We are one. We are united. We are Team United. That was our mantra when I was a youth pastor. Our youth group theme and title was Team United. I love team sports and I wanted our youth group to reflect this idea that we were a team that was united by our love for Christ. We based this unity on Philippians 2:1-5
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”
I love sports, particularly team sports.
“TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More”
“There is no ‘I’ in TEAM”
“We are in this together”
These are all great teamwork quotes that I have heard over the years and express the idea of a team being one and working together. They inspire with a vision that speaks to the reality that we are better together than we are apart. Most of the time, we take these ideas and we implement them into our work lives and maybe even some of our rec time with our buddies.
But, one day, I read the verses above from a different point of view, one that spoke to the most important team you will ever be on. I read them from the point of view of my marriage. My wife and I are a team – the most important team that I have ever been on. (God, notwithstanding)
Go ahead, envision your marriage and reread the verses above.
It takes these verses to a whole nother level.
My wife and I are one. This amazing woman, who I’ve been married to for 26 years now, and I are one. And boy, do I feel it, more than I ever have.
We talk about our spouses as our “better halves,” as “completing us.” And it’s more true than we realize.
Lately, I’ve noticed more and more than when she is hurting, I am hurting. When I hurt, she hurts. When she is joyous and celebrating, I am joyous and celebrating. For what happens to her, happens to me. We grieve together. We celebrate together.
Recently, we spent the day driving and seeing the autumn leaves and countryside. It was a great day to get out and enjoy the warm, fall weather. Until, conflict hit. Right in the middle of this day devoted to enjoying each other’s presence while viewing God’s beautiful nature, we hit an impasse that broke our hearts.
We began fighting about a conflict. We moved from enjoyment to hurt and resentment in about 2.5 minutes. And it came out of nowhere. It was like someone came and tore my chest wide open with their bare hands. My wife was hurt. I was hurt. We were hurting for each other. Which is what made much of it difficult. We both wanted the other person to have what they needed and we both refused to have what we wanted individually. Kinda funny, when we look back on it. Not so much in the middle of it.
But, what I was reminded of that spoke to where we are in our marriage today, when she hurts, I hurt. When I hurt, she hurts.
What good is it for the right side of myself to enjoy life, if my left side is hurting? What good is it to be split? What good is it if my body is not in concert, in peace with itself?
Let me answer that. It is no good.
While we certainly both have individual needs throughout the day, those are greatly diminished when we consider the whole. We are one. We must live as if we are one. We don’t win by getting our personal needs met if our spouse is unhappy and unsatisfied. We only win when we are finding ways that we both win.
If you are married today, consider these verses above and how they apply. Consider the reality of being one with your spouse. If you are not married, consider them for that person you want to spend the rest of your life with. How important it is to live in concert with each other. How to grow and develop that kind of relationship. Once you do, you will never want to go back to living selfishly again, no matter how good it feels for the moment.
Lord, help us to consider the “we” before the “me.” Amen.