Forging a new life together takes time and effort, but the result is worth it

When we talk about marriage as "two becoming one," some couples ask, "Which one?" In reality, most of us want our spouse to be like us, so we try to make them into our image. We believe that our way of thinking or doing things is normal or right. When a couple can get to the place of accepting their individual uniqueness, they are a step closer to becoming one.

So, how do couples become One? To answer this question I find it helpful to consider a principle that Jesus taught: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). Your treasure is whatever is most important to you--the place where you will spend your greatest amount of time and energy. In God's design for marriage (Genesis 2:24), your priorities are to Him first, and then you spouse.

Changing Allegiance

According to God's design for marriage, the first responsibility of couples is to establish independence from parents. Jesus said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother..." (Matthew 19:5). When two people get married, there is a change of allegiance that shifts from parents to spouse. This does not mean you stop caring for your parents. In fact, there may come a time when you assume responsibility for them (1Timothy 5:4-8). But once married, a couple disconnects themselves from their parents' priorities, traditions, rules and influence. Allegiances change. Loyalty now belongs to the spouse.

Partners should not have to compete with parents. Competition puts all kinds of pressure on marriage, making wives feel insecure and husbands inadequate. Just because a couple has moved out of their parent's homes, it doesn't necessarily mean they have left. They may be present with their spouse, but still emotionally tied to their parents. To leave emotionally means no longer relying on parents for major decision-making.

This doesn't mean you stop appreciating valuable input from parents. What it does mean is that, as a married couple, decisions will be made with each other with each other and always with your new relationship in mind. It also means that, disagreements happen, couples stay engaged with each other and the issue, and no one goes running home to Mom or Dad.

There must be a leaving spiritually, intellectually, and financially. Individuals who have ridden on the coattails of their parents' spiritual experience must establish themselves spiritually. Those who have been used to being told what to think and when to think must learn to trust their own judgment. And those relying on parents to bail them out of their financial woes must hold down a job and responsibly manage the money coming into the household.

Letting Go
In addition to letting go of parental ties, this process of "two becoming one" may involve letting go of other things that are less significant-things such as hobbies, sports, friends, advanced education, television, movies, electronic games, computers and music.

One of the biggest concerns can be the job or career. Some individuals are over-involved at work, going in early and coming home late. Often exhausted, they are too tired to give of themselves at home. They are physically present at the dinner table but emotionally unavailable. On the other had, being consumed with work in and around the house can also be a problem. Leave the dishes and spend time connecting! Projects that are forever taking up your time can keep you from investing in your relationship. When we are too tired to give of ourselves at home and to each other, there's a problem.

Couples also need to be careful about looking to their children to meet their emotional needs. If emotional needs are not being met by the spouse, communicate and start and working to improve it.

In the pursuit of becoming one, you are not required to get rid of all the people and things that brought you joy and were part of your life before you were married. But you need to find balance that keeps in line with your new priority. Likewise, the longer you are together, the more you'll be faced with the challenge of making sure you don't get caught up in individual pursuits. Be intentional in making time for each other in the midst of busy and demanding schedules. The Bible says that you are to become one with your spouse and that takes time and energy.

 

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“I wanted to share with you about one couple that I married and met with using your manual.  The bride to be loved it and studied it in depth.  She realized that she had forgiveness and other issues with her mother.  Both her and the groom were not Christians but were open to scripture and discussion.  It was a wonderful experience to see a couple hungry for answers and healing.  I know that God has anointed you to write this manual.  Thank you for your hard work and obedience.”
- Joyce Jardine, Chaplain, Essex, Ontario

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