Life is lived in a story….(tim)
Anne+i believe marriage is a vision quest, an endless pursuit of the Trinitarian God in who’s image we are created. The following quote by an unknown author touches on the amazing uniqueness in marital oneness: “There shall be such oneness between you that when one weeps, the other shall taste salt”
We believe marriage has so much untapped life-giving potential … it’s much bigger than any one man or woman. Personally with thirty-eight years of marriage, four (+three married) adult children, five grandchildren, countless spiritual children, and decades working with couples, anne+i can sum up our take on marriage with a number of REAL LIFE marriage slogans. One slogan is: UNITY trumps disunity.
UNITY — say the word “unity” out loud … what comes to your mind?
The Encarta dictionary defines unity as:
~ the state or condition of being one
~ the combining or joining of separate things or entities to form one
~ something whole or complete formed by combining or joining separate things or entities
~ harmony of opinion, interest, or feeling
Disunity is defined as:
~ a lack of unity within a group, especially one caused by a disagreement or a difference of opinion
I suspect some readers may be thinking; why is marital unity so important? … that’s a good question.
Unity is important because God designed marriage to reflect and reveal the quintessential unity (and community) within His Trinitarian (+God the Son +God the Father +God the Holy Spirit) nature. That’s why a core marriage value for anne+i is UNITY trumps disunity. For me personally, a key to living in unity involves inviting God into my heart, life, marriage, as well as into our decision making process.
As far as making decisions, I believe the wisest first step is to inquire of the Lord (I.O.T.L.) and ask for wisdom. The Bible has an amazing promise; “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5)
In real life, when anne+i have a decision to make i often feel strongly about the way i want things to go. With my personality, temperament, and gift of leadership, i am more willing to figuratively ‘go to the mat’ and try to convince her to see things my way (of course, from my perspective my way is the right way).
In our marriage, we have developed a simple tool to help us reach unity and agreement. We call this tool the Traffic-Light-Principle. Here’s how it works: when we have a decision to make, first we individually go to the Lord, we I.O.T.L. (inquire of the Lord). And we ask for a light:
RED = NO
YELLOW = WAIT
GREEN = GO
After we individually I.O.T.L. and ask for wisdom and direction, we come back together and only make decisions when we both have a greenGO light. If we have different lights, we hold off pulling the trigger on the decision. The pure gold in the Traffic-Light-Principle is it encourages anne+i to include God in all our decisions.
In addition, it’s important to note that as husband and wife our goal is not to just be in agreement. For example, Adam and Eve were in agreement when they ate the forbidden fruit—and we all know how that played out. Our goal is to first I.O.T.L and then wait until we both have green lights from God before we make the decision.
We are often asked; with the time it takes to implement the RED-YELLOW-GREEN traffic light principle, and taking the time necessary to I.O.T.L. as you both pray and process, how do you ever get around to making decisions?
Our response is early in our marriage often one of us would try to “work it” to get what they wanted, even if we did not have unity. The result was the decision ended up being a disaster.
As we travel and teach the UNITY trumps disunity principle we are often asked; do you use the Traffic-Light-Principle on every decision you make?
That’s a good question, for example i don’t call anne from the grocery store and ask; “honey, do you have a green light on Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples?” Our response to the above question is God created men and women as volitional human beings who have been given the ability to make choices. Therefore, couples can choose not to include God on any decision that they do not want to include God … the choice is up to them.
The bottom line is couples don’t have to walk in unity and co-leadership….they get to. There is untapped potential in marital oneness— in the miracle and mystery of two becoming one; “how could one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight?” (Deut.32:30)
Personally, i would never choose a marriage view that says—as the husband—i have a gender (or any kind of) trump card that allows me having the final say in making decisions. As i live out headship as it’s described in Ephesians 5, my primary focus is nourishing, cherishing, and being willing to die for my bride.
As far as who has the final say— i believe God has the final say in our marriage— as we together I.O.T.L. … and wait until we both have green lights.
Looking back over thirty-eight years of marriage, living out UNITY trumps disunity and implementing the Traffic-Light-Principle has become the pathway for anne+i to grow in intimacy and together advance in our spirit + soul + body oneness.
tim+anne marriage challenge:
Think of a time you went ahead with a decision where you did not have unity, how did that play out?
I.O.T.L. (inquire of the Lord)….prayerfully ask; what is one thing I can do this week to advance in unity with my spouse? Then do what you sense God saying to you.
REAL LIFE challenge—for the next three months agree to implement the UNITY trumps disunity Traffic-Light-Principle. Only make decisions after: #1- you both I.O.T.L. and #2- you both have green lights from the Lord.
Make it a priority in the next week (maybe a date) and share how making decisions in UNITY could positively impact your intimacy—your spirit, soul, and body oneness.
Until we electronically meet again….remember….UNITY trumps disunity
Our new book “TOGETHER Reclaiming Co-Leadership in Marriage” is available on Amazon.
In “TOGETHER” we unpack the blessings and benefits of walking as co-leaders and implementing the UNITY trumps disunity Traffic-Light-Principle.
Please take a moment to forward a personal invitation to your electronic spheres of influence. Invite friends who have a heart for marriage to sign up for our ‘tim+anne evans’ blog and join our emerging co-leadership marriage team—thanks!