The Act of Marriage

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. – Genesis 2:24-25

Hibiscus Before the Freeze | Cypress, Texas | February 2021

It was a required book during my seminary studies, The Act of Marriage, by Tim and Beverly La Haye. And while it was not a sex manual in the strictest sense, it was certainly an unexpected text book for seminary studies. But it was needed. In it the La Hayes talked frankly about things married couples should expect, experience, and enjoy. Those four decades ago, just coming out of the days of the sexual revolution, it was also a needed corrective. It helped focus on the sacredness of marriage, and provided a helpful counterbalance to the over-reaction against the rampant sexual promiscuity that was just beginning to show itself in those days.

Today, the book would seem too tame and circumspect for many. We’ve come so far. Sadly. The sexual revolution has given way to the sexual free-for-all. In every sense of the term. All bets are off. Gender issues, like gay and lesbian sexual relations have given way to transgender questions and gender identity debates. Free love has given way to friends with benefits encounters. And marriage is very often now seen as a very optional cherry-on-top addition to an already-established arrangement, for reasons I’m not certain I even understand. The Act of Marriage has become the act of whoever, whenever, however one wants to embrace it. 

But the Act of Marriage is God’s design, part the three-fold definition of marriage itself. It is not to be sullied by course language, crude jokes, or haphazard forays into the wild oats moments of life. Too much focus on this one thing mis-balances the others. Neglect of this one thing uncenters the marriage. Peter Scazzero even suggests that couples spend 20 minutes every day in skin-to-skin contact. That will not always end in intercourse, but it will tear down barriers that are hinted at in v. 25. 

It is the ultimate expression and culmination of leaving and holding fast, of which the writer of the Hebrews says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4). 

Tomorrow: What’s the big deal about marriage?

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. – Genesis 2:18-25

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