The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said,“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:22-24
Aren’t those wonderful verses? And, oh how I love the narrative that precedes them. God took Adam through the whole process of discovery and realization, helping him to see that he needed Eve. Not a horse. Not a dog. Not even a giraffe. Woman.
So What Are We Missing?
When I look at marriages around me, though, I realize something. We often get the “man shall leave his father and mother” part. But, somehow we miss what comes after, the beautiful statement that man will “be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
Oh, we get the sex part of “become one flesh.” What we miss is the deeper, even more beautiful part. The part that makes the physical intimacy truly wonderful. We miss the whole-person joining of man and wife.
So often the boy and girl who are inseparable before marriage choose to “settle down” after they get married. After all, they live together now. They don’t have to be so intense about their relationship any more. They don’t have to find every excuse to be together. They don’t have to long for the day when goodbyes aren’t necessary. That day is here. So, the togetherness can relax a little bit.
As they settle into marriage, they begin to outgrow the “silliness” of their inseparable dating days. They come to believe that what they once had is not sustainable, that now they are in a situation of needing to learn how to make their two different personalities work together while living continuously under the same roof. There’s no need for goodbye – there’s also no avenue for goodbye. They are together. Period.
Joining & Becoming
And this is where the joining and becoming are missed. You see, we aren’t supposed to remain our original individual personalities, learning to live together. We’re supposed to instead become something new. One flesh. A brand new creation. Something together.
That mushy feeling of “I hate to be away from him” is supposed to turn into a very real sense of being partially empty when he is not around. Before marriage, we are not incomplete without one another because we are whole, beautiful creations. But, once we join together in marriage, we become a new creation that is made up of man and woman. And in that relationship, we are incomplete without one another.
Does this mean we never enjoy time with our girlfriends? Of course not! But, it becomes different, because it becomes a celebration of friendship time that further nourishes who we are as wives. The time our husbands have with their friends should likewise be times that build them up so they can be strengthened in their role as husbands. But, ultimately, we should not be satisfied with time away until we have sealed it with the beauty of coming back together.
So, what is the identity of marriage? Not two people living in the same house, joined in the flesh. But, two people who have merged into a new creation. One that is nourished and grown by togetherness.
When my husband and I joined in marriage, we became incomplete without one another. And it is a beautiful thing.