What it doesn’t mean

Of course, the fullness of this idea can not be fully explained.  Man and women are one flesh.

But it’s worth noticing that nobody says Man and women will come to share one mind.  That’s what I thought it was supposed to mean.  But experience doesn’t bare that out.

In fact, that possibility is a little bit horrifying.  The idea that we might lose our individuality.  And it doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea.  I don’t need another me.  I’ve already got one, and it’s quite enough, thank you.  Turning my wife into another me would be a bad idea.  And I think she’d say the same about herself: turning me into another version of her wouldn’t help things much either.

As couples we’re at our best when our brokenesses complement each other, when we cover for each other, when we can become greater than our parts, rather than just becoming some composite.

After nearly 14 years of marriage, I’ve come to a much stranger understanding of what it means to be one flesh.

Have you ever seen those people that we used to call Siamese twins?  I guess it’s more respectful to call them conjoined twins… People that might have been typical twins but ended up connected bodily?  That’s much more of what it’s like to share one flesh.

When we hear the idea that we will be joined in one flesh, it sounds like a promise that things will be made easier.  But what it actually is, is a warning: in marriage, things are about to get much more complicated.

For me, more than most, marriage is an amazing thing.  It was in the context of being married that I found Christ.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Being one flesh with another person is like kicking things up a notch.  It’s like getting to the advanced level of a video game, or the final round of jeapordy.  It’s one thing to interact in a Christ-like way with people whom we are not one flesh with.  God knows that this is hard enough.  But when we are one flesh?

There’s no hiding from them.  (Remember how Adam and Eve hid?  Not only from God, but also, apparently, from each other… they were not acting like one flesh.)  All false modesty aside, I can come across as a pretty nice and together guy.  One of the things I am thankful for, about my wife, is that she knows who I really am.  And that person is not as good, and holy, and together, as lots of people think.


Published by


The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s