I don't know about you, but whenever I study the Bible, I find verse after verse where what God intended for us doesn't match up with the reality of how we, as flawed individuals, have chosen to live.  Like, for example, in Matthew 5, where Jesus tells us that if someone is suing you for your shirt, you should give them your coat as well.  You don't often see that scene played out down at the courthouse!

Another example of this might be in your marriage.  In Genesis 1, God makes Man and Woman, puts them together and then calls it, "Very good."  Some of you, of course, have great marriages.  Others of you might look at your own pairing of man and woman and the words "very good" don't immediately come to mind…

What we do know is that God fully and completely made both men and women in his whole image, and both are equal reflectors of God.  But, while we are all equal, we are not the same. However, I am not talking about worth or value; I'm talking about unique roles - distinct sexuality and gender.

While God could have done this any way he wanted, he chose to make us male and female, and when a man and a woman come together in a relationship that God created known as marriage or family, he assigned roles that are very gender-specific, and he based these two roles on two key ingredients: love and respect.

When Jesus was asked a question about marriage and divorce, he quoted a verse from Genesis 2:23-25:

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Then Jesus said:

So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." [Matthew 19:6]

When two people decide to spend the rest of their lives together, they leave their parents' care and vow to share their lives in marriage. This is God's plan - his calling. And with the exchange of marital vows and God's blessing, He unites man and woman. From that moment on, they are changed forever because they are bonded together in "one flesh".

This one-ness is known as "echad" in Hebrew. When God created Adam and Eve, they were both "naked and unashamed." They lived a shared life and hid nothing from each other because there was no reason to. This same concept applies to all married couples today. There is no reason to be ashamed, insecure, or afraid of one another and of God. To live in "echad" is to live as one in unity for better or for worse.

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Let's not delve into the subject of divorce today, but know that the point Jesus was making is this: When two individuals become one and later try to break that bond and become two again, the pain of separation is inevitable.

Take, for example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter and jelly by themselves are two very different substances in look, taste, and texture, and each are good on their own. However, when you combine them, it creates a more interesting and unique flavor dynamic, tasting even better than they did by themselves. If you try to pull the sandwich apart, you will notice that it is not easy to separate the peanut butter and jelly. There is always a little bit of peanut butter left in the jelly and a little bit of jelly left in the peanut butter.

Much like a peanut butter sandwich, the union of marriage enhances the individual man and woman in a very special way. Even if they separate or are pulled apart, they leave something behind with one another.