When referring to sexual intimacy in marriage, I often quote Genesis 2:24: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The fact that God’s already talking about physical unity and emotional intimacy between husband and wife less than 1500 words into the Bible sends a message about His plan from the beginning.
Although you could make a case that it was even earlier, since only a few hundred words in, God instructs Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28).
The point is that God’s very design for marriage involved being integrally entwined in hearts, bodies, and lives. Sexual intimacy is part of the blessing and the calling for those who take the covenant of marriage.
But I was reading a different passage recently, in which Jesus quotes the Genesis verse and adds this statement: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6).
We tend to think of this verse in terms of divorce or attack from outside forces. But what if you also applied it to the one-flesh experience of the marriage bed? Have you been guilty of separating what God joined together?
I know I have in the past. I’ve let exhaustion, anger, busyness, body-image issues, and other selfish concerns create distance between me and my husband. When we are really one flesh.
God joined us together, and He expects us to keep joining together. We can separate for a time to devote ourselves to prayer (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), or for health reasons (precedent in the Old Testament). I’m also a believer in the practical notion of rain check sex — which is not depriving your spouse of sexual intimacy.
Yet some have built walls — or, let’s face it, fortresses — between self and spouse when it comes to sex. We become our own sex life’s worst enemy by refusing to have sex and refusing to deal with the issues that cause us to say no. We are separating what God has joined together.
Maybe we need to remind ourselves regularly that God has a better plan. That we should be, and are, one flesh with our beloved. That God wants us to join together, in so many ways. That we should not get in God’s way by separating what He has unified.
I’ve thus chosen this scripture as the next memory verse in my plan for Knowing Scripture: A Wife’s Goal in 2016. I believe it can help us better understand God’s desire for our marriage.
Keep together what God has joined in covenant marriage — you and your husband as one flesh.
Bible Memory Tip
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Remember to pick at least one verse to memorize this month. So far in January, we have:
- “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
- “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6).
And meditate on what these verses mean for your marriage.
10 thoughts on “Are You Separating What God Joined Together?”
I love the notion of “let no one separate” being more than just about divorce! Brilliant!
I would add on top of business, anger, exhaustion and selfishness as factors in allowing separation to creep in, that fear and shame are also significant issues, especially in the area of sexual connection. You pointed to one such issues in “body image issues,” but there are many more that similarly drive a wedge.
You’re completely right. We have to pay attention to all the things that can separate us and intentionally foster our connection instead. Thanks, Scott!
its true marriage is pure and let god join let no man separate.
but i want to ask one thing out from this topic….in a marriage why girls always do sacrifice and understand a men? sexual relationship is very pure and that should happen after a very emotional attachment from both of us not only from one side right? why always girls suffer mental torture? when a girl get marry she expect her husband become her support or he understand or his family understand.. if dis wont happen how difficulty will it be for that girl?
That should not be how it is. Both the woman and man have the responsibility to remain sexually pure — meaning waiting until marriage, then having mutually satisfying sexual intimacy in marriage. And husband and wife should support one another — in different ways, but still supportive. That’s all biblical. And I believe there are truly good men out there who will live this out.
Don’t you think the quote is from Matthew 9:6 instead of 9:16
Oh my goodness, the correct citation is MATTHEW 19:6. Thank you so much for making me fix it! I usually double- and triple-check those things, but…
Guess it’s true that “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2…I think).
What a great concept. It’s so true, we can totally separate ourselves from one another.
This is a great post! Something I am writing about also. I feel it is so important for married couples to remember they are on the same page, they are one flesh, they are to work together….but humans let so much of life get in the way of this Biblical truth!
I wish I could get my wife to read your blog, especially this topic, because it really hits home. Unfortunately she’s too mad at me for not living up to her expectations, according to her perfect world. So our love life has been dead for the past ten years. When I mention your blog, or others such as Julie, Sheila Wray, etc. she just snaps and huffs that ‘It’s always about sex for you.’
She’s of the mindset that if I were more spiritual then there would be more sexual intimacy in the marriage. It never dawns on her that it’s hard to be spiritual when the hunger for physical intimacy is gnawing you inside out, for many years. It never occurs to her that sexually depriving her spouse isn’t very spiritual itself.
Would your wife see a pastor with you for a counseling? Or talk to an older married lady in your church–one who really believes in sex, of course. I’ve been a pastor as well as a Bible college teacher, and it’s my perception that your wife is trying to hide her angst against sex (and possibly against someone who’s hurt her in the past) behind a facade of Gnosticism. That is, the false notion that flesh is of itself sinful, and only the “spiritual” is good. This type of pietism is addressed in the epistle to the Colossians.
Husbands are called (in Ephesians 5) to love their wives. Conversely, wives are to “respect” their husbands, and this includes that they respect a husband’s God-given desire for naked sexual intimacy, which the same passage teaches is a reflection of Christ’s desire for intimacy with His church. The Song of Solomon, too, builds on this concept. Broadly, the S of S is BOTH a picture of Christ and the church AND a poem of ideal romance. This plainly includes the sexual–the one reflects the other.
But back to my earlier point: you guys need to see a pastor, and he should be someone who has his head screwed on right, and is not caught up in legalism.
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