I’ve been married a little over a year now but it I’m left to wonder after that time how I ever walked around without half of myself. When I look back I think of myself as limping, eager to run but always held back by some great limitation. I was like an unbalanced scale, measuring one heavy thing, the weight of my passions and desires, against air, against nothing. I stumbled through life with one eye, one leg, one arm, one perspective. As I look back on the first year of my marriage I see myself as having walked for the first time, having seen the world in brighter colours, having finally looked into the mirror and smiled, like a baby does when they first recognise their reflection. I feel sturdy. I feel whole. I feel loved.
I’m not saying that your husband should complete you. I certainly am against any notion that he should fill any void you have. I also recognise that marriage is not for everyone. This blog however is addressing those who are or want to be married. What I’m trying to describe here is two broken people becoming one stronger unit. Where one struggles, the other is strong. Creating a balance that is majestic. After standing as one, what came before can only be remembered as free-falling, chaotic, uncertain. What came before was like trailers before a movie, intriguing but unfulfilling, for the real movie I came to see didn’t yet start.
The unity that comes with a marriage under God is like an invisible stitch, no one can undo it as they can’t see the threads as they are as intricate and as vast as those in the fabric. When you are apart physically or distant emotionally it feels as though an elastic band is taut between you, pulling you back into oneness. The force of unity, the naturalness of it, the magnitude of its effects, is so compelling, so moving, it moves you from the core.
It moves you to forgive. It moves you to consider the other first. It moves you to care about every aspect of the other’s life. It moves you to sacrifice in love for the other. It moves you to make great compromises. It moves you to change for the better. It moves you to put down your weapons and give up the desire to be right and join forces to work together towards a shared vision. It moves you to share everything with the other person, the whole square footage of your heart. It just moves you, like a never shrinking wave.
When I first met my husband I loved him but it took me a while to recognise him as my other half. We collided and crashed together in many ways before the puzzle piece fit together properly. It was far from smooth and it was anything but painless, but over time the jagged ends of our fabric were being prepared for the momentous stitching.
The stitching takes time and is as painful as a needle through the skin but it’s a beautiful dance lesson, involving many bumped knees and mashed toes as well as breathtaking moments of effortless twirls, dips and hip sways.
Now how I describe it makes it seem easy but we mustn’t fool ourselves. I, as a woman, had to give myself over to his leadership, to surrender my need to control, to bury my critical inclinations, to build habits of greater affection and greater affirmation, to become more gentle, loosing the harshness and bluntness of my love, to learn to be selfless, to trust someone to care for me better than I could myself, to give up some of my definitive, individualistic dreams to follow some of his, to embrace the weak and imperfect parts of him, to surrender my limiting definition of manliness, to learn, painstakingly, to apologise and admit where I’m wrong, to ask him everyday ‘how was your day’, to remember to give him hugs often, to tell him how I love him as often as possible.
To the married people out there, I’d like to encourage you to never compromise your unity. Instead, seek radical unity. I know I’m only one year in but sometimes it takes the zeal of the newbie to remind the veteran what’s most important.
To single people who really want to be married, I want to encourage you to allow your husband (or wife) into your life. Stop trying to mesh with people who don’t share your constituency of fabric, who don’t respect and share your visions, who don’t listen to you when you share your heart, who don’t support you and push you to be your best, who don’t seek to build your trust, who don’t care to say sorry, who don’t stick around when you’re at your worst, who don’t have a drive within them to be better versions of themselves, who don’t love and revere God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe. Allow your husband (or wife) into your life and your heart. You will recognise him (or her) by their solid, steadfast, indispensable friendship. May your heart’s desire to find your other half be answered no matter your age or backstory.
And finally, to my husband, who is miles apart from me for the first time since we got married, I love you so very incredibly and colossally. You are my best friend and you are my favourite person. I hope we will conquer many seas together, bring the gospel to many people, glorify God in all we do, flourish together, be intensely fruitful together, be salt and light together and never stop growing together in truth and love.