How does your relationship with your marriage partner compare with the following standard? “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLTSE)
That scripture’s standard doesn’t leave much leeway, does it? There’s little room for individuality or for you to do your own thing. But those who proceed into marriage with an individualistic mindset create disharmony in their relationship, and usually end up lonely and unhappy.
However, when two people come to the place where they have the same mind, the same judgment, the same outlook, and the same goals–yes, they have given up their individuality, but they don’t lose their creativity. The relationship is centered on cooperation rather than opposition. They are working together.
Cooperation creates the oil that makes an effective relationship possible. And the golden thread that runs through that oil is love. Not the kind of love the world offers, that is stimulated by other people and other things, but the kind of love that God gives you. His love enables you to let go of your own way.
His love will allow you to relate to the other person with an attitude that is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (presented here in the Philips translation).
The love of which I speak is:
Slow to lose patience.
It looks for a way to be constructive.
It’s not possessive.
It is neither anxious to impress, nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love has good manners, and it does not pursue selfish advantage.
It is not touchy.
It does not compile statistics of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people.
On the contrary, it is glad when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits of its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope. It can outlast anything, and it is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.
When you have this kind of love, you have what no human being can give you – you have the foundation for building an effective marriage.
Take a step . . .
Do you have this kind of love? If not, and you find yourself struggling in the midst of holding on to your own individuality, take a moment to open your heart to God in prayer, asking Him to fill you with His kind of love.
“Lord, I’ve been wrong. Forgive me for wanting my own way. Fill me with your Spirit of love that will allow me the security to let my individuality go. I want my creativity to be centered on cooperation with my spouse, rather than opposition. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
This summary is from Dr. Brandt’s message Key to a Successful Marriage.