Home christian living Husband and Wife–One Flesh

Husband and Wife–One Flesh

by Kelly Crawford


(Disclaimer:  Though I mentioned bank accounts in this post, I didn’t really intend for the focus to be there; I’m not trying to make a firm statement about whether or not couples should have separate bank accounts.  It was really just an example (that I think could have many exceptions) to illustrate a tangible element of oneness in marriage.)

I believe more and more that Christians completely miss the beautiful reality of oneness in marriage.  One flesh–“A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”.  Genesis 2:24

It shows up in our daily lives, our finances, our decisions, our children, and sadly, most often, in our divorces.

This lack of understanding comes from a failure to understand what marriage is, and more importantly, whose marriage is.  Marriage is an institution God created.  Period.  Yes, just like everything else, we managed to turn it into a government-involved affair, but God invented marriage, and as such, He invented the rules.

“What God has joined together, let no man separate”.  All too often, that is just a trite formality at the end of a ceremony.  My heart breaks thinking about the divorce rate among believers in light of this command to become one.   Do you know what would happen in a physical sense if one was torn in two?

Truly, if  He created us to be one flesh, how CAN we separate?  Do we ever really?

But the separation starts SO much earlier than at the attorney’s office.  It starts in every detail of our day.  Are we one flesh?  What does that look like?

I think it’s fairly common for husbands and wives to have separate banking accounts.  I don’t mean to step on toes–maybe there’s a good reason I don’t know about, but what is it?  There is no such thing as my money his money when you are one, is there?  That may not be a terrible thing in and of itself, but does it represent oneness?

“But you’re suggesting that I completely lose my identity!”  In a sense, yes.  One more problem with our culture’s inundation of  “my rights, my freedoms, my happiness…”

Marriage was designed to make us holy, not happy.  (Although happiness is a nice by-product 😉

One flesh thinks in the same direction, has a unified heart, and ultimately functions as a single entity. 

(Perhaps this is why God placed one person as “head”…still talking body-language, there can’t be two heads on one flesh!  He didn’t do it to oppress us, He did it to keep us from looking like freaks and trying to walk in two different directions!)

On a side note, I also think this is why it is monumental that parents are involved in helping their children find mates.  Is that potential spouse going to be a person with whom your son or daughter can become one flesh with?

Pray for oneness in your marriage.  Take some time and really think about what that means.  Are we living out in the details of our lives?

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Leslie Viles May 29, 2009 - 3:51 pm

I think one of the road blocks for me to becoming one flesh is the obsession our society has with independence. So many of us were raised to be “independent” so we don’t need anyone, even our spouse. I have overcome the need for “independence” praise God.

Elizabeth May 29, 2009 - 3:59 pm

My husband and I have always had just one shared account BUT I can think of two reasons why a couple might want to have separate accounts: (1) If you are both drawing money out of the same account, you risk accidentally overdrawing your account. (2) It is hard to surprise each other with gifts if your spouse can see where you ordering from or can see that you took out X amount of money the week before his birthday.

I do agree with you though that all that is mine is also his and vice-versa (though not about the marriage needing a “head”).

Word Warrior May 29, 2009 - 4:12 pm


Curious, if you don’t agree that “marriage needs a head”, how do you explain the command for husbands to be that head?

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe May 29, 2009 - 4:57 pm

We have been married 39 years and have never had separate checking accounts or separate anything for that matter. It was always “our” money, “our” home, “our” car, etc. I couldn’t imagine any other way. We are husband and wife, not roommates. We don’t pull in opposite directions. Both of lose our separate identities in a way, but that is the way it is meant to be — one flesh.

Forever Married May 29, 2009 - 7:17 pm

Forever Married…

[…] This lack of understanding comes from a failure to understand what marriage is, and more importantly, whose marriage is. Marriage is an institution God created. Period. Yes, just like everything else, we managed to turn it into a … […]…

Lucy T May 29, 2009 - 8:58 pm

I haven’t given much thought to married couples and thier bank accounts we have always only had one well we have more than one but our money is not separate the accounts are ours.Anyway just this week while I was in the church nursery with my daughter a married couple came in and they where arguing over who would pay for lunch. These people are not a young married couple either.I could not belive it.So of course this subject has been on my mind this week and here you are writing about it too funny.

Kim M. May 29, 2009 - 11:32 pm

Mary, that is awesome!

Kelly, I agree.

