Building Oneness

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • How do the two of you honor your marriage by making time for one another?
    • What are the biggest obstacles right now in the two of you being close?
    • Is your schedule too full to pursue marital oneness like you want?  What’s one immediate change you could make, even if it’s small?
    • The bible describles marriage as a process of two becoming one? In what ways does your marriage reflect that principle?  In what ways does it not?
    • If you and your spouse were to truly “become one,” what would need to change?
    • What practical things are you doing to build oneness together?
    • Are there some areas in your life that are just too sensitive for you to share with your spouse right now?  Areas where it’s just easier to keep things separate?
    • Do you and your spouse confess sin quickly and forgive one another easily?  Tell me about the last time you did that?
    • Are there any areas that you can think of where confession and forgiveness are needed?
    • In what ways do you honor your spouse’s parents as your own?  Or is that a source of division between you?
    • What is one small step you can take today to move toward oneness with your spouse?
    • How can I be an encouragement to you today?
Deeper Questions
    • How would your marriage be different if both of you chose to focus on what is good and right rather than what is bad and wrong? (Philippians 4:8; Ephesians 4:29-32)
    • How can you help your spouse realize who he or she is in Christ?
    • Do you love your spouse in a way that casts out fear of rejection? (1 John 4:18)
    • Do you understand what a healthy, biblical self-image looks like?
    • Do you have an understanding of how your spouse’s background is affecting his or her self-image?
    • Are there things in the past that you are holding over your spouse’s head now? Is it safe for your spouse to admit a mistake?
    • What can you do to help make your marriage a safe place to admit failure? Would you say that your home is a place of high emotional control?  Are you aware of how destructive that is to a marriage?
    • Is there any area where you need to seek forgiveness in the way you have treated your spouse?
    • How would you describe the tone of your relationship?  Negative and critical?  Apathetic?
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
    • Have you taken time lately to share your true feelings with your spouse?
    • Is there an area of bitterness from the past you’ve been harboring which is causing the isolation?  Would you consider voicing that and giving your spouse another opportunity to seek forgiveness?
    • Are you waiting for your spouse to move toward you or are you willing to move toward him/her?
    • Would you say your marriage is one of openness and honesty, or are there things that are hidden and kept secret?  Can you elaborate?
    • Can you surrender to God’s plan even if it means you will need to take responsibility and confess first?
    • Is your marriage full of speech that is honoring, or is there much criticism?  Could you describe what that looks/feels like?
    • Are you connected to any other couples who can hold you accountable for marital growth?
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
  • - Fred and Brenda Stoeker, Every Heart Restored, p. 221

    “Compatibility is not necessary for oneness—sacrifice is—and that’s something every man and wife has to learn.”

  • - Shannon Ethridge, Every Woman's Battle, p. 157

    “Marital secrets serve no purpose but to alienate you from the only one who can provide the level of intimacy you truly desire as a sexual being. If you keep secrets from each other, you may build a wall between you and ultimate sexual and emotional fulfillment.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Pressure Proof Your Marriage, p. 65

    “Twice a year, we highly recommend getting away for at least an overnight stay—without the kids. … This could be as simple as checking into a hotel across town, or a trip to another city. These getaways are especially important when you are faced with certain decisions … Furthermore, when both spouses share in the decisions that increase and decrease pressure, they take ownership of the direction of their marriage, which can minimize tension.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Rekindling the Romance, p. 43

    “In marriage, God wants to take us on a lifelong journey to become what we were meant to be, to experience Him more and more, to understand a hint of the relationship and unity God knows Himself within the Trinity. This intimacy is a mystery, but it makes marriage a heavenly journey and not merely a biological coupling.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Rekindling the Romance, p. 53

    “We learned that sacrifice is the language of romance, and selfishness is the language of isolation and rejection. Commitment inspires one to sacrifice, and sacrifice makes commitment a rare jewel to be cherished.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 164

    “Compromise can be a way of saying, ‘I love you.’ It’s proof that we’re willing to give ground for no other reason than that we value the ongoing relationship more than we do asserting our rights, preferences, or wishes. Compromise is the cement of fellowship.”

  • - Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Intimate Allies, p. 113

    “Life is war, and marriage provides us with a close and intimate ally with whom we may wage this war. The battle requires bold love, forgiveness, confrontation, and repentance.”

  • - Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say I Do, p. 32

    “God is completely, totally, enthusiastically supportive of your every effort to build a strong, God-glorifying marriage.”

