For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Being happily married is life’s greatest challenge. Why? Lots of reasons—unrealistic expectations, selfishness, taking advantage of the other person, our refusal to communicate, to compromise, and to forgive.
Socrates, the Greek philosopher, was once asked by a young man if he should marry. Socrates replied, “You will be sorry no matter which you do.” As Gary Smalley said, “The most difficult years of marriage are those following the wedding.” Getting married is an event but staying married is an achievement, in some cases the crowning achievement of a person’s life.
Why the irresistible attraction to a member of the opposite sex, something that is physical and emotional, yet so challenging and difficult when it comes to living in harmony?
I don’t know about you, but I have found that when I buy something, usually mechanical, and it doesn’t work right, I ask myself, “What did I do with the instruction booklet that came with this?” Then I dig it out and read the manual, the how-to-do-it booklet that came with the product.
A lot can be gained when it comes to understanding the purpose of marriage by going back to the original owner’s manual and determine why God so designed us that we are drawn to each other. The historic battle of the sexes, believe it or not, is the result of centuries of misunderstanding, of fighting for what you think you deserve.
God didn’t put within your heart the desire to share your life with someone to make you miserable but rather to fulfill the very purpose for which He created you. Let me explain.
First, may I point out that God didn’t make woman by taking Eve from Adam. Are you ready for this? He created Eve from a substance taken from Adam, which is why Adam, laying eyes on Eve for the first time, exclaimed that she was his own “flesh and bone.” She was a perfect match–same stuff he was made of, a compelling, irresistible attraction, not simply sexual but at a level that meant the emptiness in his life would be filled. There was an immediate union intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and, eventually, physically.
That old English word “helpmeet” used to describe what Eve should do is obsolete, misunderstood, and implies a position of inferiority. To translate, the Hebrew word literally means “helper suitable for him.” Based on how the word is used in other contexts, it means “matching him, beside him, opposite of him.”
Scripture described this complimentary union as “one flesh”—a powerful description of how each find in the other complete fulfillment and union. Reading your Old Testament you will find that the expression “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” was used to express a kinship relationship—a reminder that we have common roots and ancestors and, therefore, should live in peace and harmony.
It’s time to declare an end to the battle of the sexes, fly the white flag, break bread and reconnect. Jesus looked upon married couples as one entity—not two people fighting to keep the other from taking advantage, but two unique individuals who compliment each other in such a way that each makes the other a better person and each accomplishes far more because of the positive influence of the other.
As Joe Murray put it: “Marriage should be a duet—when one sings, the other claps.” Its goal should not be to think alike but to think together, not to compete but complete, not to endure but to celebrate. It’s not the impossible dream but the weaving together of two lives in a bond that is inseparable. That’s God’s plan and purpose.
Resource reading: Genesis 2.