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UNLESS HE STRIVES LAWFULLY 2
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ďTherefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one fleshĒ
Welcome to the second in a series for reminding us of Godís ways on everyday life. Itís a rather long piece, but please read it to the end.
We begin this journey at the first of the human stories found in scriptures as contained in Genesis 2:18-24. God institutes marriage as He creates for Adam, a woman as a helper. And in Genesis 2:24, the ground rules for Christian marriage is laid down :
ĎTherefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one fleshí
To help us to understand this verse, I share Jack Hayfordís commentary on it. He states:
ĎLeave connotes a priority change on the part of the husband. Be joined has the idea of both passion and permanence. One flesh carries a number of implications, including sexual union, child conception, spiritual and emotional intimacy, and showing each other the same respect shown other close kin, such as ones parent and siblings.í
I will attempt to explain how this is meant to play out in the home front, though space will not allow me to look at the wider perspectives of each point as minutely as I would otherwise do in a meeting. It is not exhaustive but I hope it would give a birdís eye view of marriage, Godís way.
Leave: God intends that both man and wife must separate themselves from old alliances and soul ties. From the moment you take the marriage vow, no one (includes your children) should be closer to either of you in a way that is stronger than you are to each other. Next to God, you become each otherís top priority. No one elseí opinion or feelings must rank higher than that of your spouse. This in no way advocates a neglect of parents or siblings but perhaps, a reduction in say the amount of time spent with them.
Be Joined and Become One Flesh: God intends that couples be bonded Ė that you stick together giving room for His will to guide your hearts. You must merge together and work at becoming one Ė in your hopes and aspirations, in your perceptions and values, in your priorities, your monies, your physical and material possessions. When two substances fuse, the end carries a generous part of both. You donít particularly lose your identity; you just become part of a new one. It would take time and couples will work at different paces.
Godís wider counsel for relationships shows:
Couple must protect each other: From others and from yourself when you are susceptible to hurting the other. Refrain from saying things capable of hurting, ridiculing or dishonouring the other. Donít expose one another to be criticized, ridiculed, mocked or belittled by others. Remember that you are one flesh and whatever you do to hurt one hurts both of you.
Genuinely love one another: God commands us to love one another. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 shows that love:
Long-suffers: donít be irritable or impatient but endure hardship and each otherís flaws. Stand by one another through difficult times knowing that true love is sacrificial. While unemployment, physical or financial challenges can strain your relationship it must not be allowed to breed disloyalty or unfaithfulness;
Is kind: Care for one another - be nice, sympathetic, generous, gentle, thoughtful and compassionate to one another. Donít be rude, proud or arrogant to one another; speak the truth but in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Is not envious: Give no room for competition to arise between you, know that your oneness means that the success of one is the success of the other - (Philippians 2:3);
Does not demand its own way: make room for peace (Hebrews 10:24) Ė donít be stubborn or obstinate Ė itís not important that you win every argument or have the last word; submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21); preferring the other better than yourself (Romans 12:10);
Is forgiving: (Colossians 3:13) Forgive, even when forgiveness has not been sought for; keep no record of wrong and avoid dwelling on offences;
Believe in each other: believe in and support each otherís dreams and aspirations, donít mock your dreams or count each otherís expectations unattainable; have faith in God and in each other.
Understand and accept your biblical roles: Godís way is that the man is the head of the home (Ephesians 5:23) which in itself creates a responsibility for effective leadership and the woman is the help mate. Lapses can sometimes tempt us to want to assume the otherí authority, but we must remember that it is not Godís way.
Be content with each other: Appreciate and cherish each other; give no room to thoughts that you should or could have married someone else as it distracts your focus from working at making your marriage successful.
Nurture intimacy: Grow in your friendship; donít neglect each otherís physical or emotional needs. Godís word declares your right to each otherís bodies; donít starve one another of sex (1 Corinthians 7:3-5) or allow sex to become a tool to manipulate and control.
Reject divorce: God abhors it (Malachi 2:16) and in His plan marriage is to be indissoluble. Shut the door that offers you divorce as a way out of unresolved conflict.
Protect your oneness: Donít open up your marriage to third-party influences. Keep the details of what is going on in your home-front private, allowing for counselling only when there is marriage threatening conflicts;
Pray for one another: pray together, pray for one another, carry each otherís burden in the secret place (Galatians 6:2).
Like I said at the beginning, the list is not exhaustive. Our marital challenges and the circumstances surrounding them differ. But if there are particular issues you want to find out if the Bible addresses please e-mail me at
All correspondence is kept confidential.
I pray that God will give us the grace to forgive each other giving us a chance to renew and strengthen our love for our spouses, I pray that He will make our marriages fruitful physically, spiritually and financially; that He will give us the power to live our marriages in His will and rise up this day, on our behalf, to make an end of all things and power seeking to put our marriages asunder in Jesusí precious name.
I have a word for those whose marriages have suffered such attacks as have put the parties asunder. God says He is not unaware of your situation. He says to remind you that He is the Potter, the One who can heal all wounds and restore dry bones to life. He says if you will trust Him and leave your cares with Him, He will attend to it so that better is your end than your beginning.
Join me for the third in this series.
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