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Purpose: Great marriages are built on God's proclamation that the couple is now one. To the degree a couple builds upon this truth, the marriage will grow and mature. To the degree a couple live out their own independent wills, their marriage will suffer. Oneness Forever is the fourth session of Building Great Marriages! This is the first of six parts to Oneness Forever. Study questions are available at the end of this lesson.
Couples are looking for that perfect marriage. Although we might not be able to find perfection here on earth, we can get pretty close by living out this third life principle of ‘Oneness Forever.’
This seems so simple until we take a close look at the atoms themselves. They seem to be a universe in themselves. A special powerful force keeps the different moving particles working together.
Marriage has a similar force. God has declared ‘two become one flesh.’ It seems easy and makes a lot of sense. But the more we think about it, we see that there are some very special forces working behind marriage to keep it together.
Much like the atom, God’s design for marriage is perfect. By some amazing feat one male and one female with different wills and bodies are willing to stay, live and work together throughout their lives.
We have seen the important place the first two life principles have in a marriage: Unconditional love and humble submission. They are principles that not only husbands and wives are asked to abide by but everyone all the time. The living out of these truths is essential to a great marriage. We want to speak about the third life principle today.
This third life principle comes from Genesis 2:24 and is developed more fully in Ephesians 5 just as the other two life principles are. This is the mystery of marriage.
The fact is that the married couple is now ‘one body’ through the mighty declaration of God. We are called to recognize this oneness and affirm it. As we assert this unity in different practical ways, our marriage gets stronger and stronger.
Let’s look more closely at this third life principle of “Oneness Forever.” When we abide in oneness, a special security arises over our hearts which gives us freedom to rest, delight and dream. It is here in God’s design that we find His harmony, love and joy for our marriages.
Marriage was meant to last. We all know the marriage vows, “as long as we both shall live.” With so many different opinions being expressed today, we need to see what the Bible has to say about these matters. This concept is revealed in Genesis and again repeated several times in the New Testament.
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to His wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to His wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5)
We should note that Jesus’ version varies just a bit. The scriptures first speak about a couple joining together. The man leaves the authority of his parents and becomes his own authority under God. This shift of family authority and structure indicates a long-term change. So does the way the man devotes himself to his new wife.
The word cleaving is very strong and has a sense of clinging like vines to a tree trunk; or when you accidentally super-glue your fingers together. Clinging demands a concentrated focus, which by its focus eliminates other behaviors or thoughts.
The element of permanency for marriage is even more clearly reflected in the last phrase where two people are joined into one new family unit.
These verses are not just speaking of sexual intimacies. True, the sexual act reveals this oneness in an amazingly beautiful way. The climax of the sexual act involves the uniting of the man and woman all at once in the heart, mind and body. Oneness however goes beyond this brief intense sharing of bodies. The verse states that they become one flesh. A change occurs in their nature.
This ‘oneness’ goes down deep to the pledge of one’s heart toward the other in a “as long as we both shall live” type of commitment. The oneness is created by a perfect blend of their two lives. The differing genders, responsibilities and physical features all assist in the creation of a masterpiece of oneness. There can hardly be found a more splendid truth stated by such simple words, “They shall become one flesh.”
They are now one flesh or unit; they are no longer two. There is intimate sharing of heart, soul and body. This whole union reveals itself in the birth of ‘their’ child. One child shares equally from the husband and wife. We now know by a study of the cells that both the father and mother’s oneness is incorporated together in every cell of the new baby. This is absolutely remarkable. If you want to affirm your marriage, have lots of children!
Something is even more amazing as we reflect upon this ‘one flesh’ concept. When something is one, it cannot be simply broken into normal functional pieces with new identities.
The atom, which seems to be indivisible, really is comprised of different parts. The nucleus and electrons are mysteriously coupled together by awesome and mysterious forces. In order to break them apart, great energy is needed and the original elements are tremendously impacted. Just think what happens with the atom bomb. God has through His own judgment declared that the married couple is one. The male and female are promised to each other and become one for life. Only death removes this oneness.
“Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
God takes part in the marriage whether it took place in a church or not. God has joined the couple together. The two have lost their separate identity. They have become one.
After marriage, we can no longer find the original two. Yes, they are present and identifiable much like a nucleus and an electron, but to understand them one must understand how they are bonded together. This is the reason divorce does not make sense and remarriage even less so (unless the original partner dies). Jesus simply says remarriage after divorce is the same as adultery.
“And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her” (Mark 10:11).
“A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39).
A spouse cannot simply state that he or she is no longer pledged. A pledge is a pledge. Since the pledge is for life, then he must be faithful for life. God has joined them together with His mysterious force. Although earthly courts permit divorce and nullification of the marriage, the marriage continues to exist before God as long as both spouses live. Paul says the same thing about the church and her relationship with Christ.
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be!”(1 Corinthians 6:15)
Because of a prior spiritual commitment to Christ, we are one with Him. If we then go and give our devotion to another, then it is spiritual adultery or idolatry. When a married person has sexual relations with any, both physical and spiritual adultery occur.
Oneness most clearly shows itself in its indivisibility. One is no longer two and cannot be divided.
This Building a Great Marriage is a long series. We have printed or download ebook editions which make it easier to read and are available with BFF's other great books in our store.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988