In many cultures, marriage is considered a union of souls, not to mention the union of bodies. Therefore, many people have the notion that when they get married, “two become one” and even the Spice Girls sang about it, so it must be true.
However, as much as the beautiful concept of becoming one seems appealing at the beginning of a relationship, especially during the wedding ceremony, the expectation to become one can be the cause of many challenges in a marriage.
We can be united and fly to the same destination, but in doing so, we need two wings – two opposite wings – a right wing and a left wing. When we walk, we need to opposite legs & feet to keep us balanced. We would have a hard time walking with only one leg, however thick, or with two right feet. In the same way, a married couple can never truly be one (or two of the same).
The fine line between connection and uniqueness
The need for love and connection that marriage fulfils awakens another need – the need for significance. During adolescence, this need reaches its peak and teens go to extremes to be unique. Being with Gal for so many years (28 years this Thursday) has often made me wonder about my individuality within our relationship. The biggest question is “Where do ‘we’ stop and ‘I’ begin?” or “How much of myself should I compromise for our relationship?”
While coaching couples, I have found that this question is common to every marriage. The desire to be one means that you may risk your uniqueness and this can be one of the causes for divorce. “Why do I have to go with you to this movie just because you like it?” or “Why do we always do what you want?” are examples of the sentences married couples say to each other that are a sign they have not yet found the right balance between connection and uniqueness.
Remember, when you get married, it is not the end of who you were before, but a part of who you are now.
Read When Two Do Not Become One »