“Half: Either of two equal or corresponding parts into which something is or can be divided”The Oxford English Dictionary
My husband and I met when I was just sixteen years old. We have been together for almost eight years and married for just over five. He is my best friend, my safe place, a mirror for my soul… Which is why I’m so glad that he is not my other half.
If you’re even slightest hopeless romantic that I am, you would most likely have swooned over lines from books, songs and movies that we’ve become all to familiar with. Quotes like “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” (Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights), or “I’m only me when I’m with you” (Taylor Swift), even “You complete me” (Tom Cruise, Jerry McGuire), and so many more beautifully articulated expressions of love. But the more I think about it, I don’t love my husband because he’s just like me, or the missing piece to my life… I love him because he’s different to me and for the enrichment he brings to my life. Here are just some of the reasons I’m so glad he is not my other half:
1. I can only handle so much of myself
As a tweenager, I had quite the fanatical obsession with Avril Lavigne. One of her songs, Anything but Ordinary, begins with the line, “Sometimes I get so weird, I even freak myself out.” This. Is. Me…. Totally. Too much time alone with my thoughts and I lose it. If my husband was just like me, I’d never get a break from this and I’d probably go insane. Instead, he sees the world differently to me, offers me perspective that I could never see for myself, helps me to see more than what my emotions limit me to see. He gives me reason to think of someone other than myself and to break out of the me-slump.
2. He can’t make me whole
This is a tough one. It’s easy to look to our spouses to fill the empty voids within ourselves, to expect them to fix us and make us whole. It’s so unfair to place this expectation on a broken, imperfect human being. The only One that can fill those voids, the only One who can make us whole, is the One who created us. At our wedding, I said this as part of my vows: “I am unable to promise you that I will be the perfect wife but I can promise you that there is no-one I’d rather spend my life being imperfect with.” When my husband and I gave our lives to Jesus, we became works in progress, handing our imperfections over to the One who is perfect. Knowing how imperfect I am, I can’t expect him to be perfect for me. We can support and encourage each other along, but ultimately, it is God who is doing a work in us, a work that is making us whole again.
3. I am not defined by my husband
My husband and I dated while I was in high school (he’s five years older than me so he was long out of school), we were engaged 3 months after I matriculated and married a year later. At nineteen years old, I was very new to “adulting” and still forming my identity as a non-schoolgirl. I have had to fight to keep my identity rooted in Jesus. My identity is not in being a wife, it is not in being a mom, it is not the job I do. These are all wonderful parts if my life but my identity is in Jesus and that is what needs to shine through all these functions of my life. It is not easy to keep our identities rooted in Jesus when society tries to put us into neat little boxes, keeping us to the status quo. But the reality is, before my husband was even in my life, God formed me and chose to create me, quirks and all, for a specific purpose. A purpose bigger than my marriage, my momming or my career… He created me to be His daughter, in His kingdom, for such a time as this.
4. He is my companion
My husband’s role is not to complete me, it’s to complement me, and I, him. As opposed to seeing him as my other half, an equal part of me that I can be divided into, I prefer to see us as companions, “a pair of [imperfect people] intended to complement or match each other.”(Oxford Dictionary). As I said earlier, my husband is my mirror. He is a safe place that shows me areas that I am flourishing in and areas that I need to work on. He knows that my identity needs to be found in Jesus so he strives to lead me closer to Jesus each day. We are called to work around each others’ strengths and weaknesses, helping each other navigate our way through God’s calling on our lives as individuals, as a couple and as a family. We don’t always get it right but we’re learning as we go along, and hopefully becoming better people because of it. As iron sharpens iron, right?
5. Two are better than one
Ecclesiastes 4 speaks of two being better than one. Verse 12 goes on to say, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” I love the imagery of the cord of three strands. In this instance… husband, wife, God; 3 individual strands entwined together into a strong ligature of marriage. God’s intention for marriage is not to take two people, who He made in His image, and break them into pieces so that they become one boring, uniform person (Yes, there is the whole becoming one flesh thing, but that’s different to what I’m talking bout here.) He wants to be a part of marriage, where through keeping Him at the center, two people can learn from, grow, and sharpen one another into people who look more like Him. The result of marriage should not be two people becoming more like one another, it should be two people becoming more like Jesus.
Oh, the freedom that comes from evaluating the expectations we have on one another and realising that God’s way is the best way. To know that my husband can’t fix me and I can’t fix him; that Jesus has more planned for us than to allocate a single box for us to sit in for the rest of our lives; that we don’t have to see and do things the same way because our differences are what challenge and shape us; that we are in this side by side, together, on a journey to becoming more like Jesus.