And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24, N.K.J.V.)
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6, N.K.J.V.)
A few weeks ago, I preached a Sunday sermon on the topic of marriage. That sermon reminded me afresh and anew just how important the reality of “one flesh” is to a marriage. Actually, it is this reality that sets marriage apart from all other earthly relationships.
Some wiseguy has said, “A husband and a wife become one flesh in marriage and then go on the honeymoon to decide which one they’ll become.” While this joke does evoke a chuckle, the fact is that the “one flesh” created by a marriage isn’t 100% the husband’s flesh or 100% the wife’s flesh. It is, instead, an amalgamation of the two.
There are various illustrations that have been used to depict this amalgamation. A classic one has the husband and the wife each holding a candle and using those candles to light a third candle, a unity candle. That newly formed third flame, the one created from the two existing flames, serves as an object lesson for the “one flesh” of marriage.
As I said, this matter of the husband and the wife becoming “one flesh” is what sets marriage apart from all other earthly relationships. Becoming “one flesh” with your spouse means that your marital relationship is even more important than the relationship you have with your parents, your children, your other family members, or your friends. That’s why your marriage relationship should supersede all of your other relationships, with the only exception being your relationship to God.
The husband doesn’t become one flesh with his job or his hobby. The wife doesn’t become one flesh with her job or her home. The married athlete doesn’t become one flesh with his career. The married coach doesn’t become one flesh with the team. The married school-teacher doesn’t become one flesh with the class. The married pastor doesn’t become one flesh with the church. The married politician doesn’t become one flesh with the political office.
Because of this, when a spouse — and I mean any spouse — begins to realize that either something or someone is doing damage to the “one flesh” of his or her marriage, drastic measures should be employed to deal with the problem. Whatever it takes to fix the marriage must be done. I’m talking about throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at it if that’s what it takes. When fault lines begin to appear, any delay in repairing them will only make the problem worse.
How wonderful it would be if we could get every spouse around the world to understand that nothing he or she has going on in life is important enough to damage a marriage over. I dare say that arriving at such an understanding would virtually stamp out divorce completely. Not only would it create healthier marriages, the positive domino effect of those healthier marriages would flow out to every corner of life and create a far better world.
Alas, however, we’ll never reach this worldwide goal, will we? That’s just too big an accomplishment for Adam’s fallen race to achieve. This doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t achieve it in your own marriage. So, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and start mending those fault lines, and get your unity flame to burning brightly. Trust me, this dark world needs it desperately, and for that matter, so do you and your spouse.