What ‘One Flesh’ Means to Marriage

One of the many benefits to marriage is living life together as one flesh.

In just about every wedding I’ve ever attended, Genesis 2:24 has been part of the ceremony:

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

And for most of my life, I would blush a little at that Scripture, assuming the one flesh meant one thing, and one thing only: sex.

While becoming one flesh does mean sex in marriage – and while the Bible is straightforward in the importance of sex in marriage – I’ve come to learn in my own marriage that becoming one flesh means so much more.

One of the many benefits to marriage is living life together as one flesh.

How a husband and wife are one flesh

If you’re married, you might have already noticed that the longer you’re married, the more you know and understand your spouse. You can finish each other’s sentences … because you already know what your spouse will say.

Becoming one flesh has everything to do with sharing your lives together as husband and wife. You don’t only share a home and a bed. You’ll share joy and sorrow. You’ll share your hopes and fears. You’ll share your successes and failures. You’ll share your money and possessions. You’ll share your bodies and souls.

You share everything with each other. And in the process, God weaves you together as one. You’re two people truly united.

This unity brings so much clarity to Ephesians 5:28 and 29 – “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”

As husband and wife, you love your spouse as you love yourself. You’re one flesh.

One of the many benefits to marriage is living life together as one flesh.

What happens when you’re one flesh

Since you’re one flesh, it’s vital to remember that any end to your marriage will be filled with pain.

Death or divorce will feel like you’re literally ripping apart your body. Because you were one flesh … and when you rip your body apart, it HURTS.

(My two cents? Avoid divorce if at all possible. Stay true to your vows and let death be the awful thing to part you and your sweetheart.)

I wouldn’t hack away a piece of my body by choice.

No … I’d like to keep everything intact for as long as I live. And that’s my picture of marriage. It’s a natural part of life that I try to protect and nurture and make healthy and strong. If something ends up diseased, you’d better believe I’m doing everything possible to heal it. If something hurts, it needs some TLC.

I think you would take care of yourself, too. In the same way, we need to take care of our marriages.

Our marriages need nurtured. We need to make sure, as much as it depends on us, that our marriages stay healthy. As we do, the joy and satisfaction we find in being one flesh will bring so much joy.

One of the many benefits to marriage is living life together as one flesh.

If you’re married, in what ways have you and your spouse become one flesh?

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All images courtesy of Unsplash.

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  1. This is a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing this encouragement. I have been enjoying reading your posts.

  2. Thanks for the post. This is a topic I haven’t heard a lot about but have wondered what the one flesh actually looked like. In my marriage I’d say it means having someone to share everything with.

  3. Thank you Hilary for your wonderful insight and knowledge and helping me prepare to become a wife

  4. Very complicated issue of what is marriage and one in flesh.
    If I was 17-20yrs old and had 50 sex partners which only lasted 1 or 2 nights each and then on to the next. At age 21 I start looking for a wife and invest time, money, dreams, laughs, hardships and sex with 25 women over the next 10 years before finding my wife.
    My now wife age 17-20 does the same, 50 sex partners and then investing time, money, dreams, laughs, hardships and sex with 25 men over the next 10 years.
    Who am I married to(one in flesh)? Who is my wife married to(one in flesh)?
    Am I married to 25 women or 75 women before I go through the government rite of marriage vows to my now wife?
    The same goes with my wife, is she married to 25 men or 75 men before going through the government rite of marriage vows to me?
    From what I get from people sharing their knowledge and their interpretation of the bible verses, to be one with your spouse you need all 3 conditions (sharing everything, government marriage vows and sexual intercourse {unless intercourse is impossible}).
    Therefore I can go have as much sex as I want, with as many partners as I want and the bible says it is OK, as long as I do not fulfill the 3 conditions to become one in flesh. So how is it that Solomon was considered to be the wisest King of all? Answer: Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
    Now the real me…I had one girlfriend and I married her, 44 years now. Four wonderful boys. I use the old testament as a reference and obey the new testament.
    Nothing is easy in life, enjoy every minute you can and in all things putting Jesus 1st. Remembering: to grow close to your spouse both of you have to grow closer to God. (The marriage pyramid). God

    Wife Husband
    Thank you for the article and have a good year.

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