Focus on the Family

Becoming One

by Focus on the Family

There is a fine line between becoming one with your mate, while maintaining your God-given identity. It's challenging, but even more so if you're new to married life. If this is your story, maybe you're asking, "What does it mean to become one and how do my spouse and I do it?"

Does a husband pursue his career over his wife's desire to move to another state for a once-in-a-lifetime job offer? Should a wife go out once a week with her girlfriends while her husband stays at home with the children? How do they merge their finances, possessions and time?

Becoming one is something that takes effort and persistence. Guaranteed, it won't take place instantly but with wisdom and effort, it can happen. We invite you to take another step toward marital oneness by reading the articles we've provided here.


Feelings of Doubt and Uncertainty

The adjustment from being single to being married can create feelings of loss and anxiety. Here's how to cope.

by Mitch Temple

The sudden change that comes after the honeymoon can be one of life's most sobering moments. Some young couples describe this as "being hit in the face with a cold glass of water" or "being struck by lightning."

Others express it this way:

"I feel like I'm on another planet, and I want to go home!"

"I miss being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it."

And here's a favorite that marriage therapists hear often: "If two becoming one means that I disappear as a person, forget it!"

If you feel like this, don't think you're alone or that your situation is hopeless. The following quotations illustrate the fact that the adjustment period from aloneness to togetherness is often complex:

I figure that the degree of difficulty in combining two lives ranks somewhere between rerouting a hurricane and finding a parking place in downtown Manhattan.—Claire Cloninger

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.—Rita Rudner

Many couples wonder how the blending of two personalities and sets of ambitions, desires, and dreams could ever be expected by a wise and all-knowing God! Trying to adjust from "freedom" to partnership can be difficult and exasperating — but it's a process, not just a destination.

The Feelings are Normal

When we shift from being single to being married, we experience loss. Losing something leaves us feeling sad. But as we grow in our relationship with the person we committed to, the grief can turn to joy and contentment.

It's common for young couples to experience various levels of "buyer's remorse." That was the case with Nicole and Ted.

Nicole had waited for many years to find the right man to spend the rest of her life with. At age 33, she met Ted. Within 13 months they were married in her hometown of Atlanta.

Though she was certain Ted was the man God had chosen for her, Nicole missed her independence. Often she felt sad, conflicted, confused — wondering whether she'd made the wrong decision about marriage. She loved Ted and was thankful for him, realizing she couldn't have asked for a better man. But she struggled with having to give up her "alone time" and sense of freedom.

After praying, studying the Bible, and getting direction from Christian friends, Nicole began to see that her feelings were normal and that most people experience them. She accepted the responsibility of honoring the relationship God had given her with Ted. Each day she made conscious efforts to enjoy her relationship with her new husband in the fullest sense.

Though she occasionally needed time alone, Nicole learned to think in terms of two instead of one. When tempted to do her own thing at Ted's expense, she resisted. When it would have been easy to plop down on the couch after a hard day's work, she spent time with her husband first. Ted responded in a similar way, and their marriage developed into a bond filled with joy and intimacy.

That's how closeness and biblical oneness develop in marriages in spite of selfish tendencies. Though challenging and often confusing, the transition from independence to interdependence is absolutely vital to your union.


Growing in Oneness

It takes work to grow in oneness, but the reward is definitely worth it.

by Mitch Temple

It takes work to grow in oneness. On a torn envelope, Sarah finds the following note left on the kitchen table one morning: "Sarah, I know you said you would like to spend time with me. I agree that we've really grown apart lately. I think we need to spend more time together, and I know you were looking forward to relaxing for a couple of evenings. Well, you get your wish. The boss called and said I have to work tonight.

"By the way, would you mind ironing my golf shorts when you get home? I have a tournament tomorrow. Oh, before I forget, tomorrow night the guys are coming over to watch the game. You don't mind, do you? And something else — I'm leaving on business to San Diego Monday. I'll be gone the rest of the week."

If Sarah is like most wives, she's thinking, How in the world does this goofball think we're going to get close if he's always gone or having someone over?

She's right; healthy relationships don't just evolve, they're nurtured.

Suppose Jesus had taken the attitude that closeness would "just happen" with his disciples. "Okay," He might say. "I have called you guys to be apostles. You have left everything to follow Me. But I have a lot of stress on Me; I have to save the world! So My 'alone time' is very important. Your job is to take the Gospel to the whole world, but I really think you can handle this without Me. I'll spend Saturdays with you, but the rest of the time you're on your own."

Is that how Jesus became "one" with His disciples? No. He understood the value of spending time with them, talking, teaching, dining, and experiencing happy and challenging moments together. There were times when Jesus needed to be alone, but He understood the value of being with His followers, too. In the end, He gave His life for them and they gave theirs for Him — the ultimate testimony of oneness.


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Togetherness: Making It Work

If you're struggling with the challenges of togetherness, here's help.

by Mitch Temple

If you find yourself struggling with the challenges of togetherness, here are some simple suggestions.

If you asked that of Bill and Ruth, here's what they might tell you.

Bill was independent. So was Ruth. For the first three years of their marriage things were so rocky that both felt they'd made a mistake in getting married. They developed separate interests and friendships, spent little time with each other, grew apart, and even considered divorce. But because of their church background, they felt they had to stay together.

Things changed on their third anniversary. They made a commitment to each other: No matter what, they would learn how to connect and develop intimacy. They began studying the Bible and praying together, and attended every marriage conference they could find. They made spending time together a hobby; where you saw one, you'd see the other. They took up golf and skiing. For the next 20 years they would have at least one date a week.

Recently Bill and Ruth went to another marriage retreat — where they were voted Most Dedicated Couple. Their switch from aloneness to togetherness hadn't just happened. They'd intentionally drawn closer and stuck with that commitment.

They'd probably tell you that intentional intimacy is an investment that always pays off — and they'd be right.


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