Author Topic: What is meant by "joining/cleaving" to one's wife?  (Read 330 times)

Tom Eckstein

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Re: What is meant by "joining/cleaving" to one's wife?
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 08:48:20 PM »
Genesis 2:24 is quoted in Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31. A similar statement is made in 1 Esdras 4:20. Paul makes a reference to the verse in 1 Corinthians 6:16; and his use of "joining" with a prostitute reflects a statement in Sirach 19:2.


The Hebrew of Genesis 2:24 uses דָּבַק (dāvaq).
The Greek words used in the NT and Apocrypha are:
κολλάομαι – Matthew 19:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Esdras 4:20; Sirach 19:2
προσκολλάομαι – Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31


The Greek words originally meant: "to glue (on)." That is, "to stick together."


I'd argued in the past, based on Paul's use in 1 Corinthians 6, that the word refers to sexual intercourse. That was the "joining" that turned the two into one flesh. I'm less certain about that after a more detailed study of these words.


Paul uses the same word in the following verse about being "joined" to the Lord. That is more like the original sense of "being connected to" without any sexual overtones.


The Hebrew root is frequently used also for our relationship with God: Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 11:22; 13:4; 30:20; Joshua 22:5; 23:8; 2 Kings 18:6; Psalm 63:8; 119:31; Jeremiah 13:11.


It's also frequently used in terms of sticking with a friend: Ruth 1:14; 2:8, 21, 23; Proverbs 18:24.


The Greek words are more about being in close proximity to, connected to in some way: Luke 15:15; Acts 5:13; 8:29; 9:26; 10:28; 17:34.


Thus, rather than being primarily about entering a sexual relationship to make a couple "one flesh," the words seem to indicate more of a lasting commitment; a stick-to-it-ness about the relationship that creates the unity.

I think you are right this term can refer to a close committed relationship between two people and does not necessarily refer to sex.  But the CONTEXT determines the meaning of any given word.  Here's how I see Genesis 2:24 and Paul's use of it in 1 Cor. 6:16:

In Genesis 2:24 the "uniting to one's wife" is the promise of marriage, that is, the vows of faithfulness between husband and wife and then the "one flesh" (which is the sexual reference) is ONE of the ways (not the ONLY way) that a husband and wife will express and celebrate their promise of love, that is, their marriage vows.   With this in mind, when Paul uses κολλώμενος in 1st Cor. 6:16 he is referring to the sexual act (the "one flesh" behavior) between a man and a prostitute - and Paul condemns this precisely because this sexual act is meaningless and even evil when done without the promise of love, that is, the vows of marriage.  This is precisely why in 1st Cor. 7 Paul insists that sex must take place within marriage or it is not permitted.  (We see this in Matthew 19:1ff where Jesus is clear that the only option to sex between one man and one woman in marriage is CELIBACY!) In other words, the man who has sex with a prostitute is simply using her as an object of lust which is a horrible thing to do for one who has been made one with Christ in the Lord's Supper.  Paul makes a similar point in 1st Thess. 4:6a where he says:  τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ πράγματι τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ  Simply put, to have sex with a person apart from the commitment of marriage (and Scripture is clear that marriage is for ONE man and ONE woman ONLY!) is to use him or her as an object of lust which is the opposite of the the agape love that is to be at the heart of marriage between a man and a woman.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 08:51:00 PM by Tom Eckstein »
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: What is meant by "joining/cleaving" to one's wife?
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 09:13:03 PM »
The have one future and one home, they share the same offspring, hold their possessions in common, and share in each other's shame and triumphs in life.

This is a little off topic, but I've been curious lately about what seems to be a trend among younger people especially for married couples to keep their finances separate. I think this has arisen over the past generation as more women have full time careers and perhaps earn as much or more than their husbands. I gather this is usually a "yours, mine, and ours" kind of arrangement, or sometimes it's more like roommates who agree how shared expenses will be divided up. It makes things a heck of a lot easier if the couple divorces, but it seems to me that it really inhibits a full commitment to being "one flesh."

In our marriage, the only time my wife ever had a separate bank account was when she was doing a little side teaching job; she put tuition payments into that account, and used it to pay expenses. Then, when it was over, she kept it as a kind of "special needs" fund; but it never amounted to more than a couple of thousand dollars, and the "special needs" were usually something we agreed we needed but didn't have in the budget.

What's been your experience, either in your own marriage or in marriages you've observed? Do you deal with this in premarital counseling?

We shared all aspects of finances and made only major purchases that we both agreed upon. At times I managed the checking account; at other times Lorna did. That seemed to depend on which of us had more time to devote to it as circumstances changed.

No one told us to do it the way we did. It just seemed that it was the way it should be in a marriage.

Yes, finances are a source of conflict in some marriages. I'm sure we've all seen that.

