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Marriage Partnership
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Thinking about marriage?

I have been married over 30 years. It took me nearly 10 of that to figure out what marriage was really about. The true meaning of marriage is found in scripture and in tradition. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says of marriage: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh" (Ephesians 5:31). Two people become one. Not just in a physical sense, and more than just in a spiritual sense. Marriage is a life partnership.

In a business partnership, each partner speaks for the other. For business purposes, the several partners speak as one voice. They are one body within the business.

Common law treated husband and wife as a single corporate body. In common law, the two individuals form one body. Agreements made by one apply to both. When one speaks, they are the voice of the other. In the early years of the United States, some states allowed married women to vote in lieu of her husband. There was one vote per couple, but either one could cast it.

“One flesh” forms the basis of spousal privilege. A spouse cannot be compelled to testify any more that you can be compelled to testify against yourself. If two are one, it is self-incrimination.

Odd in Today's Individualistic World

The concept seems odd in today’s individualistic world:  you are your spouse and your spouse is you. Not physically, but in a real way. That type of relationship requires deep commitment and trust. It means your life is no longer just about you. View your spouse as an extension of yourself, and things change. Sane people do not lie, cheat, or strike themselves. You should not do those things to your spouse and your spouse should not do those things to you. Community property falls into focus, too. If two are one, then you hold things in common.

Nothing is more intimate than sex, so you share that only with your life partner, your spouse. Children, the joint product of a man and woman, are the ultimate form of sharing. Stray outside marriage and you exclude your spouse from that sharing. Since your spouse is part of you, that means you exclude part of yourself. Viewed that way, you can see why adultery is so destructive.

Marriage does not destroy individuality, but you factor your spouse into your actions. If the two are one, when you do something, your spouse, in a sense, also does it. When your spouse does something, so do you.

Marriage is hard work. It involves a foundation of trust, is built upon compromise, and is topped with a willingness to create a joint future, instead of a solitary one. Put your whole heart into it with a mate who does the same and it turns into a deep, abiding love transcending mere physical attraction.

When two become one—really become one—the whole is much greater than the parts.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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