What does the Bible actually mean when it says that a husband and wife become one flesh? I've heard people speak on this text and talk about how close a husband and wife become throughout marriage. They being to think, talk, and even sometimes act like each other. I myself have experienced this. My wife and I will be driving down the road and remain quiet for a time. After this we both speak up, and we speak up at the same time and say the exact same words! This has happened more than once in my married life, and it is astonishing each time, but as awesome as this is, this is not what the Bible means when it says that a man and a woman become one flesh (Genesis 2:20-24).
Adam made this remark when Eve was brought to him in Genesis 2, "At last, this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called woman (ishah in Hebrew) for she was taken out of man (ish in Hebrew)." This bone and flesh terminology is used elsewhere in Scripture thusly:
Genesis 29:14 - And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
Judges 9:2 - Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.
2 Samuel 5:1 - Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
2 Samuel 19:13 - And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? Elohim do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.
1 Chronicles 11:1 - Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
Ephesians 5:28-31 - So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
It should be easy to see that the "bone and flesh terminology" has the meaning of kinship or family relation. All of these Scriptures are strikingly similar to Adam's statement about Eve: she is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Adam was declaring that he was starting a kinship relation, and marriage should be looked at as a kinship relation with the individual you're marrying. Not just some kind of flippant possiblity, but an actual covenantal relationship. Let's teach our children just how close the marriage bond really is.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.