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Marriage is often thought of as a private relationship between a husband and wife. And certainly there is a part of marriage that is just between the two of them. At the same time, there’s a public side that cannot be neglected. We must learn to honor both sides.

For many, our relationship starts off in privacy – a mutual attraction is felt and we spend countless hours nurturing our relationship apart from others. This is not necessarily in seclusion from others, but the focus and attention is privately toward each other and not toward those on the outside. And it’s good to have this time to establish our internal sense of we-ness. But all too often we get stuck here and assume our relationship is just about us.

In time, we must also establish our identity publicly as a couple. Of course, this is part of what happens formally during our wedding ceremony, which is why witnesses have to be present to make it official. But even outside of this occasion, we need to be clearly embedded into our community as a couple. This helps to solidify our identity while also reminding us our union is to serve others – our oneness making an impact that we couldn’t do alone.

To be fair, some couples have to work in the opposite direction as well. Perhaps their marriage is heavy on the public side, but with very little private intimacy between them. Here they might be the power couple in their community, but at home the distance between them is palpable and painful. And their public image will soon crumble without giving due attention to their inner relationship with each other.

In the end, our marriage is both private and public, and both sides must be rightly honored for our relationship to thrive.

Photo by JAN Pictures on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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