By Don Waller, LPC, NPC
“This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Oneness. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and a married man for 23 years, I have witnessed firsthand the difficulty of oneness. I have studied, taught and examined this holy union with the hope of understanding it in order to help others find a fulfilling and satisfying marriage.
Honestly, I have struggled in my own marriage to experience oneness on a consistent basis. Every time I think I’m making progress or figuring this marriage thing out, it changes. For example, once our first child arrived we discovered life was no longer the same, learning how to adjust to our new role as parents. As a result, our marriage took a back seat to raising our children, until we decided to make our relationship a priority.
Finding time to connect was vital. When I got home from work we would tell our children that it was daddy and mommy time, which meant they were to give us a few minutes to share about our day. Looking back, the best lesson we learned while raising three children was to maintain a united front, and in order to do that we started praying together. In my practice, I discovered that very few couples are praying together on a regular basis.
A study by Author Karl Pillemer interviewed 700 retirees, 65 and older, who were married an average of 43 years. Here is some of the wisdom they shared: Follow your heart when choosing a spouse. Look for someone with similar values. Communication is key, talk, talk, talk. Put your relationship first. Stay out of debt. Focus on the small (positive) to keep the spark alive, enjoy intimacy and respect each other. These experienced couples described their marriage as “an incredible source of joy.”
I agree couples today lose sight of the enjoyment of marriage—the shared journey of raising a family and finding satisfaction in the small pleasures. I recommend slowing down, creating margin in your schedules, and setting aside time to talk about your day. Eight years ago my wife and I began having a weekly lunch date, and we vowed to get away, just the two of us at least once a year. By making our relationship a priority we communicated that we value one another. Again, it’s the small things that add up over the years that make a difference.
The single best decision that helped me obtain oneness with my spouse was focusing on my relationship with God. Once my oneness with Him increased, my expectations towards my wife changed. By allowing God to meet my needs, I stopped expecting or even insisting that my wife meet them.
In fact, when my wife, Yonnie, and I set out to increase our oneness with Jesus, we found that our oneness with each other increased—emotionally, physically and spiritually. Intimacy is a lifelong process and begins with our Creator!
I challenge you to start today by putting your spouse first and seeking a right relationship with God.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things with be provided to you.” Matthew 6:33
Don Waller is part of the counseling team at Summit Counseling of Jackson. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.949.1949.