As I’ve shared before, marriage is not a contract, it’s a covenant. It’s a sacred union between a man, woman, and God. It’s about a couple becoming “one flesh.” It’s a union of body, mind, and spirit that reflects something of God’s nature.
Building this kind of oneness doesn’t just happen in deep discussions and major moments, great as those times may be. It happens in the daily things of life you do with and for one another. Here are 6 ways to grow as one in marriage day by day.
1. Worship together. I’m not just talking about singing, although that is important. Worship is about God being at the center of your life. Just as the earth revolves around the sun and keeps a constant orbit as a result of the gravitational pull of the sun, your life as a couple should constantly, day in and day out, revolve around God. As you attend church, pray, and grow in God together, you’ll grow as one. I realize that opening your heart to God in front of your spouse might at first be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. As you pray together, you’ll get a front row seat into one another’s soul. And remember, the family that prays together, stays together.
2. Read together. It’s one thing to read the same book and compare notes but try actually reading it at the same time aloud to each other. My wife, Susan, and I have read a few books aloud together at bedtime over the years. We’ve found that it helps us open up discussion on the things we are reading about and encourages intimacy. Find a book you’d both like to read. Mix up the kinds of things you read. Try a devotional classic or a marriage book. Choose a literary classic you’ve both always meant to read or take turns selecting a biography or a favorite novelist.
3. Walk together. Several times a week, if our schedules permit, Susan and I will take our dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s an opportunity to hold hands and just spend some uninterrupted time together or even talk about things we need to without the distractions of the house. And, of course, it’s good physical exercise.
4. Cook together. Just as there is something special about sharing a meal with someone, preparing it as a couple can be an opportunity for some great time together as well. In addition to working together on a task, you get to talk as you do. Plus, there can even be a romantic vibe when you are sharing the kitchen together.
5. Play together. Praying together and playing together both create oneness in marriage. Your play might include collecting things together. Maybe it’s stamps, coins, or antiques. It could be you introducing her to fly fishing or her introducing you to rose growing. Or, find something that’s new to both of you: Susan has been after me to try dance lessons for some time. I know a couple who went to a painting class together and delighted in each other’s successes.
6. Exercise together. Part of nurturing a healthy, long marriage is ensuring each of you is healthy enough to be around for a long marriage. Find ways you can keep fit together while recognizing your different abilities and interests. Cycling is fun, but going out on a tandem can take it to a whole other level and swapping seats gives you a chance to see things from their perspective. Tennis or golf may be your thing, but just be sure that if you are competing against each other, it’s at a friendly level. The activity is intended to bring you closer, not drive a wedge between you.
My blog, Your Date Night Checklist might give you some more ideas for building oneness.
How do you grow as one in your marriage? Please share your thoughts in a comment.