Confusion about oneness creates a substantial burden for relationships. If you believe oneness means you must eliminate your individual identity, your relationship will struggle to thrive. Instead of having opinions you’ll only have compliance. Instead of strengthening your relationship, you’ll create weaknesses.
God says husband and wife become one flesh. One flesh has at least two meanings. On a literal, physical level, one flesh refers to the joining of two bodies in sexual union. On a figurative, spiritual level, one flesh refers to becoming a unified family.
This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.Genesis 2:24 NLT
Both levels imply coming together in a unified partnership that isn’t meant to be separated (until death). Both are illustrations of the deeper, permanent reality of Christ and the Church.
Note that two being a unified one is different than two changing into one. A unified one allows closeness while retaining individual definition. A married man and woman don’t lose their God-given identities; they gain experience in physical and spiritual oneness that can’t be experienced any other way.
I like to put it this way. A husband and wife are on the same team and should act as one to accomplish their goals. What is a win for one is a win for the other. A loss for one is a loss for the other.
This allows for individual choices. God will judge a man on how good a husband he is. God will judge a woman on how good a wife she is. But God doesn’t make one responsible for the other’s poor choices. God doesn’t directly judge you for how good your marriage is–only indirectly through your performance because it is within your control.
In a tennis match, if one player is significantly more skilled than the other, the game won’t look very good, but each individual can still be judged on their skill and character while playing.
This isn’t a free pass to act only in your best interest. You should act both in your best interest and also in the best interest of your partner. God expects you to give up your demand to have life go the way you want it. God opposes the proud. Insisting on your way at all costs is usually selfish.
Two strong individuals make a strong marriage. One dominant and one weak person will create a marriage that is less strong than the couple’s average strength. In contrast, the synergy from two strong individuals who have learned how to cooperate will exceed the output of two strong individuals working apart.
Learning how to cooperate as a team takes time and effort. Marital oneness includes a physical and spiritual closeness, so it is more than what being on a sports team feels like. At the same time, it has to be less than what being in heaven will be like.
What has your experience with oneness been like? Are you expecting too much or too little from your relationship?
For more on oneness, take a look at How Two Identities Become One. The image associated with it provides a clear picture of what two as one should look like.
Image #286346030 licensed from Adobe Stock