The Words and Tone of Jesus

“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church–a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor–since they’re already “one” in marriage.” Ephesians 5:25-28 (MSG)

I don’t think there is any more clear instruction as how we are to TALK to our wives!

I discovered this in a very difficult way during the time my wife and I were separated. For a very long time I was not speaking words of LIFE over her but of DEATH. I criticized her emotions, her reactions to me, and fought for my own way until she couldn’t deal with it any more. Alone at night with my thoughts and my own emotions (for five months), I figured out that the problem was not her or her emotions, but me and my words and tone! I realized I blamed her for all of her problems AND all of mine. And I always had to be RIGHT. Which made her wrong – with both WORDS and TONE.

During the months of counseling that followed I learned to listen and clarify what she was saying before having an emotional response (usually). I learned that I didn’t have to correct her, even if I thought she was wrong, because I might be wrong, too (sometimes). I learned that she just needed me to validate her feelings – not agree with them (sometimes agree with them?). When I focused on HER needs instead of my own, my words and emotions calmed down (along with my tone), and we were able to have real conversations, where both of us felt heard (most of the time!).

When Chandra feels heard, she feels like we are moving towards becoming ONE FLESH. Communication is how she feels INTIMACY. She needs to know I see her. She needs to know I want to hear her. She needs to know that I want to share my days with her. I also learned that it is my responsibility, as her husband, to INVITE her into that communication and intimacy with the WORDS I use to “evoke her beauty” and “bring out her best”. There is no other way to speak to my wife than the way Jesus speaks to us (words and tone) if I want to “evoke her beauty” and “bring out her best”, and I want her trust me with her feelings.

Ken Nair, in his book “Discovering the Mind of a Woman” (a great book if you want to love your wife better!), says “If Christ’s goal was to be one with God,” (we know it was) “then a man must learn how to demonstrate oneness with God in Christ through oneness with his wife”. And that oneness must include words from me that evoke ONE FLESH.

“In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies…No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.” – Ephesians 5:28-29

What Has Pre-Sex Prayer Done for Me?

When a friend who teaches sex seminars shared with me that she teaches couples to pray before sex, it was a foreign thought to me. She shared this with me about eight years ago and it took about five years for it to become a habit, but one well worth the effort. God loves sex. After all, He’s the one who invented it, and all of His ideas are “good”, or “very good” when it comes to His design of us. Unfortunately, far too many people have been taken advantage of sexually by someone in their childhood or teen years. This abuse of sex is horrendous, egregious, and evil. God gave us sex for good, man and satan have used it to harm one another and that is not okay. Gratefully, I found healing from my childhood abuse in the arms of my husband, and sex has mostly been a beautiful part of our marriage. My heart goes out to those who are still finding their way to healing with Jesus and my prayers go up for you.

When my friend offered her advice, I brought it to Hubby for discussion. He didn’t see it as unusual and agreed to start praying prior to making love. It was so awkward at first. As with a lot of new things, it felt weird starting our intimate time by talking to God about it. Hubby and I found it awkward to pray together at all for most of our marriage, but for the past eight years it has been something we have practiced a lot. We made it a practice before sex because of the things we noticed once we did. In Hebrews 10:4, the Bible tells us that “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled”, the word “undefiled” there means “uncontaminated” or “set apart”. What better way to set apart our marriage bed than offering the time, space, and outcome to the One who designed us, marriage, and sex. Fortunately, we do not have any past transgressions toward one another regarding this area of our relationship and that makes it easy to surrender all of our selves to the Kingdom. We know there is a “great cloud of witnesses” who are always watching, praying we all will follow God’s design in every area of our lives.

SInce we began our prayer journey prior to sex, what I can say it has offered me is peace. As a woman, I can tend to get lost in lists, stories, or other priorities. Sometimes it is difficult to get “into it” where it seems my husband is full throttle from the word go. We’ve learned through books and sex studies that our individual ways of seeing things, as male and female, are completely opposite. Men are microwave ovens and women are crock pots. In other words, women need a lot more to get into the right mindset and arousal for sex to be pleasurable. Men need a suggestion and they can be ready to go. I’m not sure why God made us that opposite, but I’m certain He had a good reason. Some pastors have said it’s so that men will work harder for the woman? Who knows for sure, after all, His thoughts are way above mine! Prayer has given me the opportunity to release all that is going on in my mind and invites me to focus in on Hubby. Our marriage is my main priority but there have been seasons that it didn’t look that way in the bedroom. Since we began prayer, I’ve noticed that I have a much better chance that I will be able to get focused on Hubby and intimacy, and let go of the outside things that hinder our connection. God intended for us to become One flesh, it’s the only gift you and your spouse have that you only offer to one another. It’s sacred. Because of that, prayer is absolutely necessary to create a desirable space guarded by heavenly angels. It’s an opportunity for body, soul, and spirit Oneness and it’s the best addition to our sex lives we’ve ever added. I hope that you will make it a habit in your marriage bed too!

Loving Marriage

When Doc and I married, we were babes. He was 19 the day he awaited me at the front of the church. I’d just turned 21. On that beautiful spring day I knew he was my knight in shining armor, and I was excited to spend my life in his arms! That is the fairy tale right? Most of us know that when we walk down the aisle to say “I do”, the person we wed is the one we are meant to be with for life. Then, life happens. The trials we walk through will either make or break us, and I think a lot of it has to do with how well we receive and obey the commandment in Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become ONE FLESH.”

