Sunday, August 24, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
In my opinion (does that exempt me from being thought of as a know-it-all ?), one of the major problems affecting marriage today is the concept of "oneness" between husbnand and wife. Among my recent discoveries, I noticed that many marriages suffer a lack of satisfaction because of unrealistic expectations of what it means to be one with your spouse or spouses. Many of us have been taught to expect that when we marry, our relationship with our spouse will take on a magical or spiritual essense (like in the movies)where we unite on a level of "oneness" that excludes everyone else and in "oneness" we will eventually find wedded bliss. It sounds real good, only one problem, it isn't true!! The kind of "oneness" that is being sought can only be attained over a period of many years together. For many spouses, it is never attained. For them and all others in the intervening years between starting out and finally surviving to old age together (assuming you make it) what really happens? After the passion of youthful vitality wanes and the bloom of romance fades into daily reality, what we are left with is the stuff that lasting relationships are made of, love, committment, compromise, patience, making mistakes, learning from mistakes, forgiveness, etc. These are the things that make a marriage successful. They have made arranged marriages work and polygynous marriages work over thousands of years and they are essential to the ever popular monogamous marriages as well.
Where does the concept of oneness come in? From Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." We are not certain if these were specifically the words of the Creator, of Adam or later Moses. I suspect, God through Moses, but nevertheless it says "one flesh" not one spirit or one person or any other level of "oneness". Some conservative scholars tell us that the "oneness" mentioned is sexual oneness, copulation. While that may well apply, I think there is a more obvious answer that has long been over looked by spiritualizing God's Word. Look at the context, "leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife = one flesh, the establishing of a new family unit. There are reasons bird parents push their young out of the nest. Our generation of people are missing that. When a young man and woman marry, they should move out of the parental home and take on the responsibility of their own home and family unit.
In this diagram, I hope to show how our concept of oneness has robbed people of their unique identity and damaged their relationship with God.
In section "A" the double lines show relationship, responsibility and desire to please our spouses as the primary function in our relationship and the red broken lines show a secondary relationship to God that doesn't have the priority and strength that the first do, leaving God in the perimeter of our lives as an emergency source of help.
In section "B" we see the double lines show relationship to God as being the chief priority, trusting, pleasing and finding our source of strength and purpose in Him. The single line between spouses indicates a level of relationship that does not depend upon the spouse for our happiness, thereby relieving them of the awesome responsibility to be what we need. Spouse is then freed to be who and what he/she is and we can then appreciate them for their reality rather than the role of our emotional supporter. Each can contribute to the relationship, characteristics and commodities that make for a lasting relationship without draining the resources of the other. No spouse can make us happy when we are not happy with God and ourselves. There is no degree of mystical, romantic "oneness" that can make it happen. Because of this, I believe most marriages that fail have arrived at the tragedy of broken hearts.