [Jennifer] But at the end of my book-- [Aaron] It's got a dead end on it, I feel like. [Jennifer] Well, I think at the end of my book, the end of our story, I'd much rather hear the line, and "they entered heaven, "and God said with a smile on His face, "well done, my good and faithful servants." To me, that's more powerful. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Than happily ever after. Which means that we used our marriage for His purposes, and not just our own, and in the process being happy is a byproduct of Yeah. serving Him. Yeah, just, it-- It might mean-- It feels one goal focused, and word focused of we're just going to be happy for the rest of our lives, and I don't, first of all, it's not even possible. The Bible tells us that we will endure trials and things like that, so when I think of it, I actually wanna reword it and say, "and they lived joyfully ever after God." [Jennifer] Oh, there you go. [Aaron] Like as a marriage, we're chasing after him. [Jennifer] Kinda the same thing. [Aaron] Yeah, but its with joy, which is more of, it's something that exists even when we're not happy. Because when things aren't easy and hard, we can have joy, but instead of just "happily ever after" like the white picket fence, just the American Dream, or just things going well for the rest of our marriage. We have a bigger purpose of, it's not just to make us happy, but it's to pursue God and what He's doing in His kingdom, so I would just change. Yeah, we've never really liked that phrase. It's not that it's a bad phrase. [Jennifer] No. [Aaron] It just doesn't feel deep enough Or complete. Or long, or long-lasting enough, yeah. [Jennifer] It's not complete. [Aaron] Alright, we'll move on to the topic. That was an okay question, we'll have a better question next week, one that's funnier I think, 'cause those are usually funny questions, huh? [Jennifer] Not always. [Aaron] So we're gonna be talking about our devotionals a little later, but we have some quotes from them to start off the episode with, and this is a quote from my devotional Husband After God. It's on page 16, it says, "Marriage is an opportunity "to bring glory to God as you share with the world "His testimony by loving your wife "the way Christ loves the church." [Jennifer] Okay, and I'm gonna share my quote from Wife After God, it's on page 117. "Being a submissive wife is beautiful, "as it reflects God's divine order. "When a husband loves his wife like Christ loves, "and a wife submits to her husband, "that reflection clearly represents "God's grace-filled love story. "The benefits in a marriage like this are extraordinary." So they kinda mirror each other, they go hand in hand. [Aaron] Well, now that's the reason we wrote the devotionals, was to highlight for the husband and wife, why they're married and why God has His order and His ways for us to follow. It's because we have a message to proclaim. [Jennifer] Mm-huh. [Aaron] We have a purpose in this world. Which again goes to the bigger picture of what we wrote Marriage After God for, which comes out in June, which is just that. That our marriages are a ministry and that when we walk the way the Bible calls us to walk. We actually proclaim His message to the world, which is pretty incredible. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] To think about that, our marriages have much more to do in this world than just make us happy, which goes back to our question, really. But let's start off the topic with why it's important to do a marriage devotional together. 'Cause I'm sure there's a lot of marriages out there, people listening, that are wondering like, "hey, we do our devotionals separately, but what benefit could it be for us to do one together? [Jennifer] Or maybe they're not doing any together or any at all, and they've been waiting for something, they're looking for something. We're hoping that this catches their attention and maybe inspire them to get started on one today. [Aaron] Yeah, so let's talk about some of the benefits, some of the things that come to mind that could be, that could come out as fruit, [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] from doing a devotional together. [Jennifer] So the first thing that comes to mind is just cultivating oneness and intimacy from the experience of doing it together. Right. So, focusing and being intentional in the act of doing something together like a marriage devotional. [Aaron] Right, 'cause usually, if we have books that we read at night, often it's just to ourselves. It's, we're the only ones benefiting from it, or enjoying it, but a devotional that we can do together. If it's in the evening or in the morning, or in the afternoon, whenever that works. It's an intentional time to be together in the Word of God. It requires conversation, introspective thinking, dialogue, lots of stuff that would go on, that which cultivates more and more intimacy. Yeah. Right? Instead of us just, I work, come home, how was your day, awesome. We actually can go deep and say, hey, what did you think of that scripture or how does that make you feel or hey, that reminds me of when I was a kid and... [Jennifer] Yeah, and just to take it one step further, when you consider a devotional, you're usually gonna find those kind of journal questions or discussion questions or, like you said, to think introspectively, that you can use as conversation starters. 