And he [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have you not read, that he [God] which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4 – 6 [cp. Genesis 2:24], KJV)
Editor’s note: Dr. Smith was once incarcerated in Texas and writes this article not only from his professional training, but from personal experience.
Adultery is breaking the marriage covenant by mixing into it something that does not belong. It is apostasy and deflection from the truth. It is spiritual idolatry because we serve Satan when we commit adultery. It is also deadly poison to our spirituality and our marriage, because it is breaking wedlock by bringing into the covenant relationship — a covenant established by and in the sight of God — another man or woman. This places a wedge between the hearts of the husband and wife, cutting them apart in spirit as well as the flesh. The loyalty, affections, and marital duty guaranteed to one’s spouse by the marriage covenant has been given to, or stolen by another.
How far does adultery really reach? Adultery brings with it a tremendous danger of physical pollution by bacteria and disease, as well as the uncleanness of the sin of harlotry. It is not only our bodies that are at risk, but so too are our spouses. First, any of several sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be introduced to their spouse after an adulterous encounter with an unclean, promiscuous person. These diseases can be incurable, crippling, and even fatal. Secondly, since in marriage the union is so intimate that the two become one flesh, when a third party is introduced, the faithful mate will feel spiritually ripped from their spouse. Their innermost treasure has been spoiled and stolen from them, leaving them feeling violated and shamed. Their heart will feel as if it has been torn in two by the betrayal of their mate.
Women are a very special gift from God. In Genesis 2:18, God determined that it was not good for man to be alone. He says that he will make for Adam a “help meet,” or companion compatible to him intellectually, morally, and physically as his counterpart. So in verses 21– 22 God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and as Adam slept, God took one of Adam’s ribs and made woman to be a companion for him. In verses 23 – 24, Adam says: “… This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” And God said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” In verse 25 both Adam and Eve are naked but without shame because they are of one flesh — husband and wife. There is no shame in nudity or sexuality between husband and wife, but with any one else but their spouse, it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:6 –17).
It is written in an old adage that, woman is said not to have been taken out of man’s head to be lorded over by him, nor from his feet to be trampled on by him, but from his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected by him and from near his heart to be loved by him.
A story about David Livingston emphasizes this well. “In the year 1812 Livingston’s wife (Mary) died of the dreaded African fever. Of this he wrote in his journal: ‘It is the first heavy stroke I have suffered, and quite takes away my strength. I wept over her who well deserved many tears. I loved her when I married her, and the longer I lived with her I loved her the more. God pity the poor children, who were all attached to her; and I am left alone in the world by one I felt to be part of myself. I hope it may, by divine grace, lead me to realize heaven as my home, and she has but proceeded me in the journey. Oh my Mary, MY Mary; how often we have longed for a quiet home. For the first time in my life I feel willing to die. (From Mary J. H. Worchester, Jr., David Livingston: First to Cross Africa with the Gospel, Moody Press, Chicago, 1989.)
The love expressed by David Livingston in his journal is the kind of love and devotion God intends for a man to have for his wife. David truly believed Mary to be his special gift from God and that he and Mary were one in the eyes of God. Without Mary, his life was no longer complete.
Men in particular need to understand that their wives are a special gift and a blessing from God and that they are to love, care for, protect, and nurture the wife God blessed them with (Ephesians 5:25, 28 – 29). When a husband commits adultery he is committing a violent act toward both his wife and God. Adultery leaves one’s spouse emotionally bruised, maimed, broken, and sometimes permanently spotted by some STD. He is also telling God that his perfect gift is not good enough — that the world has a better one to offer.
Marriage is a very special entity and we are to protect it from all intruders — especially Satan — and honor it as the God-ordained covenant it is. To not do so is physical and emotional violence against one’s spouse and a form of robbery from God by stealing the sanctity of the marriage covenant he created and ordained. When God looks upon a man and his wife, he does so not as two, but only as one flesh! Amen.
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©Sandra Gligorijevic. Image from BigStockPhoto.com