Some time ago, I wrote a post entitled “My ID is We,” an exploration of corporate identity, how we affiliate ourselves with groups as a significant part of who we are and how we present ourselves.
I’m currently experiencing that sense of other-centered identity in a new way.
At this moment, my wife is traveling internationally without me…the first time she’s done so since we’ve been married. I’m at home without her for a week until I make my own international trip.
Aside from all of the logistical adjustments of feeding, entertaining, and resting myself, I have also noticed her absence in my speech.
Last night, some people were visiting in town and I said, “We would love to have you over in the next couple of days!” We? Who? Me and…? Well, of course my wife was the one in mind, but I don’t think she’ll be able to make it back to a host a little tea party.
Running into a friend on the street, I exclaim, “We’ll see you on Thursday!” We? I say it’s pretty unlikely that my wife will return in the next 12 hours, but I’m so used to doing things together, to having our lives so intertwined, that I can’t even help speaking from that place of habit and identity, of connectedness with her.
She and I share an uncommon opportunity in that we work closely together from a home office. As a result, much of our work and social life is engaged in from a sense of ‘we.’ There are very few decisions we make without one another, from what to eat for dinner to how we’re going to facilitate a conference call.
For us (see, there it is again! “For me…”), the sense of ‘we’ is inescapable. It’s not an unhealthy codependency, it’s the sweetest, most intimate association imaginable. In our (and there it is again!) words and actions, we cannot help but live from the reality of our relationship with one another. Sure, there is ‘me,’ but foremost in my life there is ‘we.’
I think perhaps this is another area where marriage can be a picture of what our relationship with God can be like. An ever-present, overwhelmingly real sense of barely being able to pass a moment without acknowledging who we are in connection to God. Identity, expectation, speech, and action all wrapped up in our association to Him. Even if it seems like there is some distance at times, the truth of the relationship and the impact of it hasn’t changed.
The ‘We’ is inescapable, and I am perfectly comfortable with that. I have no desire to get away from it, but rather to step into it even more deeply. As I interact with others, I don’t want anyone to doubt the reality of my marriage or my faith just because my Beloved isn’t visible by my side.