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Thursday, March 25, 2010
I’m not entirely satisfied that I’ve adequately explained this “great mystery” that Paul describes in Ephesians 5:32 as a husband and wife becoming “one flesh.” The mystery is still unfolding for me and probably will be as long as I live. That’s the thing with mystery – it’s so darn mysterious. So , hang onto your hats, folks, this gets deep in a hurry.

When I have an issue in marriage that I have difficulty getting my head around I always go back and ask this question: What does the Bridal Paradigm say? The question is compelling in this case, because Paul most clearly states that there is a related Bridal Paradigm:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Ephesians 5:31-32
The common understanding is that men and women are made up of three parts: spirit, soul and body. Each of these has relevance in the Bridal Paradigm examination of the one-flesh truth. I believe that a husband and wife become one in all three dimensions.

What started out to be a single post, now appears will morph into at least three. So we’ll cover these one at a time.

One in Spirit

When we give our lives over to the Lordship of Jesus (i.e. get “saved”) our spirits become one with God’s Holy Spirit. It’s an unseen and spiritual union, but it is very real nonetheless. In the same way, I believe when a man and woman marry, they are tied together in their spirits in a similar kind of spiritual union or covenant. I think the common view of marriage as a disposable institution denies this truth and that much of the damage wreaked by divorce is in the realm of their spirits (but that is yet another topic…).

Christian maturity, or growing in our relationship to Jesus, comes about as we allow more of the Holy Spirit, already joined with our spirit, to empower and infuse our soul (mind, will and emotions), which in turn works its way into our body’s external expressions (what we say and do). The more our thoughts, our desires and our feelings come under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the more Christ-like we become, the more the Kingdom of God is manifest in our lives, and the more intimate we become with Jesus.

Because the human spirit is invisible, it’s a bit hard to clearly define (at least for me). Opinions vary, but in essence I see a person’s spirit as their internal, invisible, and non-material essence, what the Bible refers to as your “innermost being.” People use words like conscience, intuition and life-force to describe it. It’s also hard to separate the spirit from the soul, because it’s in the realm of the soul that your spirit becomes manifest. (Recall the scripture that says the Word of God is so sharp that it can separate spirit and soul, an obvious reference to the close link between them.)

With all that said (and still lacking in much in the way of real clarity) let me state what I think about the spirit connection is in marriage. To me, it’s the extent to which you “get” your spouse. Do you really know him or her in their innermost being, despite what might be exhibited externally to you and others through their soul and body?

Gaining this kind of understanding requires tapping into the spirit-bond between you (~intuition) in addition to getting some supernatural revelation via the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask God to show you your spouse in the way that God sees them, because He alone, as their creator, knows them that intimately and thoroughly. This is more than just a one-time occurrence but requires a continual revelation and significant consideration.

Before you can really move onto consider what it means to be one flesh in the realm of the soul, you have to know who your spouse really is in their spirit.

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