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One Flesh

June 7, 2009

unity candleI can remember on our wedding day my pastor reading Genesis 3:29, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

Later in the ceremony Jeff and I lit a unity candle, creating a word picture of this one flesh concept.  Two separate independent lives were joining together to become something new…a family…one flame from two.  It wasn’t just a reference to the physical union we would experience as husband and wife, but also to the emotional connection that we would share from that point on.

After several years of marriage, I knew many benefits of being part of one flesh.  Because Jeff and I were journeying through life together, we were a team.  When one of us was sick, the other could provide care.  When one of us was weak, the other could be counted on to be strong.    As I saw how differently God had equipped and gifted us, I could see how he designed us to compliment one another. 

When our world fell apart, the concept of one flesh took on an entirely different meaning for me.  In 2007 Jeff was asked to step out of ministry after another pastor discovered his secret addiction to Internet pornography.  Not only were we asked to step away from ministry, we were also asked to leave the area, a community where I had expected to serve the Lord the rest of my life.  In an instant, the stability and security I was so dependant upon was gone.  I felt like I was in a free fall. 

While Jeff was the one who was caught in sin, because we were “one flesh” I was also suffering from the consequences of his actions.  I lost my ministry too.  I had to say goodbye to dear friends, our first home and a church family I deeply loved.  I was overwhelmed by how unfair it all was.

“This is also part of being one flesh” I felt the Lord respond.  “But it’s not fair,” I replied.  “I’m losing everything I love and it hurts.  Why do I have to suffer for his sins?”

Again I heard – One Flesh.

I had never considered this aspect of one flesh before, but I realized it wasn’t just limited to sin and consequences.  When one spouse is suffering, so too does their partner.  When one spouse is sick, the other hurts deeply as well….even to the point of wishing to take on the pain on their behalf. “ One Flesh“ is intimacy in its purest form. 

As we began the long process of restoration of our marriage, our One Flesh began to heal.  The Lord in his loving kindness gave me the ability to see Jeff’s pornography problem as OUR marriage problem.   I came to view the consequences of Jeff’s sins as God’s hand of grace in our marriage, steering us away from certain disaster and towards healthy intimacy.  Without Christ, our situation would have been helpless.  But because we know the Great Physician, the Surgeon Healer who can make all things new, we had all the hope of Heaven. 

And our One Flesh is now stronger than ever before.

  1. Farmall permalink
    June 8, 2009 2:18 pm

    This is a wonderful thing you are doing. But it has to be very painful even now after mostly recovered. I applaud your willingness to be this vulnerable.
    I was doing some research on another subject and wondered…is there a possiblity of a program akin to “alcoholics anonymous” where this porn problem could have helpers? Is that where you think you are going?
    This problem is truly at epidemic proportions now. It even gets our kids…sure we have net security but there are so many ways around things and the children know the internet better than the parents.

    • June 8, 2009 8:39 pm

      Thank you for your encouraging words. Jeff and I have decided to “come out” about this mainly because we felt so alone and helpless when our world fell apart. As believers, “alone” and “hopeless” should not be part of our vocabulary. But few people were willing to walk the journey with us so that is how we felt for a long time. Pretty early in the process we decided that when we encountered other couples struggling, we would talk openly and honestly about our own struggles so they would realize they weren’t alone.

      To answer your question, there are both Christian and secular programs for sex addicts as well as spouses of sex addicts. Jeff has been active in a group for over a year and a half and so have I. The problem is there are not enough of these programs and the people who need them are too embarassed to attend. We are hopeful that our website will encourage pastors to face this issue directly and talk openly with their congregations.

  2. Linda Daniels permalink
    June 8, 2009 5:42 pm

    Hey Marsha,
    This was really good insight on “one-flesh”! I hadn’t thought of that aspect of becoming “one” before. If I may, I would like to add that in the same way we, as wives, become “one-flesh” in our husbands pornography sin, they also become “one-flesh” with us in our sins as well…. Pornography or sex addiction seems to be a much BIGGER sin than MY sin of judgment, criticism, self-righteousness, over eating, over spending…. or any of the other areas of sin that I struggle with in my life but God sees them the same. Satan would love for us to be so busy pointing the finger at our husbands issues that we completely miss our own… I know I did for many years and then the Lord showed me the “Plank” that was in my own eye.

    Thanks so much for sharing Marsha!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Linda 🙂

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