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Agustin Garcia

ENGL 354-02
Dr. Marchbanks


Strength in union, enriching experiences together, and acting out of love and respect for another

1. Introduction

There are many complexities of life that humans have been searching for answers to the

meaning and way of life. The Bible is an example of one way to live life. The Bible touches

many subjects, but this paper will focus on some of its views on marriage, explaining the ideals

and comparing it to three examples of relationships that lack some aspect depicted in biblical

texts. There are many passages in the Bible that describe how a marriage should be, but this

paper will only focus on following four passages:

The first passage is Genesis 2:24-25 which describes man and wife becoming one flesh,

whom are not ashamed of being naked in each others presence; becoming completely open and

comfortable to oneself and each other.

The second passage is Proverbs 5:18-19 which describes letting your fountain be blessed

(praising your source of life; appreciating and accepting of what you have), and allowing

yourself to constantly be filled by the affection/love received from partner and being full of

delight and infatuation from the love your spouse gives; whatever form that may be.

The third passage is I Peter 3:1-9 which describes being a submissive wife, a

considerate/honoring husband and compares man and wife to Christ and Church relationship,

respectively. The passage also advises not being swanky nor gaudy, to not overcompensate

ostentatiously, rather let the beauty and love humbly shine out from within, as it is more precious

in Gods sight. Furthermore, this passage describes the unity in spirit and sympathy amongst
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ENGL 354-02
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spouses, and to love brethren and trod through life with a tender heart and humble mind, and

returning evil with blessedness.

The fourth passage is Ephesians 5:21-28 which describes being subject to, loving and

respecting each other that each partner sanctifies another and presents each other in splendor,

free from spots, wrinkles, blemishes or the like. The passage also describes loving each other as

they love themselves.

The four passages depict good qualities that a strong marriage should have, but we find that it

is not always present in every marriage. We need to adopt these principles to our relationships;

viewing the issues arising with the three dysfunctional relationships below will hopefully paint

that picture. We will look at Salvador Dalis My Wife, Nude, Contemplating Her Own Flesh

Becoming Stairs (1945), Flannery OConnors Parkers Back (1965) and Lars von Triers

Antichrist (2009) and apply the biblical principles to each individual situation and assess the

strengths and weaknesses of the marriages from an outside perspective. The Bible describes the

foundation of a strong marriage; complete union in mind, body and soul, being filled and

enriched in experiences shared together, and action out of love and respect for another. These

qualities are lacking in the examples that follow which depict the need for these qualities to be

present in a relationship (i.e. a successful marriage); their relationships may have been enhanced

had these aspects been present and practiced.

2. Dalis painting My Wife, Nude, Contemplating Her Own Flesh Becoming Stairs

2.1 Genesis 2:24-25

Agustin Garcia
ENGL 354-02
Dr. Marchbanks

The painting has Gala (Dalis wife who is in the foreground of the painting in human form)

and either her own reflection of herself, Dalis interpretation of what Gala sees in herself, or how

Dali sees his wife in the right-background of the painting. There is a wall with a Greek-style

statue of a head attached that could be a depiction of Dali or some male/male god that is

observing Gala in the left-middle ground of the painting. If the head is Dali, it could be depicted

that the two of them are becoming one flesh because they are together, and Gala is naked and

exposing her inner being to him, but that claim is on shaky ground. If on the slim chance that

head is indeed Dali, they are still distant and two distinct figures that are not one flesh. Gala is

also the only one that is naked and revealing herself, while the head is missing the body and is

made of stone so both are made up of different material which is hard to be one without

noticeable division on many levels. One cannot unite with another if the self is divided; there

would only be partial union and not complete union. The marriage, as depicted by this painting,

does not have union in mind, body and soul.

