3 Essentials Every Marriage Needs

By Daniel M. Doriani


Genesis 2:24 lists three equally essential points that together make a strong foundation for marriage. If firm, they are as sturdy as a three-legged stool, but if one leg fails, it will surely collapse. We need all three elements of this trio to develop a healthy marriage.


“A man will leave his father and mother” shows that the bond between husband and wife trumps the bond between parent and child. It marks marriage as the foundational institution. Some may wonder why God led Moses to specify that the husband must leave his family, but says nothing about the wife. The answer is that in that culture everyone assumed that the wife left her family. No one had to say it. But Moses adds, “The husband must leave too. He must not take his wife into his father’s house and place her under his authority. He must start a new family.”

Wedding ceremonies wisely embody this in the moment we call the giving of the bride. The father takes his daughter’s hand and gives it to the groom, not (originally) to create a photo opportunity, but to show that his daughter is leaving his household and entering another.

Be United

“A man will . . . be united to his wife” means husband and wife build intimacy into that new family. They “cleave,” as the King James Version puts it, meaning they stick close together. They are “glued together,” says Paul, quoting Genesis 2 in Ephesians 5. They become companions for life, growing in affection and fidelity. They work at their relationship, despite its trials and vicissitudes.

One Flesh

After “leave” and “be united,” we come to the third leg of marriage, “one flesh.” One flesh refers to the sexual aspect of marriage. The next line underscores this, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” The sexual aspect of marriage hearkens back to the idea that Adam and Eve must “be fruitful and multiply.” Reproduction is central to our sexuality. Yet we notice that this statement about marriage does not mention children. Perhaps it was superfluous for Moses to mention children again in Genesis 2, since they are so prominent in Genesis 1. Still, the silence about children suggests that while they are the normal result of marriage, they are not essential to marriage. A couple is truly married even if they miss the blessing of children.

Finally, while the nakedness of Adam and Eve refers to their physical intimacy, it also refers to their spiritual intimacy. In biblical language nakedness refers to both physical and spiritual exposure (see Isa. 47:3; 2 Cor. 5:3; Heb. 4:13). To be exposed without shame is to have nothing to hide (see Gen. 3:7–11). Because Adam and Eve knew neither sin nor guile, nothing shameful separated them. The idea of nakedness without shame suggests their perfect trust, ease, and openness.

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Daniel M. Doriani is vice president of strategic academic projects and professor of theology at Covenant Theological Seminary. Previously he was senior pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, Missouri.

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NEW RELEASE – Tangle by Brock Eastman

Tangle: The Quest for Truth, Book 4 by Brock Eastman

480 pages | Direct Price: $12.99 $10.00 | Series: The Quest for Truth

Summary: “Rescuer,” Mason cried in his mind. “Save me!”

Captured and separated, the Wikk kids must rely on the power of Rescuer to complete their quest. On board the Black Ranger, Mason confronts a villainous mastermind with a startling secret. Meanwhile, Oliver, Tiffany, and Austin race to rescue their friend Ashley from a toxic moon. With danger at every turn, their only hope is their newfound faith. Will trusting the Truth help them to make sense of tangled clues and lies? Will Helper finally lead them to humanity’s home planet?

The Quest for Truth series follows the four Wikk kids in their desperate race to find the planet Ursprung and stop the Übel renegades and dangerous Corsairs from misusing its long-lost secrets. Ancient cities, treacherous villains, high-tech gadgets—encounter all these and more on this futuristic, interplanetary adventure!


About The Author:

eastman_brockBrock Eastman works in business communications with Compassion International. He previously worked for Thriving Family magazine and at Focus on the Family, where he produced the Adventures in Odyssey series and wrote for the Imagination Station series. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.



What Others Say About This Book:

“Brock Eastman’s writing [is] full of life, full of truth, and most likely to hold your attention to the very last moment.”

—Donita K. Paul, Author of the DragonKeeper Chronicles and RealmWalkers Series

“The Quest for Truth series is an entertaining fusion of archaeological mystery and space adventure. It’s Indiana Jones meets Star Wars—but with family values and spiritual truth as its warp core. The first three volumes kept me reading . . . sometimes far past my bedtime! Tangle is a satisfying addition to the sequence.”

Jeremiah W. Montgomery, Author, The Dark Harvest Trilogy

“Book four is the best yet. . . . I love hearing my kids’ excitement about the Wikk family’s spiritual discoveries.”

—Ann Hibbard, Senior Editor of Home Educating Family Association

“Wow! Tangle has left me wanting more. As a father and bookstore manager, I’m glad that there still is good, clean kids’ fiction. I highly recommend The Quest for Truth series.”

—Chris McCormick, Manager, LifeWay Christian Stores

“Read this before your friends. Full of twists, this action-packed installment in The Quest for Truth is sure to be your favorite.”

—Jerel Law, Author, Son of Angels Series

Tangle was a fabulous book. Through battles and plot twists, I kept wanting to read more. And a warning to all future readers: this book is very hard to put down.”

