Marriage Series (Part 2 & 3. What Are Soul Mates? & Sex: A Spiritual Connection)
Although this article is part of a series, herein are two individual complete studies that stand on their own. (part 2 & 3 of 3 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
Review: In part 1 of this series, "Being There For Each Other," we learned about the human spirit and said that it is the part of us that is made alive at our salvation. (Eph. 2:1) Our human spirit stands before God in heavenly places communing with Him (Eph. 2:6) and instructs us in spiritual things. (1 Cor. 2:11) God the Holy Spirit guides this communing and instructing in growth and wisdom. As a married couple, our individual spirits become kindred spirits when standing together. They two make a force formidable in our fight against the Enemy.
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1)
"And raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6)
"For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:11)
PART 2. SOUL-MATES
God's idea of what a soul-mate is and the World's idea don't exactly match. When the World speaks of soul-mates, it portrays two people so exactly matched that there is little or no work to be done to maintain this idealistic relationship. In the cosmic forces of "Fate," they fall into each other's lives and instantly become part of each other. Each can see into the other's mind and read the need even before the other speaks the need. They automatically know the other so completely that they often speak the other's mind or even complete the other's sentences. The image is so perfect that is no wonder the whole notion of a soul-mate is dismissed as nonsense.
Contrast this with God's idea of soul-mates. In God's definition, it is not a cosmic accident that brings two souls together, it is His design. A soul-mate relationship is not just a good thing to have, it is God's command for the married couple to accomplish in a divinely blessed union. Unlike popular lore, this type of relationship takes effort and work, and most of all, God. Be it known to all discouraged marriage partners, it is possible in a marriage to be close enough to make the World stop and take notice.
To understand the term "soul-mate" one must first understand what the soul is by Biblical definition, and then learn from Scripture how two souls can stand together in Christ. Popular culture has no idea what the soul of man is. The soul of man is that part of man that contains the mind, the will, and the emotions. It is in communication with the human spirit and is connected closely with it. So closely in fact, that only the Word of God is said to be able to discern between the two (the soul and the spirit) and that discernment is not possible by any other means. This part of man is not said by Scripture to be "standing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" as is the spirit of man. It is contained in the body which is to be said the "temple [or house] of the Holy Spirit." It (the soul) is how we know and identify a person; their personality, their likes, and dislikes, their personal uniqueness.
"For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, (Hebrews 4:12)
[a side point - Ecclesiastes 3:21 says that animals too have this part of their makeup - a soul, a mind, will, and emotions - but have a different life principle than do humans]
The soul fights a constant battle on this cursed Earth on its three vulnerable fronts; that of the mind, the will, and the emotions. Our enemies stand ready to attack our mind, to turn our will, and reek havoc with our emotions. If one is to believe that the soul-mate relationship is possible, to believe it could be done without God's continual empowerment, is ridiculous. Those that do not know Jesus as personal Lord and Savior may just as well believe it to be a myth because without God it is impossible.
1. Stand Together In One Mind.
This Scriptural premise flies in the face of current popular thought for a healthy mind in a relationship with another person. Experts would say that it is inadvisable to alter one's mind for the benefit of another. As we learned in Part 1, our lives are not our own, so too, our thought lives are not just for our benefit, to do with as only we wish.
"But it's just in our minds," you may say. "We can have fantasies of cheating, or rape, or anything - it's just in our heads. It doesn't hurt anybody. Right?" Wrong! we are commanded to put pure thoughts in our minds and warned that we will give an account for every idle thought as well as any actions we take. (Phil. 4:8; Phil. 2:2-4; 1 Pet. 5:5) The World says to think of yourself first, to take care of yourself first. They say that to do otherwise is not only bad reasoning but can be unhealthy.
God says to keep a pure mind and to think of our mate before we think of ourselves, not ourselves first. We are to do all we can to encourage their personal and spiritual growth in the Lord. According to the World, striving for oneness in mind is unhealthy. Popular psychology says that one risks "losing themselves" by giving up personal control. Yet God's Word says: "Let [volitional choice] this mind [singular] be in you that is also in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5) The idea is that both partners will become more Christ-like in their minds and as they put on one mind they will be more in tune with each other. (Rom. 8:28-29) They'll begin to think alike regarding spiritual things. Each will keep their unique perspective, but there will be spiritual harmony that will dovetail their thinking into one harmonized Spirit-led thought life.
