It’s going to happen. Something is going to wound your marriage’s unity. Your oneness, harmony, solidarity, fellowship, rapport, and togetherness can and will be wounded, ruptured, and torn.
You will be in-love soul-mates one minute and the next minute something will happen that will hurt you, something that makes you realize you are not on the same page. It hurts because you thought you were.
In the midst of the pain you will chose to unify or divide, grow closer or further apart, get on the same page or go your own ways. There are no other choices. Unify or divide. That’s it.
It may be extremely hard to unify. But it’s worth it. Dividing is actually harder.
In a sense it’s like porcupines making love; move slowly and carefully to come together without injuring each other. If you move fast and cause injuries, forgive, heal, and don’t repeat the mistake! Get better at coming together.
For me such a wound came at the wedding the moment I saw my bride’s wedding dress.
A Little History
While planning our wedding my wife wanted me, her best friend and audience of one, to be delighted with her wedding dress, so she asked what dress style I would enjoy seeing her in. To give her a little guidance and a lot of freedom I told her two things:
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- I do not like strapless dresses (personal cultural history), and
- I would really enjoy seeing her in something like the dresses in Lord of the Rings.
My emphasis was on the first point, the second point would be nice. She agreed, we were on the same page, she went to find the perfect dress, and my anticipation at seeing her in the wedding dress grew each day.
The Wedding Day
The wedding day arrived! I woke up and enjoyed the thought, “Today I marry my best friend — yay!” The sky was brilliant, the men were handsome, and the ladies beautiful. The music played and my wife appeared … in a strapless dress!
Anger flared up inside me, we were on two different pages!
Unity is wounded. What will I do?
Immediately I heard the still, small voice repeat the puzzling phrase He had been whispering to my soul the last few days, “Do not hurt her.” Instantly it made sense.
I pushed the anger down and locked my gaze onto my bride’s eyes, those radiant eyes, those pools of joy! I focused on this woman, my best friend, my bride! I felt the love and joy of the moment, purposely blind to the dress she wore. I wanted to be on the same page!
The wedding and honeymoon were wonderful, except the wound stole part of the fullness of joy those days are meant to bring.
Over the next few months the wound prevented total heart-to-heart intimacy and detracted from physical intimacy. Everything you are is present in sex, and we had a heart issue holding us back from the fullness of what it could have been.
She could tell something was wrong and asked again and again. I said I was struggling with something deep I did not think was sin (on my part).
It wasn’t going away, instead it increasingly prevented unity of spirit, soul, and body, so I asked my other best friend, my dad, for advice. He counseled me to dive into God and let Him bring healing, and never tell my wife. Maybe after our 50 year anniversary.
I asked God for help with this wound.
Do Not Hurt Her
God did not remove it. Instead He directed me to unify with my wife and reminded me, “Do not hurt her.” How do you not wound your spouse while talking about their wounding you?
I thought and prayed for a few days. The time came. I lovingly and carefully told her when we make a decision and set an expectation about something big, it hurts me if she changes it without discussion. I want to be on the same page and it hurts when we plan to be and then find we are not.
We had a long, careful, loving and raw discussion which began forgiveness, healing, and progress in unity. I found out my wife could not find a dress that fit all the parameters (the two above and others unmentioned) in the short time schedule we chose, so her mother swayed her to get this strapless one. A lack of communication resulted in an important lesson in “leaving your parents and cleaving to your spouse.” Whose page are you going to be on, your parents’ page or your spouse’ page?
It ultimately and surprisingly took years for my heart to recover even though I, the wounded one, did not want it to impact our marriage at all! But the things that hit deep take time to recover. It seemed like a relatively small thing, but it just hit deep. You may be surprised at what hits deep; I sure have been.
It would have taken a lot longer and had worse consequences if I had followed my dad’s advice to never tell her. Keeping secrets from your spouse divides you, and that flies in the face of unity. Your spouse should be your best friend with no secrets. You should live in such a way so there is no need to keep secrets from them. Secrets are dangerous to unity.
What Do You Most Want?
What will it be for you? Hopefully not the wedding dress! (please learn from our experience and be on the same page for everything at the wedding!) It will be something where you thought you were on the same page and were surprised to find you are not.
Do not let anything get in the way of unity with your spouse. Consider Philippians 3:13 “… forget the things of the past and reach forward to the things ahead ….” Forgive, heal, do better in the future. Make their happiness the condition for your happiness; it is whether you realize it or not.
What kind of marriage do you most want? Do you want God’s power, passion, purity, and wisdom to fill your marriage? In Ephesians 5:22-33 God says our marriages are to model Christ and the Church. The husband is the leader in the marriage in the same way Jesus is the leader of the Church. Jesus proved His love by dying for the Church; the Church must follow Jesus. The husband must love his wife, and the wife respect her husband.
That is God’s definition and goal of a great marriage! That husband and wife will overcome all obstacles and protect their unity!