Man Caves And She Sheds: Pursuing Unity
We believe pursuing unity in marriage is vital for a healthy and growing relationship. Without it, spouses could slowly start drifting apart. Their connection with each other will be weakened and their love for each other will be diminished or lost. It’s important to realize that marriage is a celebration of unity: Ephesians 5:31 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Something To Talk About:
The foundation of a great marriage isn’t happiness, it’s unity. If you want a relationship that is united, not divided, stay focused. Stay focused on your common goals. Stay focused on your common enemy. Stay focused on God. In addition, having common goals gives the marriage relationship purpose and direction. To do that consider the following four things:
- Humility: The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:5, “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Marriage is an ideal place to show humility. What does humility look like? In a word selflessness. Selflessness means you put your spouse ahead of yourself and expect nothing in return. Humility asks the questions, “How can I be more patient with my spouse? How can I respond gently when I am irritated?” As each spouse sacrifices for the other, we see the clearest picture of Christ’s relationship with His church. We need to pray and ask God to help us to see the ways that we act and think selfishly in our relationships. ”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
- Gentleness: Individuals about to get married often ask pastors or successful couples the question:”What is the one avoidable mistake you see couples make that I can learn from?” Good question with multiple choice answers. But I believe there is one thing that starts out in most marriages but over time goes into a marital hibernation. Gentleness is fighting for each other rather than against each other. Gentleness is humble enough to admit you’re wrong and doesn’t gloat or keep score when you’re right. It sets the tone and direction of every conversation and disagreement. Gentleness paves the way for forgiveness and conflict resolution. It is in many ways, the thermostat of every marriage. Even when you can’t describe gentleness, you know what it looks like when you see it.
- Patience: “God, give me patience—right now!” Most married people have said some version of that prayer. It is understandable that when you put two people together that there will be times that nerves get frayed and patience is tested. The husband who is 20 minutes late because this wife is on the 30th minute getting ready. Or the husband who refuses to stop for directions which makes them even later. Successful couples learn the importance of patience as the two become one. Within marriage, patience means discerning what needs to be changed and what needs to be tolerated. Patience is not immediately setting out to improve him or her. You can’t understand why she doesn’t see the need for improvement, nor can you see the need for improvement in your life. We need to be patient with each other and learn to work around them. In addition to being patient with each other, couples need to be patient with the marriage itself. Healthy marriages grow and change. healthy marriages lean on God and need to be patient as God works His purpose for the marriage.
- Showing tolerance in love: There is no love in marriage if we cannot tolerate the faults of our spouse. Nor will we ever be able to cope with the tension that builds day-to-day when we insist on things being done our way? Can we be tolerate when our spouse’s preferences conflict with our own? Toleration like submission is a tough idea to understand and accept. Too many people think they can tell others how to live, or that others should automatically respect their preferences. However, we must be very careful about telling others what they should think, feel or do, and likewise, must guard our boundaries carefully so others do not presume they can tell us what to think, feel or do.
- The foundation of a Godly marriage is not happiness, it’s unity: agree or disagree and why?
- We need to have things in common to have a successful marriage. Do we need to accept our differences before we find unity? How do we go about doing that?
- Is unity in diversity possible? Why or why not? Unity is not uniformity, but being unique: Agree or disagree and why? Would you grow in marriage if your spouse was exactly like you?
- How is being on the same page and being unified in mission different?
- One of the major threats to our unity is the tendency to elevate our personal agendas over the Spirit’s agenda in our marriages: Agree or disagree and why?
- Humility: Are you willing — in the interest of unity — to submit your desires, no matter how good, to God’s purpose in your marriage?
- Gentleness: Do you find yourself responding with anger when your agenda is challenged?
- Patience: Are you willing to wait for God’s work through His Spirit in the life of your mate? Do you find yourself impatient with the slowness of change in your mate’s life?
- Tolerance in love: Do you insist on things being done your way?
- In what order would you rank humility, gentleness, patience and showing tolerance in love? Why do you put them in that order?
- How can you begin to function interdependently with your spouse instead of as two individuals who occasionally support one another?
Take one thing home with you:
They say that when a man marries a woman, he thinks, “She’s the one I’ve been waiting for. She’ll never change.” – and she always does. And a woman looks at her man, and thinks, “He just needs a little work; after we’re married, I’ll help him change” – and he never does. In other words, both spouses are waiting for the other person to change. Here is the question: Do you spend more time questioning your partner’s words or actions than examining your own? Blaming your partner can feel good in the moment, but it’s dangerous because it can lead to anger and resentment.
We need to stop trying so hard to change our spouse and release him/her to God. God can and will work in their life when they are ready. None of us can make somebody ready or make someone change. They need to see the need and choose for themself to seek after God. You need to let go of the expectations and give him/her unconditional, forgiving love. That is the way to build unity and a thriving relationship.