This process of standing together in one mind begins with the One who oversees its growth. It begins with self-sacrifice and seeming risk on the part of each spouse. You deny yourself for the other's benefit, knowing God is "keeping the books." You begin by turning one thought at a time from you and what will benefit you, to God and what will benefit your mate. Rest assured that the Enemy (the World, the Flesh, and the Devil) will remind you that it feels like you're coming up short, especially if your mate doesn't seem to be reciprocating. Don't listen to the Devil. Don't listen to the World or your flesh. You aren't in charge of your mate's growth. That's God's business, so don't get in His way. Allow God to continue to oversee your family's growth and progress. Trust God with your well being. He won't let you down.
2. Holding To One Will.
We often have heard the term "battle of the sexes." The constant vying for who will hold the power in marriage has been a struggle since Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:16) Each one thinks that they are so much more qualified to lead the other, each exerting force over the other to exercise their own will. God's plan for marriage is different. Both are to give up their will to God and to each other. This often draws a gasp from those who mouth the popular thought. "I will give up my will to no one!" "No woman will tell me what to do!" "No man will run my life!" God says to both individuals in marriage: "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ: submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God." (Eph. 5:20-21)
The key to this is in the word submission. O how the World hates that word! The second and perhaps even more hated word is the obedience. Obedience and submission are so distorted by popular thought and history's accounts of man's inhumanity to man, that the true sense of it is lost, even to a majority of Christians. Submission is not degrading nor does it subjugate you to your mate. It is a gift given freely, rather than a demand exercised over you. First, you do not submit to, nor obey your mate mindlessly. Nor do you allow them to control your mind. Even God does not demand that kind of submission. "Be ye filled [voluntarily controlled] by the Holy Spirit" (Eph 5:18) and "Come now, let's reason together, saith the Lord." (Isa. 1:18) Submission and obedience are putting what you want to do second, yielding to your mate as God leads you to do so. You submit to God first, and then to each other as directed by Him.
3. Protecting Each Other's Emotions.
Herein lies our vulnerability. There is nothing so disconcerting as being or feeling vulnerable. So many of us will refuse to be trusting in the area of our emotions because it tends to make us feel vulnerable. Because of this, we tend to put up with them (our emotions) instead of enhancing our lives with them, as God intended. We become so protective of our vulnerabilities, that we give no thought to what our precious spouse needs or is going through. God's Word is definitive in this area as well. "Husbands, love your wives [not just by emotionless action but also by identifying with their tenderness], even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it." (Eph. 5:25)...and the wife, see that she reverence [respect] her husband." (Eph 5:33) Christ tenderly looks after our emotional well-being. He was not afraid to show His emotions nor to have it written down that He wept. He knows our makeup and was willing to die for each of us.
Are you willing to die for your wife? I don't mean only to "take a bullet" for her in a literal sense, should the need arise. I mean, are you willing to lay aside your life and what you want to do in favor of what she needs or wants to do? Husbands, do you show any vulnerability to your wife? Do you show her your vulnerabilities? Would you ever weep in front of her? Do you show empathy when your wife weeps in front of you? or do you say, "Oh stop that! What, are you crying again?" What of you wives? Maybe you hate crying as well for the same reason, that it shows weakness or vulnerabilities. Are you willing to be vulnerable in front of your husband? Do you encourage your man to be himself, even showing you his vulnerabilities, his emotions? or do you say, "I can't stand to see a grown man cry." "Stop that! Be a man!" Do you make him feel that he must always be strong, always be successful, or productive? or do you say that "Together we will be strong." Do you feed him mixed messages that say on the one hand, "I need you", and on the other, "I need no man?" Both spouses are to be protecting their mate's weaker side. We all have a weaker side. We must be the one to "have our mate's back," we must protect them. So here are the two sides that God wants us to work on with His empowerment: One, when we see our mates vulnerable side help strengthen it and when we are vulnerable we trust God and our mate enough to be vulnerable. The sin nature and the flesh work against this so that is where trust in God is essential. Getting continually closer to God will work this out. Asking forgiveness of each other will begin to heal the hurts of the past.
