Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Valentine Thought About Becoming One

In this series on Valentine Thoughts I have written about Unity, Acceptance and Growth. I think it is important that we not only get along with our spouse but that we also Become One through making a concerted effort to make that happen.

As our lives become busier and busier during the child rearing, career building years, it is easy to just have tandem lives running in the same direction. It takes an effort to stay connected lest we wake up one day when the kids are gone and wonder who that person next to us really is. Tandem lives are lonely lives. They often result from taking the easy road day by day.

I find it ironic that we often give less to our spouse than anyone else because we think that is a 'safety zone.' We have a way of assuming that marriage=unconditional love from the get go, but in reality I think that takes a life time of honing, effort and work. I think God gives us a glimpse of unconditional love with the birth of a child and then expects us to come to that place with everyone else. Especially our spouses.

If you think you have unconditional love for your spouse just naturally, ask yourself would you be willing to put up with abuse, infidelity, drug addiction, etc? Most people would run, not walk to an attorney, all things being equal. They may not actually do it but they will definitely think about it. Now I know there are cases where true repentance and true forgiveness work miracles and love is restored and strengthened through huge adversity. I am just saying that with our spouses we love differently than we do our children. And that total, unconditional love in marriage is a process. When people talk about marriage being work, that process is what they mean. It is not hard to love your spouse, but it is hard to love them unconditionally without time and effort. You can not fall into unconditional love at first sight.

I appreciate that our church teaches us ways to achieve that oneness with each other. So the first thing that I think helps is sharing a common operating system to live by. For us is is our faith and the religion we share. That is our foundation. I often think that in cases where you don't have that it takes years to find a point of reference with another person. I know we struggled with that before we came to a meeting of the minds on the basics. And I also know we didn't even know we didn't have it, until after the fact. Sometimes you don't know what you were missing until you do have it.

That common foundation gives you a platform to work from in all you do. It assumes you have a common goal, common values, common paradigms. We have been counseled as a church to put God first and then spouse and then children. If those get out of order it usually creates a big problem.

We are encouraged to pray together as a couple. I cannot think of one more important thing than that. Not only does it bring you closer to God but it aligns you with your spouse and your common goals every single day. In prayer you can share things with your spouse about your aspirations, hopes and dreams in ways you simply don't during other times of the day. You can apologize and show humility for the wrongs you have done and show a true desire to make things better. In prayer you do not discuss, but simply state the deep thoughts within your heart. No one will interrupt you or argue about a shared thought in prayer. You can express love and appreciation to your spouse in those very excellent communication moments. It is a beautiful way to start and end each day. It is the perfect way to keep intimacy between you. Intimacy is about honestly sharing your heart and mind completely, contrary to the world view.

We are encouraged by our church leaders to have a date night every week. This helps insure some quality one on one time together. The dating paradigm conjures up fun, romance, wholesome shared activities. It also implies by the very doing of it, that this is so important that dedicated time is set aside each week just for each other.

Make it Special Sometimes
This is brilliant counsel! Is there any couple out there that would not feel better about marriage if this was something to look forward to each week? These two things along, prayer and date night strengthen families at the core..the couple. The good effects of simply doing these things ripples blessings into the rest of the family and everyone we meet.

Or just watch a movie at home~our favorite!

You have heard the saying.."When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" Can anyone dispute that? The same applies for daddies. Why is it human nature to kick against things that make life better?


It took us a long time to learn this but now Friday night is a sacred night for us. And if we do find we need to make a commitment on Friday night that date night is automatically moved to Saturday night. We don't skip it because we need it. And we don't get out of bed before we pray together either. Again, not something we have always done but for the last several years we have never missed. These two things have brought us closer than just about anything I can think of that we have tried to incorporate into our marriage to strengthen it.

We've made some progress since we were here.
Thank Heavens!

Becoming One= ♥!


Caroline Craven said...

Hey, I recognize that house and address!!! I love this picture of you and Jim, since I didn't get to know you until your kids were in their teens. Excellent thoughts on loving unconditionally. Who knew when I married Kent that there would be days when I was totally exasperated with him, or worse yet, he would be totally exasperated with me. I love that we are able to get past this kind of "stuff" and continue to move on in our relationship and in our common goals. Thanks Bonnie.

Bonnie said...

Thanks, Caroline, you always get to my post about the minute I publish it before I have found and made all my corrections. That is OK though as long as you know I do go back and find the errors.

It is good to know that the things we go through are shared by many, isn't it? Just knowing that you are normal goes a long way to making earth life more tolerable!

It is so funny that you mentioned knowing that house. I had totally not thought about you guys renting it and in fact, had totally forgotten about all of that. How old am I? How could I have forgotten that? Gees Louise! You were great tenants by the way!

BECKY said...

Hello Dear Friend,
What a lovely post on the importance of investing in and guarding our marriages. I agree with it all...that's for sure! Great marriages just don't happen do they??!!

Me and my hubby are the best of friends, and our children tell us they don't ever see couples like us! Pretty cool since we've been together almost 31 years. AND we've known each other for over 40!! Only GOD...that is the key!!!
Without Him, we probably would be casualties ourselves!!

Love you sweetie! Gonna go back and read some of what I've missed! It's been a little nutty around here...one thing after the other, and now Maddy has a bug! Please pray that I don't get it! I'm already dealing with a couple of other issues!!

Have a joyful evening! I'm just chillin and taking it easy!!

Bonnie said...

Love you, Becky stay well. I am so happy to hear from you always. You are my Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm! With God everything is possible. Without Him nothing is possible. You and Rand are the prefect example of a happily married couple that blesses the lives of so many. When we are not happy in marriage...everything suffers because there is no way it won't seep out of your heart into the lives of everyone you touch. When the core of your life is right...everyone feels the light.

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Bon Bon,
what an excellent post, I sooooo agree with everything you said.
Prayer and reading & studying the bible together is another good thing.
We read where if you do those 2 things together there is a 99% success rate for your marriage.
We have certainly found it to be true, after 39 yrs, if marriage.
Course, like you it took us some time to get there, but once you
realize just how important it is to your well being, you don't even want to think about going without it.
I think the date night is very important too. Especially when you have children at home, because you need some uninterrupted time. Once you have the house to yourself, you do have plenty of time to talk without interruption but you need to add some extra fun and difference to your life, and like you said it pays off in every relationship when you are both happily married.
Well....That works for me!! lol
Hope you are doing well Sweetie,
Blessings, Nellie

Shaun at Oak Den said...

You are full of wisdom and I love what you share. Thanks for the reminders. xo