“Chip off the old block.” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “He is a mirror image of his father.” All these terms are used to describe how much two people are alike, usually of parents and children.
As close as parents and children are, the relationship of a husband and wife is described by a term not used of parent and child, “and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24).
This oneness should not be confused with sameness. It should be thought more of as a mirror image. A reflected duplication of an object that appears identical but reversed.
When C. Lewis’s wife, Joy, died, he described what it’s like when the mirror is broken or when “one flesh” becomes simply one,
“There’s a limit to the ‘one flesh.’ You can’t really share someone else’s weakness, or fear or pain. What you feel may be bad. It might conceivably be as bad as what the other felt, though I should distrust anyone who claimed that it was. But it would still be quite different. When I speak of fear, I mean the merely animal fear, the recoil of the organism from its destruction; the smothery feeling; the sense of being a rat in a trap. It can’t be transferred. The mind can sympathize; the body, less. In one way the bodies of lovers can do it least. All their love passages have trained them to have, not identical, but complementary, correlative, even opposite, feelings about one another.”1
I know couples who started out saying they had “everything in common.” Later, it all fell apart because they said they had “nothing in common.” Maybe the mistake in their marriage was more in the beginning than in the end.
“The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” – Proverbs 14:10.
1. C. S. Lewis. A Grief Observed (New York: Bantam Books, 1961), 13-14.