According to current North American culture, two people are married when another person “marries” them. This person must legally represent the government of the state in which the couple files for a marriage license. They can be “married” when a Justice of the Peace (JP), a pastor or a judge officiates over the ceremony and afterward, signs the Certificate of Marriage along with at least two witnesses.
Somehow, this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with “marriage” as described in the Bible. And it seems to have even less to do with “marriage” as a spiritual union of two people: “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one.”
So when does “marriage” happen?
To the “saints” in Corinth, the apostle Paul warned that if any men partook of the invitation of temple priestesses and had intercourse with them (helping the women fulfill their necessary vows to their goddess Aphrodite), the man and the woman “became one” — a union which is intended to take place between that man and His God, not some strange woman who made herself available for intercourse.
But here’s a key: if a man in Corinth can become “one flesh” with a woman — a stranger — merely by becoming “one flesh” literally in the act of intercourse, this suggests that “becoming one flesh” (i.e., “marriage”) may have little or nothing to do with civil licenses, representatives of the state, ritual ceremonies, bridal gowns, engagement rings, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flowers, First Dances or cutting the cake. “Becoming one flesh” — and thereby fulfilling the “leaving and cleaving” — seems to be at the heart of what becoming “married” is all about.
So — when are two people married? Two people who love God and desire to be one for the rest of their earthly lives and are committed to one another heart and soul…
Does the Marriage of Two Hearts take place when these two lovers have sexual intercourse — notwithstanding any culturally acceptable ceremonies?
If you think about it, the fleshly “event” you might say is preceded by a particular mental “event”. That is, before these two lovers engage in intercourse, they “engage mentally” — before they can say, “Here’s a bed,” they must first — in mind and heart — decide (or discover) that they are One in their minds and in their hearts. The physical “union” must by its very nature be preceded by a “union” — a union that is mental, emotional and spiritual.
In a sense, by the time two Lovers lay in a bed or even stand before a pastor, judge or JP, they are already One. The ceremony is a manifestation of the Union that has already occurred in their minds, hearts and spirit. Even the first time they “know” each other is a manifestation of the Union that has already occurred.
When is the Point at Which Two People are Married?
It’s the Point at which they know each other, when they know their Love for each other and know that they are — without interruption or cessation, without hesitancy, waffling, wavering, dithering, stalling, dawdling, delaying — they know they are One and will be so for the rest of their lives together.
How these two lovers manifest their Union — their “marriage” — to the rest of the world is simply up to them to decide.
And what God has joined together, let no man put asunder… Oh yeah!