Protecting the Oneness in Marriage
By Melanie Chitwood

A perfect Saturday in the past would have included sleeping in, watching my sons play basketball, enjoying a meal cooked by someone else, and watching a ball game on TV. Over the course of this year, however, my idea of a perfect Saturday has changed. This past Saturday exemplifies what is now typical, and ideal, for our family. After watching our sons’ games, my husband and I spent the remainder of the day working side-by-side at our family-owned business. My husband Scott handled the various activities of the volleyball tryouts and basketball leagues taking place at our indoor gym, while my main job consisted of sitting by his side.

Could Scott have handled the day’s responsibilities without me? Absolutely. However, I’ve learned that working alongside Scott at our business is one way I can nurture the oneness God wants us, and every married couple, to experience.

In Matthew 19:6, Jesus says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate“ (NAS). God says a married couple becomes “one flesh” on the day they marry, and then they work out that oneness all the days of their lives. God intends husbands and wives to know each other and be known intimately in all ways, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

All the good habits we practice in marriage are like little stitches strengthening the fabric of oneness in our marriage. When the stress of life pulls against the seams, then we discover the strength or weakness of our marriages. If we’ve only sewn a few stitches, challenges will rip the seams apart. On the other hand, if we’ve spent days and years sewing small stitches in the fabric of our marriage, we’ll find that it will hold up under life’s pressures.

How can those of us who are married strengthen our oneness? Here are some practical ways to do this:

Consider your priorities. During our wedding ceremony 18 years ago, our pastor encouraged Scott and me to make time to date one another. At the time, I thought, Of course, time together will always be a priority! Eighteen years later, however, I know how easily other matters, such as jobs, kids, financial burdens, busyness, hobbies and stress can threaten oneness in marriage.

One way I determine if I’m living according to my priorities is to ask myself this question: Who or what is getting my best time and energy? It’s easy to say our husbands are a top priority, but we need to be honest about how much time and energy we really devote to our marriages. What are you doing to be your husband’s friend? Do you make physical intimacy a priority, or are you too worn out from other activities by the time you go to bed?

Consider your heart. Proverbs 4:23 cautions us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (NLT). Whatever is in our hearts will eventually be reflected in our actions. Our hearts must be first committed to God and secondly to our spouses. Ask God to show you anything in your heart that is a barrier to closeness with your husband. Has unforgiveness or bitterness toward him taken root? Have disappointments or frustrations spilled over to harshness or coldness? Spend time with God confessing your sins and asking Him to create a clean heart in you.

Consider your thoughts. If you’re like me, you’ve probably had times where you’ve rehashed your spouse’s hurtful or angry words. Or maybe you’ve compared your husband to another man and found your husband coming up short. These thoughts do nothing but tear away at the stitches of oneness between you and your husband. The truth is that you and your husband are both sinners in need of grace from God and need to extend grace toward each other. Be careful that you don’t dwell on the worst qualities of your spouse; instead remind yourself of the reasons you love him and say a prayer of thanks. Ask God to shape your thoughts toward your husband.

Consider your words. How do you speak to your best friend, sister or mother about your husband? Deter-mine to present him only in the best light. What words do your kids hear you speak? One of the sweetest things Scott does is constantly tell our sons how lucky they are to have me as their mother. That makes me feel loved, and in return I’ve become more aware of my words about Scott to our children and others.

Consider your actions. Jesus Christ was a servant who laid down His rights for the sake of loving others. How can you be a vessel of Christ’s love toward your spouse? Show your spouse your love by cheering him at his softball game, taking him to a movie he prefers, or having a good talk at the end of the day.

Prayerfully consider the various areas addressed here. Ask God to show you how you can strengthen the oneness in your marriage. You’ll be glad you took time to sew some stitches today, knowing that the fabric of your marriage will hold tightly against the pulls and pressures of tomorrow.

Melanie Chitwood is wife to Scott, co-owner of Carolina Courts in Charlotte, North Carolina, and mother to Zachary and Tyler. She is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, and the author of two books, “What a Husband Needs from His Wife” and “What a Wife Needs from her Husband.” To learn more about Melanie, visit her website at

Proverbs 31 Ministries is proud to announce the publication of Melanie’s latest book, “What a Wife Needs From Her Husband” just released by Harvest House Publishers. This book and its companion “What a Husband Needs From His Wife” are available for a discounted price this month. Please see the back page of the magazine for ordering information.

Adapted from “What a Husband Needs from His Wife” and “What a Wife Needs from her Husband.” Published by Harvest House Publishers.

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