Friday, 29 Jan 2021
Title: The “one flesh” principle in marriage
Writer: Richard YW Yeoh
Verse: Matthew 19:4-6 NIV
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,” and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
Marriage is a serious matter in God’s sight. And for good reason. Marriage as the basic foundation of family and society provides the bonds that hold the family unit together and enables the security and togetherness that fosters supportive and harmonious families and societies.
In modern society, marriages are proving challenging and even Christian marriages may suffer dysfunctionality.
Instituting marriages and rendering marriages as ordained of God, our Lord underscores the sanctity of marriage which when practiced in the letter and spirit of biblical exhortations brings about loving and harmonious families.
Today I would just mention a few basic principles of the “becoming one flesh principle” mentioned in Matt 19: 4-6 and illustrate what it could mean in our daily marriage walk.
Think and act as one :
This, I believe to be fundamental. Spouses must share common spiritual values. This is not to say that we behave like robots and not have our own views and preferences. What this means is we must consider each other as belonging to one body. This means treating our spouse as part of ourselves. It’s amazing how such a simple attitudinal change can help us be more patient, more considerate, more caring and more loving. After all, we don’t often get mad or impatient or upset with ourselves, no matter what dumb things we might say or do. And so learning to place ourselves in our spouses’ shoes will help us empathize better. Believe me, it works.
This attitude carries through to other areas of marriage where experts say most conflicts occurs. Areas like management of finances, managing children, and managing in-laws.
Learning to think as one reduces the potential conflict areas and stresses considerably.
Life time commitment :
When we decide to enter into marriage, we must do so with the commitment of a life long relationship, for better or for worse, till death do us part. Having this long term mindset empowers us to look at issues long term and gives us the endurance to work at making the marriage work day by day. Of course in reality, there will be ups and downs in any marriage and indeed, even an occasional crisis. That’s where couples must agree to get help from counselors and professionals to help them resolve issues better when necessary, instead of striving on their own.
Be guided by love:
In all our thoughts and actions in the marriage relationship, we must endeavor at all times to be guided by love. The late noted American management guru Stephen Covey often spoke of “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.
When posed questions on what to do with a difficult spouse, his answer was often a simple “love her, just love her”.
By this he meant to say – in all circumstances no matter how difficult, respond in love.
Our Heavenly Father would not allow us to face trials and challenges that He has not equipped us to cope with. So it is with marriages. I do emphasize however that when marriages have serious problems e.g. emotional and physical abuse, that calls for professional help and one or both must seek that help to overcome the issues.
When I was a young man, I once spoke to an elderly church deacon who confided in me that he had been married 26 years. I remember being somewhat in awe at such a durable marriage.
I realized then that marriage in the biblical context is truly a life-long commitment and we must therefore treat marriages with sanctity and respect and make it a fulfilling and joyful one.
Heavenly Father, thank You for instituting the marriage covenant, which reflects Christ’s love for us.
May it continue to be honored and recognized within our society as the basic foundation of security and love for the family.
Lord, we bring before You every married and engaged couple in our church. Pour out Your grace and strength on each one, in seasons of celebration, grief, distress and conflict, in good times and in difficult times.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen