Passing Math Class in Marriage: 1+1+1=1

math, courtesy of Adobe SparkIn school, I sometimes struggled in math. I mastered basic arithmetic. And as an abstract thinker, I soared in Geometry. Yet theorems of Algebra threw me for a loop. I wondered if any of it applied in a practical way to life.

So for this article, let’s stick with the basics.

What’s the only way two of anything becomes one? We take one away. Right?

Two take away one equals one (2-1=1). In mathematics, it works with apples or dogs or numbers.

But Scripture sheds a bright light on the concept in marriage. “The two will become one. So they are no longer two, but one” Mark 10:8 NLV.

God’s teaching on marriage shows the answer always equals one. Unified for one purpose paints a picture of the bride of Christ, the church. Jesus taught His followers to be one as He and the Father are one. But how does this happen in marriage?

Marriage Math: 2 Become 1 

First, we need to jump back to the preceding verses. “From the beginning of the world, God made them man and woman. Because of this, a man is to leave his father and mother and is to live with his wife. The two will become one” Mark 10:6-8a NLV. 

Leave and live…leave parents and live with each other.

Two come together. Yet, they merge into one. They not only become one in the sexual sense but also on other levels.

As an ordained minister, my husband, Mike, performs marriage ceremonies. And once he mistakenly said, “one will become two.” Sadly, it’s often our mindset going into marriage. One plus one equals two (1+1=2).

Simple math addition. But marriage is never simple. It often turns into a difficult math problem, hard for us to calculate the answer. Still, God bases His marriage equation on oneness.

Oneness Tug-of-wars math, courtesy of Adobe Spark

How do we become one from two? We are two different people with unique childhood experiences, personal interests, and individual ideas on life and family issues.

Only a few weeks after our wedding, my husband and I began competing in oneness tug-of-wars. We often butted heads on important decisions. Both of us even wanted our way in trivial issues. And the aftermath left us wounded, tattered, and wondering how to do this thing, two become one. 

Why do we call the marital bond, holy matrimony. What makes it holy?

Mike and I desired to be holy and we tried to become one…to be one in union…one in every decision and issue. But we both carried past baggage that got in the way. Because every time we attempted to move forward, we tripped over those unpacked bags.

Perhaps we tried too hard. Or, maybe the answer lies in our effort. When marriage becomes a tug-of-war, we’ve attempted to do the work of the Holy Spirit.

The bottom line: we missed this vital aspect.

Jesus is the Holy One in holy matrimony. #marriage #blogger Click To Tweet

The sum of One

Over the years, Mike and I received both high marks and less than passing grades in marriage math class. Married and in ministry for thirty-two years, we continue to learn about oneness.

math, design by Adobe SparkAccording to Cambridge Dictionary, the suffix “-ness” is added to adjectives to form nouns that refer to a quality or a condition. So, one-ness refers to the state of something. In marriage, it comes from and through God.

And it doesn’t mean we sit down and do nothing. It must be intentional on the part of the husband and wife or the relationship will falter under the ideas of separate or mine. Separate bank accounts or separate lives where individual interests and personal achievements turn into a priority.

A state where neither husband or wife encourage or celebrate togetherness. There’s that suffix ness again.

Two will become one in holy matrimony…in body, soul, and spirit. In body by the sexual union. And one in spirit through spiritual values and connecting with God. Soul oneness by becoming soul-mates in sync with life issues and family living.

For two to become one, take “me” away and add Jesus. “Me” steps aside for “we.”

Husband + wife + Jesus = one #marriage #writer Click To Tweet

Want more on marriage? Read my article, 5 Ways to Never Give Up on Marriage.

© 2017 by Karen Friday, All Rights Reserved

Images or design courtesy of Adobe Spark.

Post part of these weekly link-ups: Meg Gemelli/#GRITupAndGo, Susan B Mead;  Suzanne Eller/Living Free. 


July 6, 2017 at 10:03 am | Uncategorized

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Shara says:

I LOVE THIS!! I’m going to share with a few friends. Such a great perspective

Karen says:

Thank you, Shara. Your continued encouragement means more than you could know. All the glory points to Jesus who inspires my writing for His name and renown. So grateful Jesus is the Holy One in holy matrimony. Thanks for commenting and for sharing with friends! You’re a blessing! Hugs! 🙂

Loved this, Karen! Sharing on FB and Twitter!

