Marriage: When “Me & Me” Becomes “Us”
What’s the biggest accomplishment in a marriage relationship? And what’s the hardest part of getting there?
It’s that time of the year when wedding bells are ringing, bridal shops and tux rentals are flourishing, and caterers are gearing up for the season. The work of getting ready for a wedding can be summed up in several words: excitement, anticipation, fear and panic. Often the starry-eyed couple has no idea what they are getting into. It’s no longer courtship, it’s the real thing.
It all started with God in the early days of creation: He had made the earth, seas and dry land, night and day, the sun, moon and stars, plant life, animals, and crowned his work with the first man, Adam. God realized that though the man had lots of work to do caring for the animals, he needed a companion. Voila, woman was created!
Gen. 2:21 “So the Lord God caused adeep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 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 his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Eph. 5:31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
That biggest accomplishment in a marriage relationship and the hardest part of getting there are one and the same: two becoming one. This can only become a reality in a relationship that is based on “commitment” and a sense of “teamwork”.
I have been acquainted with couples who have dated for several years, some who have already lived together for a period of time, who decided it’s time to “get married”. And either just before the wedding or within a year after, the couple tired of the work of becoming one, and split-up.
There is a clue to this strange phenomenon. Couples who are in a dating relationwhip, or even those who live together, know that they can always leave the relationship. They are not bound by law or obligation to stay. There may be emotional pain to the break-up, or financial stress to establish separate living quarters (if already living together), or social turmoil (his friends are mad at her, her friends are mad at him – in what social group do I now fit?) – but, unless there are children already involved, each party is free to do whatever, wherever they choose to do so.
Whether in a marriage or a dating relationship, the difference between the couple that survives intact and one that splits apart is to what degree the two people are committed to each other and to the relationship. For Christians, it also involves each person’s commitment to the Lord and their willingness to let Him work in each person and in their relationship.
There are some questions that should be asked and answered prior to marriage:
- 1. Am I in this for the long run – or am I just a sprinter.
- 2. Can I really make it in a committed relationship, as in “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, as long as we both shall live”? Or do I only visualize “for better, for richer, in health, for as long as it stays interesting or until something better comes along?”
What can make a committed relationship work? It is not having children. You can have a child together and still not have a committed relationship. Canines do that all the time; unfortunately, so do many humans. The fact is, if you don’t already have a committed relationship, it’s better not to have a child together. We have too often seen the devastation in a child’s life when the parents’ marriage ends in divorce or one parent just drops out. Plus, when a couple is not committed, there is added frustration in dealing with the child’s needs.
The work of a committed relationship pays off when “one + one” becomes “one”. It’s when the “me” and “me” becomes “us”; when the “I” and “I” becomes “we”; when the “my” and “my” and the “mine” and “mine” becomes “our” and “ours” – that a marriage has realized it’s greatest potential.
Commitment means giving up my selfishness to consider the needs and wants of my spouse. To not always have to have it my way. When both people in a relationship are doing this, nobody feels cheated.
This does not mean that one person ceases to be, while the other dominates. It means thinking “team” and working “team” and living “team”. This includes division of labor, or doing it together – whatever the “team” agrees on.
Commitment means being there for each other in times of sickness, distress, want, need, tiredness, sadness, loss, and failure. But also being there in times of personal opportunity, accomplishment, and success. Becoming one means sharing each other’s joys, victories, successes, interests and friendships as well as the negative stuff. Becoming “one” does not allow for jealousy of my partner’s achievements, but causes us to be each other’s cheerleaders.
So, if you are married, how are you doing with the 1+1=1 scenario? How high do you score on the commitment test? Have you made room for running or are you there to stay?
If you are not yet married but haven’t met the “right person” yet, or you are already headed toward a marriage relationship, are you ready and willing to pay the cost of commitment inherent in God’s original plan for “two to become one”?
©2012, Marcy Alves
- Which Kind of Commitment Do You Have in Your Marriage? (marriagegems.com)
Posted on May 3, 2012, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, God Encounters, Reflections and tagged Christian marriage, Christianity, commitment, marriage, marriage relationship, two becoming one, wedding bells, work of marriage. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.