Peace, JOHN

Approaching the 39th Anniversary:  We only had joint accounts until 15 years ago, when my final parent left a modest inheritance equally divided between each of us as individuals.  The inheritance accounts were and are kept separately.  And, of course, our IRAs by their very nature must be separate.

What couples may not be aware of is that, at least in Pennsylvania, individual property is subject to inheritance tax while joint property simply transfers to the surviving spouse. 

I have known of widows who have needed to sell the family house because the deed was only in the husbands' name and they could not afford the tax on the inherited property.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:30:17 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
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Re: What is meant by "joining/cleaving" to one's wife?
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 09:26:58 PM »
I’ve only had one couple who kept their accounts separate. Kinda like an informal pre-nup.
I know one couple who married in their forties are now in their sixties and the husband gives the wife an allowance.

Peter (Did June Cleaver get an allowance?) Garrison
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: What is meant by "joining/cleaving" to one's wife?
« Reply #18 on: Today at 01:38:34 AM »
I think you are right this term can refer to a close committed relationship between two people and does not necessarily refer to sex.  But the CONTEXT determines the meaning of any given word.  Here's how I see Genesis 2:24 and Paul's use of it in 1 Cor. 6:16:

In Genesis 2:24 the "uniting to one's wife" is the promise of marriage, that is, the vows of faithfulness between husband and wife and then the "one flesh" (which is the sexual reference) is ONE of the ways (not the ONLY way) that a husband and wife will express and celebrate their promise of love, that is, their marriage vows.   With this in mind, when Paul uses κολλώμενος in 1st Cor. 6:16 he is referring to the sexual act (the "one flesh" behavior) between a man and a prostitute - and Paul condemns this precisely because this sexual act is meaningless and even evil when done without the promise of love, that is, the vows of marriage.  This is precisely why in 1st Cor. 7 Paul insists that sex must take place within marriage or it is not permitted.  (We see this in Matthew 19:1ff where Jesus is clear that the only option to sex between one man and one woman in marriage is CELIBACY!) In other words, the man who has sex with a prostitute is simply using her as an object of lust which is a horrible thing to do for one who has been made one with Christ in the Lord's Supper.  Paul makes a similar point in 1st Thess. 4:6a where he says:  τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ πράγματι τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ  Simply put, to have sex with a person apart from the commitment of marriage (and Scripture is clear that marriage is for ONE man and ONE woman ONLY!) is to use him or her as an object of lust which is the opposite of the the agape love that is to be at the heart of marriage between a man and a woman.


I have frequently used 1 Corinthians 6:16 to indicate that κολλάομαι was sexual intercourse that united a man and a woman – not marriage. However, I'm less certain about that meaning of κολλάομαι, because Paul uses exactly the same word in 1 Corinthians 6:17 in reference to our joining with Christ that makes us one spirit with him. I now seek ways that κολλάομαι can be understood the same way in both of these verses that are part of the same context.

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: What is meant by "joining/cleaving" to one's wife?
« Reply #19 on: Today at 01:49:13 AM »
The have one future and one home, they share the same offspring, hold their possessions in common, and share in each other's shame and triumphs in life.

This is a little off topic, but I've been curious lately about what seems to be a trend among younger people especially for married couples to keep their finances separate. I think this has arisen over the past generation as more women have full time careers and perhaps earn as much or more than their husbands. I gather this is usually a "yours, mine, and ours" kind of arrangement, or sometimes it's more like roommates who agree how shared expenses will be divided up. It makes things a heck of a lot easier if the couple divorces, but it seems to me that it really inhibits a full commitment to being "one flesh."

In our marriage, the only time my wife ever had a separate bank account was when she was doing a little side teaching job; she put tuition payments into that account, and used it to pay expenses. Then, when it was over, she kept it as a kind of "special needs" fund; but it never amounted to more than a couple of thousand dollars, and the "special needs" were usually something we agreed we needed but didn't have in the budget.

What's been your experience, either in your own marriage or in marriages you've observed? Do you deal with this in premarital counseling?


We're not a younger couple, but we have always had separate accounts over our 50 years of marriage. Money was so tight in many instances, that should my wife write a check that I didn't know about, we could be overdrawn. It was easier, and safer, for me to keep records of all my spending, which included how much I could afford to pay on each credit card when we weren't able to pay them off each month like we do now; and she kept records of all her spending. Basically, I paid the bills from my account; and she bought food from hers.


It also came up one year when she used the credit card to buy me a present, which meant, I ended up paying for it. Since then, she's also had her own credit cards that she pays off from her accounts. (She open a second account for herself when she started her own business in our house.)


I'm on all her accounts, and she's on mine. We can go online and easily transfer money from one checking account to another as needed.


In contrast, we have a good friend, about our age, who had the whole family (wife and two daughters) all on the same checking account; but I don't think his funds were as tight as ours. He was the first person I met who bought a new car with cash. (He also drove that car just under 500,000 miles before it completely died.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]