Becoming “One Flesh”
By Daniel & Bonnie Hoover
Of all the ways we connect with our spouse, the intimate bond that is formed between a husband and wife during sex may be the most fascinating! In His love for us, God allows us to experience both physical and emotional ecstasy together. He actually designed us that way! In this post, what follows is an excerpt from our book, The Marriage Adventure: Discovering Mission for Your Marriage.
With such incredible attention to every detail of our creation, little is more interesting to us than how God intricately formed men and women to fit. He made every part of us on purpose and with purpose. We are different, yet complementary to each other anatomically. Not only do men and women fit together to become one physically during sex, but the two become one emotionally. There is unity. God ensured that the physical act of intercourse would emotionally bond us together by having oxytocin released in our brain’s pleasure centers, which creates an addictive response to the physical action. Even science supports the bonding that takes place when a sexual encounter results in an orgasm!
What we find even more remarkable than the chemical release is the way a man’s and woman’s physical design mirrors their relational and emotional design. Let us explain. God created women to be relational, emotionally desiring to be known. (Much of this concept of a man’s and woman’s needs in this post is derived from the paired works of John and Stasi Eldridge’s books, Wild at Heart and Captivating.)1 When a woman feels safe in the marriage relationship, she exposes her heart, offering herself to the man she loves. This process takes time because she wants to know if he believes she’s worth it. A wife invites her husband to know her. She offers herself, desiring to be deeply discovered and understood, to draw his heart into hers.
Physically, a woman’s body operates much the same way. The female form is artistry and alluring to man. She desires to be viewed as beautiful as she unveils herself. She is sexually aroused when she is pursued, tenderly touched, and explored by her husband. Through this discovery, the wife is brought to a place where she wants to pull her husband inside her. Their foreplay culminates in a filling and meeting of one of the deepest desires and needs of a woman’s heart. She feels pursued, fought for, won over, and intimately known.
Man’s design is no less miraculous. He has a curiosity and a drive to explore. He wants to show himself strong on behalf of his woman. He longs for adventure, to fight for something, and to know that he has what it takes to be a man. When his wife invites him in, he embarks on a journey to explore her body, which inspires him to rise to the occasion physically, show himself strong on her behalf, and come through for her.
Without a husband’s passionate pursuit and desire to discover his wife, their intimate act cannot be consummated. As they come together, their physical needs are met, but even more significantly, a man’s and woman’s heart longings are satisfied. With such incredible attention to detail, there is no question that God created the sexual and marital relationship to be shared between one man and one woman for life.
Jesus reminded us in Matthew 19:4-6 of God’s design for oneness. “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 sexual union serves not only to bring pleasure physically, but it binds us together emotionally. Our bodies are joined, and we become one flesh as we become relationally and emotionally intertwined. This type of sharing requires vulnerability.
There is no place in which we become more vulnerable than in the act of intercourse. Even the word “intercourse” infers the interchange of thoughts and feelings through communication with each other. A woman is attracted to her husband when he is trustworthy, attentive to her needs, and she feels safe sharing her heart and life with him. A man is drawn to his wife when she encourages him to be himself, and he feels no risk when he exposes his heart. This is why it’s so important to create safety and transparency within the friendship.
To be “naked and unashamed” as Adam and Eve were initially means there is nothing to hide. In the marriage relationship, God intends for us to become so open, honest, and vulnerable with each other that trusting each other with our bodies and pleasure in the bedroom is an overflow of the intimacy we’ve created in the relationship.
The sexual relationship should be an expression of our closeness, not the foundation of it. We should feel the greatest freedom to express ourselves uninhibitedly with our spouse. We get to share the secret of what brings each other pleasure in a way that no one else is allowed to experience with us.
When God created men and women, He could have chosen any design. He could have allowed human multiplication to be clinical, functional, merely a physical process to fertilize an egg with sperm, but in His extraordinary love for us, our grand Creator made it something more. Unlike any other human relationship we experience, He made the sharing of bodies with our spouse to be emotional, exciting, and pleasurable. God fashioned husbands and wives with the capacity to know and experience each other completely. Intercourse, mentally, emotionally, and physically unites us to our spouse. This is what God intended for us to experience in our marriage as we become “one flesh.”
Becoming “One Flesh,
Daniel & Bonnie
Visit www.themarriageadventure.com to order a copy of The Marriage Adventure: Discovering Mission for Your Marriage.
Visit these links to order a copy of Wild at Heart and Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by authors John and Staci Eldrige.
1 John Eldridge, Wild at Heart (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2010); John and Staci Eldridge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, April 17, 2011).