'Cause some people, they want to share their hearts with their spouse, but they don't really know how to-- That's a good point, yeah. or where to start, and so a marriage devotional will usually take the hardness out of the equation and say, here talk about this. Right. [Jennifer] And both people can look at the paper and go, oh! Or look at the book or look at whatever they're looking at and say, that's what we have to discuss, so we're gonna talk about that right now. [Aaron] Yeah, so they could stretch our intimacy muscles. How deep can we go in the conversation? The things that we could talk about. Those questions are usually formulated to cause deeper discussion than you would normally get into. It's a good point, and you know what? Growing spiritually is a very intimate thing. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] The deepest part of us is our spirit and we're cultivating that with each other. Praying with each other is an extremely intimate thing. We're entering the throne room of God together, we are praying together, we are lifting each other's hearts up, we're hearing each other's hearts, and then discussing the Word of God together, those are super intimate things. [Jennifer] Yeah, growing in the word of God together, that's a powerful thing for a marriage to be doing. I think that we all should be doing that. [Aaron] Okay, well, of course. Like as Christians, we're called to grow and mature, but as marriages, as a single unit, as one, we should be growing and maturing together also. Not growing and maturing separately only. That should be happening, but growing together, and I think what's awesome about doing a devotional together, also allows us to be accountable to each other. Yeah. Right? If we've been discussing, self-control, or our anger, or anything that this devotional might be calling out of us, we can actually pay attention together instead of me trying to work on it privately, [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] and you don't really know what I'm working on. We actually could say, hey, remember the devotional last night we were just talking about this, like hey, let's working on that. [Jennifer] That's good. [Aaron] And I feel like you might've forgot the thing that we've committed to because of that question we answered the other night. So it helps us to be working on similar things throughout the day and keep each other accountable, and look out for each other's growth and maturity. [Jennifer] Another benefit is being an example for your children, and when those children become adults and they're married, you can say, have suggestions for them. Hey, we did this marriage devotional, we did that together. You and your spouse should try that. [Aaron] Yeah, and then they also see us, especially if we do visible, like in front of them, periodically, maybe not every day, but, hey, mommy and daddy are gonna do our quiet time together now, you guys can look at your books or go play quietly with your legos, and they know that that's an important thing to us, that we separate time to be in the Word together. It actually kinda convinced me thinking about it right now, we should do that more. [Jennifer] Yeah, we should. [Aaron] We should be getting away more together, so let's start doing that. [Jennifer] Okay, deal. [Aaron] I was gonna say, another thing I think about is, again, going back to the main purpose why we, our marriage exists, what God wants to do in us, is that there's a message to be proclaimed, there's a mission to be accomplished. I think of that scripture that tells us to be ready in and out of season, it tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in us, and doing a devotional together and growing together on the same page, in the Word of God and learning what He has to say to us and what he wants to do through us. It helps us be ready for when our neighbor says, "hey, what's so different about your life, "why do you believe in this God of yours?" We're prepared together, instead of maybe you not-- Not knowing or... Not being ready or me not be in the same place. [Jennifer] Yeah, it's good. [Aaron] Yeah, but we would both be prepared to give an answer for our faith. [Jennifer] Yep, and the last thing I think of with all of these things that we've already shared about the importance of doing a marriage devotional together is simply that it's investment for your marriage. So, the quality time you're spending together to do it, the intimacy that you are cultivating when discussing difficult things or very deep things, and, like you said, being ready to share the hope that you have. All of these things are an investment into the marriage relationship, and when you invest into your marriage, you're growing in that relationship, you're building trust, you're building closeness, that bond between you, and I feel like that will strengthen a couple