  • - Chip Ingram, Love Sex, and Lasting Relationships, p. 57

    “Love is a sacrificial, other-centered action that provides what’s best for the other person. God’s way is very hard on the feelings, but it’s very healthy for the soul. It works wonders in relationships where both parties find their ultimate identity in Christ.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 237

    “While our hearts will find their rest only when God is part of the equation, it is a stunning scriptural fact that soon after creating Adam and Eve God declared, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ (Genesis 2:18)—even though God delighted in his relationship with the man. Clearly God created us with a need to enjoy other relationships besides Himself exclusively, but God must be at the center of our hearts, to which all our other relationships are then added.”

  • - Jim Talley, Reconcilable Differences, p. 50

    “In order to keep your car running smoothly, you must have a routine of preventative maintenance. In order to keep your marriage running smoothly, you must follow a similar policy. … You cannot allow your relationship to run its natural course, or it will suffer from the neglect … Separation is the normal direction of marriage, so your efforts are to thwart that drift and keep your relationship on the … course leading to togetherness.”

  • - Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect, p. 279

    “Whatever I do for my spouse, I do it to Christ as well. A husband’s unconditional love for his wife reveals his love for Christ. The husband who loves God should love his wife also … A wife’s unconditional respect for her husband reveals her reverence for Christ. The wife who respects God should respect her husband.”

  • - Dennis Rainey, Preparing for Marriage, p. 72

    “Marriage is far more than a cultural institution or an arrangement for a man and woman to meet their needs for companionship … There is more at stake in your marriage than just two people trying to meet one another’s needs. God’s reputation—His image—is at stake in your marriage.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Pressure Proof Your Marriage, p. 25

    “If you are going to run the race of life and not become a casualty, then you must learn three critical elements: First, to run together; second, to run at the same pace; and third, to run in the same direction.”

  • - Gary and Barbara Rosberg, Six Secrets to a Lasting Love: Recapturing Your Dream Marriage, p. 23

    “God’s primary solution to human aloneness is the oneness, companionship, and togetherness of having a spouse.  When husbands and wives distance themselves from each other, they are fighting against God’s plan for their marriage and missing out on the blessing of oneness that God designed for them.”

  • - Dennis Rainey, Preparing for Marriage, p. 8

    “No other human relationship can approach the potential for intimacy and oneness than can be found within the context of the marriage commitment. And yet no other relationship can bring with it as many adjustments, difficulties, and even hurts.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 76

    “Much of Christian teaching has gotten it exactly backwards.  We’re told that if we want to have a stronger marriage, we should improve our prayer lives.  But Peter tells us that we should improve our marriages so that we can improve our prayer lives.”

  • - Shannon Ethridge, Every Woman’s Battle, p. 157

    “Marital secrets serve no purpose but to alienate you from the only one who can provide the level of intimacy you truly desire as a sexual being. If you keep secrets from each other, you may build a wall between you and ultimate sexual and emotional fulfillment.”

Next Steps
    • Great job reaching out for help in building oneness in your marriage.  That is huge!
    • Read any of the helpful Scriptures listed in this guide and let’s discuss.
    • Read one of the helpful articles listed in this guide and let’s discuss.
    • Remember that you are not alone in needing help.  We all need to invest more time and energy into our marriages.
    • Remember that oneness comes from thinking together, not from thinking alike—unity, not unanimity.
    • Realize that differences can actually foster oneness instead of coming between you.  It’s all in how you approach those differences–trying to change one another or to accept and balance one another.
    • Please realize that God will often use your spouse to make you more like Jesus Christ.
    • Remember that God not only has a plan for oneness in your marriage, but He provides the power to make it happen.
    • Consider attending a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
    • Pray every day together, even if it’s just for a moment or two.
    • Remember that oneness reflects God’s character and the Trinity (John 17:22).
    • Refuse to even consider divorce as an option.
    • Watch out for argument triggers (James 1:19).  Become a student of when/where those happen, make a list of them, and be ready for them.
    • Consider a short TV fast, maybe even 48 hours, to re-establish meaningful connection with your spouse (Ephesians 5:16).
    • Remember that information alone does not lead to life change … lasting life change begins as you apply what you learn.
    • Get involved in a local, bible-believing church for spiritual growth and accountability.
    • Make a “wish list” of 3 things you desire in your relationship with your spouse.
      Take turns sharing your “I wish” statements with your partner and describe how
      you would feel if your wish came true.
    • Think of something (hobby, sport, recreational activity) you would like to pursue together.
    • Talk about one of your favorite dates.  What was it about that date that made it so memorable? Is this something you could do again?