The Value of “Us-ness” in Marriage
We normally think of personhood as two very different individuals. Many even see the purpose of relationships as serving their own individuality through making them happy, keeping them satisfied and to have the other accept them unconditionally.
In the first book of the Bible, however, the author poses another look at relationships: a "coming together" of two individuals.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)
The Third Identity of "Us"
Although individuality is highly esteemed in our society, it can lead to conflict when two join together. When individuals in a relationship get into a conflict, they tend to move toward competition with one another. Both individuals start using power and manipulation to make the best case as to why their position, needs or wants are the most important thing.
Of course, this is exactly what is so toxic about individuality when it becomes more important than the relational "us."
People do not obliterate their identities or personhoods when they create relationships. Prioritizing "us" is a voluntary choice to make their identities secondary to the identity of what they are together.
Healthy relationships elevate the third identity of "us."
When two can look at the relationship as an identity in and of itself — the third identity of "us" — they start to move together in cooperation, not conflict.
"Us" does that in relationships whether it is a spousal, romantic interest, friendship or church relationship. It stretches us to grow in ways that would never take place unless we are in the context of another and we bind ourselves together for good of "us" and the good of ourselves.
All loving and trustworthy relationships teach us how to grow. Not only do we learn the language of cooperation in "us," we learn the language of humility as we grow into healthier individuals.