Friday, June 24, 2011

The Two Become One part 2

I have counseled many people who don't really understand the concept of the two becoming one, and if their misconceptions of the concept aren't lined up correctly with the intent and Word of God, their marriage is headed for some stormy seas.

What "two become one" does NOT mean is that a couple follows the dictates of one spouse, with the second one melting into the will of the other spouse.

The Bible has amazing wisdom on two becoming one in a way that your life can virtually be "multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land... as the days of heaven upon the earth." (Deut 11.21) BUT you must diligently keep all these commandments to receive that kind of blessing...

What are the commandments relating to the two becoming one?

Consider the concept of submission. Too many times a husband runs slipshod over the needs and desires of his wife to achieve his own goals and agendas. He often quotes that his wife is to "submit to her husband" (Eph. 5.22), leaving many Christian women feeling that if they bring their own desires and needs into consideration they would be going against God and their husband. Submission and God's appointment of leadership become tools of manipulation and coercion to achieve a man's agenda.

Yet the command to submit "one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 21), which the command to the wife is actually prefaced by stating its preeminence in the equation, is not mentioned.

I have counseled many couples where the woman acquiesces in things against her own personal desires to accommodate her husband in the guise of being a "good Christian wife." Rather than listening to the Holy Spirit inside her, she allows her husband to "lead" (or do his own thing with her trailing behind supporting). Down the road, as her husband continues to make choices that involve others but is only considering his own welfare and needs, the marriage is on the rocks, and the woman, who has left all her goals and dreams, ultimately realizes she is not part of the "two becomes one" equation and frustratedly wonders if she has truly followed God's plan for her life in following such a man. She realizes too late that God does not only speak to her husband, but speaks to her too. A wise man considers his wife's advice because it can stop him from doing something that is not God's plan because his wife can see things from a different perspective and stop problems.

My husband seeks my perspective even for work things, because he knows that sometimes a woman's perspective can avoid problems in the future. Tamar told Amnon not to force her in 2 Sam 13.12; Deborah had to tell Barak to go in Judges 4.14; if Pilot had listened to his wife in Matthew 27.19, he could have spared himself from problems.

The influence of a woman in marriages is something that should be part of the "two becomes one" equation if the days of the couple are to literally be like "days of heaven on earth". Over and over I see woman leave their heart and mind OUT of the "two becomes one" equation and the ultimate end is always resentment, frustration, and marriage problems.

I told my girls when they were dating that anyone who was willing to not consider a desire they had to be a virgin when they got married and insisted on crossing lines the girls set up physically for their own benefit was definitely NOT the kind of man they wanted to commit their life to. If their desires weren't considered then, I could tell you they wouldn't be considered much afterwards.

Jesus is our example as a perfect Bridegroom and how He cares for His bride. He laid His life down for us. He cares about our needs, and meets our needs according to His riches. He decreased so we would increase. A true man who is a spiritual leader considers the needs of his wife -- even if he has to lay down his life -- for her. In fact, we are told to be careful because when you're unmarried you can care for the things that belong to the Lord and how you may please the Lord, but when you are married, you need to care for how you please your wife (1 Cor 7.32-33).

True leadership considers the needs, desires, wants, and goals of the person or people he leads. My husband and I, early in our marriage, while shopping for furniture for our home, decided that if one person didn't like it we needed to continue shopping until we could find something we both liked. We each had "veto" power. We did that for our entire lives, in choosing job positions, rules for our children, and even cable companies. Considering each other's needs, wants, and dreams was important to each of us.

I am so grateful I have a husband who made decisions based on my welfare, even at a cost to him. He never complained about accommodating me; in fact, I knew he was committed to accommodate me. I can truly say I have always felt that my opinion was important and considered in my husband's decision making processes.

When "two becomes one" be sure you bring your part to the equation. You are not doing your husband any favors if you hide your feelings and just go along with his. You are negating the power of two becoming one.

Of course, this works the other way too...

Challenge: In the "two becomes one" equation, have you brought who you are to the equation? Have you truly considered the other person's needs, wants, goals and desires? Do you serve your spouse knowing that when you are married, that is the primary way that you serve the Lord? Bring it to the next level!

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