When young couples dream about getting married, work is rarely part of the conversation. We have dreams of fairy tales and happily ever after. Then after we get married, we realize that a ceremony or license is not the answer to all of life’s problems. We are suddenly faced with the reality that two people in a covenant relationship require a lot of work. In the story of Adam and Eve we are told, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 NIV). They key word here is “become”. That act of “becoming” does not happen by accident or proclamation. It requires intentional work. There are multiple facets this could be broken down into, but I think there are three specific things we can gather from this one verse to help us understand the work that needs to be done.
The Bible says we are to leave our father and mother. This doesn’t necessarily mean physically. Actually during biblical times, it would not have been uncommon for multiple generations of the same family to reside at the same home or the same location. What it is describing here is the fact that our parents have been our main source of strength, encouragement, support and wisdom. It is not that they no longer offer those things, it is that now your spouse becomes the main source of those things in your life. Or at least they should. That is where part of the work begins. Parents have a difficult time letting go. Children have a difficult time letting go. There is a lifetime of connection that suddenly has to be rearranged. It requires work and usually this work begins even before you say “I do”.
Once more than one person is involved, unity is work (and then even some people can’t agree with themselves). Being united as husband and wife requires communication more than anything else. Unity does not always mean agreement, but it does mean that you are whole. There is nothing that cannot be resolved to a place where you are not divided. Division will bring your marriage down. It requires work to stay unified; to come to a place of wholeness. Whole does not mean perfection. It just means we are committed to being together no matter what the decision or opinion. At times, unity requires submission for one or the other party. Submission does not make us a doormat, it just indicates that unity is more important that our opinion at the moment. Submission is not just about one person. Mutual submission is required for successful unity. Unity requires work.
“Become” is the first thing we need to understand in this equation. Becoming is an ongoing process until there is no more time. Becoming is this continuous pattern of growth that we should be on in life and in marriage. Opinions change and life begins to look different the longer you live and the more you grow. All growth requires change and change can be difficult. It may require us to change or it may change our spouse (which will still require adjustment on our part). Becoming one is something that is never finished. It is something that must be worked at every day of every marriage. The opposite of becoming one is remaining two and that may be the definition of divorce, even if papers have not been filed.
Valentines Day is next week. And, I know that for some of you, this time of year reminds you just how much work and attention your marriage needs. So, I will be sending out a few extra things next week to help your marriage. Take it from me, a little help in this area can totally transform your life.
So, keep an eye out for an email from me early next week, I guarantee you won’t wan’t to miss what is inside.