2.2 Proverbs 5:18-19

The painting has Galas reflection depicted as a hollow temple with some intricate skinny

pillars as the foundation. With the hollowness, it does not seem that Dali fills her with affection

and infatuation; if the head is Dali, he also does not seem to be filled with affection nor

infatuation, evidenced by the lack of a smile. The hollowness could depict the lack of what

should be there, such as love and appreciation. In the hollow space, there seems to be a tiny

person at the base which could depict how she feels inside relative to her physical being; very

small and cant even fill herself, and just lacking substance. The three skinny pillars and two

outer structures make up five structures that hold this hollow temple upright; the outer structure
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to the right is much larger than the others which could symbolize the imbalance of Gala. Their

marriage seems to lack them filling each other with delight and being infatuated in each others


2.3 I Peter 3:1-9

The painting has Galas reflection as very outwardly adorning with the gaudy detail that

make up the hollow temple. The ostentatious detail that make up the temple seem to be

compensating for the lack of inner beauty and strength, or even love. The head of the reflection

seems to have a crown at the top of the head, as well as a ruff-like structure around her neck,

which could be a depiction of Gala as royalty that could be seen in multiple ways. This could be

an act of an honoring husband that puts his wife on a pedestal for praise and worship, or

evidence that Gala thinks herself better than Dali (i.e. she the queen and he the subject) and is

stern and non-submissive. She may be submissive, but it would be due to her own lack of

structure or foundation; i.e. she may be broken and just going along with what she is told due to

no strength to decide on own. He may be lacking honor for his wife by depicting her weakness to

the world; exposing her blemishes (flaws), rather than embodying her strengths and beauty. The

detail in her reflections shoulders and pillars, as well as the dancing statue on top of the

mountainous slide at her right hip are more examples of the extravagant features trying to make

up for the hollowness of the temple. All the extra fancy, sugar-coated detail may be aesthetically

appealing to humans, but in Gods eyes, per scripture, frown upon this outward-attention-getting

adorning, so to illustrate her inner reflection as such may hint to her impurity; yet another

blemish that he exposes to the world. The painting shows no unity of spirit nor sympathy, and it

also lacks evidence of a tender heart and humble mind; being that if Dali had a tender heart he
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would not have exposed his wife in a negative way to the world, and if he had a humble mind,

her temple would not have been as swanky. Their marriage lacks submissiveness, honoring and

consideration for another, and they are showy and flashy with their internal struggle, when it

should be humbler and hidden.

2.4 Ephesians 5:21-28

The painting has Galas reflection as a hollow temple with beautiful detail but lacking

substance. This goes against both partners being subject to and having love and respect for

another because Dali is broadcasting his wifes weaknesses, or incompleteness, to the world. The

partners should give themselves up to another and try to sanctify each other, to love each other as

themselves and to reveal in splendor without spots nor blemishes; not the case with this painting.

Dali is exposing his wife to the world, maybe thought as a regal and elegant with all the

extravagant details and structures to the hollow temple, but it is vain because it shows much

more empty space (lacking substance) than structure, and that little person near the central pillar

is glaring insufficiency; the little person may symbolize her soul, her character, her inner voice,

which all of them depict her inner being to be small relative to her physical body. Maybe the

little person could symbolize her fear or insecurities, which would be relatively small in

comparison to her whole person. There is more evidence that the little person is a positive

quality rather than a negative though, being that her reflection depicts more negative qualities

(such as gaudiness and extravagant details, hollow structure balancing on skinny pillars, and the

multiple holes in the few solid structures present [three on the crown on the head, on at the base

of the neck, two on the left shoulder area, one on the left hip, and one at the base of the spine

above her sacrum]) so by having another little negative component (i.e. the little person
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symbolizes fear or insecurities) it gets lost in the plethora of examples but if it is a positive

component (i.e. the little person symbolizes confidence, self-worth or self-confidence), then it

further emphasizes the belittlement of her character; a horrible trait to have in a relationship.

Their marriage seems to lack the mutual sanctification, love and respect for another, and

protection for her as he would for himself; he has besmirched her image and exposed her


3. Triers movie Antichrist

3.1 Genesis 2:24-25

Becoming one flesh is more than intercourse, which is a momentary connection that

combines the two but it is much greater and deeper than that. Becoming one flesh entails uniting

in mind, body and soul: with the mind, the two dont need to think or perceive the same way, but

they need to see from their partners perspective, to know where they are coming from, know

their goals, understand and appreciate the differences and similarities, and they need to believe

they are one and think of us instead of me; with the body, it can be during intercourse, the

product of intercourse (i.e. the children which are the physical manifestation of the two fleshes of

each parent becoming in one body), or any union in the physical realm, such as: living and

sleeping together, sharing food, chores, finances et cetera; with the soul, it involves the partners

to understand and appreciate their partners personality, emotions, desires, faith, et cetera.

