One Flesh

Sexuality is a mystery; it isn’t merely biological, for humans at least: there’s a spiritual dimension to us being male and female.

In men, there’s typically a longing to be permanently and intimately connected with beauty, to have unrestricted, exclusive access to their own delightful portion of humanity. In women, there’s often a longing to be discovered and valued, enjoyed and cherished. Both are hints at spiritual fulfillment in God, windows to a world of spiritual reality of which courtship and marriage are merely shadows. (Ep 5:32)

As Man seeks to explore and enjoy the beauty of Woman, and to connect with her in the most intimate way possible, this is a faint hint at the pleasure of finding, beholding and enjoying the beauty of God, the One who makes Woman beautiful, and Whose delightful nature can never be fully fathomed. This is our privilege and purpose, and all sexual desire is a gift to remind us of this.

As Woman goes to great length to be attractive to Man, to catch his eye, arouse his interest, and to enjoy his protection, love and affection for herself alone, she reflects our intense desire to be recognized and valued by God, to find our unique purpose in God, and for Him to take pleasure in knowing us, in being ever mindful of us and watching over us, enjoying us and fellowshipping with us throughout our days.

When a man and a woman become intimate, this is much more than a physical experience; together they become a single metaphysical being: one flesh. (1Co 6:16) They’re joined together in an eternal mystical union that can never be broken; it’s evidently an expression of how God and His chosen are inseparably connected (1Co 6:17), not something to be taken lightly.

God seems particularly interested in each of us respecting and fulfilling the spiritual dimension of our sexuality, remaining in monogamous, committed, heterosexual relationships. (Mt 19:4-5) He calls each gender to walk in a way that the other deeply desires: the husband to love and cherish his wife (Ep 5:28-29), to dwell with her according to an intimate knowledge of her frame and disposition (1Pe 3:7), to cleave to her (Ge 2:24), and to put her needs before his own. (Ep 5:25) He calls the wife to treat her husband with honor and deep respect (Ep 5:33), to be in subjection to him, seeking to obey his every desire (except that which violates God’s Law), as if he were God himself. (Ep 5:24) Violating marital roles is not only harmful physically and psychologically, but also spiritually. (1Co 6:18)

For husbands, it’s sometimes as simple as just showing up. We don’t need to be perfect and flawless, to have all the answers and make everything right. Often, just being present and available to our wives, joining them in the journey, letting them occupy our minds and hearts as we walk through life with them … it’s what they’re looking for in us.

For wives, sometimes it’s as simple as being silent when we’d rather criticize, trusting God and saying, “Yes Sir!” when he asks something non-sinful of us and we’d rather not. Think of God saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” (Mt 25:23) rather than short-term inconvenience.

Many, if not most of the problems I see in our world stem from us rejecting our God-given roles in marriage. Just imagine the blessed world God’s called us to, if we all did what He says. Ponder the life He desires for us, if we were all found faithful here. Wouldn’t it be awesome?

Yet seldom do both husband and wife both walk out their calling in God together. Are we willing to be the one, if need be, to walk it alone? To carry our light affliction for a season, for the love of God? Here and now is the only chance we have to live sacrificially for Him. Once we’re with Him, that will be gone forever.

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