Monday, August 08, 2005

The purposes of Marriage: Part III - Completion

Apparently Friday's post on sex started a side conversation over at Evangelical Update. E.U. hostess Alice seems to think we evangelicals are quite proud of our marital sexual relations. Head on over and take part in the conversation, while I address the third major purpose of marriage here: completion.

The saying goes, "no man is an island." A book talks about how "it takes a village" (or, if you prefer Senator Santorum's version, "it takes a family.") People are made in God's image, and God is a God of relationship. The Creator recognized this (as you'd expect) and remedied Adam's short-lived bachelorhood right away:

"Genesis 2:19-22: 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." (NIV)

Adam had nobody to whom he could relate; God was far above Adam, though they could commune and have a relationship. The animals were below Adam, at least insofar as the ability to relate - their relationship was master/servant. So God created a helpmate, a soulmate, a, well, mate. Eve was Adam's complement - most notably a physical complement, a necessary state for procreation (cf purpose #1 of marriage.) Adam took this well, committing himself to her saying,

"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,'
for she was taken out of man." (Gen. 2:23 - NIV)

Adam had his complement, "flesh of his flesh," his literal other half. In fact, this purpose for marriage, completion, is immediately declared in scripture as the reason for marriage: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24 - NIV). One flesh, one being. Just as God is three persons in one being, so in a way are husband and wife 2 persons in one being. Marriage transforms a relationship so that two become one: parts become a whole.

Men and women are complementary. God created us that way, and not just for the obvious physical reasons. In general (and yes, I'm aware of exceptions), men and women think differently, act differently and reason differently. Analytical types need emotional types for balance, and dreamers need realists for practical survival. God created marriage as a way to unite complementary people, physically, emotionally, intellectually and motivationally. Our differences, when brought together, make two equal one. Viva la différence.

God bless!

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