s I was preparing for marriage, there were many people who came to me to tell me that when we got married we would become ‘one’. I was given a ton of advice about what oneness looked like and how wonderful it would be. I remember someone telling me that when you are married, you are like two completely overlapping circles, absolutely one being. I honestly felt a little sick to my stomach at the thought of it. While I wanted to be married, I didn’t want to lose my individuality; the thought of it felt smothering.
I remember reading a Christian marriage book before we got married that talked about how husbands were the pulse of the marriage and wives always needed to put our husband’s calling above our own. It was a wife’s job to ensure that he was completely taken care of and that His needs were at the center of the relationship. I literally threw the book across the room, then took it to the trash and never opened it again.
I really struggled with this concept until a very wise Christian woman told me that marriage isn’t two perfectly overlapping circles, but rather two circles MOSTLY overlapping. It’s not a perfect overlap, nor should it be. There needs to be some room for our differences. A healthy marriage is when two people, who are connected and one at the core, help each other chase their individual God-given callings.
God has gifted each of us, both husbands and wives, in very specific ways. It is our job to grow what God has gifted us with and to encourage our spouse to do the same.
Adam and I are very different people and we each have different ways of looking at the world. Adam is a techie and is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. He is good at math, problem-solving, logical thinking, planning finances, big picture thinking…anything involving “braining”, he is a superstar. He can look at a problem and immediately know what needs to be fixed. Me on the other hand… that is not my gifting at all. Not only is it not my gifting, but I really dislike tedious, overly technical tasks. God has gifted me in caring for people and being aware of their needs. I love hosting people in our home, party planning, lending a helping hand to a friend, and listening to others’ struggles.
Because of his gifts, Adam generally takes on the business/technical side of our ministry, while I handle more of the people side. We often cross over and help each other by sharing a more objective view, but we know where our strengths are and generally work within them. It is a beautiful thing to see how our unique God-given talents work together.
But what about ‘one flesh’?
In Ephesians 5:31, Paul says “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
‘One flesh’ doesn’t mean that we do everything together, give up on our own God-given dreams and talents, or believe the lie that our giftings aren’t as important as our spouse’s. It doesn’t mean sameness. Oneness means that we are one in purpose. The beauty of being in a God-honoring marriage is that the goal and purpose is the same for both spouses: to pursue God’s plan. God wants to use each of our unique giftings to pursue that goal. It is when we encourage each other to be every part of who God has created us to be that we can pursue God’s plan as a team, as ‘one flesh’.
Grow your Gifts
Matthew 25:14-29 talks about the parable of the bags of gold. Basically, a master gives bags of gold to three of his servants so that they would use them for the master’s gain. Two of the servants took the time to invest, grow, and multiply the money, whereas the third servant buried his money in the ground. The master was overjoyed with the two servants who grew their money, while he was angry with the servant who buried the money in the ground. Just like the master, the servants, and the money, God wants you to invest in your giftings and grow them. Ask God to show you what growing your gifts might mean for you and reveal where He might use them.
Take time to Serve Others Using Your Gifts
1 Peter 4:10-11 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”.
Your gifts, both spiritual and God-given talents, are meant to serve others and bring Glory to God! We need to be seeking ways to use our gifts to bless others. It’s through our giftings that we bring glory to God, and through those same giftings that we inspire others to want to know Him.
Praise and Encourage Your Spouse’s Giftings
Adam has been absolutely incredible as I have been pursuing my Master’s degree. He’s cooked dinner when I needed to study, he’s done extra cleaning so that I could finish up a paper, and he’ll read over my papers for any last minute corrections. This makes a world of difference so that I can pursue what God has called me to. This is the oneness that God calls us to. Not doing the same exact things, but supporting each other as we chase the callings God has put on our hearts.
Let your spouse know that you SEE what they are good at. Thank them for how they use their gifts in your marriage. Words of acknowledgment from our spouses can inspire our hearts and bring us closer together.
How to get started
Encourage your spouse to pursue their dreams and giftings. This might look like taking a cooking class, starting an online business, pursuing a degree, leading a bible study, hosting a party, or the many other things it could be. When we encourage our spouses to be all that God has called them to be, we start to build a stronger bond with each other, as we each feel fulfilled and are working towards a common purpose.
What are your giftings? How can you be growing yours and encouraging your spouse’s?