Available in the Attic Library
Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
Call No. 248.81
Barcode No. 501777
Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group
You are married. Has the romance faded? Is the communication often one-sided? Has your relationship with your spouse grown cold and lifeless? How can we resurrect such a marriage?
What is the problem? Fundamentally, what a man desires from marriage is peace. But what a woman desires in marriage is oneness. In other words, a man who lives with her in mutual submission.
In Genesis chapter 2, it is written: … the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh (v21). That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh (v24). This is the essence of oneness.
To understand oneness, we need to review the story of the Garden of Eden. Man once had perfect oneness with God and with each other in Eden. God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of each day. But one day, this oneness is broken. What happened? They sinned. Not satisfied being with God, Eve desired to be god. She disobeyed and then got Adam to eat the forbidden fruit as well. Oneness with God died.
Can oneness with God return? Yes, but on His terms through salvation. First, oneness with God happens at salvation. When you commit to Christ, you become one with God. Second, oneness with Christ matures over time as we “work out our salvation through sanctification” (Philippians 2:12). We become like Christ. Our salvation is expressed in an ongoing process of spiritual growth in which we’re strenuously involved.
Can oneness between husband and wife be forged? Yes, but on the terms of deliberate action. Oneness is an act. While feelings of intimacy flow from oneness, oneness itself is not a feeling. It is a state of being. Being married gives us the opportunity for oneness. Oneness lies not in the sentiment of loving our wife as ourselves, but in the act of loving her as ourselves…
We must treat the convictions and gifts of her essence exactly as our own. By nature, men have little interest in male submission. Our response is fight or flight. No wonder oneness in marriage is so rare. Man, we need to soften our hearts if we are to submit one’s right for the sake of oneness. We’re just not naturally suited to this call.
Want to learn more about mutual submission and achieve oneness through the servant mindset? Then, read the Bible. Let the Lord define your rights. Let the Lord teach us oneness through His Word that we apply to our marriage: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honour God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20). Likewise, in marriage, you are not your own: Your time is not your own; it’s “ours” (husband, wife, God). And likewise, honour each other with your bodies.
Stephen Arterburn suggested the following to help the husband to forge oneness in his marriage:
- Make room for the wife to express her gifts
- Do not control – listen up, discover who she really is
- Make room for her weakness, suspend judgment
- Make room for her thoughts
- View her as a true helpmate
- View her as an equal
- Get rid of those sins, it’s no private matter
- Honour your wife’s sexual convictions
In closing, the authors expressed once more that God’s plan for a good marriage lies in this verse: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21). This is God’s simple plan for oneness in marriage. May we follow it and may our marriage be forever blessed.
For more insights on how to strengthen your marriage, read this book.