—Gavin Montgomery, age 10


Other Books in the Quest for Truth Series:

Taken: Book 1320 pages, Published: 2010

Risk: Book 2408 pages, Published: 2011

Unleash: Book 3432 pages, Published: 2012

P&R Publishing’s 85th Anniversary


This year marks P&R Publishing’s 85th anniversary. We currently have over 700 titles in print in the following subject areas:

  • Apolo­get­ics & Evangelism
  • Bible Study
  • Bib­li­cal Reference
  • Chris­t­ian Living
  • Church Min­istry
  • Coun­sel­ing
  • Reformed Tra­di­tions
  • The­ol­ogy
  • Women’s Resources
  • World­view & Ethics
  • Youth & Fic­tion

Learn More about the Story of P&R:

In 1930 former Presbyterian minister Samuel G. Craig (1874–1960) was forced to leave his five-year term as editor-in-chief of The Presbyterian. The denominational paper dismissed Craig after he threw his support behind J. Gresham Machen, who had founded Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in response to Princeton Seminary’s modernist reorganization in 1929. Along with Machen, Craig founded The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. in May 1930 to produce a needed conservative answer to the liberal-leaning Presbyterian. The company started publishing a monthly journal called Christianity Today, then priced at $1 for a yearly subscription. The journal featured articles on Christianity and theology, book reviews, sermons, news in the Presbyterian church, and letters to the editor (see archived issues at  http://www.pcahistory.org/HCLibrary/periodicals/CT/v01.html).


Christianity Today_1930

In the first issue, Craig wrote, “This paper will fail of its purpose if it does not prove helpful not only to Presbyterians but to Christians everywhere in maintaining their heritage in the face of encroaching Modernism and in transmitting it undiminished to those who shall come after them.”

Publication of Christianity Today continued intermittently until 1949. In 1956 Billy Graham and the neo-evangelicals acquired the journal’s name for their own new magazine, which is now read widely today.

Below: Samuel G. Craig in 1905; with friends (second from right).

Samuel Craig

In 1943, more than a decade after its founding, the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. published the first two books on its lists on behalf of Oswald T. Allis, Craig’s best friend and one of the founders of Westminster Theological Seminary.

Below: P&R’s first author, Oswald T. Allis, and his two books: The Five Books of Moses and Prophecy and the Church

Oswald“Dr. Allis had two man­u­scripts ready for pub­li­ca­tion: his author­i­ta­tive defense of the Mosaic author­ship of the Pen­ta­teuch, The Five Books of Moses, and Prophecy and the Church, a clas­sic cri­tique of dis­pen­sa­tion­al­ism. . . . Dr. Allis, hav­ing some dif­fi­culty find­ing a suit­able pub­lisher, dis­cussed the prob­lem with my father. . . . At some time in their dis­cus­sion they became aware that the char­ter and bylaws of Chris­tian­ity Today were broad enough to per­mit the pub­li­ca­tion of books. So as an exper­i­ment it was decided to pub­lish these two books. The result was highly grat­i­fy­ing and the Pres­by­ter­ian and Reformed Pub­lish­ing Com­pany was on its way.”

—Charles H. Craig, son of Samuel G. Craig

Samuel Craig’s son, Charles H. Craig (1912–1983), took over operations in 1957. A former teacher and administrator, Charles had worked for the American Red Cross during World War II and had done social work through his involvement with the Big Brothers Organization of New York City. Charles operated the publishing company out of his home in Nutley, New Jersey, and used a small off-site building for shipping. In addition to a few other part time employees, his wife, Catherine Craig, used her talents as an early cover designer, and his four children helped part time.

In 1978, the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. moved to its current headquarters in the countryside of Harmony Township, New Jersey. Four years later, in 1982, Charles Craig’s son, Bryce H. Craig (DMin, Westminster Seminary), became president of P&R after years of helping with the family business.

In 1992 “The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.” was abbreviated to “P&R Publishing.” P&R’s mission remains the same: to serve Christ and his church by producing clear, engaging, fresh, and insightful applications of Reformed theology to life.

From left to right: Samuel G. Craig, Charles H. Craig, and Bryce H. Craig.


References: 1. Hart, D. G., and Mark A. Noll, eds. Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999. 2. Sparkman, Wayne. “Breaking News: Twelve Issues Up!” The Continuing Story(blog). Last modified June 17, 2011. https://continuing.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/breaking-news-twelve-issues-up/


Keep up with what’s new at P&R:


Upcoming Books in Our Reformed Expository Commentary Series

We will be releasing the following 2 Reformed Expository Commentaries this fall:

1–3 John by Douglas Sean O’Donnell

248 pages | $19.99 | To be released in September

Summary: How can we know that we possess eternal life? The apostle John answered that question in the three epistles that bear his name. He wrote that we must firstly believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that Christ came in the flesh. Secondly, we are to obey God’s commandments. Thirdly, we must love others.

