Keep Calm and Marry On


Two Becoming One

To follow God's good plan for your marriage, it's going to take more than just saying, "I do." Genesis 2 outlines the original biblical directive for the marriage relationship: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (v. 24). This verse centers on a three-part process for a husband and wife: they must leave, cleave, and weave.

Leave: The idea of leaving your parents when you marry simply means that relationship must be severed to solidify another. The idea is for you to cut the cord of dependence on them while still honoring them, and for them to treat you and your spouse as adults.

Making this break sets the tone for all your other relationships. If you're reprioritizing such a critical relationship as this, then everything else must also take a back seat to your marriage, including your career, friends, hobbies, habits, pets, and gadgets.

Cleave: Leaving leads to cleaving, a term from the King James translation of the Bible that means to be joined to or united with. The Hebrew word, dabaq, conveys the idea of permanence, like something being glued or even welded together.

When I perform a wedding, I ask the couple to say, "I will" rather than "I do," and I tell them why: "I do" means "I do right now," whereas "I will" means "I do now and I will continue to in the future, because our lives from this point on are welded together."

Saying "I will" also speaks of the practical action that should follow cleaving to each other. A husband promises to be faithful to his wife until death parts them—even if her looks fade or she doesn't cook or tidy up as much as she used to. Same goes for the woman whose husband's gut has expanded and hair has thinned; she promises to stay committed to him. Just as God doesn't take back His gift of salvation when we mess up, we should enter marriage committed to keeping all the promises we make at the altar.

Weave: Genesis 2:24 doesn't say a husband and wife will be one flesh, but they shall become one flesh. Becoming one flesh means you and your spouse share everything: bodies, possessions, insights, triumphs, and trials. And it's a process, much like weaving a tapestry. Think of it like this: a strong marriage is held together by thousands of little threads that you weave with your spouse every single day. Will you commit to investing in this process, starting today?

Tip #3: There are a thousand different ways to express love to and surprise your spouse: A phone call in the middle of the day. An unexpected gift. His favorite dessert. Her favorite perfume. Being primped when he comes home. Telling her how great she looks. Doing something fun together you really enjoy, like having a movie night with popcorn or taking a drive through the country. The Bible encourages us not to despise "the day of small things" (Zechariah 4:10). Learn what puts the sparkle in your spouse's eye and do it. Remember: a marriage that plays together stays together.