I’m not good with art, but if you were sitting in my office, however, I would attempt to draw this diagram on my dry erase board. I hope you can get past the crude drawing to get to the intended meaning, because it really is important to understand in shaping a marriage.
Taken from Ephesians 5:21-33, I believe this is the model of a healthy marriage that God is attempting to build. It is by design that two unique and imperfect people are called to become one. To accomplish that task, two things must occur.
First, as indicated with the upper left and right triangles, each spouse must get rid of the “baggage” he or she brings into the marriage. While most of us come with lots of baggage, in simple terms, this is anything that will not help the couple become one. If for example, one spouse is selfish, while that may be allowed in some relationships, it will not work in making one flesh. Discovering what parts of each spouse will not work in building one flesh becomes one goal in building a strong marriage. This could even be natural bents or personalities, but they must be considered as to whether they make the marriage stronger or weaker.
The middle two triangles, with the words “One Flesh”, illustrate the process of taking the best of each spouse, that part that helps completes the other spouse, and using it to build God’s design for the marriage. As an example, my wife is the compassionate one in our relationship. (You could have guessed that most likely.) In our life together, she helps me be more compassionate. At the same time, Cheryl would enable others to take advantage of her if I were not around. Many times, I provide the strength that makes us strong as a couple and protects our family life.
So what do you do with this information? Well, first working together (if you can’t do this together in love you have other issues to work through first), begin to make lists of those things that could keep it from becoming one flesh (your baggage). Over the course of time (don’t rush this process), each spouse begins to work on his or her baggage.
Second, make an opposite list of those qualities in each spouse that add to the strength of the marriage bond. Obviously, this is a more pleasant list to put together, but it’s most helpful if each spouse share the strengths of the other spouse. Once this list is in place, over time, begin to yield the marriage to the each of these strengths.
The seemingly impossible goal of becoming one flesh is not only challenging, but it is a lifetime process. Learning to communicate strengths and weaknesses each spouse brings to the marriage can help build the marriage God intended for you to have.
What strengths or weaknesses do you and/or your spouse bring to the marriage? Feel free to share a few here.