Sample Chapter from 'A Good Beginning: A Possible Unity'

A Possible Unity

Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
- Matthew 19:3-6

Unity or oneness in marriage comes when partners share honestly with each other.

Perhaps as you think of the scripture on page 17 and the phrase “the two shall become one” you will be reminded of words like agreement, sameness, and unity. Perhaps these words do describe, to some degree, how the two who enter marriage become one. You know, however, that it is unrealistic to expect that you and your spouse will always agree or that you will see things the same way. There must be a unity or “oneness” that runs deeper than sameness or agreement - and there is. How do two different and unique individuals become one? By sharing the truth about themselves with one another. This chapter encourages you to consider this new way of “becoming one.”

The preceding chapter pointed out how important honest and open self-evaluation is in the process of marriage preparation. The unity or oneness that comes in marriage comes when partners share honestly with each other. This means that both members of the couple need to be willing to take some risks: sharing honestly about themselves as well as listening to the other's candid sharing.

The most powerful breaks in a couple's unity occur when the truth of what is happening for each one is not shared. At these points partners are not “one,” they are strangers. The truth referred to here is not necessarily a revelation of deep, dark secrets from the past. The past is only important as it is relevant to the present. The truth that brings oneness in marriage is “here and now” - it is sharing what is going on today. The unknown is what separates us from one another. When members of a couple are committed to telling the truth about what they are thinking and feeling, the amount of "unknown" in a relationship is minimized and oneness is maximized.

When You're Tempted Not to Share

Often we have "good" reasons for not sharing our thoughts and feelings with our partner. Perhaps we are concerned that they will be hurt by what we say. Perhaps we identify our feelings about a particular issue as being negative. Besides, sharing the truth is a lot of work. We have many excuses to help us avoid sharing the truth. The ironic part of all this is that we are avoiding the very process that will draw us closer together. The more I know of you, the more I am one with you and the more you become a part of me.

We avoid sharing the truth with our partners because it is a risky business. Sharing the truth about myself raises the possibility that you may disagree with me or, worse yet, reject my thoughts or feelings. Listening to you share the truth may cause me to see that I have fallen short somehow, or that I have hurt you. These situations are not comfortable but they are the places from which our relationships grow. You see, not knowing the truth does not change it - it simply means that you cannot be helped by it. Even though sharing the truth is sometimes painful, it is worth it if you desire a living and growing relationship with your partner.

The oneness that comes with sharing the truth is the oneness of understanding. Understanding is a much more helpful and attainable goal than is agreement. You will become closest to one another, not if you always agree, but if you always make every attempt to understand each other, to know each other fully, and to let the truth be the bond that makes you one.

Knowing the truth about each other is an important step in marriage preparation. The way in which you choose to share with one another is equally important. That gift of communication is the subject of a later chapter.

A Prayer

God, you have made me, a unique and mysterious creation. As I prepare to share my life with my partner, give me courage to share myself and open my heart to receive the gifts my partner offers to me. Bless our individuality and our unity. Amen.