I’m a little surprised at myself. I’ve spent twenty-two days now (!!!) writing on living a balanced life PERSONALLY – as an individual – and I don’t think I have really even touched on the idea of living a balanced life IN COMMUNITY. As much emphasis as my church community places on living life together, it seems odd that I nearly overlooked the subject altogether in this context.
Community is essential for the Christ-follower. We were created in the image of God, who exists in community within himself – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s weird. It’s a mystery. If you try and figure it out, you’ll get a brain cramp.
What that tells us, though, is that we NEED other people. We need them as we navigate our way through life and – believe it or not – they need us. I need you, and yes…I think you need me a little bit, too. God designed us that way, and from the moment God said it was not good for man to be alone, we have lived with the deep necessity of relationships.
Relationships – whether within a family or in a friendship setting – take on a life all their own. They are dynamic, living, breathing, ever-changing entities, and like the people in them, they need purpose and focus if they are to be all that they can be.
In no relationship is this more true than in a marriage. As I mentioned before, I developed my own personal purpose statement as a part of the Chazown study by Craig Groeschel. Also in that study, my husband and I had to sit down – both of our own purpose statements in hand – and determine what the purpose is for us within our marriage. If writing my own purpose statement was hard, this seemed an almost insurmountable task. My husband and I are very different, and while we both have deeply personal relationships with Jesus, we were unsure as to what beyond that would be the purpose of our union in marriage. We know why we got married, but beyond that we didn’t really know what we were aiming for in our life together. Some things we knew, and others were completely nebulous. The truth is that we had never considered that our marriage had a purpose unique to the two of us. We knew the purpose of marriage in general, but ours specifically? Not so much.
As with individuals, the life of a marriage is subject to many influences, both internal and external. Over the course of a lifetime, the marital relationship will go through changes, certainly, but does not have to be defined by those changes. Just as an individual can be defined by an overarching purpose for his or her life, a couple’s life together can be driven and thereby defined by the purpose given to them as partners.
It can be hard to merge individual purpose statements into one statement. Remember, though, that a marriage is greater than the sum of its parts. Just as surely as God designed the man with a purpose and the woman with a purpose of her own, God has a plan for the man and the woman who come before Him in covenant love.
If an individual is imbalanced without a focal point, a couple is even more so…with more at stake. We’ll look at that idea more tomorrow.