Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become “whole” and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is . . . learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.
— Stanley Hauerwas, quoted in The Meaning of Marriage (emphasis mine)
Yesterday, we talked about what it means to marry the stranger, how marriage sanctifies us, and what it means that we always marry the wrong person. So I had to write about my own marriage, and the glorious truth that my wife married the wrong person.
For everything my wife Amanda and I have in common, we are pretty different people. I’m an attention hog who loves the spotlight and has a tendency to run over people. She’s a behind-the-scenes servant who puts herself last no matter what. I always have to have a plan; she’s go-with-the-flow. I squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom, she squeezes from the middle.