Communication is also a huge component of becoming one flesh, it needs to occur and be

effective so that both parties know what the other thinks, knows, wants and needs; this is

somewhat similar to the human body in that if the tissues arent communicating, the body will
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cease to function properly because communication is key, whether by verbal, chemical, mental,

spiritual, et cetera. A marriage without communication will not last long.

With the couple in the movie, they had lots of body connections, but lacked with the mind

and soul. The opening scene is a six-minute passionate love scene that occurs with them

(00:00:00-00:06:03), and there are many more sex scenes throughout the movie. We are lead to

believe that, in the prologue sex scene, they both didnt see Nick in the hallway, climbing up the

table and falling out of the window; the scene had multiple shots her face with her eyes closed

(00:03:37-45; 00:04:03; 00:04:21; and 00:05:09) indicating that she didnt see the baby, yet

throughout the whole movie she seems guilt-ridden and needs medical and psychiatric help after

the funeral of their son. In the latter parts of the movie, she gets a flashback of the prologue

scene where she and he are having sex, yet she has both eyes open, staring at Nick as he walks

from the hallway, climbs the chair to the table and falls out of the window (01:31:56); this could

be from her distress and ascribing guilt to herself and changing her memory to be that she saw

him and did nothing, or she may have actually seen him and let him die, with malicious intent or

just being caught in the intimate moment that she refused to leave to save their sons life

(granted, the movie makes no reference to the husband, whether or not if he saw Nick, it focuses

only on the wife). There is evidence that she may have seen Nick. First off, in the prologue, the

baby monitor is on mute (00:02:20) and someone had to mute it. During her thesis research on

the evils done to women, she discovered that if human nature is evil, the nature of women (who

are also human) is also evil, and that women do not control own bodies, nature does (01:07:31)

and that nature is Satans church (00:53:48). She also has put Nicks shoes on the wrong feet on

several occasions, sometimes forcibly as evidenced by Nicks crying, which lead to

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abnormalities in his feet prior to his fall (01:13:01-01:14:26). Lastly, as she composedly cries she

says, a crying women is a scheming women, false in legs, false in thighs, false in breast, teeth,

hair and eyes, (01:30:28). These are troubling thoughts that are out of the scope of the argument

for this paper, but the point of the matter is that there was no communication between the

husband and wife regarding the prologue scene; they both dont ask each other directly if they

saw Nick, she even blames herself and the husband doesnt ask for the source of the blame or

why she blamed herself. It seems that they both assumed they knew each others answer to the

question, which may or may not have been correct, but it shows the disconnect that they have;

they are not one flesh. They lacked communication throughout the movie. For instance, he sees

and experiences many terrifying things that he doesnt even mention to his wife; he saw the deer

with dead fetus hanging out (00:36:41), a fox eating himself that speaks to him, chaos reigns

(01:00:24), and he goes to bed with a closed window only to wake up with an opened window,

his hand outside covered in possibly more than twenty large ticks full of blood which he removes

improperly (00:43:05-23) all of which he makes no mention to his wife about these bizarre

events. After she successfully completes the rock to rock exercise, they both hear and see a baby

bird hit the ground, get covered by ants, and then picked up by the mother bird only to be eaten

(00:46:54), and yet they both dont even say anything. They both lack communication, which

leads to lack of mind and soul connection, and even bleeds into body connections because, even

though it wasnt mentioned in the movie, chores, finances, food and other physical realm type

things also need to be communicated. Another example of lacking communication was that he

didnt know that she didnt finish her thesis (00:16:30) and he didnt ask about her book/thesis
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and how the handwriting progressively got worse and worse until it was illegible (01:04:25).

This marriage failed in part due to the lack of communication between the couple.

