Recap | One | Oneness {Part 2}

While oneness is a lofty and mysterious spiritual truth, it is lived out in practical ways. What follows is a list of acts that destroy oneness in our marriages and then a number of actions by which we may promote oneness between our spouses and ourselves. For those of us who are not married, and especially for those who aspire to marriage, engaging with these practices in appropriate ways now will help to prepare us for a potential marriage in the future.

Destroying Oneness

• An unwillingness to forgive: Forgiveness is integral to marriages between two sinful people (that is, all marriages). It is likely that we will be more hurt by our spouse than anyone else and equally likely that we will return the favor, making forgiveness necessary.
• Sexual immorality: This may be defined broadly as a failure to steward one’s uniquely sexual energy and direct it exclusively toward one’s spouse. It manifests itself in a great variety of ways, always with a disastrous effect on oneness.
• Idolatry of children: Our marriages do not exist to serve our children or create them in our own image. Oneness between parents is a priority before children and actually promotes the raising of children who are healthy and competent.
• Idolatry of marriage: This occurs when we take this good and right union and make it an ultimate thing to us. Marriage is not designed to fulfill us completely and is only a temporary union.
• Escapism: This takes place when we find an “escape” to which we flee from reality and our responsibilities. Common escapes: social media, video games, sports, and other hobbies.
• Weariness: The kind that results from a failure to practice restraint in our (often good) appetites and ambitions, leaving us with little energy to direct towards our spouse.
• Critical attitudes: These are shown when we sit in judgment of our spouses due to physical appearance, leadership, spirituality, or any other number of attributes.
• Failure to embrace gender identity and role: These are God-given and unique to either spouse (will be covered more thoroughly next week when we discuss the topic of Uniqueness).

Promoting Oneness

• Grace: The free gift of unmerited favor towards our spouses. Because we reflect the Gospel with our marriages, we are meant to treat our spouses better than they deserve and deal with them according to need rather than merit.
• Trust: Because we ultimately trust God, we are free to trust our spouses.
• Time away together: Being intentional about taking a marital Sabbath. A time where you get away from everything and remember that before you had all these responsibilities you are actually two people who loved and respected one another enough that you would vow to spend your lives together.
• Vulnerability: Both men and women struggle with not being able to be open and transparent. Self-promotion and self-protection are common ways to avoid transparency. Vulnerability is a key to maintaining oneness.
• Cultivating common interests: As a couple, it’s important to find activities or hobbies that you can do together. Sharing a common interest is a way to connect with one another and maintain oneness in various seasons of your marriage {i.e. empty nester, new parents, etc.}.
• Strategic planning: Many people think less about their marriage then they do anything else. It’s important to plan together, dream together, and talk about where you are going together.
• Spiritual devotion: Praying together and having private worship time with one another is a critical component to maintaining oneness in your marriage.
• Laughter: Laughing and having fun as a couple, whether it is just the two of you or in fun environments, is one way to maintain oneness.
• Sex: Sex is a catalyst for and an expression of oneness.
• Healthy conflict: Obstacles prevent us from dragging oneness into our current experience and you don’t overcome obstacles without a fight. Having healthy conflict enables you to overcome those obstacles and to have better communication with one another.

These lists are not intended to be used as a formula by which we will be able to achieve healthy marriages but instead as a diagnostic for us to evaluate the current state of our marriages. If you are married, these lists should be catalytic for a conversation with your spouse about the state of your marriage. Are the two of you experiencing the oneness that Jesus speaks of? Does your practice of marriage match God’s truth about it?

-Brian Barbee

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Worship Songs from the Weekend

  • Glorious Day: Revelation 11:15
  • Whole Again: John 6:53-54, Mark 14:24, Ephesians 1:7, 1 John 1:7
  • To The Cross I Cling: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Ephesians 2:4-6
  • Seas of Crimson: Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 26:28, Revelation 12:11
  • O God of Our Salvation: 1 Chronicles 16:29