The ideal marriage is a marriage between two people who both operate from the I/Thou relatedness stance. Granted that is much easier said than done. As individuals come into marriage, they have already been living relationships from one of Buber's models of relatedness. As individuals we should strive to live our lives in full value of self as well as fully in appreciation of others. When we find ourselves living selfishly or giving little regard to others, we should call on the name of the Lord to continue drawing us close to who He promises we are - the ultimate I/Thou relationship. As we work to be other centered, we must learn how to love the difference between our spouses and us.
Terry and Shawn discuss this difference as follows:
Great teams are made up of different people bringing their individual talents together for a common goal...You and your spouse are different, and that is a good thing. You both were designed by God with unique strengths, gifts, talents, and abilities that make a tremendous difference in the world. These strengths have been with you from birth, but they often take time to discover, nurture, and develop. You will recognize a good number of these strengths from the Bible:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously, if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:5-8
The beauty of operating in the truth about how you are loved by God and how God is trustworthy is that it frees you to behave in line with the natural gifts, talents, strengths, and traits that God has specifically designed for you. Those gifted in empathy are able to show care for their spouse. Those gifted in communication are free to slow down and listen. Those gifted in wisdom are able to apply truth in ways that change the interactions with their spouse for the better.
One key to remember is that you cannot possibly posses all of these strengths. You have only the ones God gave you. That is why your marital "us-ness" is so important. Your spouse brings a different set of strengths to the marriage. When operating in his or her truth, your spouse is free to express the gifts and talents that God designed in him or her. Your different gifts can complement each other, and you can achieve things as a couple that would never have been possible if you were alone. (Hargrave and Stoever, 2011, pp. 85-86).
The growing towards an I/Thou relationship demands that we each recognize that God has given us each unique traits. As we begin to press into those traits, we are able to use those traits to guide the ways in which we love our spouses.
Hargrave, Terry and Shawn Stoever. 5 Days to a New Marriage. The Hideaway Foundation: Amarillo, 2011.