Oneness in marriage is a deep level of intimacy and connection that a couple have with each other and with God. Couples often lose their sense of oneness, which can slowly cause a marriage to deteriorate. Marriage is not just a commitment to your partner, but a journey in building a life together as one.
Genesis 2:24 shares that “two become one” and Mark 10:9 writes what God has joined together “let no man separate.” However, the competing demands of life can often separate this oneness that God has meant for marriage.
Here are 5 ways to work on oneness with your spouse:
1. Investing in your spouse
No one wants to be last on a priority list. When life’s competing priorities crop up, it’s easy to find yourself consumed with those matters. We often find that we give the best of ourselves to our careers, children, and friends. Even participating in positive and seemingly innocuous things that we do in our lives, such as volunteering for church or coaching a child’s soccer game, can easily take away that precious time from our spouse. This may result in our spouses having only what’s leftover at the end of the day. Taking some time to give quality attention to our spouse’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs will help to demonstrate that you care and that they do matter. Demonstrating this could include taking 15 minutes to ask about the events of their day, cooking a special meal, or surprising them with a little gift. These are little moments that will seed into and grow your marriage.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
2. Laying down your need to be right
I once told a patient that a divorce is costlier than being right. In our quest for being right, we end up disabling our ability to listen to what our spouse may be trying to communicate to us. We hold a particular stance about how we feel, then engage our pride, and essentially we are certain that we are “right.” But, at what cost does being right have in a marriage? If we are truly one in our marriage, then there is no being right because we are already one rather than in competition. Stephen Covey quoted “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Next time you are in a disagreement with your spouse, decide to surrender your need to be right, in an effort to both hear and understand your spouse’s perspective. Consider the choice of righteousness over being right!
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
3. Letting go of the past
Beginning a conversation with “I remember when you…” demonstrates a harsh start-up in your communication with your spouse. Recalling past hurts can cause us to carry them into future arguments with our spouse. We may cling with an iron fist to the injustices that have been inflicted on us. In doing so, we may use these injustices as a weapon when additional “wrongs” are committed. Then we might keep these injustices at our disposal, only to bring them up again at a later time when we feel incensed again. The problem with this method is that it never moves us forward. The past keeps us rooted. So, if you want to move forward with your spouse and create “oneness,” then it may be time to let go of the past. Next time when you are tempted to bring up hurts or issues from the past, remind yourself to remain in the present moment and deal with your spouse accordingly
“Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past.” Isaiah 43:18
4. Not forgetting your own needs
Contributing towards and connecting with your spouse means also having an awareness of who you are and what your own needs are. When we lose touch of who we are as an individual, it can be difficult to identify who you are in the context of a marriage. It is healthy to have your own thoughts and opinions. It is healthy to have interests that are outside of your home and marriage. In fact, delving into your own interests can make your marriage healthy and whole. How can this be? As you discover more of who and what your interests are, this builds an internal grounding, confidence, and self-awareness, which you can then bring into your marriage. A caveat is to be sure that these interests do not take precedence over your marriage.
“…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
5. Setting goals together
Consider the age-old adage that “couples who pray together stay together.” Likewise, couples that set goals together, also achieve together. Schedule a time where you and your spouse can sit down and talk about what the future holds for you both. What are some dreams that you would like to accomplish in the next 1, 2, or 5 years? What sort of lifestyle do you want to have when you retire together? It is just as important to regularly review the goals you’ve set with your spouse as well, to assess and discuss the journey along the way, as well as modifications that need to be made as you progress into the future.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11