3.2 Proverbs 5:18-19

A foreshadowing event took place in her hospital room when the camera zooms into the

rotting flowers at the base in the vase which is symbolic of the rot spreading in their relationship

(00:11:53). This set the stage for their relationship; like the flowers that looked beautiful at the

top (surface), are slowly corrupted/decaying at the base (deep), their relationship appeared fine

and healthy but really there were inner demons at work for how messed up the plot got. They

should be filled with delight and infatuation out of each others love but they dont rejoice in

their blessings. While she is in the hospital, he comes to visit her and goes to give her a kiss but

she turns away and doesnt accept (00:10:19), when really, they should both rejoice in their time

together and appreciate and be lifted by each others love. Instead of elevating each other, they

constantly belittle one another. She belittles him and his knowledge; he is a psychiatrist who has

treated ten times more patients then her current doctor but she says youre not a doctor

(00:08:21-27). She sarcastically puts him down by saying but youre just so much smarter,

arent you? (00:11:03) when he assumes her care. She says that he is distant from her and Nick

and that he missed out on his last summer and she blames him for losing interest in her thesis

because he called the subject glib or something along those lines (00:11:03-00:17:00). He

belittlers her and her feelings and experiences; she said the ground is burning, he disregards her

and says that it isnt which invalidates her feelings and experiences, and the was a glimpse of her

feet when she removed the shoes and socks and there were some dark brown spots which could

have been burn marks, but he didnt look nor say anything (00:34:35). When she describes the
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last summer with Nick at Eden, she discusses hearing a baby crying and when she saw Nick

playing and not crying, she still heard the crying and couldnt explain phenomenon, he said Eden

was catalyst that triggered fear and that the scream wasnt real, she disagreed, attacked him and

told him that he shouldnt have come here and that he is so damn arrogant (00:48:24-00:51:48).

Later, in the shed, she hits him with a log calling him a bastard and that hes leaving her

(01:14:58). She essentially rapes him after knocking him to the floor with the log, he says I love

you and she screams, I dont believe you, as she rides him before she dismounts and hits him

in the groin hard to knock him unconscious (01:15:10). They constantly both belittle and

invalidate another, they even denied the others love; constantly taking stabs/jabs at each other

when they shouldnt try to bring each other down, rather raise each other higher, for the

betterment of their union. Their marriage failed in part because they attacked each other rather

than bless each other and they felt void and empty instead of being filled with delight and

infatuation out of each others love.

3.3 I Peter 3:1-9

A marriage requires the two to be supportive of each other; the wife should willingly submit

and the husband should honor and be considerate of his wife. There are times when they are

supportive to each other. For instance, he comforts her when she cries on several occasions

(00:10:09; 00:13:35; 00:47:30), he says there is nothing atypical about you (00:08:40), he tucks

her in when shes sleeping without a cover (00:41:35) and he comforts and rubs her head

(00:41:42). He ends up doing more for her than she for him, probably linked to von Triers

personal relationships and how both marriages ended with divorce; there must be some

animosity towards women because of it. Anyways, he ends up hurting her, maybe not as much
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physically as she hurts him, but more psychologically and emotionally. He does seem to be

looking out for her best interest and dislikes that her doctor has put her on so many medications,

he intervenes and asks on what he believes best but he never considers what she wants or how

shes doing; he never asks her. When she pours out the medication, she seems reluctant but only

does it to submit to her husbands desire (00:12:59). She wakes up in the middle of the night, and

resorts to her sexual coping mechanism to forget/distract herself from painful thoughts but he

resists, despite his probable desire to participate, because he doesnt want to enable her; he wants

her to get better so he pushes the breathing exercises until he gives in and just has sex with her

which doesnt help with the healing and he knows its the worst thing he could do. She told him

that she is most afraid in the forest, yet when they are hiking to Eden when he reluctantly abides

to her request to lay down for a moment, he leaves her alone in the place she has opened and told

him she is most afraid of (00:35:11); slight on the trust nonetheless. It was good to see that

despite everything that happened, he had the decency to honor his wife enough to burn her body

(01:39:28) instead of just leaving the corpse in the cabin. If a strong woman voices her opinion

on matters, but is willing to submit and go along with the husband for the betterment of the

couple (i.e. they stay a couple traveling together rather than bifurcating paths and separating),

and if a smart man is considerate and honoring of his wifes thoughts and wishes, then the

marriage is bound to succeed. Both parts are needed because the husband must consider and

honor his wife, and the wife must communicate her opinions for the husband to weigh but still

willingly submit to the decision made otherwise there wont be a couple anymore; you will have

a single male and single female doing what they want, but if there are children, what happens

then? The principle is necessary for a family to thrive. This principle is lost on the couple in the
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movie because we have a somewhat-submitting wife that ends up dominating and damaging, and

an inconsiderate, somewhat-honoring husband pushing own ideals without consideration of

partners thoughts or desires; the ending of this tale should be sufficient evidence to show how

bad of a relationship can get without a submissive wife and a considerate and honoring husband.

