Communication is one of the major components of marriage. The exchange of ideas in any given relationship is fundamental in building depth and commonality. Speaking to each other about your marriage – it’s identity and/or it’s direction (among others), with consistency and progression – should be a weekly, if not daily, exercise. A good way to promote communication in our marriage is to actually have a focal point for discussion.
I’ve committed Tuesdays to be “#TalkAboutItTuesdays” where we can explore areas of discussion for us as married couples. This Tuesday’s word was: UNITY. (You can follow me on twitter @SpeakOfMarriage to join the discussion on Tuesdays or any given day.)
Here’s some thoughts on UNITY when it comes to our marriages:
1. A strong marriage begins with a united man and woman centered in and anchored to Jesus.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (NIV)
When discussing marriage during my premarital meetings with couples, I discuss the idea of the triple, covalent bond. A triple-covalent bond describes molecular cohesion between two atoms. The triple-covalent bond is the strongest bond among atoms. Without going into chemistry (because I’m not a chemist – I only remembered the term from high school because it sounded cool), the idea is: a triple-covalent (equally sharing) bond is stronger than a double-covalent bond though it’s less common. Anyway, from this thought I discuss the bonds between man and woman as the double-covalent bond (the husband equally committing to his wife and wife equally committing to her husband) while the third bond is both of them equally committing their relationship to God. Though uncommon, the equal unity of God-man-woman commitment makes a marriage, when not just centered on love and commitment for/to each other but also in God, the strongest possible.
2. At the Altar you committed to be united: don’t try to untie what God has tied.
Ephesians 5:31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (NIV)
Matthew 19:6 “Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (NLT)
Continuing the idea of the triple bond, in marriage a man and a woman ties themselves to each other and (hopefully) to God. This triple strand is the making of God. And because God tied you and your spouse together, you should make great efforts in maintaing the integrity of these strands of commitment. Let us not look for ways to untie what God has tied together, doing so is tantamount to working against God’s creative purpose and power.
3. Take time to magnify what makes you and your spouse fitly joined together.
Ephesians 4:16 “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
The scripture above refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ. (Our marriage is a reflection of the divine union of Christ and His Church.) When God is center of our marriages, He works to make us fit together perfectly (over time into maturely). Taking the time to magnify how your spouse and yourself are alike is the easiest way to build up your marital oneness . But a more satisfying yet difficult way to build unity in your marriage is actually finding love and relational health through your differences and disagreements. Attempting to change each other is a sure way to bring conflict into your home. In fact, unity is tested in disagreement. We can attempt to make our homes appear free from disagreements (by skirting around differing issues) so that we can seem united, but what we’ll get is the opposite. What I suggest is to see your spousal differences as the spice of your marriage. So, instead of fighting about your differences or disagreements, cherish these “spices” of marriage and view them as God’s way of helping you know where and how you fit with each other. Look to unite in times of disagreements. Love what makes your spouse different. Use your energy loving each other than critiquing each other through the differences and disagreements. Magnify the reason why you are so good together because of your differences. Marital health is reflected by the way couples deal with the differences. Believe it or not, the strand gets its strength from being tied tightly together.
4. Sometimes the hardest thing to speak about is your vulnerability. Unity begins with shared vulnerability.
2 Corinthians 12:10 “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV)
Fake relationships are made up of two people who have not shared their vulnerabilities. The old adage states: “The chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, so the only way you can strengthen a cord is to know the weakened areas. A weak foundation can only be fortified once the weakened area has been identified. The best marriages are ones where a spouse is supporting their spouse in their areas of weakness. Eve was Adam’s help-meet: she met the areas where he needed help. The reason for a double-stranded cord is to support the weakness of a single-stranded cord. And the reason for the third cord is there to strengthen the weakness of the double-stranded cord. If you’re having a hard time expressing your vulnerability or dealing with your spouse’s, this is where you can say to yourself, “For Christ’s sake share your vulnerability,” because He calls us to be vulnerable. Sharing your weaknesses can make you feel exposed and unsafe, but this is where the love of your spouse becomes your covering and strength. Learn to delight in your’s and your spouse’s weaknesses; this is most likely where your spouse will become your joy and your marriage will find its happiness.
(Caveat: discussing your sinful past or moral failings is a different topic. Speaking to your pastor before speaking to your spouse about these events is wise. There are some momentary lapse of good judgement that your spouse and family need not be burdened or destroyed about.)
5. Talk about your “together dreams” and visions of a bright together. Start with “I see you and me …”
Amos 3:3 “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”
Since every good marriage has a start, it is safe to say that for a marriage to flourish and strengthen there needs to be a direction – a destination. (Who triple-strands a cord and not use it, right?) Ask yourself this question: Why did I get married? Why did I get married to this man/woman? If you answered, “Because I love him/her” that is fantastic but there is more. Love is action; it’s active. John 3:16 is God’s defining moment of love: He died because He loved. There is a result when we love. Children, family, community, etc. are some of the results of love. But how about you and your spouse? What becomes of you two in the long run? Creating a purpose for your togetherness will bring health and joy to your marriage. If all it is is to have God be glorified in your union – when others thought you guys would not make it, God proved them wrong – so be it. Using embracing, unifying words like: ours, us, we, together, etc. will begin the process of “directional marriage”. Let your “I”s and “me”s and “mine”s be lost in the wholeness of your marriage and set a Godly destination – a reason – why God put you two together.
God, with your consent, has tied you and your spouse together. Finding, developing and enhancing the unity of your union will establish your marriage, so work on it. It will not be happily, ever after unless it’s happily, daily after.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on unity in marriage and/or how you and your spouse work in unifying each other. Leave a comment below and join the discussion. If this entry or any other entries has blessed you, please share them with your spouse, friends and family. God bless you.