Sometimes the math that logically proceeds to one conclusion in our cosmos arrives at a different conclusion in God’s economy. For example, when does 1 + 1 = 1? In marriage. Genesis 2:24 says that the man and wife became “one flesh.” Oneness is an aspect of imaging God.
Oneness does not mean uniformity, in which one partner has to conform to every belief and opinion of the other. If that were the case, there would be no mutual edification, no iron sharpening iron (Prov. 27:17).
Marriage is for oneness.
What does this unity involve? “One flesh” certainly implies physical union (Heb. 13:4). Sex is an expression of union, oneness, intimacy, affection, and enjoyment of one another. But “one flesh” means much more than just the physical.
Husband and wife ought to be unified in all areas of life. There needs to be unity in spiritual matters. Intellectually, they should be sharing ideas and thoughts and differences, with agreement on the important principles. Their social relationships and activities should be shared. This doesn’t mean that one cannot attend an activity alone, but there ought to be mutual support and, when possible, participation. A couple needs to have a basic unity in goals that they set. They can support one another in work, affirm one another’s accomplishments, and pray for one another. They need to be attuned emotionally, caring for one another (1 Cor. 12:25). There should be agreement on basic parenting goals and procedures.
A wife’s most compelling desire must be to glorify the Lord.
While oneness is a God-glorifying quality in marriage, it was never intended to be our primary pursuit. A woman who craves a sense of being appreciated by her husband, or a sense of unity with her husband, or a peaceful, happy marriage will find herself grasping at sand that slips through her fingers. She will place expectations on her husband, her marriage, and herself that cannot be met. It will result in anxiety, discontentment, irritability/anger, and persistent unhappiness.
A wife’s efforts toward oneness must be driven by a desire to glorify God. She seeks to glorify God regardless of whether her husband does likewise. This means a gentle answer (Prov. 15:1) and acts of kindness toward her husband even when she perceives him to be stirring conflict. It means thinking thoughts that glorify God even when she doesn’t perceive that her husband appreciates or respects her. It means desiring to love God and show it even when she feels unhappy. A wife who seeks God’s glory above all will do her part and leave the results in God’s hands, free to enjoy the fruit of her work while content with disappointments that come along the way.
The goal is not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).
Building unity won’t happen with an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality. It requires 100% effort on a wife’s part no matter what percent her husband is exerting. It requires self-sacrifice and hard work. The wise woman will set aside her expectations to receive from her husband and will focus on what she can contribute to him. Ways to work toward oneness are endless. Here are a few ideas:
- Ask about your husband’s day before you tell him about yours. Listen well.
- Discover his goals and plan how you can contribute to his success. How can you be on his team?
- Be in prayer for his upcoming meetings at work or decisions on the job. Afterward, ask him how things went.
- Anticipate his need for iced tea on a hot day or for supper on the table early when he has an evening meeting to attend.
- Be faithful to give an honest (in love!) critique of his performance (lecture, conversation, activity, etc.) when he asks.
- Eat dinner together! Eat without the TV. Ignore all phone calls. Train children, even quite young ones, to not interrupt your spousal conversations, but to be polite. Focus on one another.
What action points would you add to this list?