And Two Became One

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

How many times have we heard these words while witnessing the joining in marriage of a friend or family member? Our hearts are happy for them. We wish and quietly pray that their union will be as enduring as either or both of them are. Yet we're troubled. We've seen so many marriages fail. Some seemed doomed before they started. Others fell apart shortly after the honeymoon. Still others dissolved after many years together. But we quietly pray because we know that some do last "until death does part them."

Is success in marriage merely by chance? Many believe that if two people are united in marriage and remain together for the rest of their lives they are simply lucky. I believe that success in marriage can be guaranteed. In order for the guarantee to be valid BOTH parties must view their union, as well as their respective roles within the union, as God does. That is, they MUST make God's Word THEIR final authority. To put it another way, both parties must be willing to make Jesus Christ Lord of their marriage.

In Genesis 2:23-24, with the creation of the first woman, we find the establishment of marriage. In Matthew 19, in defending the marriage union before the Pharisees, Jesus referred to this original marriage by saying, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:4-6)

There are certain teachings contained in the context of this statement that we will not address at this time. Our purpose here is to discover how two can become one.

First, notice that ONE woman and ONE man were created and brought together. (The homosexual relationship had no part in God's Plan for the family.) Notice also that the woman was made FOR the man (Genesis 2:18-22; I Corinthians 11:8-9). She was to be his companion and helper in life. The man was to function as the head of the union but they were both to rule as co-regents. (Genesis 1:28 points out that TOGETHER they were to multiply and replenish the earth; TOGETHER they were to subdue it; TOGETHER they were to have dominion over every living thing.)

Not only was the woman made FOR the man, she was made OUT OF the man, Man is commanded to love his wife as he loves himself. Why? Because "no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it." Eve was a part of Adam. She came from him. He could not hate her without hating a part of himself. This is the attitude God intended for a man to have toward his wife.

Second, they were to LEAVE their parents. It is essential that a leaving take place in order for bonding to occur. Many marriages are doomed because one or both maintain a stronger attachment for the home they came from than they do for the one they are seeking to build.

Third, they were to CLEAVE to one another. To be stuck together as if glued. The word cleave means "a bond which can't be broken." Two people glued in mind, in spirit, and in purpose so strongly that they become "one flesh." When man tries to dissolve a marriage, he is attempting to divide one in order to get two. But anytime "one" is divided the results will be less, not more.

Last, the marriage union is a joining together BY God. It was not to be disassembled by man. It is a sacred institution which must be viewed from God's perspective and not man's. Again, success in marriage will depend upon our willingness to let Jesus be the Lord of our marriage; to let God's Word, no, to EAGERLY ACCEPT GOD'S WORD as "final" on all matters. There is no room for pride. Instead, a spirit of humility must prevail. Our attitude must be that of our Lord's, "Not MY will but Your will be done." As the Psalmist said, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it." (Psalm 127:1)