I've been thinking about the marriage paradox. I'm convinced that God loves paradoxes. “The last shall be first.” “Whoever wants to save his life must lose it.” “The meek shall inherit the earth.” And the marriage paradox seems to be one of the greatest of all. God said in Genesis that “the two shall become one.” When I married my husband, I stopped being an individual and became part of a whole. My identity is no longer in myself, it is in the union of the two of us. In fact, as a believer, I have two identities: I am a child of God and I am a wife to Keith. Neither of those are roles, they identify me. Yes, I have roles within those identities, but they don't change the fact that they define who I am.
We live in a world that would say I need to stop identifying as a wife and focus on my individuality. I have heard people talk about “losing themselves” in the midst of their marriage and motherhood. But by the very act of focusing on my individuality, I am actually losing my identity.
Here's the paradox. When I married my husband, we became one. That means that whatever affects him, affects me. And whatever affects me, affects him. If I spend my time criticizing him, tearing him down, and complaining about him all the time, I am, in fact, directly hurting myself. If I spend my time focused on building him up, encouraging his strengths, and praising the things he does, I am, by the very nature of our oneness, doing those things for myself. If I focus on the union rather than my individuality, I am actually strengthening who I am as an individual because the stronger he is, the stronger our union is, and the stronger I become. If I focus on myself and not him or our marriage, I am actually tearing down and destroying myself.
It's actually the same when it comes to my identity as a child of God. If I focus on God and my relationship with him, I become stronger. If I focus on myself instead of God I become weaker.
I once heard that the best definition of humility is not to consider yourself less, but to not consider yourself at all. That is my goal; to stop considering myself at all and instead focus on God, on my husband and children, and on others. I don't need to “work on me,” God will take care of that. I need to work on my relationships with God and others and forget about me altogether.
We are being seriously deceived by our society in this area and it is affecting our marriages and our relationships, especially our relationship with God. I challenge you (and myself) to spend a month focusing on your spouse, if you have one, and your other relationships and practice not thinking of yourself at all. Then see if it doesn't change your life.
Keep pressing on !!
Keep pressing on !!