We took a Dave Ramsey course awhile back, and I was shocked at all the married couples with separate bank accounts. They were also the ones who argued openly about their money problems. Not that everyone does this, but the ones in the class did. I like the idea of one flesh. God knows what He is doing. 🙂

Mrs. Price May 30, 2009 - 12:41 am

Excellent post. On the 2 accounts as soon as I quit my job to stay home I was added to my husbands account and eventually closed my personal account. If I want to surprise my husband with a gift I pay cash. If I have to order it online I pay with the credit card or pay with the check card and tell him not to look at the account details until the holiday is over. We talk about how much we plan on spending before hand.

Mrs. Lady Sofia May 30, 2009 - 1:44 am

Honestly, I don’t think a married couple having two bank accounts is a bad thing, nor does it mean that the couple is not following the “one flesh rule” just because of multiple bank accounts.

Although I do agree with you that many couples fail to see the true vision and purpose of marriage; to say that one of the reasons they do so is by having separate checking or banking accounts doesn’t make any sense to me. Having separate accounts doesn’t necessarily have to mean “this is my money and this is your money,” or that the couple is trying to “live as roommates.”

I think how a married couple handles their money matters needs to be left between the couple and God. Therefore, I don’t think that anyone should be “pointing the finger” at certain Christian married couples that choose, for whatever reason, to have separate accounts. By the same token, I also feel that certain Christian married couples that choose to have one checking or banking account shouldn’t be seen as individuals who are “loosing their identity” or “foolish.”

I come to your site often as you know and I agree with the majority of your comments, but this one I have to respectfully disagree.

Leslie Viles May 30, 2009 - 8:23 am

My husband and I have separate checking accounts and I hate it. It is an issue I think he is completely wrong on. He does view the money as his and I am allotted a certain amount. Now the amount comes from a budget that we both agreed upon, but still I feel like a child asking her father for extra. He is a Godly man, but for some reason will not give up the absolute control in this area. I do feel like it separates us. It is the one thing that is not “meshed together” in our marriage.

Lori May 30, 2009 - 8:49 am

A lot of people thing that marriage is to make them happy. It’s not. It can do that, but it’s to make us holy.

Keep separate accounts. It’s a major help in case one spouse has his/her identity stolen. If someone gets your social security number they get your money (just get a credit card in your name, run it up, and drain the acct really fast on top). It can take many years to recover the damage done to one’s credit score (not to mention the damage done finantially). If you ever want to get a credit card (or morgage) again, it helps to have a spouse with a clean credit report. Happened to some good friends of my husband and me. I’m serious. Get separate accounts, just don’t keep secrets.

Becca May 30, 2009 - 8:51 am

John MacArthur had an EXCELLENT article on divorce among Christians. It’s not too long, and a good read. Very worthwhile.

wordwarrior May 30, 2009 - 9:00 am

Mrs Lady Sophia,

No problem with the disagreeing. But let me clarify that I didn’t intend to make a blanket statement of “If you have separate accounts you are not living as one flesh”. I WAS pointing out that more often than not, examples such as that (banking account was just the first example that popped into my mind–there are many) can simply be one evidence of wrong thinking about the joining together of everything. Doesn’t mean it is every time, but I see it a lot….blanket statements have to be taken with the knowledge that it’s not a condemnation across the board.

Word Warrior May 30, 2009 - 9:07 am

P.S. I added a disclaimer about the bank account thing–seems it has become the focus of the post, which was not my intention 😉

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe May 30, 2009 - 11:05 am

Lori, that was a good article on divorce. I never did see how TRUE Christians could have the same divorce rate as unbelievers. Obviously the polls have included nominal Christians in their statistics.

Didn’t mean to offend, Lady Sofia. I just see it too much where husbands and wives niggle over who has to pay for what little thing in their shared home.

Mrs W May 30, 2009 - 3:48 pm

I’m not really sure a couple can be one flesh when the man doesn’t care about what his wife thinks about anything but just makes decisions without her. On one hand he says I’m intelligent and valuable, but NEVER does he consider what I think of an issue to be important. By the time he talks to me he has ALREADY made up his mind. By the way, I don’t like having to beg for money for stuff we need just to be told no, either. (While he does whatever he wants with the money).

Kim M. May 30, 2009 - 6:20 pm

Lady Sofia, didn’t mean to offend either. I think by my using the words “I was shocked”, I went a little overboard. Maybe I should have said “surprised”…

Kelly I apologize to you too. I guess although we do get what you are trying to say but we sometimes tend to point out what stands out to us or what other commenters say. LOL… your google sidebar is hilarious right now. “Download Your Own Divorce”… not that in itself is funny but the fact that it is offering ways to get a divorce when we are talking about the opposite. 🙂

Lori May 30, 2009 - 7:00 pm

Mrs. W – believe it or not, this could just be a rough patch. I certainly believe in pre and post marital counseling (most folks tend to do one or the other, if any). And a lot of prayer and patience, assuming that you’ve already communicated. He might outgrow this. But a budget system sounds like a really good starting point (I think you mentioned that?).

