Recently on our beloved Facebook, a friend posted a picture of his wife and said that it was “pretty incredible that he got to share his life with her.” A very common statement, but for some reason the word “share” nearly jumped off my computer screen at me–therefore inspiring this week’s post.
More often than not, the term used is “spend”–as in spending my life with someone. Not “share”. That’s why it was so different to me. It was as if he carefully chose his words, something my best friend is firm about (choosing his words). So, for the first time ever, I actually looked these words up in the dictionary.
Spend v. 1. To use up or put out; expend 2. To pay out (money). 3. To wear out; exhaust 4. To pass (time) in a specified manner or place 5. a. To throw away; squander b. To give up (one’s time or efforts, for example) to a cause; sacrifice.
But that’s just finances. Life isn’t really about money. Well, not all about it. It’s also about being happy, being an individual, knowing who you are, being a whole.
Mark 10:8 says, “And the two shall become one flesh, so they are no longer two, but one.”
Did you catch it? Don’t worry; I didn’t either for the last 30+ years. But I see it now. It’s even in there twice! Many people only see the word “one” but with new eyes and a better understanding, I see another word being mentioned before “one” and both times. The word is Two.
This isn’t a math equation where two halves equal a whole, it’s a reality where God intended us to become whole people from the moment we where placed in our mother’s womb till the day we enter His kingdom. We are not meant to be some other’s half but of another’s whole!
I started on a solid path to this line of thinking, but it was backed only by my sheer stubbornness to be an “independent woman”. Before I was married, I had a full time and part time job. I had a career. I had responsibilities and I met those responsibilities. I had a dog and I had a plant (no, it was’t marijuana) that thrived and didn’t die. I lived alone in my own apartment, decorated to my taste without a compromise. Sure, I had a shopping problem, but that was just one of the many things that made me a whole person even if it was a flaw. I had a personality and moods that didn’t waver to please or anger another person.
I have said this before and I will say it now, too: I will marry again. I cannot wait to share my life with someone. He is going to take part in my personal journey as I will his, but we will not be on the same ONE journey. At times, it will be combined and sometimes separated, though supported by the other. One journey will not be more important than the other.
He will learn of my incessant need to release creativity–loudly or quietly depending on the creation and the mood. How I love to cry at sappy romance movies and never tell a soul, or my desire to be scared out of my wits so that I can have an excuse to cuddle that night when we go to bed that night. That most of my cooking adventures are disastrous. That I would rather break both of my legs than make a trip to Walmart for groceries. My tolerance for ignorance is extremely low and this includes road rage. That Friday nights can be anything from hanging out with a group of friends having a game night or an evening in with a movie and caramel covered popcorn. Weekends can be exploratory road trips, camping, or rainy afternoons listening to Norah Jones while sipping tea. That my breath will always smell of coffee and I don’t plan on changing that. (Yes, I brush my teeth. Coffee drinkers will get this.) I like cleanliness, but I am a pack-rat, sentimentally attached to material things of my life. That family time is like the butter and cheese in a bowl of mashed potatoes–makes life that much more savory! Church (not religion) is a necessary part of my life and I want to be with someone who has their own walk with Christ… I don’t want to drag someone along with me through life, hoping that they’ll eventually catch up in their own walk. And I don’t even want them in my walk with Him. That’s my walk. It’s a struggle for me not to go broke over clothes, for my desire to look cute is a weakness. That I need to hear that I’m beautiful every once in a while; not because I will no longer believe it, but because I simply want to know that my efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Someone who supports me in my separate ventures, even when they are not directly involved. I need to spend a lot of quality time with them, but am desperate for alone time as well. Maybe even time away, to be with my friends. That I want to continue making music, be a writer and dedicate my life not only to my family but to the ministry God sets before me. I will not just be “mom” and “wife”–although I respect any woman who chooses that route, it is simply not who I am. That I prefer staying up late and sleeping in, even though life doesn’t really allow me to do this often. That I’m a registered Independent, but I tend to vote conservative. That I love celebrating Halloween and Christmas with equal measures.
In return, I will have to accept the fact that he’s not fully comfortable with public displays of affection or that I’ll have to go to the movies every once in a while to watch a comedy instead of a horror flick. That sometimes he may have to work a lot and that is when I need to focus on my own passions. That his liberal ideals are based on our similar convictions, he just believes in a different execution. That he occasionally likes to listen to rap whereas I would trade that out for show-tunes during my musical whims if I could. That he may want to go rock climbing when I would rather go kayaking. That he would rather fly, when I love a good 12 hour drive. That when I look forward to hoodie weather in the fall, he’s still hanging onto dear life for his shorts and flip-flops. He loves Mexican food and I prefer Italian.
We were meant to be two separate people, not the same. Don’t get me wrong though, there has to be a strong common bond and interests but our differences become the balancing act. Compromise is key, not conversion. Some of the greatest “Two become Ones” are the people that initially seem like similar people because of their personalities and interests, until you realize their balancing differences. That maybe he’s logic and she’s all about passion. She gets him to “fly” once in a while and he keeps her grounded when she needs it. That is sharing, not spending.
So often I have heard that someone is too old to settle down because they are set in their ways. I no longer believe this. I believe God has a person for everybody and “their ways” will be relatively compatible with the person they are meant to be with. With age and experience we make ourselves more beneficial to a relationship, especially if we have been focusing on being a whole. Only then can we be solid enough to share wisdom, strength, and understanding in a marriage. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule–my sister has a terrific marriage and she exchanged vows at 19. But overall, I would like to see more people take the time to examine who they really are before they decide to spend their life with someone and conforming their character and personality. If you are not married until you are 30 or even 40–more power to you. (This is not to take away from those who did it in their 20’s.)
I want someone to love me for the whole that I am and what I can offer as a team. My quirky differences, my annoying habits, my lame sense of humor, my transparency. And I want to love someone who is whole in their flaws, perfections, passions, and beauty… even if they aren’t mine.
Marriage is not a contract of “till death do you part” where you are expected to submit to one another until there is nothing left but shell of two people playing pretend. It is an appreciation of another person you want to share your life with, to learn from, to enjoy with, to cry with, to have an adventure with… until death separates you from that adventure of sharing.