Read This Week’s Passage: Song of Solomon 7:1–8:7
Supernatural and Spiritual
The book of Genesis depicts the first union of two individuals becoming one flesh, specifically a man and a woman. What does this mean? On the obvious level, one flesh refers to the physical union of the two, also known as sexual intercourse. Within the sexual relationship as described by Scripture, there is the physical interaction of the male and female bodies, complementarily, biologically, and anatomically speaking. Though it may sound vulgar, the bodies are indeed anatomically attuned and shaped for each other. Even contemporary mechanical terms are referred to in their male and female counterparts due to their design.
Clearly humanity is more than pieces that fit together anatomically. The union between a man and a woman is consummated in the relationship through the sexual act, but it also transcends into a spiritual one. Mark 10:9 states that what God has put together, let none put asunder. Ephesians 5:32 refers to this sexual union in marriage as a spiritual mystery. Through the sexual act, two become one; two colors mix into a new one; the two melt into each other and are fused together. This union then becomes one that transcends the physical world, and the union occurs on an intellectual, emotional, and social level. Family structures are realigned; hormones and brain activities are recalibrated; thinking patterns are reset.
For this reason, marriages become the building blocks for human societies and civilization. Whereas in some cultures, married couples do not leave the home, the Bible is clear that they are to leave father and mother, for the two enter a new social status. Living together as a married couple, they are a new social and economic unit. They are to leave their parents and cleave to one another. This denotes the cutting of the strings of attachment and removing outside influences on the new couple’s development.
With these new parameters in life, the Bible emphasizes that they are not to be unequally yoked. Originating from an agricultural illustration, animals of one species were linked together to achieve synchronized results. Equal yokes point to a complete unity that is achieved through one flesh. This does not mean that they have to agree on everything, for unity is not uniformity. This does not mean that they complete each other (as many popular romance narratives emphasize). It is Christ who completes each of us (Col. 2:10) and we are not to lose our individuality in the other (Eccl. 4:9).
The oneness they experience is physical, emotional, social, economic, and spiritual, one where God reigns and directs their individuality as well as their unity. More than merely a physical act, marital sexuality becomes one of the spiritual glues that unite two selfish beings as husband and wife despite living in a sinful world. By itself, though, it is insufficient glue for a lasting marriage. How precious and vital is this supernatural and spiritual unity needed in our world today!