Do you and your spouse think alike all the times? In a married relationship, many of us expect our spouse to think alike but end up frustrated when it goes the other way. When two people coming from different background, family tradition and other diversities join in marriage, it is most likely that they will think and act differently. Robert C Dodds rightly said, “The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together“. This oneness is very essential in marriage. In this post, i want to share from scripture on how we can achieve unity in our married lives.
God’s design for marriage:
Oneness is at the core of God’s design for marriage. God joins husband and wife to become one flesh. We may have heard this in every wedding ceremony but is this a reality in your marriage? We can experience the fullness of God’s blessing in marriage when we live according to his design. A body can function properly only when all its parts work in unity and the same holds good for a family. How can we achieve this unity?
The foundation of a christian marriage needs to be on Jesus Christ. He is our cornerstone upon which we can build our family; he is our reference to align our lives. Unless this is true in our marriage, we cannot fulfill the purpose of marriage. God by his grace, revealed us on how we can live in unity as part of one body. Bible says Christ and the Church forms one body, Paul compared this relationship to that between a husband and a wife. We can look to Christ and the Church as a model and align our marriage to create oneness.
Submitting to one another:
Even though the body of Christ is formed by people from all over the world with so many diversities, God enables them to operate in unity by his spirit. Paul listed four attitudes to maintaining unity in the church of God – humility, meekness(gentle), patience and bearing one another in love(Eph 4:1-3). The common action in all these attitudes is unselfish submission. When we are filled by his spirit, he will take control of all aspects of our life and will enable us to submit to one another in Christ. What an amazing model for marriage! We need a submissive heart in marriage to remain as one body. Husband and wife need to get rid of their selfish nature and submit to one another in Christ. When we are filled by the holy spirit and give control (Eph 5:18), he will produce this fruit of submission in our marriage.
Fulfilling our roles in family:
Each member in the body of Christ is given unique gifts for God’s glory. As Paul explained (1 Cor 12), a body has multiple members but not all members perform the same function. Each one has unique function and vital role. We are called to live in unity with mutual submission as one body and operate the gifts for the benefit of the whole body. Each gift is according to the grace of God and we are not called to value each differently and cause divisions, this diversity of gifts meet the needs of the church as a whole and promotes unity of faith.
In Christ, male and female are equal (Galatians 3:28), no one is superior or inferior to the other. But God has given different roles to each one to fulfill his purpose. Think about this, when Christ gives leadership gifts to some and serving gifts to some in the Church, does it mean that one is better than the other? In one sense we need to submit to one another but we also need to recognize and submit to people with leadership gifts for the unity of the body.
Apostle Paul wrote about created order and different roles in family. He said wife needs to submit to her husband who is the head like how the church submits to Christ who is the head. Even though she is equal with him, she is to submit and respect her husband for the role God given to him in the family. The basis for this submission is worship to the Lord. It is voluntary and husband is not asked to make his wife submit but to be a serving leader like Jesus. He needs to love his wife unconditionally as part of his body like how Christ loves the Church. The standard is set so high with Christ’s love for the Church – unconditional, sacrificial and selfless love. Following God given roles will become natural when we have a submissive spirit. We will be able to submit to the needs of others before ours. Are we fulfilling our roles in the family?
To fulfill the purpose of our married life, we have to go back to God’s design for marriage. Are we living as one body? If Jesus Christ is the foundation in our marriage and holy spirit has control in our life, God will create a submissive heart and enable us to act lovingly in our roles; we can achieve and maintain unity in our family and experience the fullness of blessing.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:21-33