When we get married, we are looking forward to years of loving companionship, We are happy to announce ourselves fully booked and content. We are eager and ready to become one flesh in every way.
And so it should be that way.
However, the reality is that becoming one flesh is no joke, and sooner or later all of us hit a challenge because the “becoming” part is far from easy.
In fact, things often seem to be going in the opposite direction..
The opposite of “one flesh” is distance and disconnection. It can happen that, what once started out warm and intimate becomes cool and barely even polite.
This is the result of discovering things about your spouse over the course of time, which are difficult to deal with. Often the behavior of the other seems unfathomable, unpredictable and unloving. It can drive you to believe that the fault with your waning relationship rests entirely on the other, since his or her actions and reactions are so utterly impossible to handle.
But the fact is that this state of affairs is completely normal and to be expected, since you married an individual, who, simply by reason of being a member of the opposite sex, is wired entirely differently to you!
Consider these typical traits of male and female “wiring”:
- A man has a strong drive and strong opinions. He finds it hard to admit that he is wrong. When a man presents ideas to his wife, he is looking for endorsement, not discussion!
- Since Adam received his commission to work before he received Eve, to this day men have a confusing drive to pursue their work at the expense of their family sometimes.
- A man has almost an obsession with respect. Whatever you are discussing, if your approach is wrong and he starts to feel disrespected, the new topic of conversation will be how you disrespected him, until you put that right.
- A man has a strong drive to seek sexual fulfilment. If a man says he isn’t bothered about being married, he is finding an outlet for his sexual drive somewhere else!
- A man is easily a creature of habit; he will want to sit in the same chair, eat the same food, tell the same jokes and repeat the same daily routines; in fact he has to work hard at not becoming boring!
- A man is profoundly insecure and fears that one day he will be uncovered as not being everything that he is outwardly making out. Yet his fragile ego is also the power house of his ability to take you somewhere and to become great. As a woman you should build your man up, rather than attempt to bring him down a peg or two!
- A woman is emotionally unpredictable and changeable. Her moods fluctuate from one day to the next and even from one moment to the next. To a man she can seem exhausting in the emotional demands she makes.
- She desires conversation and connection. She loves to explore and express her feelings and observations.
- A woman will want to talk about an issue until she feels that you have heard her. Until she feels that way, the subject is not closed!
- A woman feels the tone of everything you say to her, far more than she hears the words themselves. Not only that but she never forgets what you said to her, especially if it was hurtful, and you never made it right.
- A woman needs affection, which does not always turn into a sexual encounter. She wants to be held and stroked, simply so that she can feel that you cherish her.
- A woman who loves you will see what you can become – she will see the king in you. When you feel she is nagging, she is actually trying to make you into that king.
- A woman is wired to help you, to incubate what you give her and to present to you something far more creative and developed. If you tell her your plans and ideas, don’t expect them to remain the way you stated them. She isn’t meddling, she is bringing you her contribution with a view to helping you!
The hardest thing about all of this is that none of us find it comfortable or easy to accept and embrace the differences of another person. Our instinct is to try and make the other person conform to how we are.
Men want the women to respond to them as another man would and they wish that their woman would stop being so much work!
Women want the men to be more sensitive and communicative, because it’s tough for them living with someone who doesn’t want to give much emotionally.
Yet God has given to us, not what we feel we need, but what HE can see that we need. He knows that if we stay entrenched in our own way of being, we will be less than what we could be, even though we may feel it’s an easier deal.
As we make the uncomfortable stretch to understand our spouse, and to accommodate and fulfil their needs, even though we may feel that those needs are unreasonable or unnecessary, God does an amazing thing; He makes us into the person that we ought to be in His plan and purpose.
Don’t try and make your husband or wife into your image; allow them to be, in your life, the creation that God has set alongside you, made in His image.
Make a decision that every effort you put into yielding to the needs and demands of your spouse, to give them what they want within reason and within the boundaries of morality, is entirely worth it, since the rewards that you will reap both in your own success as an individual and as a couple, will far outweigh the cost.
Settle it forever that becoming one flesh is God’s purpose for you in marriage, and that your willingness to bend and change to make your wife or husband happy, is an honorable thing.
Finally, welcome the process! Jump right in and give it all you have. The benefits of a happy spouse will far exceed the price of your sacrifice. Not only that, but the promotion that God gives, as your character becomes mature and fully formed, will bring fulfilment that cannot be attained any other way.