We’ve been through quite a bit in our 13 years of marriage. We’ve suffered loss together, faced life-threatening sickness, fought and argued countless times, and enjoyed a bounty of joyful seasons. It seems that most enter marriage expecting to experience the latter (joy) most if not all the time, but they forget to prepare for the difficult seasons. Every married couple struggles at some point. It’s not a question of if, but when.
Assuming you’ve accepted that you will experience conflict, the question shifts. How can you fortify your marriage during the good times so you’re ready to weather every storm?
First off, Christ. Without him, we’d be divorced a dozen times over. And that’s not just hyperbole… it’s true. With him, we’ve learned to give love and experience grace in profound, irreplaceable ways. It is only in Christ that we have the satisfaction and security necessary to love each other when it’s hardest. We absolutely need Jesus if we’re going to last.
Second, we need unity. We need to agree on the big things and build our friendship.
In the above video, we discuss exactly that: how to build unity that lasts. If you prefer to read, the below is for you. Otherwise, I encourage you to watch the video!
3 Ways to Build Lasting Unity in Your Marriage
Solomon is one of my favorite biblical authors. He writes with rawness and emotion that I find jarring (in a good way) and refreshing. His book, Song of Solomon is an incredible picture of playful pursuit between spouses. Consider the following passage:
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come.
Song of Solomon 2:10-12
This passage is playful but realistic. It acknowledges that rain comes, but it is hopeful in what happens when it passes. To build unity that weathers “the rain”, we must first acknowledge that rain is a part of life. Winter happens. There will be seasons where the ground is barren, the weather treacherous, and nourishment hard to find. That’s why we must build unity in every season! There are more than three ways to build unity, but we believe that these three cover most bases.
1: Pray Together
Nothing replaces praying for and with your spouse. We have certain routines built into our lives that provide opportunity to pray together (meals, communion), but we’ve also learned the power of going out of our way to pray intentionally. Praying together means not only being in the same physical space, but praying in agreement to a common end. Petition is a good part of prayer. God is a loving Father who wants to hear and answer the requests of His children. Here are the various ways we’ve learned to pray together:
- Pray in the same space, for the same things.
How is God renewing both of you? What areas of your life do you need to trust Him more? How are you asking God to move in the hearts of those around you? What is your calling as a couple?
- Pray in the same space for each other.
Intercede on each others’ behalf, and thank God for your spouse while they’re present.
- Pray in separate spaces, for the same things.
Agree in prayer and petition God in your personal devotional time. When God answers, you’ll know you sought Him together.
The key in every case is unity. Praying together involves your combined physical presence, but also your emotional and mental agreement.
2: Play Together
Laugh, have fun, and build your friendship. Do intentional activities that will build your relationship and create memories.
The biggest hindrance to a healthy friendship where you have fun together is time. Many couples are too busy to connect authentically. Clear your schedule however possible and spend your free time building your friendship. It’s vital to your relationship, and you will need your friendship to weather storms in a healthy, lasting way.
3: Stay Together
It sounds intuitive to commit to your spouse, but we’re always amazed at how many couples are “seeing if this marriage thing will work out.” That’s totally and completely against the spirit of unity in your marriage.
Selena and I made a concerted effort to abandon all possible escape routes when we got married. We decided that neither of us would leave; no matter what. This “binding” together and “holding fast” has created an irreplaceable culture of unity in our marriage. We both know that no matter what, we have to work through everything. There’s nothing we can’t overcome just so long as we stay together through it. It may not always be pretty—and certainly not easy—but we will make it through the storm.
Make your choice to stay no matter what a regular part of your conversation. “Burn the ships.” No backup plans, no escape clauses.
Still, watch the video :)
The above post summarizes what we discussed in the video, but there’s quite a bit more to say on building unity that lasts.
Namely, we discuss how to enjoy peaks together while seeing purpose in the valleys. I encourage you to watch the video above, and make sure to subscribe to our channel on YouTube so you see the latest videos as we create them.
Much love, and stay fierce!