About a year ago, I went for a walk with my grandfather, and he said to me, “You know, when you get married someday, the man you marry will not be the same man you are married to five years later.” I was shocked for a moment and felt a little confused that my beloved grandfather didn’t think my marriage would last.
But then he kept speaking, “Your husband will change,” he said, “and so will you. A real marriage means you stay with that person even if you both change.”
My grandfather’s wisdom struck me in that moment, and I knew it would be something I would never forget.
I would like to tell you a little bit about unity, because it is really what my grandfather was talking about. Staying unified as a couple even if life circumstances change us along the way.
Whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married, it is never too early for a young person to start thinking about commitment and unity in their relationship or future relationship.Whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married, it is never too early for a young person to start thinking about commitment and unity in their relationship or future relationship. Click To Tweet
1 Corinthians 12:25-26 says, “There may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:25–26).
The apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth. All through Scripture, believers are called to be united as the one body of Christ. This unification of Christ and the church is reflected in marriage. A husband and wife come together and become one flesh. While this passage is specifically talking about the church body, the same principles can be applied to relationships with a Christian spouse. After all, if you’re married to a fellow believer, you also share in the relationship of fellow members of Christ’s body, the church.
You and your boyfriend or girlfriend may not be married yet, but if it’s your goal someday, it’s never too soon to start practicing the type of relational unity God calls Christian couples to have. So, before Valentine’s Day arrives and you buy each other flowers and jewelry, go to a movie, or out for dinner, take a look at how the Apostle Paul describes love.
In 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 Paul says that we should “have the same care for one another.” This is how you and your spouse will stay one through all the changes life will give you. In this passage we will find two ways to create unity in your relationship.
The first thing Paul declares is, “If one member suffers, all suffer together.” Unity means suffering together.
There will be times in your relationship when one of you is suffering. Whether it be something severe such as the loss of a family member or contracting a terminal illness, or something small like catching the flu or failing at an activity, each of you is called to join in the others suffering.
Suffering with the other person looks like compassion and care. Holding them when they cry, providing for them what they need, and standing by them in conflicts are all ways to remain one in your sufferings. Being in a relationship with someone means caring for them, even if it means setting aside your wants and needs for theirs.
Finding Joy Together
The other instruction Paul provides is, “if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” This means that unity means finding joy together.
Finding joy can present itself in two different ways. On the one hand, if one of you receives good news the other should be intentional to celebrate with them. Whether it be receiving a promotion or achieving something new, make an effort to show excitement and joy both with and for the other person.
On the other hand, you must purposefully seek joy together. This could look like curling up and watching a movie together or doing other things that both of you enjoy. Or it could look like making ordinary activities fun, like turning on music and washing the dishes together or doing your homework together. In your relationship, finding joy together has to be intentional.
Selfless Love = True Oneness
Remaining one will be easy some days, but other days it will be hard, especially as life causes you both to change. But as long as you are both intentional in both suffering and finding joy together, God will bless your efforts.Remaining one will be easy some days, but other days it will be hard, especially as life causes you both to change. But as long as you are both intentional in both suffering and finding joy together, God will bless your efforts. Click To Tweet
In the very next chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul states: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).
And Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”This is what it looks like to pursue unity together as a young couple. Being patient with one another. Being a safe space for the other. Loving one another selflessly. And pointing each other to Christ, the One who truly unifies us. Click To Tweet
This is what it looks like to pursue unity together as a young couple. Being patient with one another, even on the bad days. Being a safe space for the other. Helping each other up and defending each other. Loving one another selflessly. And most of all, pointing each other to Christ, the One who truly unifies us. I challenge you to seek to show your significant other this kind of love this Valentine’s Day and every day forward.