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.
This past Saturday I had a conversation with a person I have not talked to in quite some time. As she was talking she explained to me that she had been reading a book regarding a woman's role towards her husband. What a breath of fresh air! In a world where it seems wives and husbands want to be everything other than a godly wife or godly husband, I hear a Christian woman explaining that she is learning how to serve her husband. I was doing jumping-jacks inside!
This woman told me that as she began to apply the Biblical principles of being the helper she was created to be towards her husband, the husband began to notice the drastic change. He even remarked to her, "What has got into you honey?" This question stemmed from recognizing an obvious change in the life, demeanor, and actions of his wife. This woman also shared with me that she firmly believed that if she obeyed Scripture in regards to her role as a wife that her husband would be changed by the manner she lived. I know this is true even for wives with unbelieving husbands. Go read 1 Peter 3:1-2. It's powerful.
BTW, the same holds true for the husband. Yahweh, give us husbands who love their wives. Yahweh give us husbands who serve their wives. Yahweh give us husbands who desire to please You with all their heart, showing their children what it means to be a man of Almighty Yahweh. Likewise, Yahweh, gives us true wives, true women of Yahweh.
I believe that one of the problems in marriages today is the lack of communication. A husband and wife should be the best of friends, they should be able to talk to each other, not in just saying I love you or "How did your day go?" but in all aspects of life. Talking to your spouse draws you closer to your spouse. Discussing situations that arise in life with the person you married is one of the best ways to let them know that you genuinely care about their feelings and thoughts.
What happens is that a husband may never even speak to his wife unless he is making a request for dinner. Likewise unless the wife needs some money she may never talk to her husband. What a way to communicate! I know that my wife doesn't only want to hear me ask her what she's cooking, she wants me to talk to her as my friend, and I want the same from her. I want to be able to discuss all things with her and in doing so draw us closer together in marriage. When a wife says to her husband, "I'd like to talk to you about something," us husbands need to respond in a more than willing way. We must make sure we give our wife the time she needs. We must make sure that we give her a listening ear and a "shoulder" to lean on if need be.
If a husband or wife is not willing to communicate where will comminication come from? Men will seek elsewhere and so will women. This means that problems will arise, disagreements will surface, and emotions will run high, but not in a good and holy manner. Take time out to talk to your spouse today. Let them know that you are there for them and that you really do care. If you've not been the husband or wife you are supposed to be then quit rebelling against the commands of Yahweh. Stop your wickedness, repent of your stubborness, and begin to do what is perfect in the sight of the Father.
I had the blessed opportunity yesterday to speak at a wedding. I'd never done so before, but was honored to be asked. Prior to speaking I contemplated on the greatness and the glory of Yahweh in placing Adam and Eve together in Genesis 2. I'm always excited when I think of how Eve existed prior to her being taken out of Adam. Yahweh actually and really took a part of Adam's body and made that part into Eve. Wow! That shows forth the true meaning of Genesis 2:24 - "They are no more two (twain) but one flesh."
Marriage is a commitment between man and woman that is supposed to last a lifetime. When Yeshua was asked about divorce and putting away in Matthew 19 he responded to the questioners by saying, "Have you not read that He which made them in the beginning made them male and female?" He continued by saying that what Yahweh had joined together let no man separate. That shouts to me that Yahweh's plan in the beginning is for a husband and wife to be together until death.
Many times husbands and wives find themselves separating what Elohim has joined together in the act of divorce. It saddens me at how lightly people view marriage vows. The sanctity of marriage has left modern America. We Christians should speak our vows as being ones taken in the sight of (first) Almighty Yahweh and (second) our spouse and (third) two or more witnesses. Scripture says that it's better not to make a vow at all than to make a vow and break it. That would have to include the marriage vows.
I'm so thankful that Yahweh has blessed me with a wonderful wife; it makes marriage so much easier. I believe a large part of marital problems stem from the husband and wife not practicing the role that was ordained by Yahweh from the beginning. Paul expounded on this role in Ephesians 5. He basically said that the husband is to take the role of Christ and the wife is to take the role of the Church. Husbands aren't loving their wives like they are commanded and wives are not being subject to their husbands like they are commanded. This makes for disharmony in the home and inevitably, if kept up for long enough, what started as a loving marriage, ends in divorce.
I'm currently writing a book titled "Husbands, Love Your Wives" based on Ephesians 5:25. It will have a little bit for the wives in it too. I want to be a minister that is in the business of making a drastic attempt to save marriages. I want to make people hold together the union that Yahweh has joined.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.