If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen snippets of our weekly devo nights. If you don’t, it’s okay! I’ll still tell you about it. Hehe! So, what are devo dates and what do we usually do during devo dates?
Every week, when we can’t afford the time and luxury to attend our couple’s discipleship group, we go out on a mini date to do our devotions together. We usually go on coffee or milk tea shops and bring our bible, devotional guide, notebooks, pens, and highlighters. The bible that we use are actually kids’ bibles. Mark gave me mine as a Christmas gift in 2014 and I gave Mark his as a wedding gift in 2015. The “brand” is called Zondervan and the version is called NIV. If this is totally new to you, “versions” mean what type of grammar the bible is written in. NIV and ESV are the easiest to comprehend. For the devo guides, we used Connect: Marriage Guidelines and Practical Discipleship for Married Couples. To be honest, they are not verrrry helpful for us and we feel like it’s more for the newly weds so we mostly stick to the bible and let the Spirit guide us. Hehe. We’re planning to get new devo guides, though.
If it’s your first time and you want to do this, alone or with your spouse, here’s a quick guide on how to read verses. For example: Galatians 5:1
Galatians is the book. 5 is the chapter. 1 is the verse number. So you can read that as book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 1.
WHAT WE DO ON DEVO DATES
Now, back to what happens during our devo dates. First, we find a cozy place. If the resources permit, we have a simple dinner outside then head to a coffee or milk tea shop. If we don’t, we just stay home and Mark cooks something special for us.
It’s easier when we follow a devo guide but when we don’t, we just open the bible to chapters that speak to our hearts. Once, we studied Proverbs 31 which talked about The Character of a Noble Wife because that’s where our devo guide led us. The other week, we studied Ecclesiastes 7 which talked about real wisdom and its importance.
Before starting to read, we first open in prayer. We thank the Lord for the opportunity to get to know His heart, we ask for guidance and wisdom in understanding whatever book or verses He gives us, then we pray for our requests- protection of marriage, health of our parents, wisdom in parenting, prosperous business and job, etc. When we use a devo guide, it’s really just going with the flow and reading what is in the chapter out loud. After reading, there will be guide questions that we just openly answer. In most cases, though, we don’t use a devo guide. So, we just find a book and chapter in the bible that speaks to our hearts and we study that together. We take turns in reading the verses to each other aloud.
Then, we go back to the first verse. We ask each other questions such as, “what does this mean to you?”. For example, on our last devo, we studied Ecclesiastes 7. On the first verse, it says, “a good name is better than fine perfume, the day of death better than the day of birth”. Our conversation goes a little like this,
Treszka: What does that verse tell us?
Mark: I think it’s about reputation being more important than riches.
Treszka: Yeah! I think so, too. But what reputation do you think we have? What do we want our reputation to be?
Mark: Hmmm. I think people tend to see me as someone who is optimistic and go with the flow. But I also want them to see me as an organized person.
Treszka: Well, for me, I think I have tendencies to get drawn in negative conversations. It’s not easy for me to pull back and step out sometimes. I’m afraid it might be rude. But I want to work on being joyful and encouraging.
It’s basically just like that. We talk about the verses and how we can apply it in our lives and our marriage. A part of the conversation also went like this,
Treszka: What do you think it means when the bible says “patience is better than pride”? Well, it’s pretty simple to understand that but can we expound?
Mark: I think we could relate it to our marriage. Sometimes, when we don’t like each other’s tone, we don’t have to be so defensive about it. That’s pride. When we want to be more aggressive because we feel wronged, it’s pride. Instead, we could gently and in a sweet way just say “honey, you can tone down” or just smile and give a gentle rebuke. I think there is patience in that.
When we’re done reading the verses, we ask, “What verse was your favorite? Why?”. Usually, this reminds us of what we want to take in our hearts the most. But remember this, devo dates are not very formal. The goal is to grow in the Lord and grow together as spouses. It’s really like two friends having coffee, sharing our hearts to each other, and seeking the Lord. We talk about anything- struggles, joy, prayer requests.
During the entire devo date, we write down key points. Points we always want to remember and keep in our hearts. I like going all out when it comes to writing. I usually write down simpler translations of the verse, how we are going to apply it, and things Mark opens up to me about. For example, “Mark wants to be a more organized person. Mark wants to be more patient. We should be more patient with each other”. I just pretty much write down all key points.
Why we love devo dates
What I really like about our devos together is we get to know each other more. I didn’t know that Mark is working to be a more organized person. He says that he is currently working to be someone who knows how to be on time. Mark didn’t know that I’m working on being more encouraging to others.
My moooooost favorite part, though, is when we get to know God’s heart and His desire for marriage. How He teaches us what it means to love one another and how we can improve our marriage. Like the example above… to be more patient with each other.
Why go on a devo date
It’s very healthy for couples to go out on dates weekly. It’s a must for marriage! It was during our weekly devo/date nights when we learned about the beauty of jealousy, the right way of apologizing, how to forgive, etc. It’s one thing to live together but it’s another thing to connect and grow together. The latter takes time, heart, and effort.
Anyway, once that is done, we go to the next part.
WE RATE OUR MARRIAGE
“On a rate of 1 to10, how would you rate our marriage? Why did you give that rating?”
