My wife and I watch college football on Saturdays during the fall, and in the spring we watch college basketball’s “March Madness,” featuring the top teams in the nation. The significance of teamwork makes sense to us, so we use the expression, “We’re on the same team” to emphasize the unity between us.
The players and coaches have different personalities and roles on the team, but a common goal unites them. They win or lose as a team. Therefore, everyone in the organization focuses intently on teamwork, chemistry, working together, and developing a team spirit.
Similarly, in marriage we have different personalities and interests. We have different roles in the relationship, the family, and the household. But the bottom line is that we win or lose together. That’s why we can’t afford to fight against each other. It makes no sense to compete against each other. We are on the same team. If my wife succeeds, then I succeed. If I do well, she does well.
Several years ago I noticed that whether talking about the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, or the World Series, after it’s all over and the champagne is spraying in the winning team’s locker room, a reporter inevitably asks the question, “What is it about this team that brought you this championship?” The answer is always, “There’s a camaraderie on the field and off. We get along. We care about each other. We have a chemistry. We’re a band of brothers, a family, and it carries over to the way we play.”
They’re talking about unity, and unity produces winners.
The team concept helps Linda and me stay focused on unity. But each couple has to discover what works for them, because unity produces winners.
For this reason, I suggest that each couple take some time to talk about unity, define it, and come up with a slogan or word picture that summarizes for you the essence of what unity means. That way, you develop a verbal shorthand that you can use to remind each other.
You don’t cripple your partner, because the team needs him. You don’t cuss at or discourage your team member, because you need her to be at her best if the team is going to win. And you don’t bring up past offenses after they’ve been dealt with. A team that implodes and fights against itself is a team in trouble.
This Biblical Principle of Marriage comes from three scriptures. The first is Genesis 2:24: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one.”
The second is Matthew 12:25: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” It would be absurd for a king to attack his own realm. That would be a recipe for disaster. No entity can last very long with internal division and strife.
But my favorite scripture on the crucial dynamics of unity is Matthew 18:19-20: “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, I am there.”
The basis for expecting prayer to be answered isn’t merely the fact that two or three are in agreement, but because the Lord himself is with you. This is a continuation and development of the Old Testament theme of God dwelling among his people, and of Matthew’s earlier account of Immanuel, the God who is with us.
Where there is unity, the presence of God is invited in and the power of God is activated. But the opposite is also true. Disunity unplugs the power of God and evicts the presence of the Lord. That is why unity is essential in our churches, and in our homes.
The bottom line is this: anything that builds or promotes unity in the marriage is worth doing, and anything that destroys or hinders unity must not be done. We have to be that practical about it, that pragmatic.
When a couple will do what it takes to build and maintain unity, the results are astounding. The presence and the power of God are at work in their life. Miracles begin to happen. They are healthier and happier. They can weather any storm and solve any problem. They win the battle against the kids. And, they develop a great sex life.
The opposite is also true. A couple who won’t maintain unity, will undo the blessings and lose out on what the Lord has in mind for them. Interestingly, it’s entirely up to you. It isn’t up to chance, as if some people just get lucky and pick the right guy or the right gal, and it all works out. And it isn’t up to just one of the persons in the marriage. It has to be decided and acted on together.
Unity invites the power and the presence of God into the home, and prevents the devil from getting a foothold in the most important of all human relationships. The wise couple will recognize this and do whatever it takes to promote unity, and stop doing anything that hinders it.