WE are more important than ME
(Guest writer today – Sean A. Scott)
A friend of mine recently shared his struggle with me about relationships and how increasingly difficult they’re becoming for him. He voiced his frustration and sincere questioning of whether or not what he wanted was as far “off” as he was made to feel.
His big struggle . . . wanting to be in a monogamous traditional marriage. That’s it.
He was tired of being in hip, open relationships that allowed for exploration. He shared how, in his world (professional, single, 30 something), it’s frowned upon to marry; it’s a sign of restriction and stifling constraint. Marriage is a place where male domination occurs and oppression reigns supreme; it limits personal expression and growth. It is a place where you cannot be who and what you want to be. It doesn’t allow freedom, whether it be sexual, spiritual or emotional. In simple terms, marriage doesn’t allow us to be EXACTLY who we want/need to be hence it’s the wrong choice; we’ve evolved beyond its usefulness.
He shared that this grieves him because he doesn’t care to dominate another, but instead, wants to simply share life with someone in a committed way; a way that two people “mirror each other,” as he said. I get that. He had a hard time verbalizing exactly what it was he was feeling but what he did say made perfect sense to a married man of 11 years. (I think it would have resonated with many single men and women as well.) His desire was to find someone that didn’t try to push you out for freedom sake but instead said your pain is mine, your joy is mine, your fear is mine so I’ll live accordingly. My life will be in support of yours and yours of mine, intertwined and mutually beneficial for the other.
But the problem was that the women he meets seem to keep bringing the conversation back to the idea that we all must do what’s best for ourselves and then focus on another. Each time, these relationships fall apart because self trumps sacrifice; it short circuits any chance at longevity for the relationship. And my buddy is left a little bit more broken and confused each time. He feels like he’s missing something; that he doesn’t “get” what everyone seems to be about.
I shared with him that, from my experience, the ONLY way to have a successful and long term relationship is the exact opposite! The finest moments in your marriage are when you decide that no matter how you feel at this moment, WE are more important than ME. It’ll never last if you’re forever trying to force, overshadow or convince your spouse that you are right; that your needs are the best needs, that your happiness is the most important.
Instead, if you’re mirroring each other, you’ll do a dance. You’ll move when you see that they need you to move. You’ll stop when their eyes ask you to. You’ll encourage them when the lines on their face are screaming for it. You’ll say sorry before their mouth can form the words. Your desires turn into their desires and vice versa; it’s the progression of the intermingling of souls. The conversation moved to how relationships and their structure have no set, clear cut form anymore. How the conversation always goes back to “whatever is best for you/makes you happy.” I shared with him that my kids really helped bring the truth into crystal, clear view. In a few simple words, Selah brought that argument/temptation to rest in my heart.
Ever since she has been able to speak, each time she sees Natalie and I hug, her eyes light up! She stops whatever she is doing, squeals and runs between us, burying her little face in our legs and says with the conviction of an angel, “We’re a family. We’re a family, right?” In that moment, the child is teaching the adult. She was never told to say those words. She wasn’t coerced into feeling the sentiment. The child, not yet saddled with baggage or marked with the many scars of life, KNOWS that every cell in her body is saying to her in that moment when she sees her parents embrace, “This is right. This is whole. This is good.” Her simple words cut deep in that moment. They make your confused self realize that, yes, we are a family! We are for one another more than ourselves. We are committed to the other for all our days here on earth. Today isn’t mine, it’s ours.
Her words and actions aren’t full of self satisfaction or ego, they’re full of US!! Now that is truth screaming through her small lips! We haven’t evolved past needing each other. Our best self isn’t found on a planet of 1, where you are the center. Finding yourself, growing into who you should be, fulfilling your dreams, realizing your potential and gaining peace in your relationship is found in the simple action of saying, “I choose us, not me. We are a family.”
So as I said to my buddy, “you’re not wrong. What your soul desires is not wrong.”
How do I know? My 4 year old daughter says so and I believe her.
Jerry writing here …
The Spirit says it this way. May this word from the Word bless, encourage, and instruct you and me today.
“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing.
So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.
They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-33, The Message)