Francis Schaffer once said, “Sometimes the greatest deterrent to a very good marriage is believing that you ought to have a perfect one.”
I’ve been married for almost 30 years and here’s what I’ve learned: You’re never going to be fully satisfied in your marriage. The idea that there’s this perfect person and perfect marriage and you’ll never have a problem is a lie.
But the good news is that God has a plan and purpose for our marriages – and there’s hope for even the most flawed ones.
In Genesis 2, He reveals what this plan looks like. First and foremost, God created man and woman for Himself. Then he created them to have “oneness” with each other.
“For this cause, a man shall leave his father and his mother, shall cleave to his wife, and shall become one flesh.” (Gen: 2:24)
God’s dream and design for our marriages is that we would be one – one in body, one in soul, and one in spirit. He created husbands and wives to havespiritual unity as fellow worshippers, to havesoul unity as best friends, and to have physical unity as passionate lovers.
So, how do we get this oneness?
The route to oneness is not “out there.” It first starts with you. The greatest thing that we could ever do in our marriages is walk with God.
God wants us to find our sufficiency first in Him. Why? As you and your spouse grow closer to Him, you grow closer to each other.
God made marriage to be about having a relationship with Him first so that we can cleave – or bond – to one another. This isn’t always easy! Cleaving to the other requires that each person in the relationship is willing to give up some of his or her own way.
It’s about asking, “what’s best for us?” not just “what’s best for “me?” It also means your marriage matters more than your work, your parents, your kids, your hobbies and how your fantasy team is doing.
As we obey God by leaving and cleaving, we enter the process of becoming “one flesh.”
For the rest of your life, you and your spouse are actively leaving and actively cleaving. This is a process of breaking, bonding, and blending.
To become one flesh, it also means you take time and prioritize. You make and give time for spiritual oneness to occur, time for soul oneness to occur, and time for physical oneness to occur.
Is it hard work? Yes. But the reward is great.
Not only do we get to experience deep intimacy and joy in our marriages, but we also have an opportunity to make a spiritual impact on the lives around us. I believe with all my heart, if we’re going to revolutionize the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to live out our marriages in a way where people see the gospel in how we treat one another.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip