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This coming January my wife and I will celebrate twelve years of marriage. I know, we seem like two little kids just playing house, but it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married . . . the significance of your relationship must not be underestimated.
But more on that in a minute.
Have you checked out our website yet? TruthLoveParent.com will officially roll out on September 21st in celebration of our one year anniversary, but there’re still a lot of stuff there to see. One of those stuffs is our blog, Taking Back the Family. Just click on the Resources tab to find it. Now, when the 21st arrives, you’ll be able to join The TLP Family, and — among a host of others things — you’ll receive notifications any time we post new episodes and articles from TeamTLP.
Okay, so today’s episode is called “One Flesh, One Team.” And, I know this episode will likely tap a raw nerve or two.
Let me start my acknowledging that many of you premeditated parents are doing this thing alone. Some of you have lost your spouses to death. And even more of you may have lost your spouses to the ravages of divorce.
Please listen carefully. This episode wasn’t necessarily published for you, but the entirety of the Scriptures was. You can parent to the glory of God and the greatest good of your children with His Truth and His strength.
You are not alone.
And though today’s episode is specifically for married couples, I just want to say that we at Truth.Love.Parent. want to be a blessing to every single one of you. If there’s anything we can do to serve your family, please do not hesitate to ask. Just email us at TeamTLP or counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
But there’s another group of you. You’re married. You’re living in the same house, but you’re not on the same page. Sometimes you’re certain you’re not even in the same library. This episode is for you, but I need to tell you that I can’t fix your spouse any more than I can fix you. God’s the one who’s in the heart-changing business. He’s the one for Whom to live and to Whom to pray.
Here’s the reality: all of our marriages are broken because they’re comprised of two broken people.
But despite that fact, God has some very high biblical expectations for our relationships, and to not pursue obedience to His calling is sin.
So, to start, I want to give you some hope by telling you a story about my marriage, and then I want to outline some practical steps for all of us.
Okay, so neither my wife nor I were living the way we should when we met. To be honest and yet not drag out the gritty details, had she been living a Christ-honoring life, she wouldn’t have married me. And the same goes for me. If I had been the man God wanted me to be at the time, I wouldn’t have married her.
But we did get married. We did become one flesh. So, what now? Was our marriage a mistake? Is it doomed to failure?
Johanna and I openly admit that many moments in our marriage are a testament to the fact that sin hurts. God’s Word is true, and if the struggles we’ve had can be an example to others who have not yet said I do . . . we praise God that we can help counsel and admonish young couples before they make an unwise choice.
But the beauty of our marriage is that God has worked in both of us individually and as a couple to create a union that glorifies Him. This reality is a wonderful testament to His grace, and we worshipfully proclaim it to His honor and glory.
There is hope for your marriage. Whether or not you and your spouse “shouldn’t have gotten married” or not, you can glorify God in your marriage. And, Lord willing, today will give you a starting point for realizing the relationship God has planned for your marriage.
Okay, so six times in the Scriptures we read that two shall become “one flesh.” A man and his wife entering into marriage experience a physical union unlike any other relationship in the world. But this union isn’t supposed to be limited to the physical. It’s symbolic of a deeper spiritual reality.
How then can two sinful people become one flesh? And — by extension — once you’re one flesh, be on the same parenting team? Well, let’s look at the six passage where one flesh shows up.
1. Be the Spouse God Created You to Be.
Genesis 2 introduces us to the first family — Adam and Eve. Previously in the chapter God has said,
If you want to be one flesh in life and one team in parenting then you both have to understand and respect why God put you together. God has a role and plan for each of you in the relationship, and as long as you fight to do a job that was never given to you, or you refuse to do the job that was given to you, you’ll never be one team.
2. Be Committed to Your Spouse.
The second and third times “one flesh” shows up in Scripture is in Matthew 19. The fourth one appears in Mark 10, and in both of theses passages Jesus is talking about divorce. In Matthew He says,
You will never function as one flesh and a unified parenting team if you’re constantly thinking about or threatening with divorce. Listen, it needs to be a non-issue. You don’t consider it. You don’t talk about it. It’s not allowed. It’s off the table. Are there biblical allowances for divorce? Sure. But in those situations at least one of them has to be wicked and sinful enough to say, “I don’t care what God says, I’m doing my own thing, and I’m out of here.” This is why in Mark 10, Christ can say,
But as long as you both are at least attempting to live the way God commanded, then you need to be committed to the team and stop imagining leaving the team.
3. Be Sexually Engaged with Your Spouse.
I Corinthians 6 takes it a step further and references the “one flesh” relationship within a discussion about sexual immorality. This passage is specifically warning against adultery, but it makes an amazing observation about sexuality and its power. Paul writes,
Many of us aren't living like one flesh and one team because we’re not engaging in the beautiful, holy sexuality God created for us to enjoy, and which He created to be part of the mystical unification of our bodies. You cannot expect to present a united parenting front if you’re not selflessly uniting as husband and wife in a Christ-honoring way. I’m going to save the specific discussion about sex between spouses for another day, but for now let me say that if you’re truly serving one another in the bed, your relationship will be stronger.
4. Be Spiritually Engaged with Your Spouse.
Ephesians 5 is the last time “one flesh” is used in the Scriptures, and it’s a powerful one. I believe this is the quintessential passage for husbands, but — to be honest — there’s a significant take-away for the ladies. Let me read the whole passage because it’s very reminiscent of the Genesis command to understand our roles, but it develops those roles and fleshes them out in the most beautiful way possible.
There is so much here to unpack on at a later date, but for now I want to focus on the placement of the “one flesh quote.” Paul has just finished comparing the marriage relationship to the relationship between Christ and the church. He gave Himself up for her so that He could sanctify her by washing her with the water of the Word of God, so that He could present her spotless before His Father. Husbands are then commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church and nourishes and cherishes her. I believe the picture of one flesh in this passage is highlighting the spiritual unity the husband and the wife are to have. If we’re brothers and sisters in Christ, we’ve been commanded to admonish and encourage and edify and rebuke and sharpen and bear and pray for and teach and correct and assist in each other’s sanctification. And within the marriage relationship, this washing each other with the water of the Word is a beautiful symbol of Christ’s work in us. That’s powerful.
So, to recap, God has created the husband and the wife to be one flesh, one team. We’re to be unified in our parenting. We’re to be connected in our purpose and application. But in order to do that and to do it well, we need to:
If those four steps are happening in your marriage, you will be the most dynamic parenting team on your block — possibly, in your city.
There’s so much more we could say about this, but if you’re not currently functioning as one flesh in your marriage and one team in you parenting, you need to repent of your selfish choices and start addressing the areas in your life where you need to change. Yes, your spouse may be acting like a worthless bum, but there is hope for change, and it starts with you.
Perhaps you’re trying to do your spouses job, or may you’re not interested in functioning in the relationship the way in which God created you to function.
Perhaps you’re allowing your mind to consider the possibility of leaving your spouse. A house divided cannot stand. Whether you’re simply contemplating a life without your spouse our you’re actively separating from them by selling yourself to another, you need to repent and turn.
Perhaps you’re not sexually engaging with your spouse. This can happen for many reasons, but I encourage you to truly weigh them out. God makes it clear that you’re not in charge of your body — your spouse it. He also makes it clear that unless you’re abstaining for any there reason than health or fasting, you’d better get reconnected.
And perhaps you’re not spiritually engaging with your spouse. If you’re not feeling like one flesh or functioning like one team, I guarantee this is part of the issue. What are you doing today to help your spouse become more like Christ? Are you praying for them? Are you being salt and light for your unsaved spouse? Are you participating in the sanctification of your born again spouse?
Please check out TruthLoveParent.com for our episode notes.
And don’t miss our next episode called “What Is Successful Parenting?”
Also, we’re always here if you have questions. If you feel distant from your spouse, or you’re clearly not on the same parenting team, don’t hesitate to contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
Listen, your children need you to be one team, which means they need you to be one flesh. You and your spouse need the two of you to be one flesh. If you want to work on your parenting, you need to start with your marriage.
See you next time!
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