In a little under 8 weeks time we will have been married for 20 years! Years in which we've grown up together, remained best friends and learned how to flourish in a monogamous, exclusive relationship within a culture that is sex soaked and promiscuous.
In preparing to teach on marriage this weekend, I'm stunned by how counter culture real marriage actually is. What a statement it makes. We just thought it was normal, we're not expecting a medal for getting half way - but increasingly such a secure and happy relationship stands out like a beacon against a dark sky.
It's profoundly counter cultural for me to say: 'I give myself to her, to serve her, to cause her to shine, to think about her first over myself and my needs, to create more little people like us with her,to learn to handle trouble and hardship with her, to have my character shaped over years with her and by her. To unlearn everything the world has taught me about sex, lust and self gratification and with her, to learn how to make a giving and receiving love through all the seasons of life.'
It's profoundly counter cultural for her to say joyfully and freely to me:'My husband, my head! I'll trust you, submit happily to your leadership, I'll help you and release you and give myself to you for the rest of my life. I'll gladly give you alone my body. I'm prepared to lay down my rights and privileges, delay or even forgo my career to have your babies, to give them my best in time, energy and love over years and still love you first, passionately and joyfully'
The Spice Girls were right after all - 2 really has become 1. I finally has given way to we. The inherent selfishness of our consumer culture has eventually been undone in us by years of every day choices to submit to and lovingly serve one another.
German Reformer Martin Luther expressed it well 500 years ago. 'There are two ways to challenge selfishness. One is to enter a monastery, the other is to embark upon a marriage'. I for one am glad I took the second option 20 years ago and got the opportunity to learn together with my best friend how central marriage is to the rest of life and society.