There is nothing mysterious about parents-children relationships; they are blood-related. I’ve long been pondering, however, about the “absurdity” of the husband-wife relationship. Think about it. It is indeed a crazy notion; a man and a woman with no blood relationship solemnly enter a life-long covenant relationship with each other! We probably build hundreds of thousands of relationships with other people (i.e. no blood relationships) in our lifetime. But none–let me emphasize again, none–of them is like the husband-wife relationship: it is entirely exclusive; no one, even the children, can interrupt it; they share every moment with each other; they get up, eat, drink, talk, laugh, cry, and go to sleep together. I believe that the closest and most intimate human relationship in the world is not the parents-children relationship but the husband-wife one. I described it as “absurd” above because it doesn’t make any sense in our human mind. I am rarely satisfied with those who explain the mystery of this relationship merely as a form of social contract made by men and women. If you’re married, I think you will know what I mean. Marriage is not a contract but a covenant.

The “marriage” narrative of Genesis 2:20b-25 is fascinating because it addresses my question: “How is it possible that a man and a woman with no blood ties form the most intimate relationship that human beings can achieve?” God put Adam to sleep and took “one of his ribs” and fashioned it into a woman. And he brought her to him! (2:20b-22) No wonder Adam screamed with joy, “This is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh!” (2:23). This short narrative shows how such a crazy system of marriage works perfectly; a husband and a wife are one flesh (2:24), not the two parties who signed a contracting document. This is the underlying principle of every marriage. This is what lies at the core of the mystery of marriage.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NASB)

(Photo: Our twenty-first wedding anniversary [May 19, 2022])

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