4 Foundation Stones
Devotional Stone
Financial Stone
Parental Stone
Sexual Stone


You begin here because Jesus is the cornerstone of your marriage. He sets the trajectory for everything else. Through these simple practices, you will grow closer to Christ as a couple.


Building Block 1—Pray Together Every Day for 5 Minutes

It sounds simple, but you may be surprised at how hard it is to keep going. But here is the key—this prayer time should be focused on you two. Praying for the kids, work, etc., is important, but do that another time. These five minutes are reserved for you to pray for your spouse.


  1. Do it in the morning, praying for God’s blessing on the day. You will need to know your spouse’s schedule and todo list, so take a moment to glance at their calendar or ask for a brief overview before you pray.
  2. If mornings aren’t good, do it later, giving thanks or praying about the things that came up for your spouse during the day.
  3. Pray together on the phone or FaceTime even when traveling or apart from one another.

Husband, take the lead in this by inviting your wife to prayer each day. Wife, be eager to join him and to pray for him.

ACTION – Pray together, for each other, 5 minutes every day.


When Do We Move to the Next Building Block?

We recommend that you work on this until you have prayed every day for three weeks.

Progress 33%

Building Block 2—Team Up for Sermon Prep

Week after week, you sit next to each other listening to sermons. Now imagine the two of you listening after you have read the passage together, shared insights, raised questions, and discussed how to apply it. You will get way more out of the sermons, and you will feel more unified because you studied God’s Word together.


  1. You need to know what text or topic your pastor will be preaching on, so make a plan for how you will gather this information.
  2. Set a weekly meeting for reading and discussion. (If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.) We recommend a 30-minute sermon-prep date every week. This can be done at home, but it’s also fun to go to a coffee shop or other date-night location.
  3. Use the 5 Cs Sermon Prep Guide to help you interact with the text.

Husband, invite your wife to the sermon-prep dates. Wife, show him that you want to pursue this Christ-honoring task with him.

ACTION – Weekly sermon-prep dates


Once you done this consistently for three weeks, you should move to the next building block.

Progress 66%

Building Block 3 (w/children)—Regular Family Devotions

NOTE: This building block assumes you have school-aged children at home. If you don’t, scroll down to Building Block 3 (w/o children). If you have children later, come back and add this block to your foundation.

The basic plan is this: Five days a week, the family should sit together for short readings from Christ-centered books followed by discussion and prayer. (You may think this belongs under the parenting stone, but in this context the primary purpose is to establish teamwork in teaching your children how to love Jesus.)


  1. Meals are great times for this. Many families choose dinner, although we found breakfast to be best for us. Bedtime also works well.
  2. Husband, take the lead. Do any necessary prep work ahead of time. Be sure to draw your wife into the conversations and affirm her input.
  3. Wife, you are the all-important “listener police” for the youngsters. Encourage them to sit still, to pay attention, and to participate. You are also the cheerleader. Bring up things “that daddy taught us” later in the day or the next day. Find other ways of indirectly pointing the kids to the fact that their father is leading and teaching them about Jesus. As they grow older, your role will obviously change, but stay engaged with the discussions and support your husband.
  4. You may be wondering, What should we be reading? Good question. We have suggestions for you:

Choose the appropriate resource below according to your child’s age. If you have multiple children, it’s probably best to pick a range near the middle of their average age. Younger kids can stretch up a little, and older kids will still find value in slightly lower levels. You can always adjust up or down as wisdom requires.

ages 1-3
ages 3-7
ages 7-11
ages 11-14
ages 14 and up

Action—Family devotions 5 days/week


When do we move on?

After three weeks of consistent devotions,  move on to the Financial Stone.


Building Block 3 (w/o children)—Read Books Together for Spiritual Growth

NOTE: If you have children at home and are doing the “family devotions” building block, you should skip to the Financial Stone. (But remember to come back to this when your children are grown.)

When you read good books together, not only will you grow intellectually, your relationship with each other will grow. This always happens when we pursue knowledge together through careful reflection and stimulating dialogue.


  1. Set aside 20-30 minutes several days each week for reading and discussion. Mealtimes are often perfect for these discussions, but you may find early morning or just before bed to be ideal.
  2. Make note of the main point of each section or chapter. Share your observations and opinions on what you read. Listen carefully to what your spouse is sharing.
  3. You may want to alternate this with your sermon prep time. For example, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, discuss the book you are reading together. On Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays, do your sermon prep reading and discussion.
  4. What should you read? We recommend starting with Doug’s book Exalted. When you have finished it, move on to another good book. Here is a list of recommendations.


Action—Read good books together regularly


When do we move on?

When you have established a reading/discussion habit for three weeks, it’s time to move forward to the next Financial Stone.

Progress 100%
Financial Stone
Building Block 1
Building Block 2
Building Block 3