Our two previous articles focused on pursuing “oneness” in marriage. The reason for these steps is that oneness in marriage is God’s design, and it is His calling despite our difficulties in marriage. In many marriages, even though we are still together (and not divorced), the “oneness” is missing. Sometimes we are basically separate from each other.
Here are important questions:
- Do we believe in God? Yes or No?
- If the answer is “Yes,” are we willing to obey God? Are we willing to live for God rather than for ourselves, and so are we willing to follow His instructions? Yes or No?
- If we are willing to obey God, are we willing to sacrifice ourselves to our spouse? Are we willing to do what it takes to make oneness?
- So we share our thoughts, but we are careful about the timing of it. We do it with a wise timing. The main idea is that we don’t share thoughts at the moment of an interaction. Rather, we wait until each of us has gotten quieter and then we bring the subject up. It might take a few days.
- We do it gently. We share our thoughts, but we don’t use anger or accusation or emotions or loud expression. We speak gently, quietly, slowly – not sounding like an accusation. Not using an accusation means that we talk about our thoughts or feelings, but we do not record an opinion of the other.
- We listen to the other. As we talk, the other has responses – and might be accusative or violent or emotional – but we accept him or her and we listen, regardless of what the other is like.
If we are not “one” with each other, then we are not giving ourselves to God. Obeying God is not a requirement for salvation. Obedience is not what provides our salvation. Rather, our surrender to Him is a response to salvation. When we understand that He has given Himself to save us and we have chosen to receive His gift of salvation, then our hearts lead us to do whatever He calls us to do, including sacrifice for marriage oneness.
Communication is one of our steps for Marriage Oneness
Communication is an important contribution to marriage oneness. Interesting Bible verses are Ephesians 4:15 and 25. These two verses propose “speaking the truth in love”:
Ephesians 4:15 and 25 (ESV)
15 . . . speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ
25 . . . having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another
Doing communication “in love” is the message here, and we saw in the previous article that biblical “love” is not having feelings. It is choosing behaviors that contribute grace to another, whether we have the feelings or not.
So what is the idea in that verse of “speaking the truth”?
Telling the truth can be about concepts. But in a marriage, speaking truth to each other includes our thoughts, feelings, attitudes – being transparent about what is inside of us.
1. Telling truth in marriage includes our honesty and transparency.
2. Doing it with “love” is learning to submit to the other in communication.
1.`Communication Leads to “Nakedness”
Communication – basically – is being transparent with each other about our thoughts and feelings. It is basically the idea of Genesis 2:25 –
Genesis 2:25 (ESV)
. . . the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
The basic reference in that verse is physical nakedness with lack of shame or embarrassment. But it is a good illustration. The idea is not just for us to be physically naked, but also being “relationally naked.” In other words, in addition to our physical connection we are “naked” by being transparent about our feelings and honest about our thoughts. We are “telling the truth” – we are communicating to each other so that there is relationship nakedness, not just physical nakedness.
(You might like the physical nakedness and a physical relationship – but do you like a relationship of “nakedness” where you completely know each other’s hearts and minds and bodies?)
So “communication” calls for us to share what we are thinking and feeling – about ourselves and about the other. And about our families, our finances, and things we would like to do, etc.
2. God calls us to Love and Oneness in Marriage
In Genesis 2:24 – one verse before the one above – we see God’s calling to “oneness.”
Genesis 2:24 (ESV)
. . . a man shall . . . hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The idea of being “one flesh” is not just physical. It is a unity – a “oneness” – between us. When we are “one flesh” we are basically one person versus two as spouses.
Having seen that truth and honesty and being transparent in communication are all part of oneness, what we need to re-focus on is the idea of “speaking the truth in love.” In other words, communication is not the right idea if doing it without love. Rightness is doing it in love.
In the former article we saw that “love” is a behavior, not a feeling. So when we communicate, we are honest but we are not submissive to our feelings.
Tom Clark is a Family Life Ambassador with the Family Life Ministry and on the Advisory Board of the Virginia Christian Alliance.