|Volume 18 Number 6 June 2016||
The Loss of a Wife
Experts feel that the loss of a spouse or the loss of a child are the two most difficult losses to which adjustment must be made. Unlike the loss of a child, the loss of a spouse carries with it the separation of the formal union of the two who were “one flesh.” Marriage as God intended is the tie between husband and wife that is stronger than any other relationship. This bond is altogether different from any other human agreement or promise. This bond is ordained by God. When a man takes a woman to be his wife, they become one flesh.
In his book, The Study of Genesis, A Study for Home and Bible Class, Lesson 3, “Going Deeper: God’s Definition of Marriage,” Richard Cravy wrote the following. “Leave…and be united: That men (and women) are to leave their parents’ family in order to enter marriage simply shows that the parent/child relationship is not intended to be either as permanent nor as complete as the marital relationship… [T]he word (‘cleave; in the KJV) carries with it the essential idea of being glued or held fast together” (Three-7).
Above and Different from All Others
H. Leo Boles defined marriage this way.
In the beginning God “made them male and female”; they were made as one pair, therefore they should be united in pairs; these pairs should remain as God ordained as the basis of the family… This act of divine creation has become the symbol of the union between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32-33). “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife” (Genesis 2:24).
The tie of husband and wife is stronger than that of parent and child, as the tie which binds husband and wife maintains its union during life, hence “shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh.” …As the original woman was by the power of God taken out of the flesh of Adam, so is the wife reminded that she has something of the same relation to her husband; she is wedded to him, the bond between them being altogether of another kind from any human compact or covenant. The only parallels to this relation are the union of the soul and body, and Christ and the church… (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 7:4-5; Ephesians 5:28-33). Marriage is a solemn oath of union, in which each party vows fidelity till death parts them. (386-387)
The Two Shall Become One Flesh
David Lipscomb wrote, “…[T]he union of the sexes in the marriage relation was divinely ordained at the creation of the race, in order to unite husband and wife so closely that in them even personal distinction should in some respects cease” (82).
Richard Cravy penned, “What does ‘one flesh’ mean? First, it does not mean primarily physical, sexual union, though it is included. Jesus’ own definition is that they ‘are no longer two, but one,’ and that God has joined them together (Matthew 19:5-6). This means the man and woman become as one person (a permanent joining), not merely a brief joining of two bodies (sexual union)… Adam saw Eve as ‘bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh’ – a part of himself! Paul in Ephesians 5:28-31 said the oneness is so complete and permanent that when a man loves his wife, he loves himself and feeds and takes care of himself” (Three-7)!
God’s Plan for Marriage and Procreation
God’s divine design for the marital union is truly in a class by itself. God never intended for procreation to be accomplished with parents, siblings or the children (Leviticus 18:6-17, 26-30)! “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:5). What is the message? Any and all sexual behavior that is not biblically authorized is an abomination before God, and it is condemned!
When the Wife Dies
What Will You Need to Do?
Working Your Way through Your Grief
Biblical Examples of Godly
Men Who Lost Their Wives
Ezekiel had a totally different experience with the death of his wife. God commanded this prophet with these words, “Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow. So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded” (Ezekiel 24:16-18). Did we get all of that?
Care Notes publishes a variety of booklets on loss, sorrow and grief. One booklet is entitled, Losing Your Wife by Bernie Faenza. He makes this observation under the heading, Working Your Way Through. “I know for many men it’s difficult to deal with emotions — a lot of myths and prejudices in our culture imply that men should just tough it out no matter what events occur in their lives.” He further makes these points.
Grief is a terrible feeling, but not everything that comes out of grief needs to be terrible. Valuable and even beautiful things can emerge from the heap of our pain. Something good coming out of a bad event never makes the bad event itself good or justifies it. Yet, seeing what is good can help us to move beyond our suffering. Some examples include: (1) Greater Empathy, (2) Having Healthier Priorities, (3) Deeper Communion with God and (4) New and Renewed Relationships. The ending of a romantic relationship may open avenues for new relationships and opportunities in life a person had not considered before (Curiel 9-10).
Boles, H. Leo. A Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1989.
Cravy, Richard. The Study of Genesis, A Study for Home and Bible Class. Lubbock: Sunset International Bible Institute, 1992, 1997.
Curiel, Jessica. Finding Hope in Jesus – Comfort for Loss. Torrance: Rose Publishing, 2011.
Faenza, Bernie. Losing Your Wife. St. Meinrod: Abbey P., 2004.
Highers, Alan E. “The God of All Comfort.” The Spiritual Sword. Memphis: Getwell Church of Christ, April 2016.
Lipscomb, David. A Commentary on 1 Corinthians. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1989.