Saturday, June 11, 2011

When One plus One is One

I have been thinking about marriages and relationships--perhaps it is because two of my children are celebrating anniversaries this coming week, or that I have seen the drama play out on in the news media as another political person destroys his marriage, or maybe a part of a discussion that I had last evening.  But I woke up this morning and was reminded that 1+1=1 is an equation that can be used to define marriage.

I love math, and using math to help understand the life is useful and this equation really helps me understand the concept of marriage.

When two people are in a relationship (but not married) they are a couple, but the equation is 1+1=2.  They are still two individuals although they are together. If something doesn't go their way--they can and often do part company. That is the way it should be, until they find the person that makes them complete--that fills in the gaps and helps them to see what they have been missing from life and relationships.  We were not meant to go through life alone.  We are meant to be part of a team--the team defined by marriage.

The transformation between two people in a relationship and a marriage occurs through commitment to each other. The commitment to change the equation to read 1+1=1. It is not the ceremony that does this--the ceremony is the public profession that the couple is transforming from two individuals into a single new creation.  I have seen marriages where the commitment wasn't there and they tried to remain two separate individuals living together.  These were defective marriages and they failed. Ultimately, I believe selfishness played a factor, too.

The mystery of marriage is that each person brings everything that they are and that they have into the marriage. Nothing is held back. It is an "all in" situation, a selfless situation. It takes 100 percent of each person to make the new creation--the marriage.  Even the thought process needs to transform--the two most dangerous words in a marriage are: "I want."  The "I want" needs to be replaced with "I believe we." Whenever there is an "I" it should be followed closely by a "we."  It is a hard idea--and I know that some people can't get by the idea that they are "giving up" their identity; but they are looking at it wrong. I confess--sometimes I still use the "I want" in my thinking and it usually gets me into trouble--sometimes it works to transform it into a "I want, do you think we" situation.

The idea behind the equation of 1+1=1 is that the new creation--the sum of one person plus one person, requires everything from both to be a one new creation.  That means--using the individuality of each to improve and create the marriage.  Don't lose it--use it. Don't hold back--give it all up to each other. 

Since it is commitment that ultimately provides the foundation for a marriage--is it possible for people to be married without the ceremony? Sure. The ceremony is the public profession that lives are being transformed: two lives become one from this day forward. I know couples who have not made the public profession--and gotten the piece of paper, but they are married--because they are committed to each other and have fused their identities and their creativity into one unit. I would urge them to make that public profession to acknowledge the transformation that has already occurred.

Marriage reminds me that individually I am less than whole--and to be whole, I need to commit to another person.  Hence--1+1=1.  All of me, plus all Chris in full commitment to each other makes us a new creation and fully whole people.

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