She was like a fresh-cut flower standing in a glass vase without water, wilting by degrees as her animated husband held the room with his winning personality. They had a stable marriage, good family, good life, but if you didn’t know all that, you’d think he was single.
“My bedroom . . .”
“My plans . . . “
“My house . . .”
“My kids . . .”
“My vacation . . .”
“My money . . .”
With the wife standing right next to her husband, he speaks of I, me, and mine. But, it’s not just husbands. Lisa and I have observed that this tendency to speak the language of independence is as common with wives as with husbands.
And that’s a problem because, it isn’t your bedroom; They aren’t your plans; It isn’t your house; They aren’t your kids; And, it isn’t your money.
You are married.
There are two people involved.
What happened to “our” and “we”?
The way we express ourselves reveals a lot about how we think and how we value others, starting with our spouse.
Over time, it makes an immense difference. I, me, and mine aren’t major hits . . . more like paper cuts, but over time, the language of independence from each other is death by a thousand paper cuts.
Eventually . . .
She really sees herself as separate from me. It’s like I hardly matter.
He really does think he is independent from me. It’s all about him.
And, it’s not only totally unnecessary, it’s wrong and it’s destructive. If we are inclined to use the language of independence when referring to our marriage relationship and all it involves, we can change. We can train ourselves to think and speak biblically – the two shall become one.
Many of us are unaware we speak in this manner. I can still remember the time Lisa came to me and said, “I’m sure you don’t realize it, but you often leave me out of the conversation (Look of disbelief on my face). You often say “I” when you’re talking about something that involves both of us. Could you just say “we”? It makes me feel included . . . like I’m a person that matters to you.”
OUCH! (for both of us)
How does your wife/husband feel about how you communicate? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to find out: Ask. But, before you do, be prepared to accept the answer you’re given. It may be a bit hard to receive.
Hey Babe, when I am talking about something, do you typically feel that I am speaking of “us” or of “me”? Which do I use more, “I”, “me”, “my”, or “we”, “us”, “ours”?
Everyone can have a blind spot but, for the most part, unless we’re calculating to deceive, what we say is what/how we think. So, there’s no sidestepping with, “Oh, that’s not what I mean. Of course I meant ‘us’.” Good intentions are funny things . . . we always have them after we’ve been called out.
Why should we bother changing life-long patterns? First, for the Christian, it’s an easy answer. God says prior to marriage, you were two entities, and after marriage you are a single entity. God says, The two shall become one. Mark 10:8, which is a quote from Genesis. There is literally no such thing as merely “you” anymore.
This is a hard biblical truth for many (many Christians, sadly) who truly see themselves as separate and distinct from their wives/husbands. Certainly, 21st Century culture won’t offer any help in this regard either, where the strong, independent individual (idol) is worshipped.
Christians need to embrace reality. Biblical truth is reality and, biblically speaking, you are two halves of one whole. Embracing the language of “oneness” is embracing God’s Truth.
Aren’t you splitting hairs? Is this really important?
Yes, it is. Words matter. Words are powerful. The language of unity in marriage starts with the heart . . . where words come from. Jesus said, ” . . . out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34
Every time you say ‘our bedroom’ instead of ‘my bedroom’, ‘our house’ instead of ‘my house’, ‘our money’ instead of ‘my money’ – when you find opportunities to use the language of oneness and inclusion rather than the language of independence and exclusion – you send a powerful message to your spouse: I see us as one. I don’t think of myself as separate or independent from you. It’s about us, not me.
The language of oneness is the language of unity.
Choose the language of unity in marriage.
The more we embrace the truth of how God sees our marriage, the stronger we become against the efforts of the Enemy to tear down what God is building in the most important human relationship we’ll ever have, this side of Heaven.
The language of oneness comes from the heart of inclusion and that’s where unity begins. There is security and peace in unity. That’s what God wants for your marriage.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).