“A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24 (ESV)
God’s instruction to married couples is clear. We are to be one flesh.
This is a much higher calling to marriage than the world offers. It is beyond commitment. It is beyond promise. It is beyond vows.
The imagery God provides of being one flesh should not be lost on us.
If we are one flesh:
• Separation is impossible. How can one person become two?
• The pain of our spouse becomes our pain.
• The harm of one’s sin becomes harmful to the other.
• Our needs must be met – together.
While we may have knowledge of God’s plan for marriage and while we may agree that this plan is critical to having a marriage as God intended, how do we know we are truly living as one flesh?
Here are 5 questions to determine areas that you and your spouse are acting as one flesh and areas that may need improvement.
1. Are we of one flesh EMOTIONALLY?
This is an area that couples often struggle with early in their marriage. Before marriage, we are often attached emotionally to parents and friends because they naturally give us the emotional support we seek.
However, problems can arise when one spouse gives precedent to those old emotional paradigms once they are married. In some cases, a spouse can even become emotionally dependent on their children. Who do you turn to for emotional support?
2. Are we of one flesh SPIRITUALLY?
Malachi 2:15 says in marriage we are made “one” with a “portion of the Spirit” as part of the union. Marriage is not merely a legal ceremony. God honors a marriage between believers with a portion of His spirit!
If marriage is important enough for God to give a portion of His spirit then it should be important enough for us to give our marriage to His spirit. Do you cultivate spiritual intimacy and “oneness” by worshipping, praying, and studying the Bible together?
3. Are we of one flesh PHYSICALLY?
Though the end result in this category may be sex, it’s not where we need to begin the discussion. Yes, 1st Corinthians 7:5 says we should not deprive one another of sex because the enemy may use that time to tempt us. But as usual, God is more concerned about the heart of the matter.
In verses 3 & 4 of that chapter, scripture tells us to not consider our bodies our own. God’s design for sexual pleasure was for us to mutually submit to each other! In your marriage, do you approach sex selfishly or selflessly?
4. Are we of one flesh FINANCIALLY?
An area that is usually the last to be given over to God personally can sometimes be the last to be given over in a marriage. Too often one spouse will keep a stash of cash or even a separate bank account that their spouse is unaware of. But can a person keep a secret from himself?
If we are to be as one in this area of our marriage, we must bring everything to full knowledge of each other. We must discuss and agree on how we use the resources God has given us. We must work together and respect one another in that process. How do you refer to money in your marriage? Do you say “my money” or do you say “our money”?
5. Are we of one flesh INTELLECTUALLY?
This area of our marriage may be the most overlooked. But one body cannot be of two minds. Intellectual stimulation can be just as seductive in leading a spouse astray as physical or emotional attraction. We must cultivate and care for our intellectual health.
Whether it’s reading the same book, talking about current events, or watching a documentary together, it’s important that we challenge each other to grow – together. Do you feel intellectually challenged by your spouse?
We all have areas in our relationship that could be stronger. My prayer is that these questions begin the discussion between you and your spouse so that you may truly become one flesh.