Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Knowledge = love

When we get married we become one flesh - but that one flesh always resides in two separate bodies. We retain our personalities, our unique wants, needs and hopes. It is within marriage that we should be able to express those without fear of being judged or condemned, even as we give ourselves fully to our spouse and love and serve them. That is the way God designed us; that we would be different, bringing our respective qualities together to work as a team. Over the course of a lifetime spent living, loving and working together, you get to know your spouse like no one else, has or even can. This knowledge doesn’t happen all at once; we are complex beings, with countless layers and nuances. Marriage is for life in the eyes of God precisely because it takes that long to truly “know” that other person. That is the height of intimacy, that complete knowing of another’s soul. There is an old saying that “love” happens between two people who don’t know each other, but “true love” happens when two people know each other completely. There are no secrets, and that increases love, not diminishes it. This relationship between knowledge and love is illustrated by the psalmist in Psalm 91:14-15

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Does your marriage reflect that picture? Does your knowledge of each other foster that level of devotion?

In marriage we must draw a line between intimacy - which we all desire, and which should be the goal of a healthy, ever-developing relationship - and dependency, which is sure to kill intimacy. When a person is dependant on another for validation, they edit their behavior, limit what they say, what they disclose to their partner. Always wondering how their actions will resonate they become more and more subject to the whims of other people, wondering what other people will think, how they will react. This stifles true self-expression, and over time one can lose their sense of self. Your value comes from God, from his love for you. He made you, “fearfully and wonderfully.” Knowing that, no one should need or seek the approval of other people. As it says in Jude 1:21

Keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus

God made you the way He did for a reason, and you should revel in that. There is no reason to hide who you are from your spouse; indeed, a strong sense of self is critical to be in a true loving relationship. We need to be able to express ourselves openly and honestly. Within the context of marriage, we should be able to be completely vulnerable and transparent. Our needs can’t be addressed by our spouses if they don’t know what they are! That said, this is often easier said than put into practice. As stated above, that is why we have a lifetime with our spouses to learn and grow, to mature and build the deep, abiding trust necessary to open ourselves completely - and welcome that openness in our partners.

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