Question:

I have been noticing that La Vista Church of Christ is one of the few congregations that tackle this sensitive issue.

My question is in the case of the unconsummated marriage, does this indicate a de facto crisis within the marriage or is the marriage act incidental, solely the business of the husband and wife alone? In the question of divorce and remarriage, can the impotent partner release the spouse from the marriage to be free to marry someone else in light that they did not become "one flesh"? What about the future of the impotent partner? Does the bible recognize relative impotence and can a man or woman fulfill their marital duty with one person but perhaps not with another, including their first spouse? Or is any impotence what Christ in Matthew 19:12 referred to as a eunuch, either by birth or made so by men, and so they must live as such? Should the impotent be allowed to marry as the Roman Catholic Church forbids would-be couples from doing if they are sexually disabled? Can a man or woman who has the Spirit be able to discern if they are incapable of performing marital duties while still maintaining sexual purify and not stirring prurient curiosity?

Thank you so much, brother.  I know that is a passel of questions but any response and thoughts are appreciated. God Bless

Answer:

When God created man, He instituted marriage because it wasn't good for men to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Thus, the primary purpose of marriage is companionship.

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

This verse often misunderstood. Notice that there are three steps:

  1. A man leaves his old family unit.
  2. The man is joined to his wife. Notice that the woman is now called "his wife." Thus, the joining refers to the marriage. According to Malachi 2:14, a woman becomes a man's wife "by covenant." It is the covenant vows that create a marriage, not sex.
  3. After the marriage, the two individuals become one flesh. It is an ongoing process. It doesn't happen instantaneously. While married couples are able to enjoy sexual intercourse, the act of sex is only a small aspect of two people becoming one flesh (a new family unit).

An impotent man is just as married as a sexually capable man when the covenant of marriage is entered. It is God who does the joining, not man. "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matthew 19:6). Therefore, the husband cannot release his wife from the covenant. Covenants are permanent vows that last the life of those under the covenants. Only God can decide if someone is released from his covenant.

The disciple's reaction to Jesus' teaching was that of shock. If marriage was that binding then "it is better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10). Jesus' response was that not everyone will accept this law, but his followers (the ones given it) will accept it.

Jesus illustrated his point with three groups of men who would not be interested in marriage: those who are born physically unable to have sexual relations, those who have been damaged by men so as to be unable to have sexual relations, and those who are so busy in the Lord’s work that they forego sexual relations. Everyone else will be interested in marriage and, thus, are required to accept the terms of marriage. Jesus is not saying that those unable to have sex cannot get married. If that were true, then those busy in the Lord's work cannot get married either (and the New Testament shows this to be false). Rather, most people have such a strong sexual drive that they need to get married so as to not sin (I Corinthians 7:9) and when they marry, they need to realize that it is permanent.

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