And they shall become One
One hand gripped the seat and the other held on to the door handle while our car fishtailed through three inches of slushy snow. My husband pulled over, attempting to locate a mechanical malfunction while brushing persistent flakes from his face.
“I don’t know what it is.” He said. “We’ll just drive slowly. There’s nothing we can do right now.”
Night settled across the sky, our thirty minute drive stretching to sixty. Emergency lights blinked out a S.O.S at twenty miles an hour. I prayed. I prayed we wouldn’t plummet over the cliff’s edge so close to the road. I prayed our kids would live to see gray hair. I prayed I would get to wear the new summer blouse I just bought.
I thank God each day for His protection. Turns out we had a bad tire. The bad tire plus the swirling snow and slush covered roads caused each of our back tires to pull in a different direction. A car cannot move forward when each tire treads its own way, pulling free of the others.
I’ve been thinking about how so many marriages are just like the tires on my car. Each partner pulling in his/her own direction and getting nowhere.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother,
and shall be joined unto his wife,
and they two shall be one flesh.
One sacred day in white, we women vowed before a holy God and witnesses to become One, each day of matrimony binding us tighter. Now 5, 10, 15, 20 years later, the binding is frayed loose. One marriage torn in two, each pulling in different directions – none too sacred.
Kindred spirits, soul mates, best friends, and heart-throbs are now strangers sharing one house, one bed, one responsibility.
We have different schedules. The kids need us! We are moving up the long reaching corporate ladder. We don’t know who he is anymore. We’re a different person than the girl in white. We have no time left. We did not work to stay one, united.
Are you married to a man you hardly know anymore?
Have nothing in common with your husband?
Can’t think of a thing to say that doesn’t involve one of your children?
Does he have his friends and you have yours?
Do you even remember why you married?
Are you strangers sharing a house?
Is your marriage more of a business arrangement than a sacred covenant of love?
Once upon a time, we became one. We allowed ourselves to separate in mind, body, and spirit. How do we unite once again?
There are so many aspects to that question. The answer is not simple, but I’d like to share what I’ve learned in my own marriage.
Create common goals and work towards accomplishing them together. Even individual goals can be supported by the other person.
Give 100%. Marriage isn’t 50/50. That’s a lie. God calls us to give it all, to go two miles when someone requests one, to give the shirt off your back if someone needs it.
Talk and Listen. Sounds so simple, but you know it’s not. Find out what’s going on at your spouse’s workplace and at his ball team. Find out his stresses and worries and share them – pray, encourage, support.
Have fun! Once we marry, fun is blindly traded for maturity and responsibility. Find something fun to do and make time to do it. Regularly. It’s not just your kids who need to have fun. The Bible says a merry heart does good like a medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
Dwell together. Don’t settle for being roommates. Be mates!
Take on a project. I know, I know…this one will surely send you to divorce court! Not so. The greatest thing my husband and I have ever done is to buy a falling down, nearly condemned old house and work on it together. We fought. We cried. We hated. We loved. The house shaped our entire marriage. An extreme statement? Maybe, but we learned to work together, something two pig-headed people don’t learn easily. God knew only a ginormous project could teach us to be one.
Date. This is the hardest thing for my husband and I to do. We don’t live near family/babysitters, so we don’t often go out alone. We date in. After we put the kids to bed, we’ll have a special meal together, watch a movie, talk and laugh, do whatever. It’s our version of a nearly free date. We also use the two hours our children are in Awana to grab a coffee, go for a walk, brows through local shops, or sit in the car and talk. It’s our time to be together.
Pray for your spouse, yourself, and your marriage. Pray even when you don’t have the words to express your heart. (Rom. 8:26)
Be a team. My husband and I always whip out the little “There’s no I in team” phrase when one of us starts moaning and groaning about lending a hand.
Have Sex. Become one physically. Often. Fully. (I Cor. 7:5)
These ten things have helped my husband and myself to live as one, even after fourteen years of marriage. For some fourteen is a drop in the bucket of life, and I’m sure those wrinkled with time can add to my list. I hope they will in the comments. For my marriage, these are the lesson we have learned. I know God is waiting to teach us so many more.
One flesh is more than sharing a bed, a house, a life. It’s also sharing your thoughts, your days, your dreams, your work, your heart. If you’re struggling with being one, I pray you’ll aline yourself in covenant with your husband, leaving a single tread to heaven in the sometimes slippery road of life. Don’t be like my car with each tire pulling in a different direction, become one and go forward in your marriage.