My wife and I have a slogan around our house - "Team Tygrett." What this means is that there is no "her" problem or "him" problem. Everything is an "our" problem.
When one of us faces a challenge, we both face a challenge.
When there is a task to be done in the house, we both have a task to be done.
When there is a parenting decision to be made, we both have a decision to make.
When one of us is struggling personally, we both are struggling personally.
In the marriage conversations I have as a pastor, what I notice is a distinct lack of "our." There's a lot of "they" need to figure something out, or "they" need to change, but never a sense of ownership between the two spouses of the problem on the table.
When Jesus is pressed about divorce, He responds with a run down of the creation of man and woman.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Matt. 19:5-6, NRSV)
Two are now one.
This isn't only about sex, though that's typically the way it's been used. The passage says that a husband will leave his father and mother and be "united" to his wife. This word is only used twice in the New Testament to refer to sexual activity, and the other 10 times it is used to refer to interaction, partnership, and deep association with a person or group of people. Once it is even used in the concept of "uniting with Christ" instead of with a "prostitute" (1 Cor. 6:16-17). This is a trajectory-of-life scenario, not just a sexual intercourse scenario.
We're one flesh, united in partnership, in every aspect of life.
Could it be that the one key that kills marriages is our inability to see how whatever happens to the other person happens to us?
Our formation into the image of Christ begins by understanding that if our marriage is not built on the "we're all in this together" principle then it is skirting the good and beautiful future God has in mind.
There are many implications to this, and I hope to write more on it going forward, but for now the challenge remains: Are you in a team in your marriage or are you the one separating what God has brought together?