No “I” in “Us”

It has always been somewhat of a hobby of mine to watch for biblical truths “uncovered” in modern research. I am commonly reminded there is truly nothing new under the sun. After reading a few pieces by Francis Schaeffer you will probably feel the same. Schaeffer used post-modern thought as a whipping boy to wake up narcissistic free-thinkers into seeing the core of their “revolution” as borrowed goods from God’s truth.

I have run across another example of such research cited in an article from the Washington Post. It appears a reliable variable in determining the happiness of a marriage is hidden in our use of pronouns. According to a study in the Journal Psychology and Aging, happier marriages are identified by a high usage of the pronouns “we”, “us” and “our”. Less satisfied spouses use the words “I”, “me” and “you”.

There are so many different aspects of this little nugget of truth we can dissect. I don’t know if I…err, excuse me…”we” ever really have much trouble in “our” marriage with this issue. I do know that I always forgot to say “we” were expecting. Or, far more uncomfortable for me, “we” are pregnant. I just figure the one who carries for nine months and is in labor for nine hours has earned the right to say “I” am pregnant!

Doesn’t this study reveal so much about us as a people and a culture? The most interesting component for me was the article’s author proposing we should start trying to use the more inclusive pronouns to better our marriages…are you kidding? Talk about pasting apples on the tree! I would suggest the study does an effective job exposing selfishness as one of the most common flaws in marriages. In a society that promulgates self as the end to all means, I think it is “SELF- fulfilling” prophecy we see so many failed marriages, failed relationships, failed businesses, etc.

It seems apparent to me that even in a fallen world, God’s original purpose in serving one-another continues to function without much variability. We seem to be incessantly dissatisfied in everything as long as the purpose for engaging in that thing is for our own satisfaction! Doesn’t it hold true that marriage exposes this truth more effectively than other entities? In fact, I think God’s redemptive will for marriage may serve that very purpose. Could it be that marriage is designed to show us how unfruitful selfishness can be?

Husbands, we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Isn’t it possible we are called to do so because it is the very furthest thing from our natural response in loving ourselves? Wives, you are commanded to respect your husbands (Ephesians 5:24). Doesn’t it seem like your first reaction to your husband’s indifference to your needs is always disrespect? In marriage then, when biblically modeled, we see an example of selfless and servant hearted love from the husband as well as a beautiful picture of the bride in the role of the church respecting the leadership and heart of Christ. This interwoven example of two hearts sharing the gospel through a biblical marriage just happens to emit more “our” than “mine” and “us” than “I”.

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