“Two becoming one” is an even greater challenge in a culture that has promoted and practiced individuality down to a fine art. I have heard friends point back to the days before central heat and air when the family gathered around the pot bellied stove at night, the room that had warmth. The practices of talking and singing around the pot bellied stove are long gone and what has entered is the necessity of children having their own room, their own TV’s, and their own phones. Time alone and making our own choices has become a hot commodity or as I call it, “a closely held value, for the most part in our culture. So fast forward this to the day, these carefully crafted individuals who are making their own decisions, now stand at an altar making vows that suddenly cast them into an arena of becoming a Biblical ONE. What an exercise!
Independence versus Interdependence
Sometimes the very cells are crying out against this thing called intimacy or a three-fold cord. It will constitute a crisis. And I am reminding you of the interlocking characters making up the word, “crisis”, in Chinese: one character for danger, the other for opportunity.
In teaching premarital classes, I like to say at some point, “Stop the tape.” “Let’s have a time of mourning.” “You are about to leave your life of unilateral decision making and enter a world of mutuality.” Let’s grieve it. The loss of independent, do-what-I want-when-I-want thinking and living. It is a big deal. We might call it “Mission Impossible”. But if we accept this mission (enter music), something amazing is held out for us. Many today are walking (or running) away from this mission because the prices and pay-offs are very iffy for them. To engage this or better yet, to embrace this mission, the partners must have an abundance of love for the other, trust that runs deep, and a deep faith that “Two really are better than one. That if one falls down, the other WILL be there to pick them up”. The individual task of surrender and trust is an ongoing work inside each of us but nowhere will it be more challenged than in the relationship inherent in marriage.
God bless each of you in navigating your own inner terrain around giving up “your way”, making sacrifices along those lines, learning to care deeply about the needs and wants of your mate, and the ability to hear their voices even when they are speaking without words.