I've been thinking about marriage...

Marriage: An Interdevelopmental Partnership

Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, married in 1846
Frank Butler and Annie Oakley, married in 1882
Pierre and Marie Curie, married in 1895
George Burns and Gracie Allen, married in 1926
Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, married in 1943

Why are these names familiar? They represent couples whose names are linked together forever because they experienced a special kind of relationship - an interdevelopmental partnership. This is a relationship in which both partners bring out the best in each other by encouraging personal development and growth.

One famous couple, Pierre and Marie Curie, worked together for the benefit of humanity. As an industrious student, Marie caught the eye of Pierre Curie, director of one of the laboratories at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. In 1898 they discovered polonium and radium and, then, in 1903, along with scientist Henri Becquerel, they won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering radioactivity.

An interdevelopmental partnership demonstrates that along with supporting and bringing out the best in each other, there are many opportunities to lay down our lives for each other, as well.

The roles we each play in a partnership shift according to the need. Cindy White, a brilliant entertainment designer, said this about partners, "A great partner lets you soar without drifting away. Sometimes they are the wind that's hoisting you up. Sometimes they are the ones on the ground, holding the kite string."

A great example of this is found in the comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen. When they started their partnership, Burns wrote all of the funny punch lines for himself and wrote Allen's character as the "straight man." When they performed, however, the audience rewarded Allen with laughter for her supposed straight questions and responded to Burns' funny answers with silence.

Individual egos can really mess up a great partnership and this was a true test of George's ego. As Burns put it, "It broke my heart, but I was young, hungry and not a dope." From then on, he wrote routines to take advantage of Allen's natural gift for comedic delivery. This was the beginning of over four decades of fame and success for Burns and Allen. In later years, both attributed their success to each other.

It is important to note that we each have the ability to choose how we will be in an interdevelopmental relationship. Am I willing, when necessary, to encourage my partner to evolve their possibilities?

What does this look like in the DelHousaye home? "Darryl, becoming the president of Phoenix Seminary is exactly what you should do!" "Jacque, if Holly works for you, she will make you great!"

Then, alternately, when necessary, am I willing to lay down my life for the good of my partner?

What does this scenario look like in the DelHousaye home? "Let's tackle that challenge together!" "Go ahead and accept that opportunity. I will be waiting for you when you come home."

During the course of our marriage, we can provide what great partners have always provided for each other - encouragement and sacrifice bathed in love and friendship. As Jesus said in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one more than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." 

Because friendship is at the heart of a good creative partnership, the whole is much greater and stronger than the individual parts. Together we are better!