We consider our life together to be, first and foremost, about partnership. We value the simplicity of trying to do life together. Life is constantly throwing curveballs that are more fun when you have someone else playing the game with you. There’s nothing particularly special about cross-country road trips, eating dinner, petting a cat, or wringing out laundry by hand when the washing machine decides to be possessed; but, there is something mysteriously profound about doing these things with a person whom you consider to be your partner.
It is rather perplexing to us that so many people assume that because we do not share sex together, we cannot be doing life together. Yet, reflecting on our experience together, the first word that comes to mind today is vulnerability. We have managed to share life together and cultivate a rich, deep, meaningful experience of intimacy by being vulnerable with each other. There’s no rocket science required to make the observation that vulnerability is hard.
Vulnerability is like the opposite of the social expectations surrounding dating. It seems to us that when two people date, they are expected to spend lots and lots and lots of energy putting their best foot forward. Choose the best outfit, select the best restaurant, make sure the car is clean, etc etc etc. Dating can be one big show in which you constantly wear the mask of the person you most want to be.
Vulnerability requires an incredible degree of transparency. It means letting Sarah look over my shoulder to make sure I’m not making grammatical errors as I type and allowing Sarah to make fun of my natural (and I must admit, very creative) spellings of words. It means appreciating that a good hug makes tough conversations a lot easier. It means knowing that there is nothing one of us can disclose that can change the love we share as a couple. And in that regard, vulnerability is pretty cool.
Vulnerability fosters spiritual and emotional depth. When we are vulnerable, we sit within our various weaknesses. When we share the big scary problems, we recognize that all humans everywhere have God-sized concerns that require a miracle. When we are vulnerable, we learn to communicate with an open heart and an open spirit. It is our vulnerability that allows us to share our lives with Christ… and with each other.
We see the most profound expression of vulnerability and partnership at Christmas when Christ joined Himself to our humanity as an infant. He fully relied on His family for everything. That’s amazing. It is Christ’s vulnerability that allowed Him to partner with us fully as human beings. Vulnerability permitted Christ to “speak” the language most intimately associated with being human. As He voluntarily took on our frailty, the Human united with the Divine.
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