Two Shall Become One

Two Shall Become One

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

When in college and medical school, I consumed tobacco and alcohol without yet showing the severity of addictive traits that I later developed with opioids. Still, I grew up in a house where we didn’t drink or smoke and that’s what I wanted for my family too. I eventually got engaged and my fiancé felt the same way. So, as marriage approached, I just assumed that my plan for a dry house would override my desire to consume chemicals. Basically, my plan to stop using alcohol and tobacco was to get married. I thought that would fix everything. I was very wrong.

As it turned out, I was wrong about a lot of things. I didn’t understand marriage and I didn’t understand the depths of my own selfishness. I just thought that having a wife would mean that I would naturally always choose what’s best for our marriage. Our bank accounts merged. We bought a house together. Two become one, right? Except that when it came to my impulsive appetite, I still did whatever I wanted, not thinking about how it might affect my wife and my marriage.

Many years – and lots of damage to our marriage – later, I remember my wife pointing this out. You never think of me when you make these decisions. You only think of yourself. That was true and revelatory. If I wanted recovery and if I wanted to rebuild a destroyed marriage, I had to make a radical effort to think differently about my marriage.

In today’s passage, we’re told that in marriage, man and woman come together to form something new. They’re no longer independent individuals, but rather each becomes half of a new whole. They now must make all choices not just for themselves, but for the good of the marriage.

Again, this was revolutionary to me in recovery. What I think, do, and say, affects not just me, but my wife. So, in whatever I think, do, and say, I must ask if this helps or hurts our marriage. In my screen time, am I viewing that which would be hurtful to my marriage? When I’m with friends, do I speak well of my wife? When she’s gone for the evening, do I clean up, knowing that would communicate love to her when she gets home? Or do I just do whatever I want to do? If I want a healthy, happy marriage, I must realize that I don’t make decisions only for myself anymore. I love my wife, but I’m still naturally selfish, so this isn’t automatic. Rather, it’s a daily choice.

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