FamilyLife's Art of Marriage conference this weekend. It was really good. In fact, if you have the opportunity and are married or thinking about getting married you should go.
One of the "big ideas" they presented...and one I have struggled with...was about the myth of 'the one.'
Growing up, through movies, music and stories told to me by married adults, I learned this idea of "the one." And while few of us may think this logically, we are still influenced by the idea that there is "one" person out there who will make us truly happy. And yet, when we actually live with that person and see just how flawed they really are, well...we start wondering if we made a mistake. (Because clearly THIS person is definitely NOT the "one.")
When you marry, you gamble that you can make a life with this person. And it is a huge crap shoot, because any person you marry is a complete wreck...you just don't know it yet. Of course, the thing is that we have this huge blind spot..we can't see at all how much WE are a wreck too. And in those early days of passion and courtship, we really believe that WE are different. Those boring old couples who sit at dinner and don't talk to each other? That could NEVER be us.
Except, that it happens. We can't stand to live that open with love pouring through us. We want something for ourselves. We start seeing our spouse as the enemy rather than having an external enemy that wants to pull us apart. We focus on the symptomatic issues rather than the heart causes. Without realizing it, we choose to hold onto offense and drift into isolation.
We have to start with us. To expose the wreck of ourselves to the God who loves us and allow Him to come in and begin to work in our heart. We can let go of our unrealistic expectations of having 'the one' 'complete' us. And we can begin to pray for our spouse--not that he/she would become x,y,z to meet our needs but that they would be able to be open to God's love too. Repentance is required for transformation. A willingness to admit that we are unable to perfectly love.
I think it takes a really long time to get it right. For two people to live as one.
And I think that many times we settle for unhappy because we don't attend to the heart of ourselves. We simply go through the motions.