If you are already one with your spouse, why not live that way?
In Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5, the Bible states that a husband and wife become one when they are joined in marriage. The Apostle Paul describes this as a great mystery – literally a mega-mystery in the Greek! The mystery is that a husband and wife are one in the same way we are one with Christ after we come to faith in Him. (See Ephesians 5:31-32)
This post is a continuation of the “What If” series that we started last week, where we are considering some biblical truths about marriage that we often hear about, but whose significance we may not fully grasp. (If you missed them, check out Do You What If? and What If Love Was Your Only Motive?)
The truth that husband and wife are one in marriage is another one of those familiar sayings whose implications are well-worth considering at a deeper level.
Unpacking the One Flesh Mega-Mystery
The starting point for understanding the one-flesh mystery is to realize that it is not something you become. It’s not something you grow into. It’s something you are. You are one. The distinction is more than mere semantics. It goes to the core of how you view your marriage.
I know it can be hard to get your head around the one-flesh idea sometimes. We certainly don’t always feel one, right? I mean we fight, we get self-absorbed, we hurt each other, and sometimes we grow apart. How can we say we are one through all of that?
That’s the mystery.
It’s helpful to consider our oneness with Christ when trying to understanding the one-flesh mystery of marriage. We don’t work our way into oneness with Jesus. We don’t grow our way into it, or pray our way into it, or earn it with our daily devotions and weekly church attendance. Our performance or our feelings about it have nothing to do with it. The Bible makes it clear that at salvation we become one with Christ – a sudden and mysterious spiritual union.
It’s the same with marriage. You are one with your spouse by virtue of the fact that you chose to marry each other. It’s that simple.
Enjoying the Fruit of Oneness
If you are already one with your husband or wife, then it doesn’t make sense for us to “try” to be one.
So the important question isn’t how to become one. The question is whether we are fully enjoying the fruit of the oneness that is already ours by virtue of the fact that we are married.
To make this notion a little clearer, let me draw the spiritual parallel to which Paul alludes in Ephesians. As believers, we are one with Christ, whether we “feel” one or not. How we feel is not the issue. The oneness we share with Him gives us access to all kinds of great things like a 24/7 intimate walk with Christ, the continuing fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, the right to ask anything in Jesus’ name, the right to come boldly before the Father, etc. Whether or not we tap into all these great fruits of our oneness does not change the fact that we are one with Christ.
Learning to live in the fullness of my oneness with Christ is a lifelong pursuit, just like it is in my marriage.
So what are the implications for oneness in marriage? What benefits and blessing could we enjoy by living fully as one? What are the fruits we can enjoy because we are two who have been joined as one?
If We Really Are One…
For me, if I really am one with my wife, then here are just of few implications for our marriage:
- Score-keeping makes absolutely no sense because when my wife “wins,” then so do I.
- When I choose to meet her needs, I’m actually also helping myself. Conversely, when I hurt my wife, I’m actually hurting myself.
- Self-centeredness, self-protection, self-promotion, and self-reliance have no place. Me-centered living is replaced by we-centered living.
- Intimacy in all forms (spiritual, physical, emotional, intimacy, financial, intellectual) is the natural, intended state of our marriage. Intimacy isn’t something we earn with each other. We don’t need to perform or jump through certain hoops in order to earn intimacy. It’s ours by right.
- Disconnection is painful because when we choose the Path of Separation instead of the Path of Intimacy, we tear at the fabric of our oneness.
- Maintaining our connection should be a higher goal in every conflict than proving our point or winning the argument.
- Neither of us is more or less; we are instead a perfect complement. We are two joined into one, and we are more together than we can be individually.
- I am completely free to bring my full self to my wife and to our marriage, to hold nothing back. I am fully hers, as she is fully mine. We can live naked without shame.
Learning to think of you and your spouse as one is the beginning point for learning to live as one. Seeing your marriage in this light will help lead you in your journey of walking this out, similar to to the way we walk out our faith journey, in an ever unfolding revelation of the beauty and benefits of oneness.
Can you think of any other implications of the oneness you have with your spouse? What are some other ways you would behave differently if you really believed it? How has being one changed how you live and love? Leave a comment with your thoughts!
If you find yourself in a marriage where it seems like you are the only one interested in walking in oneness, please read “When Living as One is One-Sided”
My book, The Path of Intimacy, is full of practical ways you can walk in oneness with your spouse by deepening the intimacy and connection you share. It’s available on Kindle and in Paperback through Amazon.