I’ve done over a hundred marriage pronouncements in the past 40 years or so. They were always the climax of the ceremony and I enjoyed that part. My role was over and I only had to say “By the authority invested in me as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and in accordance with the Laws of Nebraska, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.” Sometimes it was different but not very much. Genesis 2:24 is the marriage pronouncement of the first Couple. It puts these words in the mouth of Adam and he says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Even though Adam was the one who spoke these words in Genesis, Jesus made it clear that they are from God. So God made the first marriage pronouncement. In Matthew 19:4-6, when he was challenged by the religious leaders concerning divorce, Jesus “He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

The attraction of the man for the woman is so strong that nothing will stand in the way of the union. All past ties and loyalties become secondary to the formation of this new one! This one then, becomes the primary loyalty of life. It is then, the most important. And from it will come other men and women who will leave that family group to begin their own. It should therefore be permanent! They shall hold tight, clamp on, to one another. Implied in the idea of “cleave” is permanence.  Maybe a better translation might be “keep on cleaving” or “continue to cleave.”  The bond between them gets stronger, not weaker.  The word cleave appears in Job when describing how his flesh “cleaves” to his bones!  Adam said of Eve, “this is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”  They cannot be separated without damage being done to both!  The bonding thus is strong.

There is a sense in which the two are no longer two but become one!  They say that couples even begin to look like each other over the years. They become one physically, emotionally and in a sense spiritually. They are no longer separable at all.  That’s true with every marriage, even those that do break up, they are unbreakable!  You can stop living with each other. You can even start living with someone else.  You can never see your spouse again, but you will never get away from them in your memory and in your heart.  They will always be there.  And all the things that have been shared through the years, homes, jobs, children, hard times, will serve as constant reminders that that person is a part of me that will never be ripped away.  I’ll always have to live with that.  The two shall become one flesh – they will become inseparable.