This marriage failed in part because the wife didnt voice her views nor fully submit to

husbands decision, and the husband was not considerate nor honoring of his wife.

3.4 Ephesians 5:21-28

In a marriage, there should be love and respect for each other, and they should seek to

sanctify another. A hard trial that he failed was when she was sobbing and told him that she

wanted to die too (00:13:59). He did well by holding her and comforting her, but he never

communicated anything about it with her as if she never said it, as if he never acknowledged

what has been said. He should have brought it back up to her and mentioned that she said it,

acknowledge the sentiment and describe own selfish reasons why he doesnt want her to die,

maybe find some reasons to live and trod on together; but to just ignore and treat if it was never

said is wrong, hurtful, disrespectful and a slight to their love; she opened up and expressed a

deep and really dark secret, and to just brush it off like it was nothing may have been a major

turning point for her. He didnt respect her insight, he belittled her thoughts. When she was

describing her epiphany she reached the last summer regarding the acorns falling throughout the

forest (mostly thinking of the ones hitting the metal roof) and not growing into new trees and

therefore dying; she was saying that she began to hear the cries of all things to die, which she

was deaf to before, but he demeans the statement and her thoughts and feelings associated with it

by denying it and stating that acorns dont cry (00:53:12). Their roles seemed to have swapped a
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little past half way through the movie in that the symptoms she felt in the beginning, she was free

of now, but he began feeling those same symptoms. The birds were chirping, whereas they were

silent earlier when she was symptomatic (00:56:42). Her whole demeanor changes and she

expresses her happiness that he is here with her and that she loves him, although he doesnt

return the I love you (00:57:00-12). She is moving around Eden symptom free; no more

anxiety attacks. She says she is well again, that she is cured, but when he doesnt even respond

(probably due to feeling of the symptoms himself) she gets irate and says, you cant just be

happy for me, can you? (00:57:54-00:58:28). A bunch of mutilation and disrespect for another

occurs, most of the mutilation is from her to him, yet despite the torture they have done to each

other, they are still loving to each other; even after all she did to him, when she asks him to hold

her, he does (01:32:52). Despite what is said and done, when there is love, anything can be

overcome. Love for another is much healthier and stronger when it is accompanied with respect

and desire to sanctify another. The married couple did love each other, they experienced a

traumatic event of losing their child; whether if it was intentional (her seeing him and not doing

anything, or even the husband seeing him, despite the movie not focusing on it as with the wife,

but they were both there, doing the same thing when their child died, neither one of them is more

at fault; at least thats what can be deciphered with the information given without inferences and

assumptions of the story that is not given [inferring the plot lapses]) or accidental. Either way,

the loss of the child took a toll on the married couple. The toll would have been less and the

outcome of the movie wouldnt not have been as grotesque had the spouses loved and respected

each other and desired to sanctify another. The marriage failed because they lacked all three of

these components simultaneously.

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ENGL 354-02
Dr. Marchbanks

4. OConnors short story Parkers Back

4.1 Genesis 2:24-25

OE and Sarah are married and have some resemblance of being one flesh but they are not all

the way. For one, Sarah is appalled by nudeness, she only (and rarely) fornicates with OE in

complete dark (bottom 663), she doesnt even want to see his sleeves rolled up in the day. She

doesnt like it when he is nude and she doesnt like to get nude nor get sexual much and it seems

only at specific times when there is no light (top 674). OE is really confused, he thinks one thing

and then does another: he is ashamed of himself (top 655), he thinks he doesnt want anything to

do with her (top 657), he says he doesnt want to see Sarah yet returns again the next day

(bottom 661), he does stuff that he doesnt like doing like staring at long views (top 661), he

decided that he would have nothing to do with Sarah but next sentence is that he is marrying her

(mid 663), and he misses Sarah when staying at the Haven of Light Christin Mission and decides

hes losing it (mid 669). He longs for her which hints towards one flesh but they are too

separated to be considered one flesh, and they arent comfortable with each other naked. Their

marriage failed in part because they are not fully one flesh and Sarah is ashamed of nudeness.

