(Note: The importance of the sexual union in marriage is studied in more detail later in this article.)
Nowhere else do we see more clearly “two becoming one” than in the conceiving and bearing of children. Children are a direct product of the marriage relationship. They are a blend of both parents – two different people coming together to make one person. Children are a combination of both the appearance and personality of each parent.
Children are the precious fruit or “heritage” (Ps 127:3-5) given by God to bless the marriage union. The marriage relationship as God intended it – a man and woman being joined as “one flesh” for life – also provides a secure setting in which to bring forth children (Gen 1:28). They can be raised to know and love the Lord, His laws, and to relate properly to others (Deut 6:1-9).
ONE IN SPIRIT
A husband and wife are more than marriage partners. As Christians, they are also brothers and sisters in Christ. A Christian husband and wife, as believers, are related spiritually through the blood of Jesus (Eph 2:10-18). They are both members of Christ’s Body, and part of the family of God.
Scripture gives hundreds of exhortations as to how we are to treat one another in the Body of Christ. The bond of mutual love, care and consideration goes even deeper for a husband and wife. We must give great care to our relationship with our beloved spouse, who is also our brother or sister in the Lord.
E. THE COVENANT OF MARRIAGE
The same terms used to describe the relationship between husband and wife are frequently used in Scripture to describe Israel’s covenant with the Lord. This is not accidental, but a purposeful use of language. This is because the marriage relationship was to reflect the relationship between God and His people Israel.
The Old Testament prophets often used marriage as an allegory (type or picture) of the relationship between God and His people Israel. They likened God’s relationship with Israel to a faithful husband married to one wife (Isa 54:5,6; Jer 3:14; Hos 2:19,20). To turn away from a relationship with the one true God and turn instead to another (as in idol-worship) was like the sin of adultery (Jer 3:8,9; Ezek 23:37).
But God was like a faithful husband to faithless Israel (Isa 54:5; study also the Book of Hosea). God did not reject Israel even when He brought judgment upon them for their unfaithfulness. He was always calling them back to renew their “marriage covenant” with Him. What an inspiring picture of God’s love and grace, and of the importance He places on covenant relationship!
The use of covenant terms for marriage – “forsake”, “stick to” or “cling to”, and “one” – reveals two powerful truths:
First, marriage in its most ideal form is an image or “type” of the kind of relationship the Church is to have with Her Bridegroom the Lord Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 5:22-32). This most important of all relationships is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant with His people through our Savior, Jesus Christ.