For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Eph. 5:31)

“HOW DO YOU SQUEEZE your toothpaste tube?” she asked.

“From the bottom up, of course. Why?”

“I like to squeeze it in the middle.”

“Oh no! That’s sadistic and unorganized!” he exclaimed.

“From the middle!”

“From the bottom!”

“We’ll buy two tubes!” So Derric Johnson illustrates how two well-meaning lovebirds began their married life.

As believers in Christ, we believe what the Scriptures say about two becoming one. The problem is which one?

From that seemingly innocent beginning, the marriage is doomed to conflict, if not failure, if they continue to pull in separate directions. Obviously, how we squeeze a toothpaste tube is not on the same level with many more serious issues. But if two people would rather argue about their differences instead of finding a middle ground where they can agree to disagree agreeably, real trouble lies ahead.

Two can become one, but only if each is willing not to be the one all the time. Every couple is bound to find things on which they differ. As someone said, “If any two of us agree on everything all of the time, one of us is unnecessary!” But is everything worth a tug of war, pulling in separate directions?

Paul recommended, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Rom. 12:10). It might just work in marriage too.

Emphasize what you like about the other person, not how he or she is different.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. They have been married for fifty-one years and have two sons and nine grandchildren.