One of the greatest causes of bitterness, anger, and brokenness in marriage is the confusion over union: couples know that in marriage TWO become ONE, but what they forget (or are never taught) is that ONE must continue to be TWO. Union is sacred—but so is individuality. People must learn to be One and yet recognize that by God’s design they are still TWO. Marriage is a union—not a fusion. In a fusion, two things melt into one substance. They become entirely—and only—one thing! But in a union, two become one by covenant and yet remain as two. This means that the TWO recognize, respect, and celebrate each other’s distinct, individual personalities, needs, and desires. When couples become fused together or completely wrapped up and entangled in each other’s lives—when there is no separation or distinguishing of each spouse’s right to be their own person and to own their own emotions and desires—then manipulation, anger, and resentment will grow like poisonous weeds to stifle the life of the Marriage Garden. Why?
People learn to fear and resent each other when they are completely locked into (and dependent on) each other’s emotional states. “You make me so mad!” becomes the unnatural spirit of a marriage where people are completely reliant on each other for their own strength and happiness.
The marriage covenant does commit each spouse to live a shared life. Oneness comes from a physical and spiritual union wherein husbands and wives share each other’s lives. But union also protects individuality—and it needs to. Couples must work hard at being ONE and work hard at allowing each other to be TWO. God sets the example: God is One, yet Three. He is a Unity in Trinity and a Trinity in Unity. God the Father is not God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is neither God the Father nor God the Son. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Father did not die on calvary; God the Son died on calvary. And it is not God the Son that stayed to lead and teach the Church; it is God the Holy Spirit that does this. The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct, yet they are ONE. We would do well to follow God’s lead in our marriages. To protect the sacredness of our union and the sacredness of our individualities, TWO must become ONE, but ONE must continue to be TWO.