When Two Become One Flesh…
Quoting Genesis 2:24, St. Paul gives us the model for marriage:
So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband. -Ephesians 5:28-33, NAB
Can two really become one flesh? St. Paul himself acknowledges that this is a great mystery. We may not physically become one flesh, but spiritually and mentally, we can.
When we get married, it is no longer about me; it’s about us. Our thought process has to change, and our focus has to become what’s the best for both of us. Easier said than done, I know, but we need to realize that we are spiritually becoming one body.
If we spent more time thinking about us – instead of me, myself, and I – our marriages would have far less issues. Think about it. When was the last time that you fought because you put your spouse’s needs before your own?
Most divisions in marriage come because of selfish desires. Ask a couple having problems what’s wrong, and they will say, “I want this… I need this… I didn’t get this…” We need to change pronouns from “I” to “we.”
The trick to this whole idea is actually meaning it. You cannot put your needs as a couple before your own halfheartedly. You cannot expect anything in return. You cannot secretly hope that your spouse will change their mind and do what you want. When you choose to put your needs second, you cannot fake it.
The Sacrament of Marriage is one of the greatest gifts God gives to us, but it also has its share of challenges. When we get married, two become one flesh, and we have to leave our selfish needs and desires behind. From this point forward, start your sentences with “we” instead of “I,” and you will be amazed by what happens.