Monday, February 16, 2009

Marriage: Truly ONE, Truly TWO - Part 1

I love to canoe. Or, should I say, I love it when my husband canoes? We've spent many happy hours on rivers and lakes, me in the front and Jeff in the back. He's a good sport, letting me prop up a pack or cooler, put my feet up and relax … while he does the work. My goal really isn't to get anywhere, but just to be along for the ride. He, on the other hand, loves to really make progress. Other times, we each take a canoe, and I endeavor to follow in his path, staying close enough to hear each other. Sadly, my canoe usually does a creative zig zag, and I'm far away when he tries to point out hidden herons or lurking snapping turtles. Instead, I find myself distant, at best, straining to land at the same destination. Long ago, I think he gave up on the hope that, together, we would become a lean, mean, canoeing machine who explores remote lakes and isolated rivers. In the world of canoes and paddles, I'm not his equal, don't even approach compatibility, and am not really motivated to change. We're satisfied to be together, but imagine the pleasure of paddling, if we would become one. While this blog is not just about marriage, I hope that these thoughts will encourage those who find themselves in a canoe with a husband and those who think they'd love "to try to canoe." Join me for the next few days as we reflect on what it is to truly be "ONE" and why it matters that we are also truly "TWO."

In the world of more significant "oneness," marital oneness, we often focus on the union, when a man and a woman become "one flesh." It may seem illusive or out of reach, but the secret to this oneness may lie in the first part of the phrase recorded in Genesis 2:24: "and they." Before we're told that they were joined, we're told the woman was of the man's flesh and would be named "Woman." Before they were united, we're told the man was to leave his parents. Both had an independent, developed identity before they came to each other. God brought two distinct people to the first union, a distinction we can not underestimate today. In fact, the Psalmist David testified about his life that, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book," Ps. 139:16, and he knew that God's thoughts about him were precious and, "vast is the sum of them," Ps. 139:17. Each life carefully and individually designed by their intimate Creator. As marriages come under attack and bend under the weight of our flesh, we often focus on fixing the one flesh, but we skip ahead and overlook the vital element of who comprises "the two." It is, in fact, "the two" that determine how harmonious the union is. Are they striving together? Are they in synch? Are they moving with a common purpose? Are they progressing in the same direction? Who are "the two"?

Tomorrow, let's begin to look at some of the steps that have to be taken for a man and a woman to be two individuals who become one.

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