to go even further. [Aaron] Yeah, and keep going. [Jennifer] Like year after year after year. So I just wanted to make that note. [Aaron] That's good, so and the end result of pursuing God together, growing and maturing together, growing the Word of God together, doing a devotional together, all of these things to cultivate the oneness and intimacy and strength. The benefit and result is becoming and living as biblical men and women. [Aaron] We become more like what the Bible says. We represent that more, which has benefits also. When we just become the kind of people God desires us to be. There's benefits, and what are some of those? [Jennifer] So, you know, I just think of advancing as a Christian, and we get to do that together. So we see areas of our life that are weak, and maybe doing a devotional together could point to an aspect of our lives that needs to be transformed or worked on or practiced. Or cut out altogether. [Jennifer] Or cut out altogether, and we get to see us take steps towards growth in those areas. So we're moving forward not backwards. [Aaron] Yeah, when we walk in the way that the Word tells us to and calls us to, we experience more love, we learn about it more, we're filled more with God's love in us. So our marriage, we benefit from that, and our children benefit from that. [Jennifer] Totally. [Aaron] And our neighbors. The people that we interact with, there's more joy, more love, more peace. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] All those, you know, fruit of the spirit is in us. [Jennifer] Yeah, it's good. [Aaron] And that's a huge benefit of walking in obedience to the things that the Word calls us to. [Jennifer] Yeah, some other benefits are just, when you're working on areas of yourself to be more like God, I feel like He draws things out of your heart that need to be worked on, like being healthier with choices that you make, or being wiser, you know, like those kinds of things. [Aaron] Be better stewards of our resources, our money. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Which all benefit our marriage, our life, our relationships, and then the most important thing, and we brought this up a moment ago, is the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ and what He came to this Earth to do for us is spread because we are in His Word and we're growing. And we look for opportunities to talk to people about God, and to love on people for God, and to share our story with people. That's the fruit that comes out of us, it's an overflow of what God puts in us. So we're talking about the benefits of doing a devotional, of getting into the Word of God together, but is that, I think of the devotionals we made and how can we share with them more about our devotionals and whether or not they might wanna jump in today. Just getting in the Word of God. 'Cause even if you don't get our devotionals, ever, or anyone else's devotionals, being in the Word of God together is more than adequate. It's what God wants us to do, Yeah. invest in His Word. [Jennifer] And we don't have to over complicate it, like seriously, just open up the Bible, read a chapter or two and talk about it. Ask each other the simple question of what stood out to you, start there. [Aaron] Yeah, and we try and do that. Sometimes, some nights I just read out loud. We don't talk about anything, we just, I read out loud until Jennifer falls asleep, or until we're just like, okay, awesome. And usually it ends up in a really great conversation about something that was triggered by what we read. You know, oh that made me think of today when, or last week I forgot to mention, and we have these really good conversations around the Word of God, but you know, we've had a lot of people over the years ask us about devotionals and want things to do together, and we made two devotionals, Husband After God and Wife after God, separate ones, because there are some marriages where the spouse isn't in the same place and so, we've had many people just buy just the devotional for themselves and start going through and start praying for their husbands or getting into the Word of God. [Jennifer] Or sometimes they buy the bundle in hopes that the other person will read theirs. [Aaron] Yep, we've seen that a lot also. We've actually seen people say, "hey, I didn't think my husband was gonna do it," And then he did. and then he totally started doing it. But the main point is that you do it together. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] You get these devotionals, you read through them, and so let's talk a little bit about these devotionals. Why don't you start off and then we'll just dig in to some of the information about them and maybe people will love the idea. [Jennifer] Yeah, so like Aaron said, our biggest thing here today is just to give you guys a little bit of insight to our marriage devotionals, but overall just encourage you to be doing something together, because it will cultivate that intimacy and oneness. But we wanna give you some insight into our devotionals, just to give you an option and show you what's out there. So, I wrote Wife After God. The subtitle is Drawing Closer to God and Your Husband. It's a 30 day marriage devotional. I wrote this back in 2013, right after I had Elliot. That was a long time ago. [Jennifer] Yep, and, I wanted something that a wife could hold in her hands that would help her better understand God's purpose and design for marriage and her role as a wife and to see that reflection, that picture, that's talked about in Ephesians 5 of Christ's relationship to the church. [Aaron] Yeah, it started off with, we wanted to, you wanted to show wives the ministry they had in their marriage Yes. toward their husband. Yes. [Aaron] Which is what the Bible shows us on both sides that the husband has a ministry to his wife and the wife has a ministry to her husband, and the symbol, like you said, it shows to the world. [Jennifer] So I'm just gonna read couple of these, I'm not gonna read through all of them, but these are just some of the chapter titles, so that they can get an idea for it. God's Purpose for Your Marriage. The Need for Companionship. Ministry of Reconciliation. Perfect Posture. [Aaron] That's a good one. You actually get a lot of comments about that chapter. I do. Wisdom Calls Out. Who You Are Called to Be. The Parts of Marriage. Fruitfulness. Intimacy With God. Love Letter to Your Husband. That's what it ends on, which I love that one. But that's just a handful of them and we'll get to the Husband After God. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] After we kind of, summarize Wife After God, 'Cause I want the guys to hear what's in yours, which is, Yeah. it's just as good. So anyways, the way that I outlined this is share about a page to a page and a half of whatever that topic is. [Aaron] And it's usually story-driven, it's either from our life, or another story we've heard to illustrate the point. [Jennifer] Yep, and then it goes into a prayer for that day specific to that day, and then you'll see a challenge, which is usually a challenge for you and your relationship with God or you in your relationship with your husband. So hopefully those inspire you guys just to do something you either have never done before or maybe haven't done in a really long time to cultivate that intimacy. Then there's the status update, which I don't know if a lot of people see in books, but we've decided to put the status update challenge in there for people who want to share this message that they're learning with people on social media. That's another way that this message of Wife After God gets out. It can be a catalyst for people to ask, hey what are you doing? What is that thing that you keep posting about? And it just gives a real quick glimpse in one sentence of that day's topic. [Aaron] Yeah, it's also a way of solidifying and vocalizing some of the things you're choosing to walk in. So you're stating it publicly. I'm going to be or I'm going to do, and then it makes it a real thing. Instead of it just in your mind, you're like oh, I'll work on that some day. [Jennifer] And what I love seeing is when people tag me in these and they post a picture of their wedding day with it, or a recent picture. They do that a lot. They post pictures from their wedding day, which is awesome. [Jennifer] Or a recent picture of them together. [Aaron] Yeah, I love that. And it encourages other couples, they say, "oh what is that?" And they want to be a part of it, and it's just a neat way of spreading the Gospel, spreading the message of being a godly wife, being a godly husband and what that means. [Jennifer] And each day has specific scriptures that support the topics that we're sharing, which I don't want to skip over, but just so you guys know, the reason we didn't quote the scripture in there is because we want you to get into the Word of God yourselves, so we just list the scriptures. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause people always ask, "what version of the Bible did you use in the verses?" All we say, well, we just put the references, not the actual scriptures, so it's all our content, and what's awesome is it requires you to open your Bible. [Jennifer] Yep, and-- [Aaron] Which is the focus. [Jennifer] The last thing I wanna share is one of my favorite parts of these devotionals and it's the journal questions after each day's, at the end of each day, and you can use these. We gave space under each question that you can fill it out right then and there or you can use them and fill it out in your own personal journal, or you can use these as discussion questions either in a group setting. So if you're doing this with a handful of other wives, or you can use them as discussion questions between you and your spouse to answer. [Aaron] Or all of the above. [Jennifer] Or all of the above if you wanna, that'd be awesome. [Aaron] So, I'm going to go through the Husband After God and pull some of the points. It's formatted exactly the same way, but the content is complementary. It's different content focused on the husband with some different topics, but some of the topics are similar, but with different content, if that makes sense. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] So you could totally do this with your spouse and you would have different questions that you can go back and forth on. You would have different stories and different points to pull from, even different scriptures, but the themes might be the same in some areas, so I'm gonna read some of the topics. Marriage By Design. Lead By Example. Your Wife is a Gift. Sacrificial Love. Set Yourself Apart. Be Brave. The Good Fight. Pride. Everyone loves that chapter, I think. Forgiveness. Words Matter. Prayer For Your Wife. Avoiding God. Walk in Victory. And then the last one is The Husband Revolution, which is a fun one. It's proclaiming that mission that we have as husbands and that ministry we have. But yeah, there's a point in the beginning, a couple, a page and a half or two pages, and then there's a prayer for that day, specific to that topic. There's scripture to read. There's questions for you to answer. There's a status update, like this one says, "I will strive to reflect the image "and character of God in my marriage." That's status update, so it's like a statement. Statement, yeah. I'm going to do this and you're telling all your social media friends that you're gonna do it, and then it also let's people know, wait what is he doing? It says #HusbandAfterGod, what is that? [Jennifer] Yeah, what is that? [Aaron] Yeah, there's a challenge on every chapter. This one says share and discuss with your wife what you are learning about the purpose of marriage. So boom, right there, there's an intimate moment that I get to have with my wife where I share with what I'm learning, what God's teaching me about the purpose of marriage. 'Cause imagine if I sat down, or you sit down, husband, with your wife, and you say, oh, you know, I'm learning that God's purpose for our marriage is that I would love you like Christ loves the church. She's gonna be like, what, that's amazing! [Jennifer] And yeah, imagine what that would do to a wife's heart? I know personally, it just makes me feel like, oh my goodness, he cares about me, he loves me, he wants to do this with me and with God, and I don't know, I just love that. [Aaron] I wanna read another challenge. This one's from, what chapter is this? This is from day 21, Prayer For Your Wife, and the challenge is this. Spend time praying for your wife. Share with God why you are thankful for her. Lift up any needs she may have. Pray for her character to reflect Christ, and petition God to protect her. So, the challenge is go find some quiet time and just pray for your wife. [Jennifer] Which we all need those reminders. Every single one of us. [Aaron] So that's the Husband After God devotional. And the topics in each one of them are focused on the wife's role, scriptures that are aligned with that, and then the husband's role and scriptures that are aligned with that, but at the end of the day, what they're doing is they strengthen the marriage overall, making the ministry of that marriage more powerful, and more focused on what God wants for it. [Jennifer] And there's 30 days or 30 topics, so you could easily do this in a month's time. [Aaron] Yeah, well that would be the challenge, is do it every day for a month, for 30 days. [Jennifer] Yep, so I just, real quick, wanna jump into a couple reviews that people have left for these specific devotionals, just so that you guys get an idea of the kind of impact that it's making from other people, and other people's lives. So Aaron, you wanna read the first one? [Aaron] Yeah, this one's from Diamond S. and it says this, "Life changing! "This book is truly a Godsend. "My marriage is better using these books. "My husband and I read them daily and it's helping us "to grow in our marriage and closer to God. "We were just recently baptized December 31st, 2018," which is incredible, [Jennifer] Wow, recently! [Aaron] Yeah, "and this has been an awesome read "for us to continue to have God "at the center of our marriage. "Daily this book hits home and I'm learning more "about being a godly wife. "Thank you so much for this book "and I truly hope all Christian couples read these." [Jennifer] Awesome. [Aaron] Which, I was like, yay, makes me feel good. [Jennifer] Okay, I'm gonna read the next one. It's from Crystal W., "Simply amazing. "I bought both bundles, Husband and Wife After God, "and 31 Prayers For Your Husband and Wife, "and my husband and I are doing both together. "Oh my goodness, it is really good! "Very well written, and when I say these will open up your eyes, I'm not kidding. "And get your steel-toed boots on, "these two books have helped us start off "in a place where God can show up and take over. "We have only been doing these less than two weeks, "and God shows up every day, "relating these books to our daily lives. "God speaks through people and uses people "to minister to others, and, boy, has He here. "If you want God to show up and you really want to love God "through your spouse, and how to do it, "these books, right here is where you wanna start." [Aaron] That one's a good one. I like that one, she said "put on your steel-toed boots." [Jennifer] I know, it's great. [Aaron] Alright, so this last one is from William M. "Just what our marriage needed, awesome! "It brought us closer to God while also enhancing "our individual walk with God, opened our eyes to the things "we were and weren't doing and being accountable. "Very powerful devotionals. "Highly recommended. A++++." [Jennifer] Awh, some people are just so kind, and it always encourages us and we feel like, awesome. We have given couples a catalyst to get into God's word together and to do something that's impacting their relationship, and I'm just praising God. [Aaron] Yeah, and our goal all along, has not been to replace the Bible. Our purpose of these books was to point people to the Bible. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Always pointing back to the Bible, always pointing back to God. [Jennifer] Awesome, okay, so I wanna move into this next, sort of, sessions. [Aaron] These are kinda like questions, Q&As. [Jennifer] Yeah, Q&As on... [Aaron] Oh no, they're FAQs, that's what it is. [Jennifer] Okay, on the topic. So, can these be read together at the same time or not? [Aaron] Both! We recommend them being done together. They could be read separately, or they could be read together, taking turns, but our sentiment is, hey, do them, and then come together and discuss the chapter for the day, discuss the thought for the day, how you answered the questions, do the prayers together, pray- [Jennifer] Sometimes they pray the prayers out loud, too. [Aaron] Yeah, so I would say both. Like we said earlier, there's some marriages where the husband or the wife are not there, they're not doing it. So the other spouse is just doing it on their own. [Jennifer] And the great thing about these devotionals is you can utilize them more than just once, go back through it again, you know? It's really good content, so it's not wasted, just keep going through it again. [Aaron] Yeah, they're good reminders of what the Word says about who we are and what God's called for us. The next question is can they be used to lead a small group? [Jennifer] And the answer for that is, yes. So, some tips for this. If you're gonna do, host small group, let's say that you have five other wives who wanna go through Wife After God together, we would suggest everyone gets a copy, just so that they can go through it on their own throughout the week, and then meet up, once a week for a month or two, depending on how you want to do it, and just use the journal questions, in the back of each day as the discussion questions to talk about. [Aaron] Yeah, and you might be able to break up the chapters, so like the first four chapters on week one, and the next four chapters or five chapters on week two. [Jennifer] Yeah, and you don't have to use the journal questions, You can just simply say, okay, what have you been learning? What stood out to you? That kind of thing. [Aaron] Ideally, they would, whoever has these devotionals, the people listening, if they have these devotionals or if they're going to get them, when they're done going through them, they should invite married couples over to their house, and start a little marriage Bible study with those couples. [Jennifer] That would be awesome. And here's the other tip, if you guys were to do this soon, there's even enough time, by the time you finish that small group, Marriage After God will be out. The new book, yeah. The new book, and then you could do that same group study With that book. With book. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause that book is significantly different than these devotionals. [Jennifer] Okay, so I want to give one more tip and this is just a fun thing to do with your group, if you're gonna do a group. I did a small group, which actually led me to writing this devotional. I did it for three months with a handful of wives from my church, we were all young wives, kind of in the same season of life, and-- [Aaron] No one had kids yet, back then. [Jennifer] No one had kids yet. One friend had one young, young baby. So, anyways, we got together weekly, once a week, for three months, and the second to the last, or maybe the third to the last one, we made handmade invitations for our husbands. [Aaron] Oh, this is definitely a good idea. [Jennifer] We planned and prepared a dinner that we were gonna host for our husbands on that last evening and talk about the discussion questions and what we learning on that night with everyone. And so we thought it was gonna be fancy, we thought we wanted to dress up, we thought we all wanted to cook together. So we made these handmade invitations and then a couple weeks later, we all got together, we got there early, set the table, got flowers, made the dinner, and all the husbands showed up, dressed super nice, we were just at a friend's house. [Aaron] That, I remember this. That was a lot of fun and I felt really honored. [Jennifer] Everybody just, everybody felt honored. Everybody had smiles on their faces and what's really cool about that night is the guys actually, because they knew it was coming, they all talked and prepared on how they were gonna encourage us women and share how they've seen us change over that time we'd