In this illuminating and engaging commentary on John’s letters, pastor-scholar Douglas Sean O’Donnell illustrates and applies these three essential tests that judge whether we possess eternal life or not. Grow in your knowledge of Christ, our Savior. Learn how to live in the light. Grab hold of the gospel-transformed life!


“Written with wit, learning, and savvy, this is a commentary to read and savor. . . . Each chapter amounts to an informative, uplifting, and challenging appeal. If more pastors preached like this, and more believers saw these truths in Scripture, both church and society would be moving in far better directions. Read this book! You’ll find in John’s holy epistles fresh meaning, life, hope, and direction.”

—Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“What do you preach—not only to plant a church but to help it to survive the invasion of false teachers, loveless strife, and immorality? This enduring question emphasizes the vital relevance of John’s letters for churches in every time and place. Written by a pastor for pastors, Douglas O’Donnell’s commentary offers a rich feast for the servers as well as their diners.”

—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

1 & 2 Thessalonians by Richard D. Phillips

480 pages | $34.99 | To be released in October

Summary: Years before writing Romans or Ephesians, Paul sent a pair of letters to a new church in Thessalonica. Three concerns governed Paul’s teaching in these letters: What makes a healthy church? How should we view God’s Word? What does a Christian life look like? Richard D. Phillips’s commentary considers these foundational issues in a scholarly, pastoral, and practical manner and also explores Paul’s end-times teaching—the clearest found in the New Testament. Through these studies, readers will find a refreshingly clear biblical summary of what will happen before, during, and after the Second Coming. Just as importantly, by touring Paul’s singular teaching in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, readers will recover a joyful anticipation of Christ’s return and receive hope for life in a challenging world.


“As Christians, Bible teachers, or gospel ministers, we take our first step in the study of the Bible by going directly to our copy of God’s Word. Then, seeking to plumb the depths of the text and avoid handling it wrongly, we secure accurate and thoughtful commentaries from trusted commentators. That is precisely what we have in Rick Phillips’s insightful, faithful, and instructive commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, which navigates Paul’s Holy Spirit–inspired treatment of wide-ranging, yet ever-relevant gospel issues for life and eternity.”

—Harry L. Reeder, Pastor/Teacher, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama

“The books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians have a crucial message for the world today, but they can be hard to understand. What does the Bible teach about the return of Christ? What should we think about the ‘rapture’? Who is the man of lawlessness? With theological precision and the care of a seasoned pastor, Richard Phillips reveals the sure biblical path through the underbrush of end-times confusion, and explains the relevance of Paul’s letters for today. Readers will be instructed and encouraged to follow Christ anew, trusting in the God who sovereignly directs history. Highly recommended.”

—Brandon D. Crowe, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary; Book Review Editor, Westminster Theological Journal

See a complete listing of our Reformed Expository Commentaries by clicking HERE.

 All the books in the Reformed Expository Commentary series are accessible to both pastors and lay readers. Each volume in the series provides exposition that gives careful attention to the biblical text, is doctrinally Reformed, focuses on Christ through the lens of redemptive history, and applies the Bible to our contemporary setting.

BOOK HIGHLIGHT – On Being Presbyterian by Sean Michael Lucas

On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, and Stories by Sean Michael Lucas

288 pages | Direct Price: $14.99 $11.50 | Published in 2006

Summary: Pastor and seminary professor Sean Michael Lucas suggests that being Presbyterian means embracing distinctive beliefs, practices, and stories as one’s own. As new members, church officers, and potential Presbyterians read about beliefs, practices, and stories, they will understand and move to embrace this way of being Christian. Written in a nontechnical style, On Being Presbyterian is a unique resource for equipping believers and introducing them to Presbyterian church practice.


About the Author:

Lucas_Sean MichaelSean Michael Lucas (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior minister at the First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and associate professor of church history at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Sean is the author of Robert Lewis Dabney (American Reformed Biographies), What is Church Government? and What is Grace? in the Basics of the Faith series and is one of the contributors in The Problem of Good. He also has an upcoming book: For a Continuing Church.

Follow him on Twitter: @SeanMLucas


What Others Say About This Book:

“At last a brief, popular introduction to Presbyterianism that I can put in the hands of Bible-believing, gospel-loving Presbyterians and other evangelicals interested in this part of the Christian family. Readable, sympathetic, and circumspect.”

J. Ligon Duncan III, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

“The people who fill Bible-believing Presbyterian churches increasingly have little Presbyterian background. Lucas provides a terrific resource to get everyone up to speed . . . highly readable.”

Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary

“Lucas writes with depth, breadth and passion for his topic. On Being Presbyterian is highly recommended for anyone who wants to explore Presbyterian traditions down to their roots.”

Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary

“May prove to be one of the most important Presbyterian books in our generation. . . . useful in training young and old, new Christian and old warrior, lay person and theologian, broad evangelical and lifetime Presbyterian.”

George W. Robertson, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, GA