Pass the Mayonnaise

Bible Study Marriage


360 Recommended Book

I am in the process of reading Kingdom Marriage by Tony Evans, which pointed out to me the reason for mayonnaise. I have always liked mayonnaise, but never understood why we do not just put vinegar and egg our sandwiches and call it a meal (since I did know that mayonnaise contains egg). Of course, I never really believed the egg had anything to do with what the mayonnaise did to the taste of the food on which I placed it. Obviously, it was the vinegar that enhanced the experienced flavor of the meal.

I also recall that on many occasions I asked the maker of a submarine sandwich to put mayonnaise on the bread, and vinegar and oil over the vegetables of the sandwich. Finally, I always watch the sandwich maker pour on the vinegar and oil because I want to be sure these individual ingredients did not reach the bread, as the sandwich (the objective) would just become a sloppy mess by the time I get it home. It was necessary to pay attention to both the vinegar and the oil because either one of them will make a mess if they make it to the bread.

This is not unlike what happens when either my wife or I would try to have an effect on our marriage relationship, either together or individually. That’s right, I am saying that if we both reached the relationship together, just like we approached the relationship independently, it gets messed up. Together, we are just human woman and human man, as opposite as the vinegar and the oil found at the sub shop. Consider the effects the vinegar and oil have independently on the bread of the submarine sandwich. If the vinegar gets to the bread, it will become mushy, and if the oil gets to the bread, it will coat the bread and make it difficult for the vinegar or anything else to cooperate with the bread. So if both get to the bread, the sandwich will react to the two different effects of the two very different products, and just become a mushy disorganized mess.

The oil wants to coat the bread and have exclusive access to it, but the vinegar wants to consume the bread and have control over the bread’s consistency. If the vinegar and the oil reach the bread at the about the same time, there is potential for mixed effects by the bread. The relationship between the vinegar and oil is by nature incompatible. They cannot, therefore, have compatible or even similar effects on the bread.

By now you have likely figured out that the vinegar and oil are the husband and wife, and the bread is the relationship. All of the ingredients in the sandwich are those things that make up the relationship – the dynamics. They are those things that we have in common. Our personal uniqueness is what identifies the dynamics of the relationship. As we pour our unique perspectives, selfish wants, needs, and desires, as well as our acquired outside influences into the relationship, we can begin seeing the damage that two unique perspectives can have on it. In order for our uniques to work properly within our relationships, we need something that will allow our unique flavors to make the relationship special, without the damaging effects they produce individually.

I realized today that by asking for mayonnaise, vinegar, and oil to be added to my sandwich is redundant. What Tony Evans pointed out was that mayonnaise was the solution to the problem of pouring vinegar and oil on a sandwich. Vinegar and oil, like the human man and woman, are very different from each other. The two have very opposite properties and do not mix well. In order to include the two condiments on a sandwich without making a mess, some clever chef or chemist figured out that the two needed something with which vinegar and oil could commonly mix – an emulsifier. Both vinegar and oil mix well with egg whites, and when the three are mixed together, we can apply both vinegar and oil to a sandwich without making a mess.

So what is the proper emulsifier for mixing men and women together in the context of relationships? This emulsifier must be something that the man can mix with perfectly to make a complete compound that can also receive into it a woman, and still be a perfect compound that allows for each to be independent and fully one. To find such an emulsifying agent we only need to look to the creator of both the man and the woman for an example of oneness. Jesus tells about a common agent that is of Him and of God the Father.  One Who is sent to connect man to all that God has to teach or tell us about Him, His ways, and us in relationship with Him.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:16, ESV)

 Jesus Christ introduced to us a common agent of God Who will make us one with Him; He is the Holy Spirit. Now we need to find how God brings the woman into the emulsification process to make the compound complete. To be sure we are consulting the authoritative source for this operation, we need to find a source that addresses both ingredients (men and women). Mark 10:6 provides us with a look at God’s expectations at creation as presented by Jesus Christ himself. Jesus said: “…from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female”(ESV).

What follows is said in such a way as to eliminate any possible confusion.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,  and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:7-9. ESV).

Jesus began this commandment with the words henka toutou, which translates as therefore or because of this. Jesus tells us that because God made man and woman, they are to be bound together. The relationship is to be in the form of a husband (already bound to the Holy Spirit) and his wife. Our verification that the woman is to be emulsified with the compound made between the Holy Spirit and the man comes with: “and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh” (ESV).

Finally, to be sure we know that the Holy Spirit is the untended emulsifier, Jesus commands that we acknowledge that it is God who is the binding agent when He says: “What therefore God has joined together…”, which makes it clear that God is the binder. As we have already learned, God the Holy Spirit is the emulsifying agent (ESV).

Ok, what we have learned is that couples left to their own flavors, will do damage to their relationship because of their differences in being, but that if they become one with each other by uniting their relationship with the Holy Spirit, they can have their mayonnaise and eat it too – together.