I hadn't been to court since career day in junior high school, when I shadowed a district court judge for a day and decided I wanted to be something with more colorful outfits, more time outside, and second chances ... so I became an elementary school teacher. :)
While I waited for my friend's case to be heard, I witnessed something I'd never heard before: Divorce proceedings. Some of you just leaned your head back and muttered, "Oh, yeah. Been there before." Well, it was my first time. I expected people to be openly spiteful, but not a single person stuck out their tongue or stomped their feet (like they might in 1st grade ;). I think they were past that. What resonated with me was what the judge called the couple: "the man ... and the woman."
When we fall in love, just the mention of our lover's name brings joy and excitement, but somewhere along the way, these two lovers stopped being who they were and became "the man ... and the woman." I grieved for them.
I'm rather old fashioned about taking your husband's name when you get married, but what's most important is that we know that when we marry, our identity really does change.
If a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, and people are the Church, then we know that "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things pass away. Behold, all things have become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) Becoming the Bride of Christ means taking on a new identity. We are no longer who we were. We are a new creation. When we marry, we become one, and we get a new name: "Wife. Husband."
Just as each member of the Bride of Christ is unique, each spouse in a marriage is unique. What makes your spouse uniquely who they are? For me, I smile when I think of all that makes "Jeff" who he is ... his habits, his personality, his gifts, his loves, his experiences, his thoughts. I'm sure he's nothing like your man. He is one-of-a-kind, and he's my man. He is so much more than "the man."
Somewhere between falling in love, making the covenant of marriage, and sitting on opposite sides of the court room, that man and woman stopped enjoying what made them each unique in their new identity in marriage. Our marriages are stronger when we remember and enjoy what makes our partner who they are, so they don't become the generic "man" or "woman."
Here are 2 ideas to help you remember what makes your guy who he is:
- Take a blank piece of paper and write your spouse's name in the middle. Make a web with a circle for each of these categories: gifts, personality, loves, experiences, dreams, thoughts. In each circle write what makes him unique. The example to the right is really tiny in blog form ;) so if you would me to email it to you, leave a comment with your email or email me directly, and I'll be glad to send it to you as a regular attachment.
- Write your husband's full name (First, Middle, Last) vertically on the side of a page. Use it as an acrostic to think about qualities that make your man the wonderful creation God has made him. (Ex. J-Jesus Lover, E-Explorer, F-Friend, F-Faithful... )
- These two exercises would also make really fun "homemade" Valentine cards. :)
Linked to Ann Voskamp's Practice of Marriage.