Do you see how misinformation is fed us in popular culture and modern thinking? Do you see how God wants marriage to reflect Christ and the church? Do you see that we need to stand with our mate, in one mind, in one will, one in emotional support?
Part 3. - SEX: A SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
I pondered as I reviewed this series and decided that since this hub stands well on its own, I would include a portion in it that talks of the spiritual side of intimacy. I feel it is important to see how, in even this very physical aspect of our lives together, even sexuality begins and ends in a spiritual experience.
Superficiality, casualness, and lack of significance in the things we do, are tools used of the enemy to cheapen our lives and to promote an attitude that dismisses the value and importance of the things God meant to be most sacred, most holy to us. Yes, I speak of sex as being sacred, and most holy. It is not "just a physical release" or "a biological urge" or "a natural drive." Sexuality, in the mind of the Creator was to be the most personal, symbolic and cohesive factor in marriage. But sinners, with no ability to connect with God, look at things in mere physical terms; those of lust, need, hunger, pent up sexual energy, urge to reproduce, etc. Leaving God out of the oneness of marriage will not work in this phase of our humanity either.
People tend to think of being intimate as "being naughty" or "getting down and dirty" or many other euphemisms that do not at all convey that there is anything good or holy in the act of intimacy. There is a price to pay for partaking of this most intimate communication of love without God, while a reward and a blessing come when including God in this wonderful gift of the Creator.
Beginning Of Sexuality - Deep And Symbolic From The Start
In the beginning, God created man as different from the animals. Animals are driven by chemicals and internal senses called instinct. When the season comes upon them, they are driven to mate simply because of smells and bodily cycles, without love, conscience, or regret. Mankind was not created like this. Despite efforts to denigrate humans to simply "another animal life-form," humans do not mate as do the rest of creation. Those that do give into any lust or simple desire that comes along heap to themselves many problems, among those are venereal diseases, depression, lack of respect for self and others, and a host of other things that settle into their lives as severe problems sooner or later.
A case in point, to show mankind is different than the animal kingdom is right there in the creation account. "And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them [both animals and man], and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply [speaking to both animals and man]; fill the earth and subdue it."
There are two things I'd like to point out in this passage:
1. Sexuality was blessed. God blessed the sex of the animals and that of the humans.
2. God gave permission for sexual activity to begin at this point and the animals obliged. They began mating and filling the earth immediately. They were driven by God-given instinct. But you may note as you read on, that Adam and Eve did not consummate their marriage until after the sin of chapter 3 took place. It was all the way into chapter 4 that "Adam knew his wife." (chap. 4:1) Why didn't they just begin rutting like the pigs and all the other animals of the natural world around them? They were, after all, given permission to begin to fill the earth right away. I submit to you that they did not because they are not animals. They did not (nor do we) operate on instinct, but were created in God's image. They needed to get to know each other first. Eve was the only woman around and Adam appreciated that fact. I'm sure they talked, got to know each other. They laughed, and I imagine them playing and running and dreaming. There was romance happening between them and intimate fun in Adam's life for the first time. They both continued naked and unashamed and innocent, growing to love one another.
Yes, humans are different than the animal kingdom. We were created in God's image. We love we reason. In fact, the spiritual aspect of sexuality is a deep, profound concept, that, once realized, can enhance the marital love-life to dizzying new heights.
The spiritual meaning of marital sexuality is so much deeper than what is thought on any plain of earthly wisdom. If you were to ask, most people would say the spiritual side of lovemaking would be in that monumental orgasm that was achieved or at that point in time when each partner "instinctively" knew what the other needed. Or, maybe they would say it is when they felt they were at peace and oneness and fulfilled in all their desires.
That is not anywhere near the meaning conveyed in God's word. Let's look at how it all started to get a sense of how it should continue.
God brings the woman to the man and then joins them together, in other words, He officiates at their wedding and lays down the ground rules for two the new institutions, that of marriage and family. This in no way resembles any relationship among the animal kingdom, such as a buck and doe or even two lovebirds that stay paired for life. This human relationship has some very unique elements and circumstances as we shall see.
