Didn’t we all marry thinking that we would live happily-ever-after? How many people have you heard say that their wedding day was the happiest day of their lives? “The two shall become one” is a phrase spoken in most wedding ceremonies and yet, do couples understand what becoming one means?
Based on what we see in culture today, we must say that majority of couples enter marriage without understanding God’s plan for marriage.
Our culture today tends to view the wedding day as the end; ‘it is done, we are married, and we can now move on with life.’ Couples usually don’t look past the wedding to the marriage and their life together and they don’t understand that the becoming one is a life-long pursuit. Based on what we see in culture today, we must say that majority of couples enter marriage without understanding God’s plan for marriage. They don’t realize that maintaining intimacy requires work and oneness must continually be cultivated. If they don’t do the work, the happiness fades, issues develop, and the couple becomes disconnected and isolated.
From mankind’s earliest history, God designed marriage to be a relationship of intimacy and oneness. Before the Fall, the first man and woman lived together naked and unashamed. They had the oneness people desire today. God’s design was for the husband and wife to work together, live life together, grow together – to be one in every sense; spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. It was not God’s will for wives to be quarrelsome and contentious. The Fall marred God’s design, the man and woman put clothes on, and also began to hide emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually from each other.
Intimacy often breaks down in marriage as couples become busy while meeting the challenges of daily life. There are many different reasons a couple may quarrel, but the result tends to be the same – disconnection, contention, and unhappy spouses. Rather than change to improve the relationship, too many just give up and either remain in an unsatisfying marriage or leave.
We experienced this in our own marriage for too many years; my wife attempting to engage in relationship and my seeking affirmation in work or ministry. My wife was contentious and quarrelsome and I was disconnected and emotionally distant. Our lives and marriage began to change as we learned God’s plan for marriage – that marriage is designed to be a relationship of intimacy and oneness. It wasn’t always easy, but as I pursued intimacy with my wife and she sought to love me and draw me to herself, our relationship grew. We experienced the intimacy and oneness God desires for our marriage. But, we still must actively pursue intimacy and cultivate oneness.
The relationship can change if one spouse changes, it will change even more quickly if both spouses seek to change their relationship.
The answer to the lack of intimacy and oneness in the marriage relationship? Spouses must pursue connection and resist being quarrelsome and contentious. Rather than being critical, seek to be loving and respecting, building each other up. The relationship can change if one spouse changes, it will change even more quickly if both spouses seek to change their relationship. God’s desire is for marriage to reflect Him and if husbands and wives will purposefully seek intimacy and oneness, they can improve their marriage relationships.
Like Carmen and I, you also must be purposeful about building intimacy and cultivating oneness in your marriage. The business of life, children, work, and many other things work against marital intimacy. You must intentionally connect with your spouse. Go for walks, go out, do activities, spend time together – just the two of you. The marriage lived according to God’s design is fulfilling and a blessing to both husband and wife. You can do it, but it requires purposely making decisions to connect with your spouse. Actively and continually pursue intimacy and oneness in your marriage and your relationship will flourish and grow.