Tag Archive | oneness in marriage

The Battle For Oneness

I’m just going to put this out there: The longevity of a marriage is not an indication of oneness.

sc0079bb1fMy parents-in-law divorced after 48 years of marriage. My sister-in-law and her husband separated and are heading toward divorce after 30 years of marriage. When people say they’ve been married for more than 20 years, we applaud them. But no matter how many years you are married, you have to work on oneness. It doesn’t come automatically with a ring and some vows.

Oneness means vulnerability and trust and truth and humility. It means caring about someone else’s needs before your own. It means sacrifice and teamwork. And love. Most of all, love.

My husband, David, and I will have been married 27 years on March 2nd. I think we have a really good marriage. But we definitely have room for improvement. There are things that I struggle with that I just can’t seem to overcome and he has areas that he wrestles with as well. Just last night we had to work through a situation of hurt feelings and misunderstanding. After 26 years! Sheesh, you’d think we’d have this down by now.

27 years at any job looks good on a resumé. But we’re definitely not experts yet.

But I don’t think that either one of us would say that we haven’t strengthened our oneness after 27 years.

Many years ago when our kids were still little, we went through marriage counseling to20120722-083057.jpg try and get a handle on some nagging issues. I had fought it for a long time, pridefully thinking that we could fix it ourselves. When I finally let God through, I gave the gift of agreement to my husband. It did a lot of good.

We still read books and go through daily devotionals on marriage. We talk to each other. We bring up issues, though it’s not comfortable and sometimes isn’t well received. We know that if we don’t keep these things in front of us, our oneness will be affected.

We are going in the same direction. We communicate. We try to remember to think the best of each other. We are on the same team. (I wrote a series a few years ago on how tandem biking mirrors marriage. Find the first in that series here.)

It makes a huge difference.

Once you stop thinking of your spouse as your partner and teammate, and start seeing them as the enemy, then you will be on a downward spiral that will lead you away from oneness.

Isolation is the enemy of oneness.

Anger is the enemy of oneness.

Unforgiveness is the enemy of oneness.

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

85670316F046I realize that some marriages have been extremely hard. Perhaps there has been abuse or infidelity or addiction. The marriage covenant was broken a long time ago. I’m not suggesting by any means that anyone stay with an abuser.

Truth is, God is a God of redemption and reconciliation. The Trinity is the perfect model of oneness.

The best time to ensure that oneness grows in marriage is in the beginning.

And then do all you can to keep it going.

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Tandem Living: Going in the Same Direction

tandem bike drawingIn 1994, my husband, David, and I made a trip to South Africa. He was going to show the JESUS film in villages along the Zambezi River, and I was going to interview some people and write up some reports on how the film was being used in the area. While we were there, staying with friends in Pretoria, we went shopping and came upon a tandem bicycle made by Peugeot. Doing the math, we decided we couldn’t pass up such a great deal on a tandem since we had enjoyed the riding experience on a friend’s bike before. So we bought it.

That was 19 years ago, and the bike is still going strong. It’s a behemoth, not like the light-weight models you can find today, but it has served us well. At one point, when our boys were little, we had one kid’s seat on the front and one kid’s seat on the back. We were the mini van of bicycles.

David grew up riding his bike alone. He was used to just getting up and going wherever he wanted, pretty much whenever he wanted. I grew up riding my bike also, but I rarely did it alone. What’s the fun in that? When we got married, we both willingly gave up our solo lifestyles to blend into a tandem life together.

Over the years, we’ve both learned a lot about what it takes to ride in tandem with someone, both on a bicycle and in married life. In the next several weeks, I’m going to focus my posts on how tandem bicycling mirrors marriage. You might be surprised by what I come up with.

My first observation is that, in order to ride a tandem bike, you must be going in the same direction. Now, that might seem obvious to you, but in marriage, some might think it’s OK to have two different paths. Before we started dating, David and I were both on the staff of Cru, a group of compassionate Christians desiring to connect people with God all over the world. He is an engineer, I am a writer. He’s good at math. I’m not. He’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert. We have a lot of differences. But we both were following Jesus wherever He would lead us, therefore, our paths easily converged. If I had wanted to make my way in the secular publishing world, and David was called to be a missionary with Cru, our direction would not have been the same. Even more striking, if I had been a follower of Jesus, and David had not, our paths would have been very different. Going in the same direction is vital.

There are still many times when we ride our single bikes, but our commitment is to tandem living. We can’t ride our tandem bike and go in different directions. If we’re not both pursuing Jesus, our marriage will falter. If we’re both not staying on the same road, we will crash. Head in the same direction, follow the same road, have the same objective. The riding is a lot smoother that way.

Next: Tandem Living–Communication is Key

tandem bike drawing from http://www.etsy.com