Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Flesh

It says in Mark 10:8 - And the two shall become one flesh; no longer two, but one flesh. When two people marry, when they leave the homes of their parents and cleave to one another, everything each other has is then co-owned by the both of them. While it is true that we retain our own wants, needs and personalities within this two-part organism that is a marriage, those things are now part of the new whole. Every “my” must become an “ours.” It says in 1 Corinthians 7:3 - The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. These words are written about sexuality, about giving up the right to use your body as a bargaining chip or a weapon to get what you want, and instead submitting it to the other person. What if the concept were applied more broadly though? What if it were about money? Would separate bank accounts then work against the idea of deeper intimacy? How about if it were about kids from a previous relationship? What about career, or vacation time. Think of all the things you brought into your marriage, from physical stuff, to personality traits to emotional baggage. Are there things that you will not co-own with your spouse? Anything that you will not give up complete control of can lead to resentment and drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Pastor Jimmy Evans issues this warning: “Anything you will not co-own with your spouse has the power to harm, and even destroy your marriage.” Luckily, he also points out that “Mutual possession creates intimacy, and destroys jealousy.” There are analogies in the stories of people coming to follow Christ. Think of the rich man in Mark 10:21 who asked what he needed to do to get into heaven. “Give all you own to the poor,” Jesus said, knowing that the man’s love of money, his refusal to cede control of that aspect of his life was what would keep him from truly living out the Gospel. Think of the man in Matthew 8:22 who said he’d follow, as soon as he buried his father. “Let the dead bury their own” said Jesus, seeing that in the man it was an excuse for him to not move forward. Think of the things that remain a part of you from before you were married that you still cling to as solely “yours.” In Luke 9:62, Jesus tells a man: No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. This brings to mind also Lot’s wife, becoming a pillar of salt upon turning back towards Sodom for one last look at the past. Anything you won’t share becomes an anchor, preventing your marriage from growing into all it can be, all God has planned for it to be. Put both hands on the plow. Look forward. Accept shared authority of all you are, and fully embrace the union with your spouse, the idea of being 


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