I have always been intrigued when I pronounce a husband and wife as being one on their wedding day. Of course, biologically, physically, emotionally, and their background is extremely different. How does a couple build this togetherness notwithstanding the glaring differences?
Authentic oneness starts when one builds an inner authentic self. Self-esteem and self-awareness are key to an individual’s self-image. In fact, self-disclosure that is essential in building agreement comes from an inner self that is not intimidated by what others will say or think.
In the words of Winston S. Churchill, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” When we allow internal enemies like pride, fear, selfishness, self-centeredness and personal insecurities to find habitation, they become the inner enemies that will exterminate the desire to build a healthy self-image.
True, walking with someone whose way of doing things or looking at issues differs from what you are familiar with, is no easy task. Being tolerant of and empathetic to divergent views can be emotionally draining and even downright exhausting. However, once this hurdle is overcome, the benefits of being well synched with your partner and joy of achieving shared goals and aspirations make the journey worth every sweat. Why?
First, we quickly discover that two are better than one. Two, complement each other’s determination to enhance connectedness, unity and relational fellowship.
Two are better than one because we start to see that others have something to offer. Demeaning and looking down on others will only send us back into our self-made prisons and make fellowship difficult. Unity is only productive where we are willing to make sacrifices and release control. However, how willing are we to be vulnerable with our spouses?
Authentic living and unselfish service cannot be realised unless our devotion is true. Divided attention in our devotion may appear attractive, but this is where spouses start building their own agenda or life may be out of a simple disagreement in the relationship. It is true that a branch cannot be productive unless it remains connected to the tree. Similarly, marital fruitfulness is based on a couple’s connectivity.
Second, our perception will influence how we connect in a relationship. The level of sensitivity in which spouses relate and engage within a relationship is key to their continued intimacy. What you think about your spouse influences the level of your connection with them. Most times our thinking determines our associations and choices. Therefore, what controls our thinking determines the direction the relationship takes. We must be deliberate to dwell on helpful thoughts that will flourish the relationship.
Our thoughts are key to not only determining how deeply we can interact with others who may have a slightly different opinion on things than us but how tolerant we are towards them. Perception helps bridge the gap between indifference and diversity thereby creating an opportunity to practice and show love and tolerance towards one another.
Referring to the indifference during his time, Mahatma Gandhi noted, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” The danger comes when our pride and the desire to elevate ourselves get in the way.
I am a strong believer in that we should never allow ourselves to think we are better than we really are. A faulty view of who your partner is and why they do what they do can seriously damage your relationship. Pride makes it hard for spouses to be honest in the way they estimate themselves.
The goal of every spouse is to create an environment where authentic selves lead to a sense of belonging. The idea is to look for opportunities to create a peaceable environment for co-existence. When one spouse thinks about or processes issues differently, it should not lead to division. In fact, the human body presents an analogy that helps us see how many parts work towards the attainment of one goal.
Many lessons that come out of watching a human body function: First, the body shows us the need for belonging. Second, it shows the need for interrelatedness between various parts. Third, marriage is a place where we are able to display our individual uniqueness on the whole.
Our uniqueness and gifting enable us to do our part in a relevant manner. As a result, every spouse must see their gifts as playing a complementary and not a competitive role. Embracing diversity compliments and enhances our oneness and productivity. When each person does their best with what they have, this enriches the relationship greatly.
In conclusion, every spouse needs to defeat hypocrisy with frank talk coated with sincere love. Second, when we truly care and empathise with each other, our bond strengthens. Fourth, instead of seeking revenge, spouses need to look for better ways of relating and be involved in peacemaking. Finally, instead of greed, we need to remain generous and thankful.