What do you do when faced with a difficult decision? When you have choices and God’s will isn’t clear? What about those times when you and your spouse have differing opinions on how to proceed? Can you know for sure the decision you make is following His plan for your life?
In Part 1 of this Oneness in Marriage series, we looked at God’s creation of marriage in Genesis 2 and the meaning of oneness. Part 2 explained what it takes to become one as a married couple, based on Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Today we cover another aspect of oneness in marriage vital to our walk with the Lord.
An Opportunity and A Decision
My wife and I were given an exciting opportunity, but I wasn’t sure how Sabra would take it. We had never done any kind of teaching like this before—together. A marriage workshop? In North Dakota?
Since my illness and consequential retirement from teaching at the seminary, we had both been seeking God’s will regarding our future. Sabra had started a blog about life in Christ and asked me if I would be interested in writing posts from a man’s perspective. We prayed about it, and I agreed to start in the Fall.
Sharing this with a pastor friend in North Dakota, he asked if we would be willing to come to his church to do a marriage workshop. I told him I would ask Sabra and pray about it. I knew it would not be possible without my wife being wholeheartedly in agreement, and I did not think that likely. She had little teaching experience of her own and often expressed her fear of public speaking. She would also need to drive the entire 1300 miles each way from our home in Texas to Minot (since my illness left me without the ability to drive). And to say driving is not something she enjoys is putting it mildly.
To my amazement, when I talked to her about it, she was excited. She said, “Yes, let’s do it,” without hesitation.
The marriage workshop took place on the first weekend of my official retirement. It went well and gave us a big boost about our future. It also birthed in us a desire to begin this blog on marriage to encourage and help you grow closer as husbands and wives.
Together in His Name
Our prayers seeking God’s will for our future—both individually and together—had prepared our hearts to see His clear direction. We were one in agreement about it, and it gave us the assurance that God was in it.
This is the wonder of God and an example of how He uses oneness in our marriages.
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:19-20
These words spoken by Jesus reveal a wonderful promise. When we gather together in prayer, the Lord is right there with us. It is true of any two or three, and especially a husband and wife. When you seek God’s will together in prayer, you will receive an answer. And because it is from God, you’ll hear the same answer. Then in agreement you can move forward in confidence, knowing that you are following His clear direction. Isn’t that a blessed gift?
I’m not saying everything will be without difficulty, but based on the promise of God’s Word, you and your spouse can know God’s will. You may not see the answer at the same time. It might take a while before you both see it clearly. And if this happens, it is best to continue to pray and seek His will together until He brings you to oneness about the decision. But when you are both in agreement, then you will have peace and unity in how to proceed.
Together Seeking Him
This type of oneness in marriage requires that we do together what we are also to do individually–seek God’s guidance through prayer and study of His Word. This is vital for our personal growth, and it is vital to the growth of our marriages.
Since we are one, we must seek God’s guidance as one. This does not replace our own personal time with the Lord. That is still essential so we can be the man or woman God wants us to be. But if we are to have the marriage God has designed and the closeness we desire, we must spend time together as a couple with Him.
Every Christ-centered marriage involves three persons—the husband, the wife, and God. And each person has a relationship with the other. The triangle in the diagram below shows how these relationships are interconnected. The husband and wife are connected together with and under Christ.
When counseling married couples, I ask, “How often do you pray and read God’s Word together?” The answers I receive most often are “never” or “rarely.” Can you relate? Sabra and I have been there too often ourselves.
But coming together for the specific purpose of praying to and hearing from the Lord is essential in a godly marriage.
Why is doing this together so important?
- It acknowledges Christ as Lord of your marriage.
- It connects you together spiritually as you fellowship with the Lord.
- It allows you to hear each other’s thoughts and prayers, which helps you understand your spouse better.
- It brings a special intimacy into the marriage relationship as you seek God together.
- Hearing God’s Word together fosters discussion of God’s direction and plan.
- This connection of husband, wife, and the Lord is the complete oneness in God’s design for marriage.
This special time with the Lord won’t just happen. A specific time must be set aside in your schedule. Make it a priority—commit to it. And be faithful to meeting together for this purpose.
Men, we are given the responsibility as husbands to lead in our marriages. God says to us and our wives in Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.” This means the husband must take the leadership role in this special time, too. We must lead the way in studying God’s Word and praying together, and our wives will almost always follow.
So if you haven’t been spending time together in God’s Word and prayer, why not start this week? It is a great step toward growing closer to each other and the Lord.
In our final segment on oneness next week, we will see how God uses marriage to teach about the relationship He longs to have with all of us.
May the Lord bless you in all His wonderful ways!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Featured photo by confused_me via Pixabay.com (text added)