If you are married, how well do you know your spouse? Or if you think you will be married someday, how well do you want to know your husband or wife? Do you want to know each other so well that you can complete the other’s sentences? Do you want to know your partner so completely that you know what he or she will do before he or she does it?
How well did you know each other when you got married? You thought you knew each other pretty well, right? At least well enough to take the plunge, to make the commitment. But now, with hindsight, do you look back to your wedding day and realize that you hardly knew each other at all?
Does romance go away the more we get to know our spouse? Does your husband’s predictability make it so he can never surprise you? Does how well you know your wife make her seem less exciting and spontaneous?
Or is your partner like a sweet onion, where peeling away or knowing one layer simply reveals another layer, each one more intriguing and exciting than the last?
Is the goal to become ever more like each other until you are essentially clones, carbon copies of each other’s characteristics and thus in agreement and in sync on everything?
Does oneness mean you never disagree or argue or fight? Does it imply that you always come to the same conclusion and the same decision? And would that make life more peaceful and secure — or more boring and routine? Do likes attract or do opposites attract? Is romance made up of sameness or of difference?
Whose happiness do you have more control over: your own or your partner’s? If you get up tomorrow determined to make yourself happy and spend the whole day trying to, and then you get up the next day focused entirely on making your spouse happy and spend that whole day working at that goal, on which of the two days will you have the most success?
Who is your spouse really? What are his or her characteristics? If you could choose 10 adjectives to describe your husband or wife at his or her best, what would those words be?
What does your spouse need? If you had a magic wand and could wave it five times and on each wave give her something she needs most, what would your five waves be? Now what if you didn’t have the magic wand — could you still give him those five needs?
Is happiness best pursued as an individual or as a partnership? Does the responsibility for and the commitment to another person make you less or more independent? Is interdependence a happier state than independence?
If a two-way partnership is a better state, a better chemistry, a more perfectible entity than an individual (if, as Ben Franklin said, “a single man is like half a pair of scissors”), how do a husband and wife maximize that partnership? How does a couple deliberately and purposefully get closer and closer to each other?
Could a three-way partnership be even better if the third partner is God or the Spirit? If a three-way partnership were shaped like a triangle, with God at the top corner and the husband and wife at the bottom corners, and if the goal of each spouse was to draw closer to God, would their movement in that direction also draw them ever closer to each other?
If you are married, consider these questions. Each couple and individual will answer them differently, but consider that they may be among the most important questions you could ask yourselves. Consider that the spouse who lives, sleeps, eats and parents or grandparents with you may be by far your greatest asset, blessing, gift, resource and friend.
Let each other’s characteristics and idiosyncrasies become endearing rather than annoying, and draw you closer together rather than pull you apart. Fight the tendency to take him or her for granted. Develop the ability to adore and cherish. Define your own oneness and pursue it romantically. Understand that romance only dies when we fail to nourish it. Live for love.