Let’s say I gave Mark a 7. Well, okay… I really gave Mark a 7 this week. Hahaha! Our marriage is amazing but for improvements, we must be precise in our ratings. First step, we have to show appreciation to each other by talking about all the good points. It would be a bad blow to go straight to “why not a 10?”. We keep it positive! It’s important to make a person feel appreciated and loved before the rebuke.
So, I told him why I gave him a 7. I told him how much I loved being with him and how he’s such an amazing husband. Whenever I have to stay out late to see my girl friends (to do devos with them!), he doesn’t rush me. Instead, he assures me that he’ll take care of our daughter well and I could just enjoy. And when I get home, he’s still awake waiting for me. He’s always excited to hear how my night went. I also told him how much I love it when he makes me laugh- which pretty much happens every night.
Then, comes the constructive criticisms. I told him that there’s only one thing that kinda troubles me. The 3 points deficit all came from only one factor because I think this factor is really big. The 3 points deductions came from the lack of speaking my love language. I kinda said it like this,
“Well, I know that you love me but it’s so different when you speak my love language. You love cuddling and every night, you just love to comfortably snug inside my arms. And I know that to you… that is the biggest ‘I love you’. But it would mean so much to me if you get more intentional in speaking my love language. It’s a must for marriage especially that we are going to spend years together”
And he did. His love language is physical touch and mine is words of affirmation. He keeps on working on it just as I keep on working in speaking his love language. I’m not as big as a hugger as he is. In fact, I want personal space when I sleep. It’s a big effort for me to hug him at night. Hehe.
As for Mark… he gave me a 7, too. He said something like this,
“I love our marriage, hon. How we’re friends and lovers at the same time. It’s just so much fun doing this with you, and cuddling with you every night. Life together is so much fun. But lately, I have noticed that you haven’t been very gentle with your tone and it seems like you are easily annoyed. I don’t feel good about that”
So, the entire week, I worked on my tone and temper. I guess it’s safe to say I’m doing a lot better. Hehe. Rating marriage makes room for improvement. It’s a good time to feel appreciated and the best time to give feedbacks. Sometimes, we squeeze in how we can improve as parents. It’s the same process. Mark tells me what he likes about me as a mom and how I can improve. And then, I do the same thing for him.
WE TALK ABOUT WORSHIP AND PLEASURE
In other words, sex. We talk about sex. Ooops. Let’s get this straight first- it would be different if Mark and I weren’t married.
As you know our testimony, Mark and I have had sex before marriage. Because of that, we know what the difference is when we had sex before marriage and sex after marriage. Let’s also clear the air by saying this truth: sex is a beautiful thing created by the Lord and it is crucial for a healthy marriage. It’s not dirty like the media portrays.
According to carm.org, this is the biblical definition of sex:
God has given sex to us as a means of glorifying Him, as we fulfill its design for procreation, intimacy, comfort, and physical pleasure. It is a fulfillment of God’s created order between a husband and a wife.
That is how beautiful sex is! It is for pleasure and to glorify God! But there is one condition: it is only fully blessed under the bond of marriage. When spouses have sex, it is between a husband, a wife, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. When couples are married, their spirits unite. But when people have sex outside marriage have sex, their spirit repulse. That’s why when spouses cheat, it hurts a lot. It goes more than the feeling of betrayal. It is when partners try to unite their spirit with another person. That’s why God cannot bless it.
Back to our story, when Mark and I had sex before marriage, there was a lot of guilt. We just couldn’t enjoy its benefits to the fullest. And because we weren’t married, our spirits repulsed rather than unite. That’s why even though I was already pregnant, when we understood the true design of sex, we abstained. When we got married, we obviously had sex. Hehe. And my goodness, words aren’t enough to explain how magical sex felt since then. Not only was there a guilt-free pleasure but we could totally feel God’s blessing upon our unity.
When we don’t use God’s gift of sex as often as we should, things feel a little different. God made sex and is meant to be used for his glory and our pleasure, so it is really important. That’s why Mark and I makes sure to not neglect this.
The world thinks, “oh wow! Marriage is fun because of all the sex they can have!”. Hmm, partly true. But there is this reality that we get tired from the day’s work. There were days when we really had to carve time for intimacy, especially when Taziana was still a little baby. Days get so busy and we get so tired, and before we know it, weeks have passed since we have last expressed intimacy towards each other. For some couples, it even takes months.
That’s why during devo dates, we openly talk about sex. How’s it going, how can we make time, are there improvements we want to make. There’s no shame in openly talking about it. Sex is beautiful under God’s blessing of marriage. Don’t let the media tell you otherwise.
So, that’s pretty much what goes down during our date nights. Was that helpful to you? Are you planning to do a devo date with the love of your life? Message me and we can talk about that! I love hearing from you!
By the way, we have found this new place to do our devo dates in! And personally, I’d go here to do my me time, too. I love journal-ing, planning, ang blogging. This place is soooo perfect for that. My jaw dropped when I saw it. The ambiance was so inviting and it really calms my mind and spirit to focus on my devotions and work.
The place is called Study Haven located along CM Recto, Manila. It’s beside University of the East and University Residences. As if the good ambiance wasn’t enough to invite me, they offer their place for only 50 PHP per hour- with unlimited coffee, tea, water, snacks! It’s definitely a blessing to students. Hehe.