Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,1 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one. Mark 10:7-8
Lots of free and mostly unwanted relationship advice this time of year.
Like whether or not to get your “work spouse” a Valentine. This seems like a bad idea—both having one and getting them something.
But the article explained how helpful it could be to have someone of the opposite sex at work with which you could talk about job related as well as personal concerns. The danger, apparently, was that this could be come an emotional affair.
Too late. One study shows that two-thirds of workers have, or have had, a “work spouse” — a close co-worker of the opposite sex who shares confidences, loyalties and experiences. 35% of “work spouses” even talk to their work spouse about their sexual relationships with their real spouse.
This is already an emotional affair. And the divorce rate keeps climbing.
I also saw a review of Paula Szuchman’s new book: Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes. Her advice? The secret to a happy marriage is do the dishes, put out and don’t talk so much.
She makes some good points. Like don’t wear sweat pants around the house all the time. Don’t nag your spouse too much. Plan ahead. But in the end, it’s social exchange theory. We don’t mind 50/50, Szuchman says. But at some point 60/40 starts to get on our nerves.
Of course social exchange theory does predict how we might negotiate and trade chores, time and even favors. Up to a point. It also explains why we might trade our real spouse for our work spouse.
But ultimately, marriage is not about math, unless we understand how two become one. This isn’t exactly an economic principle. Nor is it a process expedited by having a work spouse, either.
Jesus said this one-flesh unity was the Father’s work and design. If this is so, supernatural help is more necessary than economic strategy.
The transformation into one flesh requires more listening, more sharing and more praying. And more sacrifice. Becoming one is the work of a lifetime. Nothing easy about it. Or simple.
Even “putting out,” as Szuchman puts it, can be a manipulation, a bargaining chip. It should be a gift we give each other. One of many.
As I’ve written elsewhere, “the wonder of this one flesh union, the joy of it, the glory of it, the pain of it, these are all gifts. We hold them lightly and treasure them more, so awed by their fragile beauty as to protect and cherish them in every way.”
It’s more than a bargain.
It’s a blessing.