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:21-24)
The Hebrew word for woman is interesting. In the Hebrew language this is a word that has no counterpart in English. The word woman was used because it comes from the Old English wumman and means "wife man." This word was chosen in the KJV because they had no way to succinctly translate the word ishshah (ish-shaw') that has the literal meaning, "I exist." and whose definition is "that which is extant." Extant is a word that is the exact opposite of extinct. Adam knew that his wife's presence was critical to the whole race of man because he was the only human until she came along. The word man referring to Adam being human is the Hebrew word iysh (ish). This is the Hebrew word for mankind written in the masculine gender. Adam represented the first of mankind, an all-inclusive term that would include his female counterpart, Eve, who in God's terminology is also iysh - man-kind. (God invented that term man/mankind). Ishshah is the feminine counterpart to iysh invented by Adam for womankind. She would be of the species man or human, but this term was special for her. It is a term conveying that she would be the key to life for mankind to survive, to be a whole human family. She was that which is extant, so that humans would not go extinct. Notice that God allows Adam to grasp the depth of the fact that this woman, his wife, was a different creation, a vital part of his existence. He (Adam) named all the animals and God allows him to name what kind of creation this wife of his was. He calls her woman because God removed part of him to use as a building block for her and so in a sense they literally were one flesh. Adam also gave her the name Eve, actually Adam called her Chavvah (khaw-vaw - Hebrew for Eve) meaning "life-giver" because, again, she was going to be the mother of the whole human race.
Why is this so important and how does this relate to sex and sexuality? It is important to know the origin of the term "one flesh" for it will be the key building block to understanding all that sexuality is for men and women. Adam loved his wife Chavvah (Eve) as he loved his own flesh. Indeed, she was his own flesh.
Consider the passage wherein this first man Adam set down some rules for marriage. It is very clear from other Scriptures that these rules came from God regarding the new institution beginning with this first couple. In generations to come, a man was to leave the unit of his father's family and be joined to his wife. They would then in the eyes of man, be one couple- the building block of a family, but in the eyes of God they would be one flesh, one fleshly entity, each with their own personality and spiritual gifts to bring into the family circle. They would be joined spiritually but this was illustrated by their physical joining. The essence of the physical mingles with that of the spiritual.
You get this sense of the mingling of physical and spiritual, when the Scripture refers to the act of adultery. Adultery is said to pollute and change the pureness of marital sex in the eyes of God. Look at this: "Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two," He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Corinthians 6:16)
Now you begin to see the spiritual aspect of our union. We as husband and wife are joined to each other and as far as God is concerned, physically we are one. That is why the Book says in other places that the husband's body belongs to the wife and the wife's body belongs to her husband. This so flies "in the face" of our society that promotes easy divorce, "alternative lifestyles," and "open" relationships. And still we have only scratched the surface of the spirituality expressed in our physical relationship, private to the world, but still under the gaze of the Almighty. God proclaimed marriage "honorable for all" and "the [marriage] bed undefiled." (Hebrews 13:4)
With this in mind, that marriage is holy and our intimate relationship with our spouse is holy, there is another aspect that is even more profound for us to explore. Lets go back to the Corinthians passage we considered a moment ago. The verse before that adds another dimension to the spirituality of our physical love.
vs.15. "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!" ...
Then verse 16 which we've already read: "Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two" He says 'shall become one flesh.'" ...
(and the passage after verse 16 says)... vs. 17. "But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:17-20)
Take a close look at what this verse is actually saying. It starts off reminding us that in marriage we are one flesh with our mate and then proceeds to emphasize the concept by saying that if you join yourself to someone else you are, in the eyes of God, becoming one flesh with that stranger. But notice the concept does not stop there. In the same way you are joined to your mate, you are joined to God. Same words - same concept. We are living, physical illustrations of a spiritual relationship between God and individuals that are joined to Him. I will explain in a moment just how one goes about being "joined to" God, but right now consider the holiness of the statement we have made. God so approves of our physical union that He allows this comparison to be made. The relationship of a person "in Christ" is likened that of making love and marital oneness. Notice the comparison of the act itself, where a man and woman physically join and the fact that God literally inhabits a person that receives Him as Savior. In a very real sense, God and the saved Christian become one. God dwells in us and we are "immersed [inserted] into the body of Christ."
