“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter 10, Verse 9)
I really like that word: asunder. As far I know, the only place you ever hear it used is in quotations from the Bible. I never hear it used in regular conversation, like, say, at my auto mechanics garage.
Mechanic: I’m afraid I’m going to have to tear your engine asunder in order to silence that annoying tick.
Me: Here, just rip my wallet asunder instead.
But the point isn’t about my automobile problems. The point is that, as Jesus taught, my wife and I have become one. It gets kinda scary at times. I couldn’t recount how many times my wife and I have been sitting together in silence in the car, watching TV, reading books, when the same thought will occur to both of us at the same time. Of course, we don’t know that we have each had the same thought, so it becomes sort of like a little game where we keep score to see who first voiced the thought that the other was thinking about just before he or she voiced it.
When this happens, we stare at each other for a moment, and then comment on how weird it is that this happens so often. For example, the two of will be sitting in the family room, engaged in different activities, and then the same thought occurs to both of us and one of us will say something like:
“Did you read that Prime Minister Chretien is going to resign in February 2004?”
And the other will say:
“I was just about to say that.”
Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on our part regarding this particular example.
Becoming one has even extended to our appearance. When we were dating, people would often mistake us for brother and sister because we share similar facial features. After 18 years of marriage, eating the same meals, raising children, having the same thoughts, etc. we look even more alike than when we were dating. Take my picture at the top of each column and imagine that face with feminine glasses and longer hair, and voila, you’ve got my wife, only much much prettier.
Even before we ever knew each other, we looked the same. Take pimples for example. One of my father-in-laws favorite jokes goes something like this:
Question: How’s your belly for spots?
Answer: Same as my bottom for pimples.
Technically, it isn’t really a joke, just some silly riposte to a standard question like:
Question: How’s your old straw hat?
Answer: It’s never been felt.
Anyway, I don’t want to imply that my wife and I had teenage problems with buttockular pimples, but we did both have teenage problems with facial pimples. I remember that I became so desperate to clear up my pimples that I risked a visit to a doctor who prescribed tetracycline and a facial cream. Concerning the facial cream, he instructed me as follows:
“Apply the cream the first time for one hour only, then wash your face well. Then apply it for two hours on the second day and so on until you can withstand the cream for about eight hours per day,” is what he said.
So I slathered up my face the first day and then fell asleep on the couch in my parent’s living room. This was very odd because it was the middle of the afternoon and, up until that day I had never ever taken a midday nap on the couch in my parent’s living room.
What woke me up was this violent burning sensation in my facial area. I sprang up and ran to the bathroom to wash the cream off of my face. After much scrubbing, I examined myself in the mirror and I looked like I had fallen asleep for two weeks beneath a sun lamp. You can just imagine the good-natured ribbing my friends gave me at high school the next day. But it cleared up my pimples! And every other minor blemish that had the misfortune of being on my face that day.
All this is to say that the other night my wife looked over at me and asked if that was cold sore near my lower lip. I said that, no, it wasn’t, it was a pimple (like I didn’t suffer enough when I was a teenager). She then said that she was getting a pimple on her chin. That’s how “one” we’ve become. We develop sympathetic pimples now.
If someone wants to become independently wealthy, all they would have to do is invent a sure-fire method for tearing pimples asunder.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.