Becoming One Flesh
For those who are married and those who are yet to be married, there is the dance we all know too well, that dance of being on our best behavior as well as making sure we look good while we are courting, dating or in the throes of trying to figure out if there is a possibility of a "we". Just like peacocks, the feathers get preened, the frizz is gone and in its place, brilliance and a shine like never seen before. The clothes are pressed, polished and every word said is calculated to make sure we are portrayed in the best possible light.
The champagne is popped, the wedding date is set, dresses and tuxes are bought amidst the flurry of planning every detail. The wedding day comes, the vows are said, the reception a celebration of joy and love, a closure to the dance of courtship, and a beginning to the journey of marriage.
And right there is where the work starts. Becoming one flesh is not an easy thing, in the literal sense of coming together physically, it generally is; however, in the spiritual sense, it means the melding together of two to become one. Think of it this way, two people have about ten suitcases each of different sizes all bulging at the seams with their cherished belongings and now, they have to pare everything down to only one large, shared suitcase. They will get more shared suitcases along the way, but right now, in order to begin their journey, they will have to get everything they have into just one shared suitcase. This means they will each have to get rid of many things in order to only bring that which is most important and beneficial to equip them as a team for this journey.
What becoming one flesh is not is losing one's identity as a person to the other. Following the allegory above, becoming one flesh with our spouse means shedding our personal egos in order to prefer the other person and the team of two that we have just become a part of. We all have our idiosyncrasies, habits, ways of doing things, ways of thinking and solving problems, all of which worked perfectly well when we were single and only had ourselves to think about. However, in order to become one, we can no longer do things based on our own ideas of how we've always done them. We now have to work with the other person to come to a middle ground of what will work best for the team. And this means we will need to get rid of how we've always done things or modify them so that they will work with the way our spouses work and be complementary to each other.
Marriage is really about dropping our "self-culture" to create a "we-culture"; it is about creating something new in the joining of two people.
And there is where the problems also begin. We human beings do not like to kill our egos, and more often than not, we want to be the one who is right, the one who gets to keep our "self-culture" within the marriage while the other person has to relent. But that is not what the bible says, and not what God means when He says in a marriage, the two will become one flesh. We cannot create something new if we don't first rid ourselves of the old.
It basically comes down to us deciding if we will honour the "we-culture" or hold on to our "self-culture". This act of "dying to our ego" all takes discipline and reinforces what love truly is, a daily choice and decision to choose our spouses over ourselves so that our team will grow and thrive. Marriage is fun and fulfilling because it is a gift from God and God gives good gifts. However, the state of each marriage depends on the willingness of each spouse to surrender that which they think is theirs to God in order to lay it down for the good of the other person and their marriage.