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50 Years

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The human said,

“This one finally is bone from my bones
        and flesh from my flesh.
She will be called a woman
        because from a man she was taken.”

This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh.  Genesis 2:23-224

This weekend we will celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. A lot has changed since 1967: fashion, music, movies, politics, how far a dollar will go, to name a few. But Charles and Pat are still an item, still together, still trying to love and be loved by each other all these years later. And in a world that seems to yearn for stability and roots without even realizing it, their long and lovely marriage is a very good gift.

Scripture tells us in Genesis 2:18 that God did not intend for us to be alone in life. That doesn’t mean we are all to be married, but it does mean that we are designed to be in community, over the long haul, connected deeply and lastingly to someone besides just ourselves. This passage from Genesis bears that out very clearly, if your translation is accurate. You remember the story: God shapes the human out of dust and breathes life into the human. But God declares, “It is not good for the human to be alone.” So in a humorous plot twist, God makes animals and brings them to the human to name. But a suitable partner for the human is not found in any giraffe or panda. You think?

At last, God performs divine surgery and creates another human out of the first. Notice in the Hebrew translated that the word for “human” (not male or female) is used up until this point. Once the human sees another human, then both humans are named: she is called “woman” because out of “man” she was taken.

The linguistic idea here is that we are one flesh- it takes male and female to fully enflesh being human. And this, this is what marriage is meant to be about: making full humans out of us, people who care about the other as if they are our own flesh because they are.

I’ve still got 30 years to go to catch up to my parents’ long marriage with my own. I know we will work at it and play at it with all we’ve got. Whether married or not, this is what all of us are to strive for: to love in committed and caring ways the people God has given us, because it’s not good to be alone. It is good to be one flesh, connected for life. Thanks Mom and Dad for living this out! Here’s to you!

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