It is extremely important for a husband and wife to become one--to be united and to love and support each other in all that they do. This is especially important as you begin to welcome children into the home. But we'll add the children later. :) For now, let's focus on how you can become one as a husband and wife.
"ONENESS" IN MARRIAGE
"Emotions must not wholly determine decisions, but the mind and the heart, strengthened by fasting and prayer and serious consideration, will give one a maximum chance of marital happiness. It brings with it sacrifice, sharing, and a demand for great selflessness" (para 2).
My take away from that statement? Maximum happiness in a marriage is achieved by being strengthened through the Lord and having a willingness to sacrifice and be selfless.
FOUNDATIONAL PROCESSES FOR ACHEIVING ONENESS
In "Successful Marriages and Families" we learn of six foundational processes that, if followed, can help you and your spouse achieve oneness and have the best chance for an enduring, healthy marriage. These processes are "actions couples take in relation to each other to help their marriage flourish" (Hawkins 27). Bear with me as I try to explain these six processes in as few words as possible (and when I say a few words, I mean, "Buckle up, Buttercup. This post is a long one.")
Process #1: Personal Commitment to the Marriage Covenant
I love that it takes commitment and personal dedication from each partner to achieve success in the marriage covenant. It's not a one-sided relationship. It takes two people, committed to each other and their marriage, selflessly working together to achieve fulfillment in that marriage relationship.
I want to focus on personal dedication for a moment because, I feel, that this is the starting point. As marriage scholar, Blaine Fowers has observed, "one of the basic ways for a person to have a good marriage is to be a good person" (Hawkins 29). That seems easy enough, doesn't it? What do you think some of the qualities of a "good person" are?
Good people "continually strive for individual improvement in their conduct as a partner". They have also worked to develop virtues that not only help in creating successful marriage, but are beneficial on a personal level as well. Such virtues as being "more tolerant and accepting of imperfections, being fair, or being more patient, courteous, kind and generous" (Hawkins 29).
Process #2: Love and Friendship
"Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit. . . . They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other. . . . It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."
I love that he pointed out that this type of love is present even in the "moments when they do not like each other". Let's face it. Things happen, feelings get hurt, and sometimes you may feel that you don't like your spouse very much. But that doesn't mean that you don't love your spouse. It's just part of the stretching and growing aspect of the marriage relationship.
Let's move on to the friendship aspect of this process. Dr. John Gottman, a marriage and family scholar and scientist has been studying marriages for over 25 years. After the extensive research he has conducted, he has found that "happy marriages are based on a deep friendship...a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other's company" (Hawkins 30). What are some ways married couples can nurture this love and friendship?
1. Respond to bids for attention, affection, humor, or support. An announcement of “I’ve had a rotten day” can be met with an acknowledgement of feelings (“I’m sorry to hear that”), a hug, and an invitation to talk more about it.
Process #3: Positive Interaction
"I have witnessed much of the best and much of the worst in marriage. ...Faultfinding replaces praise. When we look for the worst in anyone, we will find it. But if we will concentrate on the best, that element will grow until it sparkles" (Hawkins 32).
I love this idea of making your partner's positive qualities sparkle. It's so easy to see find the bad qualities. Why do we want to focus on those and make them sparkle? That's no good for anyone. If you are having a hard time finding positive qualities in your spouse, start writing them down when you do see them and look at that list often. As you do this, you will begin to notice more and more positive qualities which will help you have more positive interactions.
Process #4: Accepting Influence from One's Spouse
Process #5: Respectfully Handle Differences and Solve Problems
1. Prevention: This is where exercising charity (the pure love of Christ) comes in handy to prevent things from becoming an issue.
Process #6: Continuing Courtship Through the Years
1. Attend to the little things.
These three things are not hard, but they will make a huge difference in your marriage. Most days Mark and I are good about doing these things. But we are not perfect, and neither is our marriage. It's a process of learning and growth for both of us.
I do notice a difference in our marriage relationship when we are focusing on caring for each other, respecting one another, and spending time together.
WHEW! YOU MADE IT!
Wow. This post turned out a lot longer than I intended, but it's just one of those things. I didn't know for sure what I was going to write about in this post, but as I looked over my notes and the post progressed, I felt like I was on the right track. So, if you made it this far...congratulations! I hope you were able to learn something that you can apply to your marriage to help you achieve oneness with your spouse. It is how our Heavenly Parents work together, and because we are trying to emulate them, it's how we should be learning to work together as well.
Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., & Draper, T. (2012). Successful marriages and families: Proclamation principles and research perspectives. Provo, UT: BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.
Kimball, S. W., "Oneness in Marriage" (1977, March). Ensign, 7, p. 2
WHY ETERNAL FAMILIES?
This page is dedicated to sharing information regarding God's plan for families, how we can strengthen our family relationships, and how the Savior can heal even the most broken of hearts.