It was a warm, early summer day when Dennis invited me to go to lunch. We’d known each other as friends for three years in college. But we hadn’t seen each other in a year since graduation, so we had a lot to catch up on.
One lunch wasn’t nearly long enough. So he invited me to go on a picnic the next day. And a picnic still wasn’t enough. On the way back to my apartment, he asked me to go to church with him the next day
And so began a month of daily dialogue, sharing rides to work, dinners, and walks after dinner. The talking never ran dry. He listened to me as it seemed no one ever had. I felt comfortable with him like no one else. Our relationship was easy and natural.
Within two months, this one long conversation led to a decision to get married. A conclusion we both reached after praying for God to show us His will.
But like every married couple since Adam and Eve, we found ourselves in places where the early ease was replaced by discomfort, disagreement, or difficulty we never saw coming. The springtime oneness that was so real when we married dissipated like dew under the midsummer sun; our promises were put under fire like dry, sun-baked clay.
How do we move from the excitement of our early “I dos” to a determined, expectant and equally excited conviction of “We still do”?
A definition of oneness is a start: an invisible transcendent quality of perfect harmony. Why is this definition helpful? Because it is what God intends for you. Experienced perfectly by the Trinity, it is also what Jesus prayed for us! And we surely need His prayers because we married couples are not just imperfect but also incapable of achieving the oneness we married for and that God intends for us.
How then do we recover that invisible but very real and needed quality that once lived between us? It’s not impossible. We’ve tasted oneness. The answer is going to Him, the source of what we need.
1. Ask God to reveal the truth. A heart examination is the first place to start. And not your husband’s heart. Examine your own. It is the special work of the devil to divide us. Jesus called Satan the father of lies, so start by asking: What lies am I listening to? What lies am I believing? Am I assuming the worst about my husband? It’s so easy to do. Begin by praying for eyes to see what is in your heart as a wife.
2. Ask God what has come between you if you aren’t sure. He who knows all wants you to know because His greatest desire is always reconciliation and restoration. He longs for you to say I still do.
3. Ask God to guide you to have an honest, authentic conversation with your husband. All couples will have relational habits built over months and over decades. Just this week, my husband said to me that he hated asking me to go anywhere with him. It was an overstatement because he didn’t really mean anywhere. What he meant was going with him on ministry/business trips.
For years I let him know how challenging these “requirements,” that is how they felt to me, were for me as a mom and for my personality. I don’t enjoy small talk and networking with strangers.
But I have changed. I had a conversation with God one day. I let go of my need to control, to make circumstances fit my needs. I told God I was grateful my husband wanted me to go with him at all. I asked God to help me be positive and not negative about my husband’s desire. I asked God to help me enjoy every minute of this relationship. Of course I haven’t done this perfectly, but I have improved.
But in this moment Dennis was remembering how it used to be. He was hearing old tapes, forgetting that I have changed. I gently reminded him I was not as I once was. And he agreed. And I have old messages I hear in things he says too, when the truth is he has changed a lot over the years.
4. Ask God for patience with growth in oneness. Remember oak trees? Oaks of righteousness, the Bible calls us, don’t grow overnight. You want your oneness to have the strength of an oak, not the perishable quality of a squash vine.
Trust God that your conversation may not resolve the issue immediately but may require countless additional conversations. Remember patience is what you are practicing. Multiple conversations may not be the way you want it to work out, but they are worth it. In God’s hands and timing, He will work the good you desire with increased oneness being the result.
As you work toward oneness in your marriage, begin where you are. Risk talking about the hard things with your spouse because when you work through these obstacles, the joy on the other side is so worth it. It’s what will allow you to enthusiastically say together “We Still Do!”
So pray for God to grow you together. Offer this prayer as a start:
We married for
Increase my vision.
May our marriage be
all that You imagined
when you brought us together.
For Your glory and our good.