Probably if you've never explored verses like this, you are getting edgy because you are not used to these very human things given such divine meanings. Well, if that makes you uneasy consider this verse:
"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church."
Now, if you have reasoned in your minds, and are able to assimilate that there is a comparison of spiritual to physical going on here in these verses, you may still have a problem. Isn't God a Spirit? what happens on a spiritual plain has nothing to do with flesh and bones, does it?. Check out the next words of this passage here in Ephesians 6:
"For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 6:28-30)
God wants us to know, that in a very literal sense, we join with our mate in marriage it means something deep and spiritual; each time we join physically to our wife or husband, it is to illustrate and celebrate the salvation relationship. The spiritual extends into the physical, even to His flesh and His bones. Like Adam pointed out regarding Eve, we share bone and flesh with God. Isn't that what God is? our Spiritual Creator who inhabits our physical frame and connects us to the spiritual plane in a very literal way?
I say to you, that without these aspects moving in our love life, those of gratitude to God and the inclusion of the spiritual in our hearts, we will miss the awesomeness that God intended for His children in the institution of marriage.
Need more proof of the connection? Read these passages for re-emphasis:
"Then came to Him the disciples of John [the baptizer] saying, 'Why do we and the Pharasees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?' And Jesus said unto them, 'Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? but the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they shall fast." (Matthew 9:14-15)
"For your Maker is your Husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth." (Isaiah 54:5)
"I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth thee to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD." (Hosea 2:19-20) [Notice: betroth equals married. This is a verse aimed at Israel and also include the grafted-in born-again believers. Notice also, the allusion to fidelity in marriage. There will be no cheating on the "bride's" part nor on God's.]
"As a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you, and as the Bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you." [Again speaking of Israel and the church] (Isaiah 62:5)
"For the woman that has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another - to Him that was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." (Romans 7:2-4) [Note here that in order for us who are married to God (saved) to be free to marry another, God would have to die. God cannot die, so this marriage to God lasts forever. In other words, salvation is unending, irreversible, forever.]
"For I [Paul] am jealous for you [the church, Christians] with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:2-3)
What I hope you get from this article is that the value of marriage and love and love-making is beyond measure and its meaning and symbolism, profound and deep. I would hope you would see how God has woven a tapestry in our intimate lives that include Him. We are designed to function with Him a part of everything we do. It is not like the world would have you believe. Life is not a momentary existence that happens and then we cease to exist. Our life begins here we continue to exist. After this life on earth, where do our spirit and soul go? That depends on you. God wishes you to come to Him but He is holy and cannot be around sin. When you die will you carry the value of your life's sin with you or will that sin debt be wiped clean?
"The wages of sin is death." (Eternal separation from God)
"For you were bought with a price..." Jesus paid for your sin debt already and all it takes is you turning to God and requesting that He save you and He will then use the value of His blood to pay for your sin. He died to provide a way for all, but each individual must ask for each person to receive. Some people will see the need in their lives for a Savior. Some will see and refuse to ask for one reason or another. Some don't believe in God or Jesus or any of the Bible. But if you want to ask this is what you must believe.
You must believe that Jesus is God in human flesh who came to earth and died for the sins of every person.
You must believe that Jesus was dead, buried in the grave but raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scripture says. You must believe it by faith because you were not there to witness it.
You must be willing to forsake the life you have been living and to turn to Jesus as the only way of salvation. God can see into your heart and see the sincerity of what you ask and He will hear.
Pray this: Dear Lord God, I know You are the one who died for me. I believe the gospel, that You came to earth in human flesh and died for me. I believe that You were buried in the grave but the grave couldn't hold You and You rose from the dead. Please, Jesus, I am a sinner and do not want to die in my sins. I need a Savior and I cry out to You to wipe my sin debt clean because You are the only Way of salvation. I turn from my life, the way I've lived it and I turn to You to make a straight path for my feet. I will follow You for the rest of my life. I pray this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.