3 Essential Ways to Think and Act As One

Three shifts in thinking to grow your understanding of what it means to be one with your spouse.

Think As One

It’s clear to me that oneness between husband and wife is a gift that God grants us when we wed. You and your spouse are one by virtue of the fact that you entered into the marriage covenant. (It’s a direct parallel of our oneness with Christ when we give our lives to him).

While oneness is yours, it takes of lifetime of growth in our understanding to fully enjoy the fruit of being one. (Just like in our spiritual walk.)

Thinking As One

Walking together as “one flesh” usually entails some pretty radical changes in our thinking. But getting our thinking right will usually bear fruit in our words and actions. As Graham Cooke says, “Every action is rooted in the thought that produced it.”

While many of our perspectives have to change in order for us to walk in the fullness of our one-flesh union, below are three changes in thinking I see as an essential place to start.

Get vs. Give

It’s natural to think primarily about what we get out of our marriage relationship and what we can get from our spouse, but that is not one-flesh thinking.

One-flesh thinking says that because we are one, when I give to my wife, I actually also get to enjoy the benefit and blessing the comes from my generosity toward her. I can’t bless my wife without also blessing myself.

Rights vs. Relationship

Another shift toward one-flesh thinking is to put your relationship ahead of your rights. When you lay down your right to be offended, your right to get your way, and even your right to be right, it brings grace into the equation. And grace is always an invitation to intimacy.

It is more important to be love than to be right.

Me vs. We

Me-centered thinking has no place in your one-flesh marriage. Self-centered thinking includes such things as self-protection, self-reliance, selfishness and self-importance. These thought patterns produce separation instead of intimacy.

Being one means we replace me-centered thinking with we-centered thinking. That means replacing self-protection with transparency and openness toward your spouse. It also means working to protect your relationship and your spouse more than your self. Allow self-reliance to morph gladly into mutual interdependence. We must learn to let go of selfishness, where our own needs are the focus of our attention and efforts, and joyfully focus more on our spouse’s needs.

There are many other implications that come from the fact that you and your spouse are actually one. Can you describe any other ways of thinking that are important for living as one flesh? Leave a comment with your ideas.

About Scott

Author, teacher and champion of great marriages. Founder of HMM Creations, providing resources that help you create the passionate, intimate and enduring marriage you always wanted.

6 comments on “3 Essential Ways to Think and Act As One

  1. I think this only works if both are doing it, otherwise the one giving partner will be a enabler to the selfish partner and one needs will get met whilst the other’s is ignored, discarded as non essential or just laughed at, at least that’s been my experience

    • Debbie – I agree that it works best when both husband and wife think this way, but I don’t think it only works if both are fully in. I have heard many testimonies, my own marriage included, where one person goes first and the other responds in kind. No guarantees, though, that’s for sure.

  2. But I believe you missed Debbie’s point, although at the end you admitted it: “the other responds in kind.” Sadly, that doesn’t always happen. My wife for many years was a very good mother, homemaker, church worker, school volunteer, etc. ad infinitum. But she was a stingy lover and a crappy mate. And she made little effort to be “one.” It was a good thing that we have many shared values so a lot of our parenting and service at church would go well because we were one. But really being one starts with realizing that we are all immature and part of growing is learning to meet the needs of your spouse that may not be naturally comfortable. In my wife’s case she was raised by a mother who was a big prude. (My father in law, unprompted, admitted that to me after she passed away, but of course it was obvious to me anyway.) And even worse, my wife didn’t display any of that while we were dating and even the first year of marriage until our oldest was born. The big issue in our marriage has been that my wife wasn’t willing to meet my normal, reasonable, even Christian needs for sex, intimacy and romance. I wasn’t looking for anything any very religious, but well adjusted sex positive man would be interested in. There was just enough sex to keep me from divorcing her. If I didn’t have a very strong commitment to marriage and to our children I would have. Thankfully after many many years of marriage there has been some, albeit slow and grudging movement in the right direction.
    But if you really want to help people in this area you need to offer suggestions as to how people like me can get the attention of people like my wife to “respond in kind.” That would have been helpful. Steven Covey describes this a people following the “scripts’ they were brought up with.

    • A – Thanks for your input and for sharing your story. I don’t doubt that both you and Debbie are suffering from an “unresponsive” spouse. I also realize that it’s really tough to hang in there and continue to love unselfishly when there is a long-term pattern of unmet needs. That pain is very real, indeed. As I said, there is no guarantee that your spouse will “respond in kind,” I still believe the best path forward is to continue to be loving and generous as much as possible. This is the example Jesus set for us to follow, that “while were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” without any assurance of a positive response from us.

      As for your case, in particular, I wonder if your wife would agree to seek counseling in order to resolve the issues of her past, either from a pastor or professional counselor?

  3. Pingback: When Living as One is One-Sided — Heaven Made Marriage

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