The world tries to give us so many ways to make a marriage fair for both parties, so that everyone experiences equality. It tries to tell us that our own happiness is the reason for getting and staying married.
That’s a lie.
Marriage isn’t about fairness, or equality, or happiness… it’s about oneness.
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh‘? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
You see, we’ve bought into the lie that marriage should be 50-50, with each spouse somehow meeting the other in the middle. What ends up happening is that each partner attempts to give 50% to the marriage, and keep 50% for themselves.
But we’re sinful, selfish creatures who always think we deserve more than we get.
When we succumb to the 50-50 ideal, we tend to give about 25% to the marriage, while trying to extract 75% out of our spouse. He or she never pulls their fair share. Which leads to a couple of other ugly cycles in marriage.
When we don’t get what we want from our spouse, we tend toward one of two extremes: isolation or idolatry.
In isolation, a husband or wife withdraws from their spouse, never expecting anything good from them. The isolated spouse seeks “good” elsewhere—from their children, from a job, from friends, from hobbies, from addictions, and sometimes from extramarital romantic relationships.
The other side of the coin is idolatry: performing for your spouse to get him or her to reward you with nuggets of goodness, whether gifts, or kind words, or acts of service, or physical relations. It’s a “give-to-get” mentality, and it goes both ways. Withholding goodness from your spouse until they perform a certain way is also idolatry. Both are self-idolatry: placing your own self-preservation above the best interests of your spouse.
Self-preservation is the opposite of becoming one.
Self-preservation looks like: blame shifting, “me” time, walking on eggshells, the cold shoulder, passwords unknown to your spouse… all are ways to keep yourself separate from the one with whom you have vowed to be one flesh.
Oneness looks like: naked and unashamed.
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. —Genesis 2:25
Yes, oneness involves vulnerability, humility, and trust. It also involves tenderness, grace, and protection. Humble yourself to be vulnerable to your spouse, trusting that this is the one place, the one relationship, where you are safe to be you… with all of your strengths, all your weaknesses, your faults, your gifts, your talents, your history, and your future.
And your spouse can do the same, knowing that YOU make it safe to be with you; knowing that grace will abound, that correction will be tender and encouraging, that weaknesses will not be exploited, and your spouse’s heart is safe with you.
Does oneness seem unattainable? What does it take to get there?
What steps can you take toward oneness with your spouse today?
Can you stand naked before your spouse in full light and be unashamed? Can your spouse?