Not only does the Bible teach us that the union between a man and a woman, becoming one flesh in the bond of God, is to be a permanent bond, but it is also to be an exclusive one.  There are at least two aspects to this. Looking back at the Genesis passage, which is the foundational passage for marriage (Even Jesus quoted it), we read, “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24-25). The first point is the “leaving and cleaving” idea again. Jesus taught us that God always has first place in our lives. The first commandment is to love God; the second is like it. Jesus said, “You love your neighbor as yourself.” The word neighbor in this context is an interesting one. It’s a little more general and could refer to several relationships. Most seem to think it’s the people who live next door to us because that’s what the word means to us. But it refers mainly to the nearest, closest, human relationship that exists in our lives.

When we are children, our nearest or closest human relationship is with our parents. We are to love God and then love our parents. With God first, His direction, one of the top ten is “honor your mother and your father.” Just as Jesus added to Genesis 2:24-25, Paul added to the fifth commandment.  In Ephesians 6:1-3 he says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ is the first commandment with a promise, ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’” But this relationship falls out of second place once we marry. Our spouses now become second only to God. From my 35+ years of pastoral experience, many marriages begin their downward spiral when one of the marriage members allows someone or something to replace their spouse as number 2! If our spouse falls from number 2, God has already left number 1. It’s His will and direction that we “leave and cleave.”

When our spouses lose the number 2 spot, God is no longer in the #1 spot, and it opens the door to a violation of the 7th commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). This does not just refer to sexual activity; it also applies to intimacy in general. Husbands and wives must remain faithful to each other for life. Not only should sexual infidelities be excluded from spouses’ lives, but so should emotional infidelities. Sometimes, a husband or wife will turn to someone (or something) other than their spouse for emotional intimacy, sharing deep hurts, frustrations, dreams, and aspirations. One writer concludes that emotional infidelity “… can damage marriage even without sexual involvement. Certain intimacies of thought and feeling should be reserved for the marriage relationship.”  Remember, love God first, then your spouse second! Let nothing come between! I’m happy to be #2 in my wife’s life, and she is just as excited to be #2.