Mrs. Lady Sofia May 31, 2009 - 2:18 am


I see where you are coming from now. I should have realized that you were not making a blanket statement, but you were only giving an example.

BTW, I tried to respond to an email that you sent me about a week ago, and when I sent the response, the email came back to me. What’s going-on?

Mrs W May 31, 2009 - 9:52 am

Lori, HE has a budget, WE do not. He doesn’t think my input on the budget is necessary because I might like to do things he doesn’t like. We had pre-marital counseling and we’ve had some since, from a person that thought that any marriage problem was the fault of the woman just because she is a woman.

Word Warrior May 31, 2009 - 10:53 am

Lady S.,

I did get one from you…are you referring to another one?

Amy June 1, 2009 - 1:38 pm

I don’t get it….a body with two heads is ‘freakish’, but a couple should have ‘a unified heart’? Why should two hearts become one, when you imply the head should be the husband’s? Is a double heart less freakish than a double head?
The problems with one head leading are only too apparent above.

wordwarrior June 1, 2009 - 2:19 pm


Perhaps you’re trying to take the analogy too far? Not exactly sure what it is you “don’t get”…I can only speak as a Christian from the Word of God (this is not “my theory”…it’s what God has clearly spoken and is not to be argued with if you are a believer). He said “the two shall become one flesh” and “the husband shall be the head–treating his wife as his own body” meaning he will lead her and guide her as one who goes before another, laying down his life for her.

I’ve never understood why the term is so offensive to women. It can only be offensive if you don’t understand it’s meaning. There is nothing offensive in a man who “lays down his life for me–treating me as his own flesh”, and I will gladly submit to such a rare and precious thing.

Leslie Viles June 1, 2009 - 3:56 pm


There are problems because all people are people. All people are imperfect, but still many are trying to live in God’s will.

Amy June 2, 2009 - 5:34 am

True, I cannot argue with you on religious grounds (not of the same faith).
I just felt I needed to comment because it’s not the first time I see a marriage ‘with two heads’ called freakish. I think if one uses an analogy that compares the human body to marriage, it should not be so limited. I guess I didn’t understand why the analogy would pertain to only one part of the body.

Anyway….we’ve managed with ‘two heads’ for almost twenty years and we seem to be doing very well (certainly better than the folks commenting above!). I suppose it helps that we generally look in the same direction…

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Good Stuff For You While I Snuggle With Baby | June 25, 2013 - 9:32 am

[…] Husband & Wife: One Flesh […]

Megan Jenelle @ A Blossoming Homestead July 9, 2013 - 4:07 pm

I have enjoyed reading your suggested articles while you take time to snuggle with your baby! I decided to comment on this one because my husband and I have some experience with.
When my husband was in college he gave a speech on what all is included for a married couple to become “one”. He brought up having unified bank accounts. After class his professor told him he enjoyed the speech, and that he did a great job, but that he had a little advice. (Side Note: He attended a Christian university. Although this particular professor might have been a bit on the liberal side, he nonetheless was a Christian and thus the advice was taken as such). He told my husband that although it is GREAT to have joint bank accounts once you are married, him and his wife also had one separate account a piece. They set aside money in their budget and each of them got an allowance of sorts. This worked out well for them because something he might not have seen as a necessary expenditure (i.e. buying a decorative item for the home) or vice versa- something she might not see as necessary(i.e. another lawn mower while you already have two)is budgeted so that each can be excited for the other’s purchases despite his or her ideas on how necessary it was. My husband decided this sounded like a pretty good idea, for things that weren’t budgeted for – items we wanted but didn’t need. So we have joint bank accounts in addition to 1 account just for him, and one account just for me. He tends to be more of the saver, so he saves up for big purchases like an antique vehicle. I usually spend mine on something for the house or clothing. It has worked out really well for us! Just thought that might be one way a separate account could work. However, like I mentioned we do have joint accounts for everything else. Also, there have been times he has given me money from his personal account and times when I have done the same. Plus, gifts are FuN to give when we use our “personal” money! 🙂
Have a blessed day!

Word Warrior July 9, 2013 - 4:59 pm


I think that’s a great idea! Especially since, when I buy my husband a gift it does kind of feel like I’m mostly spending his money 😉


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