Characteristics of a “We-Marriage”

In our last post, we discussed a few symptoms of a Me-Marriage.  As a part of that post we also provided a 48 hour challenge to help you discover how much of a Me-Marriage you may currently be living.  We (Megan and I) came to a quick realization of how easy it is to fall into a Me-Marriage mindset. It’s always easier to choose to do what we as individuals want to do.  However, great marriages who weather every storm are generally not made up of people who have a Me-Marriage mindset.  They have a We-Marriage mindset.  And today, we want to focus our attention on characteristics of a We-Marriage.

1) Common Goals

Throughout our marriage, Megan and I have discovered that we have little in common when it comes to interests and hobbies.  The music I listen isn’t always her cup of tea.  She’s not one to play video games, nor am I one to do…well, whatever it is she likes to do.  But one thing we do have in common, is our goals.

We strive to have the same goals in parenting.  We strive to have the same goals in our faith.  We strive to have the goals in our ministry, specifically in the area of marriage.

Essentially, these goals are often our highest priorities.  Sure, there are moments when each of us may want to do our own thing.  But being on the same page and ensuring that our common goals are of a higher priority than our own personal desires is an important aspect of our growing marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be times when one of us (probably me) will focus more time and energy on one of our own interests instead of focusing that energy on one of our goals.  When this happens, we do our best to lovingly remind one another what’s most important for our marriage.  With these types of conversations, it’s important to discuss the subject of love languages.

2) Speaking Love Language

This is an area we’ve discussed in the past, but it’s certainly worth bringing it up again.  If you’ve never taken the free online love language assessment, you really need to.  In Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages”, he basically walks through 5 different ways you ‘feel’ or receive love.  What’s interesting about this is that your spouse may feel or receive love in a completely different way.

For example, your love language may be the language of gifts.  You love receiving little notes, cards, small gifts (or even better – large ones!) without any rhyme or reason.  When you receive these gifts, you have such a deep admiration for your spouse for thinking of you in this way.  It motivates you to keep your marriage strong like nothing else can.  However, unbeknownst to you, your spouse doesn’t have the same love language.  You give them gifts, large and small, and they’re often left with the thought of, “What in the world did you get me this for?”  The answer is simple, you’re speaking the wrong love language to your spouse.

Take the online assessment we linked above, and about once every 2-3 months discuss with your spouse how well you’re doing in speaking one another’s love language.  It may even be a good idea to purchase the book in order to have an even better understanding of each of the languages.  Speaking one another’s love language will help your marriage continue to thrive with a We-Marriage mindset, and it will also help each of you to show a tremendous amount of respect to one another.

3) Respect

Sure, we all know we’re ‘supposed’ to respect one another.  But like the love language listed above, doing so is often an art all of it’s own.  Respect in a marriage comes in a variety of ways.  Fortunately, the Bible gives a wonderful detailed passage on the subject of marriage.

Ephesians 5:21-31 (HCSB)

   …submitting to one another
in the fear of Christ.

Wives,  submit to your own husbands  as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife  as Christ is the head  of the church. He is the Savior of the body.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives,  just as Christ loved  the church and gave Himself  for her to make her holy, cleansing  her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.  In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.

For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.

This mystery  is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

Now, we don’t wish to dive into this subject of “submission” to greatly in this post here today.  It’s often a hotly debated and incorrectly understood subject, so we’ll have to write about it another time.  That said, we do wish to discuss the topic of respect.

This passage in particular says that the wife must respect her husband.  However, it also gives very specific details as to how the husband is to lead in the marriage as well.  When a marriage is truly following the model as it’s laid out here, both the husband and wife will show a tremendous amount of respect to one another in a variety of ways.  For example, they will:

Work together to be on the same page when difficult parenting decisions must be made.  Let’s be honest, difficult parenting decisions will come to all who have children.  Newsflash: you’re not always going to agree with one another!  Disagreeing on a decision doesn’t mean you don’t respect one another.  Talk it through, and talk it through at length.  In the end, you may not come to the same conclusion, but you can still walk away with a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for one another.

Speak well of one another both inside and outside the house.  We can’t tell you how many times we hear a husband or a wife speak disparagingly about their spouse in a public setting.  Whether it’s at their job, while standing in line at a grocery store, or even in a church bible study setting!  It’s utterly amazing – and quite discouraging – that husbands and wives speak so disrespectfully about their spouse.  To counter this, do your best to make opportunities to speak well of your spouse in every situation and environment.  Having a social night with friends?  Be sure to say something great about your spouse.  Having a bible study?  Be sure to say something great about your spouse?  Hear co-workers speak negatively about their spouse?  Be sure to say something great about your spouse.  In the end, you’ll probably find yourself actually having more respect for your spouse, and you’ll have people asking you how you have such a great marriage.  Simply point them to Ephesians 5, and tell them you apply it as best as you know how.

Make sacrifices for one another. While some wives have a difficult time with this Ephesians 5 passage, husbands find the passage downright terrifying.  Loving your wife as Jesus loved the church is the most difficult task for any man.  Jesus sacrificed everything…EVERYTHING…for his bride, the church.  When a husband and a wife both sacrifice the little things in life for what’s most important, their marriage, they will truly have a marriage of deep love, admiration, and respect.

There really are countless ways you can show respect to one another in your marriage.  If you have any inkling at all that you may not be respecting your spouse in some area, then you’re probably not.  Respect them.  Work to be on the same page.  And remember that a We-Marriage is all about having a one-flesh mentality.

4) One Flesh

If there was one drum we could bang about what it means to have a We-Marriage, it would be the One-Flesh drum.  Remember what the Ephesians 5 passage said up above?

For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.

A one flesh marriage is the epitome of a We-Marriage relationship.  It means that the “Me” mentality is an afterthought.  The full undivided attention of both the husband and the wife is on the marriage relationship.  Outside of your relationship with God, your marriage comes first.  Period.  The way you were raised no longer matters.  The friends that you have can still be friends, but your priority is on your spouse and your marriage.  The hobbies that you have aren’t nearly as important.  Your spouse and your marriage are of utmost importance to you.  Anything else is selfish.  Anything else is a Me-Marriage.  Anything else is not the desire God has for your marriage.

Questions:

1) What are some of your common goals?  Do you see them as a higher priority than your other hobbies and interests?

2) Do you and your spouse know what your love languages are?  What can you do in the coming days, weeks, and months to speak their love language even better?

3) Do you take purposeful opportunities to speak respectfully of your spouse both at home and in public?

4) Is there anything at all preventing you from being fully “one flesh” in your marriage?  If so, how could applying Ephesians 5:21-32 help you and your marriage?

2 thoughts on “Characteristics of a “We-Marriage”

  1. Pingback: Good Clicks for Your Weekend « Becoming His Eve

  2. Common goals is something we’ve been talking about a lot lately. We finally seem to have some common direction and goal and God has been providing for us some clarity. We both want to grow in our relationship with God, spend time fellowshipping with other believers more regularly, and spend more time getting to know each other. We’ve started praying more frequently, keeping each other more accountable for our personal devotions, and reading the Bible in both the morning before work together and after.

    This is a great post and those questions gave me some good food for thought. Thanks for writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s