Marriage as Completion: One Flesh – Gospel in Life

Marriage as Completion: One Flesh

Tim Keller |  September 22, 1991

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  • Marriage
Ephesians 5:22-33
FM 1-6


We’re in a series on marriage, and we’ve said the purpose of marriage is friendship and a unique oneness. And we’ve also said there’s a structure in marriage.

Ephesians 5 teaches that there’s a mutuality between husband and wife, and yet the commands are not the same to both. They’re equal, but they’re not equivalent.

We’ll look now at 1) the concept that in marriage you become one flesh, 2) how this oneness happens, and 3) how this oneness bridges into the subject of role relationships between men and women in marriage.

Understanding Ephesians 5:21–33

In Ephesians 5:21-33, we learn about marriage. It’s described as a friendship where both partners have different, but equally important roles. They are asked to love and respect each other deeply. The phrase “one flesh” is used, which shows just how close and connected a married couple should be. It’s not just about being together physically, but about having a deep bond. The hard part is maintaining this bond and overcoming any issues that might get in the way.

1. Being open to criticism

Being married means you have to be open to hearing about your mistakes from your spouse, just like you need to take care of your own body. If you refuse to admit your faults, it can stop you and your spouse from growing together. But if you accept your faults and work on them, it can help you and your spouse become one and fulfill the true purpose of marriage.

2. Changing how you see yourself

Your spouse’s words can have a big impact on how you see yourself. They can either make you feel loved and valuable, or they can hurt you deeply. Sometimes, we don’t realize just how powerful words can be, and this can lead to harmful conversations that damage the relationship. But if we use our words to uplift and affirm each other, it can create a space where both partners feel safe and valued. This kind of unity reflects the love and sacrifice Jesus showed for the church.

3. Understanding we’re not alone

The phrase “one-fleshness” reminds us that in a marriage, both partners need to work together. It’s important to communicate and make decisions together to strengthen the relationship. While husbands and wives have different roles, they are both equally important. Understanding and embracing these roles can help both partners grow and deepen their connection. Remember, Jesus is the one who makes our relationships complete and fulfilling.



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