I don’t know if I had even read that Scripture prior to marriage, even if I did, I didn’t have a clue what it meant on a personal level. I knew that I didn’t believe in divorce, and I knew that I adored Matthew Ford. As young people often do, I think we knew we would figure out the rest as we went along. We made a commitment to one another to be good at marriage, that looked like registering regularly for Christian marriage conferences. We filled our toolbox full of tried and true tools to help us be pros at this thing we call marriage. We practiced (and occasionally succeeded!) the tools we received at these conferences, but still the ONE FLESH concept was foreign in so many ways. I think I was only considering Father God to mean that we were to physically become ONE FLESH, I didn’t really understand there are multiple areas where we can be one flesh with our spouse. The areas we excelled at were physical ONE FLESH and intellectual ONE FLESH. Those were our connecting points and gratefully sustained us through the worst years in our marriage. We struggle the most with emotional ONE FLESH and a little with Spiritual ONE FLESH though that’s grown with reading the Word together. I didn’t really even know what they were as a young bride, so how were we to work on them?

Through the years and through many trials, God has revealed Himself in our marriage in many different ways and invited us to find ONE FLESH, but we are still growing. Intimacy is what we crave as humans, but it is so hard to find a mate who wants more than physical intimacy in a relationship in the 2020’s. A friend of mine, who loves the Lord, has been fooled by her flesh and the enemy to believe that if she dates a man and doesn’t sleep with him before marriage, she may make a mistake. From personal experience and many stories with friends, I can say that the opposite is probably true. There is no guilt or shame when you become ONE FLESH within the confines of marriage. That kind of freedom, the freedom to enjoy a gift God gave for married couples is amazing. My hope and prayer is that she will be able to believe the truth and realize that God loves her, and that is why He has drawn boundaries around our sexual lives. The world has sex so tainted, all you have to do is look around you to see how ugly it’s become. And yet, it is a commandment from God that we practice it regularly within marriage.

Hubby and I have spent years exploring ONE FLESH, we are growing in every area of intimacy, and we invite you along on our journey into the depths of true intimacy within marriage. Our hearts are for all couples to find true intimacy in the midst of this battle we call life. It took me a lot of years to “leave my father and my mother”, I had to learn to trust. Hubby gave me a safe space in many areas to be myself and to grow with him. We have been through many refining fires, but God has always had us because our hearts became ONE FLESH the day we said “I do.”

One Flesh, Really?

The first time I read these verses, I didn’t have a clue what God was talking about?

“Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and hey shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24 ESV

There is a lot to unpack there. I think it is somewhat humorous how Adam decides to name his perfect mate, apparently it needed to include his description that I still don’t fully understand. Adam was charged with naming everything that God created and the final piece, once his work was through, was to name woman. The world has tainted God’s gift to Adam. Today society says a person can be “married” to anyone (and in some states, anything) that they choose. My question about the world’s leading is simple, how do the two become one flesh? I think of batteries, each one has a negative and positive. It wouldn’t work to give power to whatever it’s attached to if it only had two positives or two negatives.

Why are man and woman the perfect opportunity for One Flesh? Because God designed it that way. Men have the masculine traits of God and women have the feminine traits. The world decided what those traits are and so many are confused about the identity given to them by God. Men who like to dance or create are told they must already possess the feminine traits of God so they need to find the masculine in another man to become One Flesh. Or a woman who has wordly defined traits of a male, then she needs to find a woman who has feminine traits to become One Flesh. Here’s what is wrong with that, it’s not true. God did not put Adam to sleep, remove his rib, and create another man. He created the man’s opposite, full of the feminine traits of God, woman.

How do we become One Flesh? Of course there is the physical way which, by design, we are made to fit perfectly to become One Flesh. But, there is so much more to it. We begin a marriage without a clue, most of the time, that we are going to learn so much about the opposite sex. As we have grown in our own marriage, we have learned a lot about each other. In fact, we tell couples we work with that our greatest aim in marriage is to become a student of your spouse. Many look at us like deer in the headlights the first time they hear that. Becoming One Flesh is a process, a gift, and when we are students of our spouse, we learn that they fill in the gaps where we lack. It’s amazing how God did that in the two humans He created!

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31 ESV

Intimate prayer.

I was looking back through our old blog reminiscing and looking for inspiration as we start this new journey. This is what I wrote six years ago:

Since then prayer has been a regular part of intimate times together. I can’t imagine our sex life without prayer!

God tells us in Genesis 2:24 that a man is to leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and to become one flesh. Shouldn’t I ask for His help and His presence when we physically “Become One Flesh”?

When we started praying together in the evenings we began simply by reading John Eldredge’s “Bedtime Prayer” together. (That prayer can be found here: And we still pray every night before bed using similar prayers to consecrate our home, give our lives and our wills over to Jesus, kick out foul spirits, break word curses spoken over us, break soul ties and armor up before going to sleep.

We basically do the same thing before we make love. We consecrate our home, our bodies and our time so that distractions are removed, and we can focus fully on each other. I could never have imagined the power of prayer to bless our marriage and our sex life, but today I am grateful for it!

And for what comes in the next verse…

“Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” – Genesis 2:25

Hello, Again!

For those who subscribed to our last blog, Just the 3 of Us, we are excited to reconnect with you! And for those who are new subscribers, welcome to our journey!

We started a new blog to go with our new season of life – and our new mission:

“God is calling us to create an adventure where we can recover what has been “lost” in today’s marriages – in ours first, then in others.”

What has been lost? Intimacy – with the Lord, and with each other.

That’s why we called our blog “Become One Flesh”. We want to restore One Flesh in our marriage, and help others discover it in theirs by sharing our stories. Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as we tell our stories – past and present – of challenges, losses, separation, healing, and restoration within our lives individually and in our marriage. Will you join us?

Matt & Chandra

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