“Whether your marriage is just beginning or you and your spouse are veterans, the goal is the same: deep unity in all areas of life.”
— Dr. Gary Chapman
There is comfort in this idea that marital satisfaction occurs within deep unity, but there is also fear for not achieving it. Anyone who is married or has been married knows just how hard it is to attain and maintain and sustain such a concept of anything close to deep unity.
So while the vision is inviting and wonderfully salubrious, the idea of not meeting the standard can be deeply discouraging. And even as we consider our spouse’s ability or lack of ability to even want unity, that is, of itself, adequate reason to want to give up before we have started. Yet we must have hope. If we have gone this far with the person we chose we can go all the way, and we can have marriage satisfaction that far exceeds anything we have experienced previously. This is our hope: our marriage hope. It is our marriage hope with our present partner, or, if we are not married, the hope we have within a future partnership.
Deep unity in marriage is a Christ-like idea whereby each partner lives for the other, but not in a codependent sort of way. It is a selfless love that emerges. When we can trust the other to love us, as we love them in ways to outdo them and outdo our previous performances of love, as we passionately love them, we ourselves are blessed, and in that we are also encouraged to continue what we have started.
We cannot love ourselves as we can love our marriage partners. The idea of love is that it is something we give to another person. If we are continually seeking for ourselves in marriage, operating selfishly, and worse if it is both partners, then it is no true marriage at all: we are just living with someone. (But don’t be discouraged; many marriages experience such selfishness, if not routinely, then occasionally. Not all do, however.) Marriage is an ideal of two becoming one, and evidence of that is that one loves the other and reciprocation takes place, within an unconditional love frame.
Deep unity is not some fancy and unrealistic goal, but it is the vision worth striving for. Sure, we won’t always achieve it. We will fall short. It doesn’t stop us trying; trying for the sake of the other. When they ‘win’ so do we!
The idea of love is poised in giving ourselves away to another. When two do this in marriage, deep unity is created, because they have operated in a deeply unified way. Deep unity is the goal of such a partnership: marriage.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.