One way to sum up God’s goal for marriage is oneness. When two people pursue oneness spiritually, emotionally, and physically, marriage works. But the big question is, what does oneness look like and how do you pursue it as a couple?
I recently read an excellent leadership blog post titled “Start/Stop/Continue.” Although it was written for business/church organizations, I think “Family Organizations” could also benefit from it as it relates to pursuing oneness.
The writer suggests that you must regularly ask the questions below to maintain health in your organization.
- What do we need to START doing?
- What do we need to STOP doing?
- What do we need to CONTINUE doing?
The easy thing to do with this exercise would be to focus on physical topics related to marriage (Health, Finances, Time, etc..). For example, as it relates to money, some answers could be, “We need to start saving, stop spending so much on going out to eat, and continue to give to our church.” Although I would definitely recommend answering these questions as it relates to physical-type topics, I would challenge you to discuss the questions as they relate to the spiritual and emotional components of your marriage. I observe that couples often ignore these areas because they are the hardest to work on. But from my own experience, a spiritual and emotional connection results in the most profound form of connection for a couple. The Bible calls this connection “One Flesh”:
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
If you’re experiencing disconnection or division in your marriage, the path back to oneness involves connecting spiritually, emotionally, and physically. All three components of connection are essential for a marriage to be firing on all cylinders, but the order of connection is also important.
Although pursuing each other physically through sex might result in a temporary feeling of emotional and spiritual re-connection, that feeling will typically and quickly fade unless there is a spiritual and emotional connection as a foundation. Similarly, suppose you only pursue each other emotionally, without a spiritual connection as a foundation. In that case, that connection will typically only be as good as you AND your spouse are loving each other on any given day. But when you build your marriage on a spiritual foundation, it will stand the test of time and weather the inevitable good and bad seasons of life.
The best path back to connection, or oneness, is first to connect spiritually, then emotionally, and finally physically. Your marriage will be solid and secure when you pursue all three of these connection areas in the correct order. If you neglect any one or more of these areas, your marriage will start to get “sick,” and you and your spouse will begin to drift apart. Don’t let that happen!
- Individually, rate your marriage in these three areas on a scale from 1-10: spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
- In each area, write down one thing you think you and your spouse should start, stop, and continue.
- Compare your ratings and lists with your spouse, and agree to put some of what you wrote into practice.
Hans co-founded Marriage Revolution with his wife, Star, in 2010. He counsels couples in The Woodlands, TX, speaks at marriage conferences around the country, and provides leadership and direction to Marriage Revolution.