I stood at the edge of the room, overwhelmed with the grandeur. I’d received the invitation, but couldn’t believe I should have.
As my eyes scanned the magnificent room, it was obvious that royalty presided here. Lofty arches, splendid tapestries, and fresco paintings lined the walls. Gilded sconces bordered the edges, reflecting light from the carefully placed mirrors of ornate gold-leaf. I shielded my eyes from the brilliance as I looked upward to the lofty ceiling where multiple, magnificent chandeliers hung, heavily laden with brilliant diamonds and carefully-cut crystal. Everything within my vision spoke of untold wealth and unlimited resources.
Pushed back along the marble walls were heavily carved but unused chairs, crafted long ago from some exotic wood. As I marveled, I noticed that although many attendants stood in hushed tones around the perimeter, only two individuals sat on expansive thrones, presiding in regal majesty and resplendent glory from an elevated platform. Above them, a singular crown hovered overhead, a perfect replica of the ones worn by the aristocracy below. Jewels without number studded their crowns, blazing with flashes of rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and topaz as if ignited from their own inner fire.
My pupils widened as I grappled to take in the opulence of the scene. Despite the extravagance of the view, the royalty themselves were what soon riveted my attention. Both King and his Prince wore snowy robes that trained into the room, glittering and radiant from a splendid, unknown fabric, stitched with threads like pure gold. Although stately in appearance, the two were somehow personable as well, as if they truly enjoyed one another’s company. Intent together, they discussed matters of state, pausing to ponder and nod before resuming with a touch of a sleeve.
I guess there is truth about the power of a gaze, for although I remained tucked into the background, I caught the Prince’s eye and he shifted to look directly at me. The whispers around me silenced as all attention turned my way. Caught inadequate, my knees went limp and I dropped trembling to the ground, in a prostate position. I knew I shouldn’t have come.
For the longest moment of my life, I lay quivering, trying to pray. Then a hand touched my shoulder and gave me the strength somehow to stand. Assuming I was being ejected, I kept my head down, to avoid further humiliation.
Yet, instead of rough jerk, a gentle hand cupped my chin, raising my face to eye level. There before me was the Prince himself with eyes burning from a flame of love. “Come, My sister,” He said and gripped my shaking hand with His firm, steady one. As if in a dream, we moved toward His throne and He motioned for me to take a place beside Him on His own cushioned seat. Confused and keenly aware of my own glaring imperfections, I looked into the King’s face, searching His for disapproval.
“Relax, My child,” the King smiled, nodding His approval. “Bring her a regal robe of wisdom, righteousness, and holiness,” and within minutes, I was clothed like royalty itself. As I marveled at my new position there between the two of them, they leaned forward and continued the dialog of which I was now included. “We were just talking about your world,” the King said directly to me. “Would you like to join us?”
“God… seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus…who is at the right Hand of God, interceding for us” (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 8:34).
I said it aloud, although there was no one present to hear.
“My impatience is covered by Mark’s patience; and his sarcasm is softened by my sensitivity. In my areas of weakness, he is strong. In his areas of challenge, I am comfortable. What an amazing arrangement.”
Although I’d been married only a few weeks, the Father thus began our first lessons on unity. Granted our Edenic home life had yet to see the struggles of the curse, but the journey was launched and the process begun.
“The two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).
The mystery is indeed great – one that I have yet to truly understand. But, one thing I do know is that the emphasis of the statement isn’t focused upon the “flesh”, but upon the “one”.
Unity can only begin from the inside out. A characteristic of the Triune God Himself, oneness is sourced within Him, not within our own wavering desires.
For marriage to continue past the intial passion, there must be a unity of spirit in addition to unity of the flesh. Marriage is more than sensual impulses or mere selfish considerations. It’s an expanding of one person into two, yet of two different persons becoming one.
Imagine a vast kingdom with mountains, valleys, forests and seacoast. The mountains provide spring water, the valleys yield farmland, the forest supplies timber and the ocean inhabits fish. Although each has a separate function, all can work together to furnish a more inclusive livelihood.
The union of marriage encompasses just such a range of landscape. Just like adding a lake to an existing plot of land could supply ranch cattle with water to expand profitability, marriage takes two single personalities and multiplies them into greater effectiveness. We increase in influence and proliferate in privilege as we become one with our mate.
The melding of two minds allow a broader perspective.
As an individual, your best decisions are made when considering all sides of an issue. Marriage has a “second opinion” built into every choice. The goal isn’t perfect agreement, but breadth of consideration. Two heads are indeed better than one.
The melting of two hearts creates an enlarged compassion.
Understanding how your natural words and actions affect another gives great insight into how you relate to the world. The tears and the pain that you cause within marriage helps you adjust your behavior to those outside of it.
The struggle between the two actually exercise to strengthen the souls of both.
Only one time in our marriage can we remember both of us being equally low. Usually, when one is discouraged, the other is granted Hope. When one lacks compassion, the other is strengthened through Love. “Becoming one” allows our own tapestry of selfishness to stretch into a tent of surrender. Learning to submit to our mate makes it that much easier to submit to our God.
As we allow the stress of marriage to “stretch the curtains of (our) dwellings…lengthen (our) cords and strengthen (our) pegs,” we find that our marriage leaves a legacy to the children and grandchildren after us. “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations…and all your sons will be taught of the Lord and the well-being of your sons will be great” (Isaiah 54:2-3,13).
Guess that’s just one more good reason for the one to become two and the two to become one, don’t you think?
Photography courtesy of Sara Jeng Grewar. Follow her on Instagram.