Friday, 27 April 2012

How to Develop Oneness in Marriage
Is it 50/50 or 100/100?

Developing oneness is worth our effort
While I was pregnant with our first child, my husband took a half-day leave to accompany me to the doctor. As his co-workers knew that he tried his best to be with me during visits to the doctor, one of them counseled him, “Annie can go alone to the clinic, it is 50/50, isn't it? Annie does 50 and you do 50 and then marriage will work out.” But my husband replied, “No, it is 100/100 and this is how it works.”

This happened almost 18 years ago. Our life went through a lot of changes in these years: Another child, returned to India, teaching, pastoring, studying, caring for dying parents, pain and inconveniences that come with a herniated disc, and many other challenges and blessings. But I continue to see that my husband was right; it is 100/100 not 50/50.

Viewing marriage as a 100/100 relationship seems to be an unreasonable math equation. Marriage as a 50/50 partnership makes sense as both spouses put 50% and thus moving towards a 100. One does the cooking and other does the cleaning, one does the washing and the other does the folding. This sounds practical and workable. Those who have been married for sometime know that this is not the way things work in real life.

I believe that marriage is a higher calling. This calling involves God's plan for families to display the nature of God's love for his people—with love Jesus died for us even when we were yet sinners and in his love he continues to sanctify his people to be his own. Such an expectation from two ordinary people may sound unfair. It is not only unfair but also from our experiences we know that it is not that easy. Yet God is giving us a privilege to live towards his greater vision for our life.

Moreover, 100/100 effort is needed to fulfill God's specific purpose for each family. God has a special niche that each family has to carve out. If attaining God's general calling for families is difficult, then think about the goal to attain a special purpose for our families. The path to attain this will bring us unique sorrows and joys one after the other. Yet families that have attained it can testify that at the end will be well.

As God reveals to us the unique purpose of each family, he is inviting each of us to put 100% towards his dream. This demands self-denial and self-affirmation. Self-denial or unselfishness involves putting aside everything from within and without that may hinder God's general and specific vision for the family. This does not mean one is not selfless. Each family is determined to persist to attain the purpose and vision of the family. This is part of self-affirmation.

Imagine you see all the houses in a city or village from a higher altitude. You may see the buildings in the size of something like match box. If each home puts in 100/100 to fulfill God's general and specific purpose, then we can join with Balaam in the Bible and say “How beautiful are your tents....”

The delight in this endeavor is that both spouses are active in doing their 100% in carving out their family's unique niche. In reality, in many families spouses are only willing to put their 50, or only one spouse is determined to give 100, or others have the desire but may not have the needed stamina. In such cases let us hope that they would see the pleasure of 100/100 and persevere to preserve the sanity of marriage and soon would enjoy the oneness that God desires for the husband and his wife.

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