Today our guest of honor is Scott Perkins from Choose to Trust. I’ve gleaned so much practical wisdom that’s firmly based upon God’s word at Scott’s blog. If you haven’t visited his site already, then be sure to bookmark it! You’ll be glad you did!
“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:4 – 6
Reading this verse causes me to think of the movie Runaway Bride. In this movie, Maggie – played by Julia Roberts – dates several men consecutively to the point of receiving a marriage proposal and then runs out on the wedding ceremony.
A reporter, investigating these phenomena, finds when asking each boyfriend what type of eggs Maggie liked that the answer is different from each man. One says “fried, just like me”; another says “scrambled with salt, pepper and dill, just like me”; the next says “poached, just like me”; and the last replies “garden omelet, egg whites only, just like me.”
This is what most of us think when we talk about a ‘one flesh’ marriage. Maybe not to this extreme, but our idea is that we will like the same things as our spouse, spend all of our waking, non-working moments with them, and be each other’s source of happiness and fulfillment forever and ever. One big blob of flesh with four arms, four legs, and a single mind.
That picture of ‘one flesh’ is an emotionally fused relationship.
Emotional fusion is when your definition of self – your sense of worth and significance – is dependent upon what another (in this case a spouse) reflects back to you. Be it praise or criticism, identity is enmeshed with the relationship. It is hard to know where you stop and your spouse begins.
Emotional fusion is a covering for shame; receiving a positive reflection by doing the things that get a positive reaction and avoiding the things that reflect negatively is the foundation of identity.
For Maggie, fusion took the form of liking the same things her partner liked. That way she would receive approval and acceptance.
For others of us, it takes the form of needing our spouse to be sexually responsive to us so we feel desirable.
Or it can take the form of serving our spouse – keeping a perfect home, raising kids that behave, or earning enough to buy the best things – to earn the praise that is necessary to prop up the sense of worth.
On and on the examples could go. Fusion is the giving away of your self in order to gain a sense of acceptance, significance, security or worth – the feeling of wholeness all of us naturally desire as image bearers of God.
Fusion is counterfeit intimacy. Fusion is a false form of ‘one flesh’.
Problem is – fusion takes a lot of energy. And the rewards diminish over time. As the relationship progresses and the old things that brought positive reflection are no longer effective, it leads to spouses questioning their own worth, ‘falling out of love’, depression, and resentment.
In the garden, Adam declaration that the two would become one flesh was made as he and Eve were in their shame free state. They had no physical or emotional covering; there were no walls in their relationship.
Becoming a ‘one flesh’ cannot happen in a relationship as long as it is the source of either spouse’s identity.
Being ‘one flesh’ in marriage means that the relationship is not the source of security, affirmation, control, or value.
Those issues of identity need to be rooted in Christ.
Then the husband can love his wife without feeling like he is being used up or in constant need of affirmation.
Then the wife can submit to her husband without feeling like she is giving up her power and identity.
Then both spouses can show grace and forgiveness without feeling like they are losing a part of their value or sense of who they are.
Relating to another in marriage shows us all the ways we deal with our sense of shame. Friction results when the strategies and defenses of the false self are experienced by another who is trying to know us.
Marriage provides the opportunity for growth, directed by God when our identities are surrendered to Christ.
With the truth of who we are – the true self – securely rooted in Christ, each spouse can move toward the other without the covering of the false self.
Then the two can truly becoming ‘one flesh’, with no ‘fig leaves’ of the false self between the husband and wife.
In what ways do you use your marriage for your sense of worth?
Scott is the Associate Pastor at the Church of the Ascension in Orlando, Florida. He has been married for almost 19 years to his wife Missy and they have a teenage daughter named Sarah Grace. In addition to pastoring, Scott is a certified life coach specializing in leadership, relationships, and spirituality. On his blog he enjoys writing about identity in Christ, the false self, and relationships and is crafting his thoughts into a book titled Getting Real: Developing Your Identity in Christ. You can find out more, check out his writings, or find contact info at http://choosetotrust.com
I, Beth, will be taking a two week Christmas break after this Wedded Wednesday for some much needed undivided family time! Wedded Wednesdays will return the evening of January 7th, 2014. In the meantime, I’d love to enlist you as a prayer warrior in my journey out of breast cancer. You can click on the button below and it will take you to my Caringbridge site, appropriately named …
Now, it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!
Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that is spiritually encouraging.
- Enter in a permalink directly to your blog post and not the main URL to your blog.
- Be sure to include a link to Wedded Wednesday or add the WW button (code is in MM’s footer) to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
- Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.
- Please no offensive or inappropriate content or sexually explicit images!
Optional but encouraged:
- Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
- If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”