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Marriage as an Integer

When we hear the word “integer,” we typically think of a “whole” number like 1, 2, 3, and so on. The word actually has a deeper meaning. It defines anything that is complete or whole within itself.

After God created man, He instituted the relationship called marriage. God indicates a man and a woman can join in such a way as to become integer, so to speak. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). In marriage two people remain individuals yet they come together in a union creating something new. It is more than a partnership. It is a deep relationship that seeks the good of the two more so than the good of themselves. The depth of this union is not automatic. The oneness must, first of all, be wanted by both the man and the woman. Then, it takes effort. Perhaps it would be better to look at it as a joint journey. After the “want to,” God tells us the next necessary factor. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). Not only were the man and the woman literally naked, their relationship was marked by characteristics which we may lump into two words, trust and authenticity.

There are some principles we can identify that will help a marriage find the union they hope for and that God wants for them. A married couple must:

  • see themselves as an integer—as a whole—as one.

  • trust that each one has the other’s best interest at heart.

  • find unity in their hopes, dreams and goals for their life together.

  • develop good communication skills—assertive speaking and active listening which lead to understanding, and are also the foundation for conflict resolution.

The key for these principles to be effective is authenticity. It will take effort to live authentically with your spouse. Authenticity will be the catalyst for trust; and in turn, trust is a catalyst for authenticity. Yes, it is a circular argument, but authenticity and trust feed on one another.

Wholeness will be found in a marriage when the shared journey meets both good times and hard times with authenticity and trust.

Joe McDowell

Life, Family, Leadership Coach

Integer Network

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