Unity in feelings and emotions
This is the area of attraction or repulsion. There are many unhappy marriages among partners who have the ability to express themselves clearly and who have brilliant minds, but who are unable to find within themselves a congenial spirit toward each other. A clear understanding of the thinking behind the actions of your partner will not necessarily produce wholesome feeling and emotion. Why? Because love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23). Partners will find emotional unity only as they submit to a power outside of themselves–the power of God through Christ. Then they can attain to the standard by Paul: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10). Such a relationship cannot be developed by understanding, or training, or insight. Being cordial, helpful and tolerant is not the same as being affectionate.
To illustrate, a wife explained that she was unable to find a congenial relationship with her husband. They were both well educated and cultured. They understood each other perfectly. There were no arguments. He was a good provider. He took her wherever she wanted to go. He helped around the house. But he kept himself aloof, maintaining a cold silence most of the time. When they did speak, he was cordial and polite, but said as little as possible.
The husband explained that his wife insisted on having her own way. Whenever he differed with her, there was an argument. His only solution was to keep quiet. He did what needed to be done to satisfy her demands. She could never see his side of anything; nor did she consider his needs. He despised her, but for the children’s sake he held his peace. “When the children marry,” he said, “I plan to leave her.” Meanwhile, he was making every effort to keep peace in the family. His idea of peace was silence. He and his wife were “miles apart” in their inward reactions. As the psalmist said, “His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords” (Psalm 55:21). The solution to such a relationship lies in the acceptance by each partner of the fact that both lack the congenial spirit that will enable them to live together in peace. To achieve such unity is to turn to the source–God, who enables us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. (Review the steps studied in Lesson 4.)
Effect of unity on the family
When there are children in the family, unity is the foundation stone for happy family living. When there is disagreement between partners, what happens to the child? Which way will he go? When there is a difference in outlook between a mother and a father, the child is caught in the middle. He can’t win. He can please mother, or father, but he can’t please both. Here is the crux of much of the strain and tension in modern adolescents who do not know which way to turn. They must learn to play a game that placates both mother and father. This is one of the reasons Paul said, “Be of the same mind one toward one another” (Romans 12:16). This can be done, but it will be done only in the lives of those people who are willing to submit one to the other and to the Lord.