I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage these last few weeks for several reasons. Whether it is with the couples I work with, or my own personal marriage…I have come to realize that we just can’t do marriage on our own. We can throw all the tools at it we want, but at the end of the day it takes a supernatural power that you or I are not equipped with. So as I have thought about my own marriage I have prayed that I would be able to create a sacred space between my wife and I where God dwells, and in the process transforms our marriage. I pray for this because I know how quickly I close up this sacred space as I try to do marriage on my own terms. My own pride and selfishness get in the way, and often I think I know what is best for marriage. But in fact, the longer I am married, the more I have come to grips with just how powerful this sacred space is.
My hope as well is that when clients come to me for marital counseling I can help them create space for God to transform their marriage. I can give them tools that will help and they can work at it, but ultimately they must learn to be humble with their own abilities just as I am learning.
June and July are important months in my marriage. My wife and I were married nine years ago this last June and my wife celebrates a birthday shortly after in July. So as I enter into this season once again I am so very thankful for her. Thankful that God brought the two of us together to help create this third relationship…this ‘oneness.’ It’s a ‘oneness’ that only is birthed out of the sacred space in between two people…it’s in that sacred space that God creates something that neither my wife or I could bring to our relationship on our own. This ‘oneness’ has not come without trials, fears, sufferings and many ups and downs. But on the journey it also experiences many joys that can only come from the two of us letting go of ourselves and being transformed by God into ‘oneness.’
Heather, I am super thankful for you this season and look forward to many more years ahead…..may this quote be a reminder to our marriage, and to all of you who read this blog…just how amazing the joining of a husband and wife is.
“Up until now we have assumed that there are only two beings in a marriage, the husband and the wife. In fact, there are three complete beings in a marriage–you, your spouse, and the relationship between you, which both of you serve, which benefits each of you, but which is not exactly like either one of you. This relationship is itself very much like a living being–like a baby born from you both. It has its own character. It enters existence infantile, when you speak vows to one another. It comes cuddly and lovely, but very weak and in need of care and nourishment. As times goes on, as this baby-relationship grows up, it becomes stronger and stronger until it serves and protects you in return. This ‘being,’ this living thing, this relationship which needs you both (the whole of each of you), but which is not you (it is not the two of you added together, because it is distinct from either one of you)–that is your ‘oneness.’ Serving it, you both enact a harmony. You are co-laborers committed to the care of a single (third!) life between you. You are each a whole, unique, free creature of God. You you are one.
Now, then: when you look upon your marriage, you are not just looking upon one another (possibly feeling at odds with one another), but upon this third being which requires the complete attention, all of the wisdom and skills, and the holy prayers and faith of you both.” (Walter Wangerin, Jr., As for Me & My House, pp. 45-46)