been meeting together. So then at the dinner table, everyone went around and shared. It was incredible, it was so awesome. [Aaron] It was really powerful, and very enjoyable, and the food, I can't remember what it was, but I remember it was really good. [Jennifer] Yeah, so you could do something fun like that together. [Aaron] So last question is, why should they read these devotionals now, as a primer for the Marriage After God book coming out in June? [Jennifer] So, first thing you guys should know is, we did write these devotionals a couple years ago, and when we get people who have been through them asking us what's next, we want to give you something. We've been wanting to give you something since they first came out. [Aaron] We've had four kids since then, so... [Jennifer] Yeah, we've been a little busy, but this was a catalyst, you guys asking and desiring this has been a catalyst for why we wrote Marriage After God. So I feel like these devotionals are the brief version. [Aaron] I think they're the first stepping stone. [Jennifer] It's like a stepping stone, because then, I feel like your hearts will be ready. More unified. And more unified for jumping into the message that is in the book, Marriage After God. [Aaron] Yeah, the Marriage After God book. You're going to be hearing a lot about this, so we're starting to talk about it more because as it gets closer to launching, we want you all to know what it's about, and why we wrote these books. And we wrote Marriage After God as a culmination of everything that God's been teaching us over the years about the ministry that God has for our marriages. And so these devotionals are step one in that. [Jennifer] Yeah, they'll get you thinking about the purpose of your marriage in light of God's Word. [Aaron] Yep, and by the time the book comes out, you'll be ready to take that next step into what God has for your marriage and where He wants to take it. 'Cause that was the whole purpose of writing the book was, we want marriages all over the world who claim the name of Christ, who love God, to recognize the power in the ministry that they have in Christ as a marriage, as one. And so we're super excited about that. [Jennifer] Yeah, I think another thing is, is if you do these devotionals together, it will start to build that habit of spending time together and reading together and asking each other some deep questions. So that when the Marriage After God book comes out, that habit will already be there and you'll want to replace the devotionals with the book. So I think that it's just a natural step. [Aaron] Yeah, and I wanna go, I got really excited about something. I wanna go right back to the small group subject again. I love that idea, and I actually wanna challenge our listeners. We weren't planning on doing this, but I want to challenge our listeners to get a copy of our devotionals, the Husband and Wife After God devotionals. Go through them, and at the end of the 30 days, during the 30 days, be praying and asking God, what other couples are in your life that He wants you to invite to a study at your house, a Marriage After God study? And then invite them to get the books. It could be two couples, it could be one couple, it could be five couples. I wouldn't do more than maybe six couples, that's a lot of people. Do multiple studies, maybe, but I just wanna challenge you to be praying through the books as you do them, and asking God who it is. You might be thinking right now, oh my gosh, I have this friend, these friends, they would love to do this with us, and start a Bible study and walk through these studies, these books together and see what God has for all your marriages. What we're trying to start here is a movement of marriages after God, of marriages who desire to grow the kingdom of God, to see Him move through their marriages, and that we would use our marriages for ministry for Him. That's why we started the podcast. That's why we started our blogs. All of this goes back to that, that we're moving the kingdom forward with God, and that we see our marriages as the ministries He's given us and the tools that He's given us to serve Him. [Jennifer] Mmm, that's good. [Aaron] So would you agree with that challenge? [Jennifer] I agree, I like that challenge, and just to simplify it and make it easy for them to understand. Just tell these people it'll be four or six weekS, whatever you want the timing to be on it, which is not a long time to meet together. It's not at all. [Jennifer] It's once a week, for four weeks, or once a week for six weeks. [Aaron] Try the four weeks, I think the four week one, just one month to see if it works, see if you're like wow, this is awesome. And but first, I would say you go through the devotionals as a couple first. And during that 30 days, you pray, and fast if need to, and you ask the Lord. Say, Lord, reveal to us, who is it? And I know the Lord will. The moment we ask God, like God use me, He's like okay, He wants to use us. [Jennifer] Marriages need it, you guys, that's why we're doing this, because marriages need the support, the encouragement of other believers, they need to know