It is often said among Christian circles that when a couple gets married they become “one flesh.” This statement is most often interpreted as the couple gets to have sex, but when we truly become one flesh it is so much more than just a few moments in the sack.
This notion of becoming one flesh is found in Genesis 2:24,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Sex To Bring About One Flesh
Yes, one of the benefits to covenant marriage is guilt free and monogamous sex, and you get to enjoy the physical mingling of your bodies.
American culture and advertising has made sex to be merely a physical activity and has reduced it down to its basic animal instincts, but sex not only allows our bodies to connect but our souls and spirits as well.
Sex is a form of connection that no other activity or communication can replicate, and God designed it this way on purpose. It is meant to be the most intimate connection between husbands and wives. We give up something of ourselves to our spouse, and vise versa making us one flesh. When we adulterate that intimacy with premarital or extramarital intercourse we disrupt the one flesh intimacy between husband and wife.
When we participate in sex with our spouse, especially on the wedding night we initiate the mending of our physical bodies as well as our souls together. This process continues through the course of marriage.
If you base your marriage only on sex it will fail. Becoming one flesh has a much deeper meaning than just intercourse.
Spirit As One Flesh
Beyond the physical aspect of becoming one flesh, the marriage of a man and woman binds their spirits together. The marriage between man and woman is intended to be a divine replica of the marriage between Christ and His bride.
Just as Eve came forth from Adam when his side was pierced, so the church (the bride) came forth from Christ when His side was pierced on the cross. Eve was within Adam from the beginning, so the church was also within Christ before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
Our marriages bring forth the divine imagery of Christ and His bride to the world around us. As our Spirits become one flesh with each other the greater impact we will have at presenting that divine imagery to the world. As individuals we must be in constant submission to our spouse, just as we are in constant submission to Christ for this imagery to be enhanced.
Submission & Co-Laboring As One Flesh
It is often said that wives should submit to their husbands as is found in Ephesians.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:22-24
I believe this scripture is often misinterpreted and used as a means to subject women to men. When a man and woman become one flesh they are in submission to each other as we are in submission to Christ. The wife should serve the husband, just as the husband should serve the wife.
When a man and woman become one flesh they also become co-laborers in life together. Adam and Eve worked together in the garden (and after). Co-labor means to labor together, not labor over or labor under. The imagery implies side by side, as if joined at the ribs.
As individuals we work to express Christ to the world around us, but when we work together as the corporate body we provide a greater image of the incarnate Christ to the world around us. So it is with the husband and wife. The husband and wife express the marriage as individuals, but when they are together corporately the expression of one flesh is magnified. Husband and wife work together, just as we as individuals work as the expression of Christ in the earth.
This working is only magnified when we are co-laboring as one flesh. When the couple is coherent, on the same page, and standing side by side, and not one over the other, they become a more powerful representation of that divine imagery.
When a couple approaches Spiritual matters, yes I believe if the husband is fulfilling his role as the spiritual head of the home he is to lead his family in spiritual matters just as Christ is the head of the church.
In all other matters of life the husband and wife co-labor on decisions and make progress at presenting the divine imagery of Christ and his bride to the world.
To become one flesh is what makes your relationship last the test of time. To separate would be to tear out a part of yourself. As a husband and wife, you are now one flesh. Your relationship is symbiotic of one another. Your voice and decisions are one and the same. Your life is one and the same. Most of all when you live in the fullness of what it truly means to be one flesh, you become a powerful expression of the divine imagery of Christ and His bride to this world that so desperately needs Him.