Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24).Now, walk with me for a few moments because I think we might get a lot more out of this Genesis Principle than you might have first imagined.
First, we clearly have "a man" and "his wife". To stretch that to "a man" and his wives (plural) is to deviate from this original version. They did, but it isn't in the original. To stretch it to a man and anything else (or a wife and anything else) is ludicrous. A man and his wife -- the original design.
Second, "they shall become one flesh". Two components are in play here. First is the union that marriage becomes. It isn't a simple relationship. It isn't a committed relationship. It is a union. Two "become one flesh". Paul indicates that there is something else going on than mere sex here: "Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?" (1 Cor 6:16). This union goes beyond an event. It becomes a condition. It is the primary reason that Paul warns against sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:13). It is a union.
The second component is somewhat easier to figure because it is easy to see. Sex. The Genesis Principle of Marriage includes the idea that husband and wife engage in sexual relations with each other partly to become one flesh and partly to fulfill the commandment "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28). That is, it is not true that either sex is solely for reproduction or for mutual pleasure. It is for a union and reproduction.
But we're not done. I think we can gather more from these first two chapters on the Genesis Principle of Marriage. There is, for instance, another purpose indicated -- a reason for Man and Woman. According to the text, Eve was designed as "a helper fit for him" (Gen 2:20). The Genesis Principle of Marriage here will have none of modern feminism that claims that everyone is the same. Adam had his role. Eve had hers. She was "a helper fit for him."
"Ah!" you will complain, "You are making women as less than men." Not at all. Indeed, included in this Genesis Principle of Marriage is exactly the opposite. We read in the first chapter of Genesis "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27). Humans, if you recall, derive their God-given value from the Imago Dei, their being made in the image of God. Who is made in the image of God? The text says "male and female". Thus, men and women are of equal value. So Peter warns husbands to "live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7). "Heirs with you." Not creatures of lesser value. Joint heirs. And not people worthy of less honor. They are people to whom honor is due. Remember, a different role does not equate to a different value.
"Okay," you might counter, "but you're still setting up a hierarchy. You're still making man over woman." Well, if you wish to put it that way. But I'm just telling you what the Genesis Principle says. It says that Eve was "a helper fit for him". Paul confirms this when he says, "I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Cor 11:3). Am I setting up a hierarchy? Only in so far as God has. Only in so far as Christ has agreed to. (Isn't it ironic that God is the head of Christ, but wives refuse to have husbands as their head?) The Genesis Principle of Marriage includes the honor a wife deserves as well as the submission (Eph 5:22-24) that God demands.
There are some ramifications to all this that should be apparent. First, if husband and wife are one, a union that exceeds mere physical coupling, what would that say about adultery? Clearly the notion would make no sense at all considering this Genesis Principle. Uniting with others outside of this union would be wrong in so many ways. In fact, this is why adultery in the Law was punished by death. There was no remedy for such a disastrous event.
Jesus brings up the other obvious ramification (Matt 19:3-12). If husband and wife are one, where does divorce fit in? In what possible sense does that union come to an end? What are the conditions required to terminate that union? Clearly death would do it. You know, "'Til death do us part". That makes sense. And Jesus pointed to "sexual immorality" (Matt 19:9). If sexual relations produce a union and sexual immorality produces an immoral union, that would make sense as well. How about "irreconcilable differences"? If you understand the Genesis Principle of Marriage, that doesn't work at all. How about "mental cruelty" or the like? If you continue to hold to the modern perception of marriage as simply a relationship between two people, that would seem reasonable. But if you see marriage as a genuine union, it would make as much sense as cutting off your leg because it hurts you. Such an act might be necessary in extreme circumstances, but only after every other possible avenue has been exhausted. Surely that is obvious when marriage is viewed through the biblical concept.
Well, there's more than enough to mull over here on this particular Genesis Principle. I am fairly certain, in fact, that I've left stuff out. Feel free to pick up your own connections from the text. I hope, however, that you see that it's much bigger in scope than today's simple "committed, loving relationship" that so many think defines marriage. Much bigger ... if you're willing to take your principles from Scripture rather than culture.