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Monday, March 29, 2010

As I’ve mentioned, I think the concept of being one flesh is a little esoteric and mysterious. So I thought I’d share a very recent example from my own life, thinking it just might add a bit of clarity. So here we'll pause for another installment of Paradigm in Practice.

I am not a charitable driver. Truth be told, I tend to think other drivers are simply inept. My normally quiet and reserved natured goes by the wayside, and I tend to express these sentiments out loud. I use the word “idiot” – a lot. I’m not proud of this fact, but it’s a fairly deeply engrained behavior.

Now my wife is pretty much opposite of me in this respect. She gives people the benefit of the doubt. She has grace in her heart at times where I would have only malice. When someone cuts us off, she says things like, “maybe his wife is having a baby and he’s on the way to the hospital.” She has actually said these words to me. So you can see the contrast in our two personalities when it comes to driving.

This is a genuine soul difference.

She has on more than one occasion gently expressed her dislike for the vitriol I exude when I drive. For the most part I have seen this as a yet to be renewed part of my soul, an area where my faith and the influence of the Holy Spirit hasn’t crossed over into my thoughts and words when I’m behind the wheel. God is still at work in any number of areas in my life, and I had viewed this as just one of them.

However, yesterday, after we had (once gain) conversed over some choice words I had for the ineptitude of a random driver, a different thought struck me. I realized that this behavior of mine actually offends her spirit. The unkindness I show when I drive cuts against the very grain of who she is in her nature. The realization struck me that this is more than just something that God has to work out of me because it’s against His nature; it’s actually something that He wants to work out of me because it’s also against my darling wife’s nature.

It's not about me becoming like her in my response to other drivers.  We are very different people in this regard and probably always will be, and that's OK. I am actually thankful that God made my wife and I with such different personalities - it makes life a lot more interesting, plus we tend to round each other out a bit.  No instead it's about me being aware of how what I think and say affects her and purposefullly honoring her spirit.

Will this realization suddenly cause me to be spite-free in my driving? Probably not. But in the future, at the very least whenever she is riding with me I will certainly be more aware of the impact my thoughts and emotions have when they come out in the form of unkind words toward of other drivers.

That’s just a tiny example of what it means to be one in soul. In this case it means harnessing my thoughts and words as I drive in an effort to honor the fact that to do otherwise hurts my wife in a way that she cannot help, because of who she is.


Michael and Annalea said...

Hey Scott,

I really loved how you incorporated you being aware of how what you think and feel affects your wife's spirit and purposefully honoring her into being one flesh with her.

This is so true in a one flesh relationship - that awareness of our spouse's spirit and what makes it sing.

Great series!

Anonymous said...

wow, this is deep. especially since this post and the driving example hit home with me. my husband and I have had "discussions" about his driving. which isn't all so bad, but like you said it: offends my spirit. I will be showing my husband this post, since it says what I haven't been able to fully express.

Scott said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Michael and Annalea.

Fallingintofavor, I hope sharing my experience with your husband helps the two of you reach an understanding.

Jenni said...

When you honor me this in this way, it makes me look for ways to honor and bless you. This creates a culture of prefering one another in our marriage. I love you!

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