why God has them together. [Aaron] The reminder of not just happily ever after, but it's that we're chasing after God together, that we're building His kingdom together, that we have a mission in this world and our marriage is the tool to accomplish the mission. Yeah, and going back to the message of the Marriage After God book, that's what the whole book's about, what is the mission God has for us? [Jennifer] And if you guys have already been through these devotionals, and this is old news to you, because you've already been through these, I want you to go dust them off, go get them, and go do exactly what Aaron is challenging you to do right now and consider- [Aaron] Let's start our movement. [Jennifer] Yeah, consider who you can invite over to go through them with you. [Aaron] Ooh, how can they let us know if they're doing it? 'Cause actually I would love to know. I'd love to see the groups-- Groups, a group photo! We wanna see a group photo- Tagged! [Jennifer] @MarriageAfterGod. [Aaron] Yeah, tag @MarriageAfterGod and #MarriageAfterGod, and we will look 'em and actually I think we'll repost them. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Not all of them, but we'll repost a lot of them. So if you do this, please let us know. We'd love to be praying for you, being part of it, and we are praying for you, but if you're going to be doing a group, we want to pray for your group, we want to pray for your Bible study. I'm getting all excited, okay. [Jennifer] Okay, so last note before we go into the prayer for this episode, and that is, get ready, because we have 16 weeks ahead of us of a book series for Marriage After God that we're going to be diving into starting next week with the introduction. [Aaron] That's true, and you know what's awesome? We forgot to mention this, this is episode 52. This is, we've been doing this for one year. Woohoo! Today. [Jennifer] Thank you guys for following along, and listening, this is awesome. [Aaron] Yeah, so for the next 16 episodes, we're going to be talking about content from the book. [Jennifer] And it's actually 17, 'cause it's 16 chapters, plus the introduction, so 17 weeks. [Aaron] So you're going to be learning a lot about the message of the Marriage After God book, which is essentially of the Marriage After God podcast, and how our hearts is to start a movement in Christian marriages around the world. And we'd love for you to be a part of that, and to take ownership in that, and know that God's gonna do something amazing. And we're excited to see what that is. So before we close, as always, we've dedicated to pray for you and your marriage and for what God's doing, and so Jennifer would you like to pray for us? [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for creating marriage. Thank you for considering our counterpart and complement. Thank you that we do not have to endure this life alone. Not only do we get to live with the presence of Your Holy Spirit and our spouse, but we also get to benefit from living in community with other believers. May we walk together in unity as You have always intended us to. Please continue to draw us closer to Yourself and closer to each other. Continue to transform our hearts and our minds so that our character reflects Your character. Help us to intentionally invest in marriage by learning how to fulfill our roles as husbands and wives. Thank you for revealing to us why you created marriage and the purpose it has in this world. May this purpose motivate us to walk righteously every day. Remind us daily that our marriage is a symbol to this hurting world of your powerful and unconditional love. We pray that as Christian husbands and wives, we aim to minister to one another in our marriages by being obedient to all that You have commanded through Your Word. May we be prayer warriors who do not neglect to pray for one another. We pray that as we make ourselves known to You and to each other, that we experience extraordinary intimacy. We pray for Your will to be done in our marriages and through our marriages and may You be glorified. In Jesus' name, Amen. [Aaron] Amen, thank you Lord. We're excited to see pictures. We're excited to see what God's gonna be doing in your marriage through these devotionals, through the Bible study that you're gonna start, I'm making it a definitive. [Jennifer] And tag @MarriageAfterGod so we can see and cheer you along! [Aaron] Yeah, and just start praying and asking God how He wasn't to use you and your spouse. That's our heart, that's our goal, that's why we do this, is that you would recognize the place that you have in the body of Christ, and that it's a significant one. Doesn't matter who you are, doesn't matter where you live, God's got a plan for you, He's got a purpose for your marriage, for your life individually, and you are a part of the body of Christ. And God's got work for us to do, [Jennifer] Let's do it. [Aaron] as his children. Yeah, so let's do it and we love you guys. We thank you for joining us on our 52nd episode, one year in, here's to another year, and we'll see you next week! Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.