Karen says:

Sarah, thank you for your kind words. Praying the Lord stirs our hearts for oneness in our marriage as we seek Him. Husband + wife + Jesus = one Blessings! 🙂

Hi Karen. Thank you for writing this post. I think the subject of marital oneness needs to be taught to every perspective couple! I surely could have benefited from it early on in my marriage. But I thank God that He has opened my eyes to this vital concept (I was stubborn in my youth) and with the help of His Spirit, my husband and I are enjoying a better marriage.
Visiting from #freshmarketfriday. Have a great day. 🌻

Karen says:

Thanks, Gleniece, for stopping by and commenting. Yes, the stubborn part resonates with me too. 🙂 I made it all about me and getting my way. But, for two to become one, take “me” away and add Jesus. “Me” steps aside for “we.” Blessings!


So true! It’s a beautiful thing when God knits two stubborn lives into one. I truly saw the one-ness after my husband passed away suddenly. We don’t even know that those hundreds of times we’re dying to self allow God to make one of the best gifts He has for us. Great words. xoxoxo

Karen says:

Thanks, Lisa. And Amen! We are stubborn most of the time. But if one-ness refers to the state of something. In marriage, it comes from and through God.He’s the “ness” in oneness. Thanks for commenting!

Amy Elaine says:

Math has never been my forte, but I’ve been working on this marriage math for almost 24 years now. While it is one of the hardest things I’ve learned, oneness in marriage is also one of the most rewarding things as well. My husband and I are 13 years apart in age. Recently, he turned 60(please 😉 don’t do the math here to determine my age)and it is the first time I’ve really sensed the age difference. His life perspective has changed a lot recently. And, mine has too! As a stay-at-home mom of 21 years, I am finally feeling free to do my own thing!!!! Yet, I have had to put some of my plans on temporary hold to nurture my man’s needs. He wants to make sure the next 20 years are better than the past 20 and so, we’ve been taking weekend trips out of town, getting reacquainted and finding new things we both like to do together. It’s been fun! This learning marriage math must take a lifetime! I’m happy to stay in school for this one! Thanks for the wonderful reminder Karen! Beautiful words!

Karen says:

Amy, thank so much for sharing your story and thoughts. Haha! Not doing the math to calculate your age…funny. And I agree, it takes a life time to learn oneness in marriage and to be intentional about it. Especially to let Jesus be the Holy One as we become one with each other and in Him. Enjoy all your weekend travels. Blessings!

Sally Poyzer says:

So true Karen! A good message for all married couples.

Karen says:

Thank you, Sally. We often try to do the work of the Holy Spirit. When will we ever learn? 🙂 We have access to the power of the Spirit and the wisdom of God Almighty. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Blessings!

Love this!! Becoming one is definitely not easy, but worth the work. We were blessed early in our marriage to have a couple in our marriage ministry stress to us how important becoming one really is for every marriage. I think this something we have to continuously work on. This post really spoke to me when you said,”we tripped over those unpacked bags.” Because I feel no matter how long I’ve been married, there’s seems to always be bags that need to be unpacked.

Karen says:

Thank you, Ayanna. I appreciate your insight and glad another couple gave you good, sound advice. And you’re so right. We must be intentional and seek oneness continually as we seek Jesus in our personal relationships and in our marriage relationship. For it all comes from and through Christ! Blessings!

Lesley says:

Great insights here! Yes, for two to truly become one it definitely needs the Holy Spirit and a willingness to put aside self. Visiting from #GritUpAndGo

Karen says:

Thank you for visiting, Lesley. Yes, Jesus is the Holy One in holy matrimony. He is what it takes to keep us “one.” Blessings!

Meg says:

Argh, that math. It’s even worse when we argue about the right answer (because my husband’s usually right) ha! Joking aside, what a simple, but profound reminder. This summer we celebrated 10 years…we’re still newlyweds in the grand scheme of life, but we’ve fought, loved, and learned through every single one. I’m grateful that you shared and now I’m passing it along!

Karen says:

Thanks, Meg! Haha! Funny stuff, but so true for most of us! And about passing math class in marriage? We’re still working through all those complicated problems and I’m starting to learn it’s a lifelong class that takes intentional tutoring from the Lord. 🙂 Blessings and hugs!

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