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You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. — Psalm 119:114
Military couples with deployment experience know the value of good planning. Planning for finances, emergencies, communication, leave time, home and car maintenance, legal documents, children’s needs, etc. comes under the heading of being “mission ready.”
But there’s more to a marriage than logistics. And preparing a marriage to stay close even when worlds apart during deployment means being intentional about emotional and spiritual intimacy. Yes, emotional and spiritual intimacy—which comes under the heading of “oneness.”
Good spiritual habits of praying together and sharing conversations about devotional material can be continued during deployment—with proper planning centered around times and opportunities. But in this posting we will highlight another discipline of spiritual maturity—that of reading the Bible together.
This topic came up recently when speaking with a good friend in ministry. Our friend shared how he helped a Marine couple “design” their Scripture reading plan so they could maintain this all-important spiritual connection during a 7-month deployment. The deployed husband knew he would have only periodic access to a telephone while inside the wire, so part of their plan was agreeing they would coordinate their time “together” by email. Having this understanding, the couple designed their reading plan in such a way that they could each “catch up” with their Scriptures in preparation for the expected short time together on the phone. They began their conversation with a quick update on family matters . . . followed by the anticipated question that went something like, “What did you think about the Scripture reading yesterday from Ephesians?” Their time together was quickly over as the next person in the line took their turn. But it was enough time to make that deep heart-to-heart connection which kept them in spiritual oneness during the deployment.
The end result: the couple thanked our friend for the proposal of Bible reading after their successful reintegration. We praise God for their purposeful intentionality to be so mature as to make this a priority in their relationship—not only with each other but with their Lord.
Perhaps your deployment will be 30 days. Try something like going through Psalms and Proverbs by reading five chapters daily starting with a “one”—like Psalm 1,31,61,91, and Proverbs 1. Or choose some books of the Bible which you want to read, count the chapters and divide by the number of days of deployment. Then chart it out.
And since so many deployments are 179 days, we have included a sample Scripture reading plan designed for going through fourteen books at two chapters a day for those 179 days. Click here if this might work for you. Other couples might choose to purchase two “One-Year Bibles” and follow that for the designated time period.
We know of a couple during World War II who included thoughts on their Bible readings in letters to each other through 3-½ years of wartime separation.
Moses said it well when he spoke to the nation of Israel concerning the truth of Scripture, “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32:47
Questions to Share:
1. What advantages do you see in reading the Bible together during deployment?
2. There will be distractions and mission demands. Make your plan in such a way as to be realistic about your deployment requirements. What do you believe you can do to stay spiritually connected in Bible reading through this time of separation?