I can still remember browsing through the Bible bookstore back in college, searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for my then-boyfriend of three years. I didn’t realize that my purchase of a devotional would be a defining and central element of my marriage to the same great guy 11 years and five kids later.

Most anyone who knows Brodie and me understands how much we cherish our morning devotion, or “devosh” as we’ve been known to call it. It has been an intricate part of our spiritual journey as a married couple. There is no obstacle that can keep us from the time we have set aside every morning to start our day with each other, share a cup of coffee, and focus on the Lord.

There have been seasons when I got up at 4:30 a.m. to spend time doing a devotional with my husband before he left for work. It’s not an option to skip it. It wouldn’t feel right.

Our devotional time has become like oxygen—a true necessity to start every single day. I’m convinced that this is how God wants us to be: totally dependent … hungry … thirsty for time with Him.

Moments Together for Couples

The devotional that I bought during college was Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s Moments Together for Couples. I love its tattered appearance today, a true testament of its presence in our relationship.

Last year, for our ninth wedding anniversary, I bought the Raineys’ new devotional, Moments With You. It has been exciting for us to not only probe new content, but also to continue with fresh perspectives on familiar topics.

Brodie and I often say that someone could interview us individually about our marriage, family, and relationship with the Lord and our answers would line up. That’s because of the many times we have discussed important issues during devotion. Whether we talk for 15 minutes or two hours, we grow closer to one another and closer to the Lord.

Our kids (ages 4 months to 8 years) understand the importance of our marriage and that time with God comes first. We love our children, and it is precisely that love for them that prompts our hearts to ask for time without disruption to focus on God and our marriage. We feel strongly that modeling our commitment to our devotion is a gift for them that will reveal its true depth in the years to come.

When we asked the kids how our devotion makes them feel, our 8-year-old said, “It makes me feel like my Mommy and Daddy love each other.” Our 6-year-old said, “It makes me feel happy,” and the youngest (age 4), said, “It makes me feel good because you get to learn about God.”

Defining and dreaming

Devotion is my favorite part of our marriage. I love that it gives us the opportunity to define ourselves as a couple and dream about our future. I love that we get to discuss touchy subjects in an objective and emotionally removed format, dispensing of any heated feelings attached to certain topics. I love that our time as a couple leads to individual Bible study afterward, sometimes at great length.

I love that we get the chance to pray together and for each other at least once every day. I love that our devotion has enabled us to grow closer together over the years and through many life changes rather than growing apart. With Christ as our guide, we have not only weathered disappointment, loss, and grief, but we have also persevered through trials, waited on God, and accepted His plans even when they differed from our own.

Brodie and I realize that future trials will inevitably come, but we have security knowing we are dependent on God as a couple. Because of this unwavering commitment, we have experienced God’s peace as we have walked through the toughest of times.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a tin sign that says, “Good things happen over coffee.” It now hangs in our kitchen by the coffee pot, and it lends a nod to the single most important part of our marriage: our devotion together.

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