We are living in a world that shows a division between two opposing realities, namely, the original and the distorted, the authentic and the inauthentic, the real and the fake. Unfortunately, the distorted, inauthentic, and fake seem to thrive more than the original, authentic, and real because they appear cheap and attractive for, instance fake news sell more than the real news as people often believe lies more than the truth.
Today in the Gospel (Mark 10:2-16), our Lord Jesus Christ takes time to explain God’s original plan for marriage which is like differentiating the authentic from the inauthentic, the original from the distorted. Our Lord’s priceless instruction on marriage started after the Pharisees asked him (as a test) if it is lawful for a husband to divorce his wife.
The question was a test because the Pharisees already know the answer as they answered correctly when our Lord inquired from them what Moses commanded. According to them, Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce to his wife to dismiss her for any reason at all even if it baseless. Our Lord further explains to them that Moses permitted them to do so because of the hardness of their hearts.
Going further, our Lord redirected their minds to God’s original plan before the distortion of that original plan due to their hardness of heart. What does the hardness of heart imply? It describes extreme disobedience to God, for instance, Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not let the people of Israel leave Egypt (Exodus 8:19; 9:7). It is further a sign of being insensitive (Deut. 15:7), and St. Paul sees it as a sign of ignorance (Eph. 4:18).
The central point of the narrative and which is of great interest to this reflection is God’s original plan for marriage. While answering the Pharisees, Jesus says,
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to the wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.
The instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ above begins by saying from the beginning of creation; God made them male and female. The word “beginning” comes in here for a purpose. God is the beginning which also means the First (Rev. 1:8; 22:13; Isaiah 44:6, 48:12). Here we understand that God is the author of marriage. Furthermore, in His plan, the marital union should be between a male and a female.
At what point did God conceive the idea of marriage? If we read the first account of creation in the Book of Genesis very attentively, we will discover that God designed marriage when He decided to create humanity. Let us examine the passage (Gen. 1:26-27) for clarity:
Then God said, let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let THEM have dominion…. So, God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; MALE and FEMALE He created them. God blessed them and said be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion….
From this first account of creation, we understand that when God created humankind, He had marriage in mind and to accomplish that He created male and female and ordered them to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.
It is also important to note that God created them in his image and likeness. The image and likeness of God we can strongly relate with to is God as Trinity. In the Trinity, we have one God but three persons, not three Gods. In marriage we have a male and female coming together to become one flesh. Our Lord made a strong emphasis when he says, “they are not two but one flesh.”
From the Second account of creation, we learn that God created Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed on him and he became a living being. However, God discovered that the man was lonely and decided to give him a SUITABLE partner; some translations would say a fitting helper and others would say a helper as his partner.
In line with the idea of making a suitable provision for the man, God formed animals from the ground and brought them to the man to see what he would call each of them, but none was SUITABLE judging from the names he was calling them. We relate to persons and things according to the names we give them, and there is power in a name.
When God saw that the man could not find a suitable helper in all the animals, He had to devise another way to help the man. God is always in the business of thinking about our needs. From the side of the man, God extracted one of the ribs and fashioned the woman. At first sight of the woman, Adam said, this ONE (among others) is, at last, the bone of my bone the flesh of my she shall be called a woman because she is from man.
Here, we see that the name the man chose for the woman indicates that they share a common origin, “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” The quick lesson we learn from the episode of creating the woman out of the man is that marriage is all about sharing and when couples stop sharing they start shattering.
In God’s Original Plan
In God’s original plan, the married couple becomes one flesh because they are no longer two but one. The idea of divorce is contrary to God’s plan which intends to make the marital union inseparable as the union found in the community of the three persons in one God.
In our world today, most marriages are not running within God’s original plan as many ideologies and patterns go contrary to the divine values for marriage. Consequently, we have people jumping in and out of marriages unions as if they are boarding and disembarking from aeroplanes.
The most problems in marriage arise due to the absence of God in the union. God is the originator of marriage and to run it without Him is suicidal. The most significant lack in any marriage is the absence of God. In God’s original plan, the clause about leaving father and mother entails leaving everything of the past as father and mother represent every aspect of our lives from conception to the point of entering the marital vocation.
Marriage is not a bed of roses neither is it a landscape of thorns. Sometimes are good and other times could not be so good. Good health could face the challenges of sicknesses; death could even happen at some point. What you give in your marriage is what you receive. Adam gave his bone and flesh and got it back.
What you bring to your marriage is more important than what you expect; give your best, and the best would come to you. St. Paul explains this very well in his details about marriage best practices in his letter of the Ephesians (5: 21-33).
There is no doubt that marriage is under severe attack and the easiest way to destroy the world is to destroy marriages and families. Everyone is challenged to add value to marriage and save the family and the world. Focus on these three Ps; prayer, patience, and peace and the devil will run away from your marriage.
Have a lovely Sunday and a great week ahead.