Guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

Marriage Is a Sexual Union

2nd September 2020

We have gathered together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony.

In the story of creation in Genesis chapter 1, we learn of God’s design for mankind in His image, male and female, the crown of His good creation. 

The second chapter of Genesis describes the same reality, but in story form, what I call “Adam in search of a wife.” While the man – Adam – is created first, God states: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” The words “helper fit” or “helpmeet” can also be translated “rescuer according to his opposite.” When Adam sees the Woman taken from his own body, he cries out in joy: “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”(Gen 2:23). Eve, his counterpart, rescues him not so much from loneliness as from incompleteness. Only with Eve can he know himself in God’s image and enjoy the wonderful beauty of God’s creation. Only joined with Eve can their seed increase and multiply and fill the earth.

The Greek myth of Narcissus tells of a beautiful young man who sees his image in a pool of water and falls in love with it. Unable to love another human being, Narcissus is turned into a self-fertilizing flower. One of the mysteries of marriage is that we find ourselves by losing ourselves in the beloved Other. This too points to our union with Christ, as He says: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 10:39). 

The story ends with a moral: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined – the King James version reads “cleave” – to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen 2:24). I like that old word cleave because it has two opposite meanings: to split apart and to join together. “Leaving and cleaving” – leaving your family of origin and joining with your spouse to make a new family – that is the dynamic action of Holy Matrimony. 


Lord Jesus Christ, divine Bridegroom, we repent for all the situations in which we have dishonored the covenant of marriage through selfishness or unfaithfulness.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

We repent as a Church where we have failed to prepare our children for holy matrimony, or to care for those who are widowed, divorced or single.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

We repent where as citizens we have become complacent and neglected the defense of marriage in the public square.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

From “A Litany for Marriage” (ACNA)

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