4.2 Proverbs 5:18-19

A married couple should be filled with delight from their partners affection, and they should

be infatuated with their love. OE constantly belittles Sarah and calls her ugly and insults her,

mostly in his head but, at times, aloud too. This ugly woman Parker married was his first wife,

(mid 656) implies that he is planning on getting divorced and he mentions several times that he

doesnt want to go back to her and that he ought to leave her being that she is ugly, pregnant and
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cant cook (bottom 664). She despises his tattoos and calls them vanity of vanities (top 660)

yet that is the only outlet he knows to cope with hard times. He feels like he is going insane

because he logically isnt attracted to her but his heart really does love and is attracted to her

(bottom 661). Marriage did not change Sarah, she still shows no delight, while marriage has

made OE gloomier than ever (mid 663). A marriage should bring delight and infatuation out of a

person due to the love that is exchanged amongst the spouses. With the couple in this short story,

however, seem to only cause more problems for each other. Their marriage failed in part because

they take no joy in each others company; they are not filled with delight nor infatuation from the

love received. It can be taken further in that there isnt much love even being exchanged between

the couple.

4.3 I Peter3:1-9

The wife should be submissive and the husband should be considerate of the wife and honor

her. Sarah is far from submissive; she has beat OE a couple times with her broom, she constantly

lectures him about scripture and the problems hell face when he is being judged by God when

the time comes (top 664), and she constantly complains of others sinning (mid 655). OE tries to

make Sarah jealous by saying he works for a pretty, young person (a hefty young blonde)

(bottom 655), when he should be more considerate and honoring towards his wife. When OE is

getting the tattoo on his back, there are a couple instances that he gets the feeling to go back to

his wife (mid 667 and 669). There are some situations when OE is considerate of his wife, but it

is rare; it is even rarer that Sarah is submissive. Their marriage failed in part because Sarah was

too pushy and OE didnt honor nor consider his wife; they both just did their own thing.
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4.4 Ephesians 5:21-28

A married couple should both love and respect each other and try to sanctify another. Sarah

was trying to make OE pure and free of sin with all her lecturing but she pushed too hard and it

seemed to annoyed OE to the point that he doesnt even listen nor care; worse than he was

growing up. OE believes his wife is already saved (bottom 669) and that she may have married

him in hopes to try to save him (mid 655). Sarah disrespects OE by insulting his tattoos without

even knowing why he has them; she just sees them and writes him off as an Indian fool right off

the bat never inquiring as to why he does it or what made him start and continue (top 660). She

doesnt respect him enough to acknowledge his presence, even though he does things for her and

her family like bring a box of food to feed her hungry siblings (bottom 660). OE did love, or

respected, Sarah enough to reveal the meaning of his initials, which he has been very inclined to

keep secret (mid 662). OE loves and respects Sarah because he looks to her as being

knowledgeable and having the answers for him (mid 672). With this couple, there are some

aspects of love and respect and some attempts to sanctify but there isnt enough. Their marriage

failed in part because they lacked equal love and respect for each other.

5. Conclusion

As seen with the three different marriages in relation to the four biblical texts, a marriage can

have a component of the principle in their relationship, but for it to be successful, all must be

present. Husband and wife must become one flesh in mind, body and spirit, they must be filled

and enriched in the experiences they share together, they must act out of love and respect for

another and attempt to sanctify each other. All these components must be present. As described
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above, without even one component, the equilibrium can be shifted and perverted to such a

degree that the marriage will snap and cease to be active and healthy.

6. Bibliography

Antichrist. Dir. Lars Von Trier. Perf. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Zentropa

Entertainments, 2009. Online; Netflix. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

O'Connor, Flannery. Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works. Parkers Back. New York: The

Library of America, 1988. Print. 11th printing

The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version. Second Catholic Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius

Press, 1965. