Faith General Identity Relationships

Oneness in Marriage-What’s a Warrior to Do?

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Recently, a young couple we know got married. It was a simple ceremony in a historic house across from our State’s capitol building. Two lives that met about a year prior now standing before God and witnesses, declaring their covenant love to each other for the rest of their earthly lives. My wife, Sandy, mentors the bride and, honestly, had a godly influence in the gal’s decision to accept this man’s proposal.

Oneness Starts by Leaving Home

Leaving parents and making a life of your own is a natural part of growing up and getting married. Some guys move out of their home of origin straight into marriage. Others, move out, find an apartment, making a life of their own before the “right one” comes along. I was “on my own” for about ten years of my warrior stage of life, before I got married. In that time, I graduated from university, spent a summer in Europe serving at a Christian ministry (and hiking a total of 40,000 feet in the Alps!), secured my first post-graduate job, bought my first “bachelor” house, served on a local church’s leadership team, and became a licensed architect. Life isn’t on hold while you look for a wife. Part of preparing yourself for marriage is making a life for yourself where Christ is central. How long you are “on your own,” whether a day or ten years, is in some respects immaterial. The larger point is that following the biblical command for a man to “leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife” (Genesis 2:24 ESV) is not a cutting off of family ties but a leaving with respect and love still intact. My hope is your wedding day is not a family feud, but the fruit of healthy relationships with your parents, siblings, and friends.  

Parents who control their warrior-aged son or daughter are often doing so out of fear and insecurity. Sometimes fear stems from placing too much self-identity in the adult children instead of in Christ as if their lives will lose meaning if their son or daughter gets married. When a child marries, it does not negate the emotions of letting go, rather it gives an opportunity for all to find their true emotional rest and security in Christ.

 Oneness Means Holding Fast

When a guy gets married, holding fast to his wife as the Bible teaches, is not just about a big hug! It’s about an unwavering, undying love for each other that surpasses all other loves, except one’s love for Christ. When one loves Christ first and foremost, one becomes a far better spouse and the marriage reaps the reward. I like to think of it this way. When you marry, your wife is the number one person on the planet who God wants to use to make you a holy husband. You are to be the most important person on the planet God wants to use to make her a holy wife. That best happens when you have a covenant relationship with each other and Christ.

 Oneness Means Great Sex!

“One flesh” speaks to the sexual aspect of marriage; which also speaks to heart intimacy that comes from spiritual oneness the couple is cultivating. As a warrior man pursuing marriage, loving leadership in spiritual oneness is an awesome way for you to show Christ’s love to your wife. Oneness has a lot to do with authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability in marriage. You trust each other and you share your life openly with each other. This is what God was getting at in Genesis 2:25 when he talks about Adam and Eve being “naked and not ashamed.” Keep in mind Adam and Eve were the only sinless couple when they got married. There is no shame when we are free. In Christ, you are forgiven and can experience the same type of shamelessness that the first couple did. This is why having Christ in your marriage replaces shame with authentic love. There is nothing to hide from each other because Christ is living his life through the two of you as husband and wife. And that, my friend, leads to great sex in marriage!

 Oneness Means Intentionally Pursuing Christ Daily

This all sounds good and right! God is pro-marriage and he celebrates couples who will bring Christ into the center of their relationship, not as a religious experience, but as their life together. When meeting with young warrior men who are caught up in love, with marriage on the brain, at times they can hardly think straight! Hormones are working overtime and that wedding day can’t come soon enough! I’ll ask them to paint me a picture of their marriage twenty or thirty years from now; when they’re in their 40s or 50s. Often, I’ll hear things like “I hope we have lots of kids, maybe even our own grandkids by then! I hope my wife and I are still deeply in love and we have a good life together.” I champion that desire because it’s been mine for my own marriage which is now celebrating 30 years! My exhortation is that, in all of your warrior-aged optimism, the way to see those good desires become a living reality two to three decades from now means you intentionally pursue Christ in your marriage every day from now until then. In every struggle, every hardship, every unexpected blessing, find and pursue Christ in your life personally, and in your marriage. Stay relationally connected to Jesus and the health of your marriage, though tested over the time, will be stronger and more deeply in love than the day you said: “I do!”

 Future-casting a Marriage that Does Not Pursue Oneness

The opposite of an intentional marriage is something I’ve never heard a warrior-wanna-be-married guy desire. Yet, the sad reality is if you don’t pursue Christ intentionally, by the time you are married 20-30 years, (if you even make it that far), your marriage will be at best mediocre and dysfunctional. Your wife will be so starved for attention and you so holed up into your own little world that there will be little if any of Christ seen in your home. Oh, you may be active church attendees, but that saves no one. Christ, living his life through you, individually and in your marriage, is what sets you on a path of marital health.

 Practical Ways a Warrior Can Build Oneness in His Marriage

Even if you are not married yet, these steps will prepare you for oneness.

  1. Study the oneness of Christ; with His bride, the church. Look at passages in Ephesians 5:22-33 and John 15:1-11 and see the importance of abiding in Christ. Realize that when you are one with Christ, abiding in Him, it makes it easier to want to abide in oneness with your wife.
  2.  Listen to women well. 1 Peter 3:7 is written to husbands: “live with their wives in an understanding way.” That means listening to them well, with focused attention on seeking to understand. Guys tend to be logical and as such don’t understand the emotions a woman can so richly express. That is often where communications disconnect. Seeking to live in an understanding way is to not discount the other person’s view, but to see life from their vantage point. If you are single with no girlfriend, you can still listen to women; your mom, sister, cousin, a female friend. Practice will help prepare you for oneness in marriage.
  3.  Express Oneness by Doing Things Together  Find things you like doing together. Not just busy stuff to pass the time. Rather, activities that kindle each other’s souls towards oneness. For us, it’s a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with Alexa playing soft, relaxing music while we sip on hot tea. It’s a walk in our neighborhood park where we can talk through our days and, beyond logistical coordination, express appreciation for each other. It’s sharing a scripture that means a lot and valuing each other’s opinions on an issue. It’s making decisions together, even when one defers to the other’s choice. Gratitude expressed to one another goes a long way to achieving oneness.

Whether you are a married warrior or a single guy wanting to marry someday, you can and should be developing an attitude of oneness. If you do, your marriage will shine as few others do.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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