Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unity of Command

CHAPLAIN

One of the most important concepts in the principles of warfare is the concept of ‘‘unity of command.” Simply put, unity of command means that all the forces are under one responsible commander. It requires a single commander with the authority to direct all forces in pursuit of a unified purpose. This is vital for a Marine Corps unit, from a single fire team, all the way up to a Marine Expeditionary Force. Lack of unity in a Marine Corps unit leads to a lack of trust, lack of communication, low morale and, ultimately, will undermine the effectiveness of the unit and lead to mission failure.

The same holds true in marriage. Unity is essential. I would venture to argue that the majority of the issuesI deal with during counseling sessions are symptoms of one thing...a lack of intimacy, or unity, between husband and wife.

Family and marriages are under attack today like never before, and healthy marriages are difficult to sustain in a military environment. Whether from external sourcesattempting to redefine and weaken marriage, or due to erosion from within, marriage is in the crosshairs.

The Bible says that God created man and woman to be together (Genesis 2:18, Matthew 19:6, Ephesians 5:31). From the very beginning, Adam recognized that Eve was part of him—they were ‘‘one flesh.” The term ‘‘one flesh” means that just as our bodies are one whole entity (made up of a diversity of members) and cannot be divided into pieces and still be a whole, so God intended it to be with the marriage relationship. With marriage, there are no longer two individuals, but now there is a married couple, a single entity.

God created the marriage relationship as a model for perfect unity and as a representation of his unity with his church. When we do things in accordance to God’s plan, the unity and intimacy of marriage is a beautiful thing. Some indicators of an intimate relationship are:

  • We spend significant ‘‘face time” together, taking care to connect when life gets hectic.

  • We make a habit out of thanking one another for the mundane, such as doing the dishes or taking out the trash.

  • We engage in little every day kindnesses. We serve each other regularly.

  • We are accountable to one another.

  • We find common passions and engage in them regularly.

  • We have a common spiritual faith as the center ofour marriage.

    If these are not present in your marriage, or in your dating relationships, then perhaps you lack unity and may want to take ‘‘remedial action” to correct the situation.

    1. Take two minutes to increase your intimacy and unity: Spend 60 seconds together when you reunite at the end of the day. It may seem ‘‘fake” at first, but this simple step can work miracles in a relationship. Don’t just walk in the door and say ‘‘how was your day?” or ‘‘what’s for dinner?” but stop, look each other in the face and (using your watch if you must) spend 60 seconds together when you come home. Spend another 60 seconds ‘‘together” before you go to sleep. Not one last parting shot on a controversial subject and not opening up a new can of worms but a brief, meaningful moment.

    My wife and I do ‘‘best part⁄worst part” (share the best and worst parts of your day) to sort of anchor the end of our day together before going off to sleep.

    2. ‘‘Leave and cleave” If either spouse fails to both leave (get out of Mommy and Daddy’s shadow) and cleave (stick to your spouse like glue), problems will result in amarriage. If spouses refuse to truly leave their parents, even if the parents are great, conflict and stress will result. Leaving your parents does not mean ignoring them or not spending any time with them, it just means recognizing that your marriage created a new family and that this new family must be a higher priority than your previous family and friends.

    If spouses neglect to cleave to each other, the result is a lack of intimacy and unity. Cleaving to your spouse does not mean being with your spouse every moment or not having meaningful friendships outside of your marriage. Healthy boundaries and individual identity are crucial to a healthy marriage also.

    Cleaving to your spouse means recognizing that you are joined, essentially ‘‘glued,” to your spouse. Cleaving is key in building a marriage that will endure hard times and be the beautiful relationship that God intends it to be. Parents and in-laws are good, friends are good, children are good but your spouse and you should be mission one.

    God is a God of unity. In John 17:21-23, Jesus Christ prayed to his Father in Heaven that His followers would ‘‘all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world maybelieve that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

    That is what marriage should reflect, the unity of Jesus with God the Father and the unity of Christ and His followers. Without unity of command, we cannot hope to‘‘accomplish the mission” or maintain ‘‘troop welfare.”

    — Paul.Hyder@usmc.mil

    Schedule of Services
    All Services are held in the U.S. Marine Memorial Chapel unless otherwise stated. For more information, call the Command Chaplain’s Office at 703-784-2131.

    Roman Catholic
    Sunday
    9 a.m., 12 p.m. Mass
    10:30 a.m. Religious Education

    Monday – Friday
    11:30 a.m. Mass

    Protestant
    9 a.m. Sunday School
    10:30 a.m. Quantico Community Christian Worship

    TBS Worship Schedule
    Protestant Service 9 a.m.
    O'Bannon Hall
    3rd Deck Chapel

    Islamic
    Friday Jumah
    Noon

    Daily Dhuhr
    1:15 p.m.

    Jewish
    For information call the Fort Belvoir Jewish Chaplain’s Office at 703-806-4316 or Quantico’s Jewish Lay Leader, retired Lt. Col. Mike Haas, at 540-657-5658.