Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine Thought # 3 ~ 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 alone, 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 you 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= ♥!


laura.elizabeth said...

Awesome thoughts! And in case, you were wondering I am on to you! I love that picture of you and dad. It is priceless to me!

Nellie's Cozy place said...

What a great post Bonnie, and so full of truth. I could not agree with you more. When we are working with couples one of the first things we try to get going is getting them to pray together as often as possible,
daily at best, and when we have had willing couples, what a huge difference that has made, and what a joy that is to watch.
Thanks for coming by today, Yea, I finally did it. Actually it was fun, but a few questions you do have to think about a bit, course, It was so early and I was still not totally awake, so I thought about them and went back later and filled them in. lol
We still haven't heard anything back from Ligionier, but the day is young so maybe........
We are really fine with whatever happens, if it isn't what the Lord has for us...then we don't want it anyway, but it is just so strange that it came on the heals of our prayers so that is why we felt so excited about it, so it still may be, just have to wait. Sometimes the waiting is hard!! lol
You have a good day Sweetie,
Love ya, Nellie
Hope all is well with you and yours.

Caroline Craven said...

Thank Heavens for growth in marriage. I loved our first years together - that is a priceless time in our lives, but the love and committment has definitely grown over the years. Some of the stuff we face now, I'm not so sure we could have survived it in those early years. Yet, I feel all those phases of marriage are so vital and important. Thank Heavens for those early years, and everything inbetween.