Although this is not part of the Judah, Jehu and Jezebel blog, it seemed like a timely word. Hope you enjoy. The blog series will continue. In my years of porn addiction counseling as well as marital counseling overall, the one constant I see in most marital strife is not so much communication issues, though they are plentiful, but it is more the inability or stubbornness to surrender one’s individuality within in the confines of the marriage institution. And why? Well, because frankly, it can be painful. Each person in the marriage will eventually arrive at a place where they are afraid to let go of all they have ever known their life to be and is embark on a journey into uncharted waters. If they can overcome this fear, the marriage is off to an amazing start. If one or both get stuck here, it has the potential to not be a very fun ride.
To many, the best thing to do is to have a clear exit strategy for when the pain or uncertainty gets too severe, and one is pushed too far. If you are clinging to an exit strategy in your marriage “just in case,” I have some somewhat bad news for you: you are not fully engaged in your marriage and it has a better chance of failing than being a success and ultimately becoming a light of the power of Gods’ love working in AND through your marriage - which is the highest call upon everything we will ever do or ever have in our life.
I remember, one time, counseling a married couple, and getting this mental picture of how intense the journey to oneness can actually be. That picture, oddly enough, was from the famous silver screen monster of the 1930's, Frankenstein. I was dealing with a couple who were so attached to their own individuality, their own pasts, their own expectations of how the marriage should function, that they would not loosen their grip and allow the Holy Spirit to guide them to unity and oneness. I saw this mental image of Frankenstein, who, for the 1% who may not know, was an experiment of a mad doctor, obsessed with using multiple body parts from different dead bodies, aligning them in the form and structure of a human, and then sending an immense amount of electricity through the newly formed body to bring this new “person” to life. This was actually one of the first concepts of "what is life" and does this creature actually possess it's own soul.
I told the couple (and many since then) that I know it’s fearful to let go of what we know and to trust God to enter the unknown. If I were to look at the process of “becoming one flesh” in only the natural, and take it to its most logical conclusion, I see a man and a woman facing each other on a machine, like one of those car smashing machines, that will smash their bodies together. As this happens, physical pain would result from the crushing of bones and ripping of muscles, etc. (I mean, let’s not get too graphic.) Then, when the machine has done it’s work, what falls out onto the ground is a pile of bones, muscles and vital organs, BUT, the two people would now resemble just one person - very similar to Frankenstein.
Much like that natural concept, there is a lot of pain and death as we allow God to take us as two separate individuals, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and recreate one new person in covenant love and purpose. In Ephesians 2:14-15, speaking of Jews and Gentiles, the apostle Paul begins to explain the mystery of the death of Christ - that through Jesus’ sacrificial death, he paved a way for all the nations of the world to become ONE, under the authority of Christ as the head of this new union. In Psalm 133 we read “how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (or sisters, or marriages, or siblings or co-workers - get the point?) to dwell together in unity.” God is all about oneness and unity. Just look at the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Distinguishable but inseparable in every way. Jesus'prayer in John 17 was a request to the Father that the disciples would be one even as He and the Father are one.
After the honeymoon phase of our marriage, as things start to settle down and we realize that this marriage is forever, we can often feel like we are breaking inside, losing our ability to control our circumstances and having to ultimately make the decision to let parts of our lives die that we’ve come to rely upon - especially those parts that have helped us navigate our single life. When you first met your spouse, it would take about 18-24 months to lose that whole "infatuation" feeling. The chemicals in your brain responding to this new found love and all the "puppy love feelings" that go along with it, actually need to settle down for you to be able to reason properly about your future with this other individual. It is also said that a relationship takes about 6 to 7 years within the confines of a marriage, for it to start to find that place of oneness and intimacy. That can be upwards of 7-9 years that you need to invest into a relationship before you start to see it settle in to God's design for marriage and actually have the strength to endure all life long. But in that season, it is the time to surrender yourself to the work of the Holy Spirit who will now guide this entity into experiencing amazing depths of God’s love, which will in turn empower this new person, making it so much easier to move forward in sunergy and momentum, than if we were to keep fighting to the to the death to not lose our identity. Most marriages hit the skids at around the 6-7 year mark. This should be a lesson that although it's hard around this time frame, if you both choose to push through it all, you will push into oneness and intimacy like you never have before. So many people married for over 50 years say that what they experience in their 70s and 80s is something incredibly beautiful, not even to be compared to the early moments of the new found love. I believe that. I feel that in my marriage, thankfully. But, this is my second marriage. I chose not to fight and push through in my first marriage because of my porn addiction and never dealing with the deep unmet needs of my life. (Which you can read a little more about here.)
In the nation (not state) of Georgia, originally a province of Russia, stands a large 26 foot monument made up of two mechanical statues representing a famous young literary couple who are in love - Ali and Nino. At each day’s end, the two statues, move toward each other and because of their design, are able to completely interweave. In one phase, both statues look as if they are completely one unit; seamless. But that is only the beginning. The two figures then pass through each other and end up with their backs touching. This is because the two are never fully able to achieve a relationship because of the demands of war in their country. To see the movement of the monument from beginning to end leaves you with fluctuating emotions. You are so touched with their love and unity, but ultimately realize that this relationship can never be. HOWEVER!!! there is that one moment where monument shows only one person. HIT PAUSE!!!! That stage is God’s best for our marriage and what He works so hard to see established. YES! GOD IS FIGHTING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE TO LAST!!! He is for marriage! He is for covenant!!! All of Heaven's resources are available to you to see this marriage become not only successful but to be a light for how God can work miracles in other people's marriages, giving them hope to trust in Him! It is heaven on earth when it finally happens, but it comes at a cost. Self-sacrifice. You see, when Jesus calls us to a relationship with Him, He tells us that the only way it will work is for us to lose our self in the process. God places this same demand on our marriages because it causes each person to truly experience God's sacrificial and unconditional love.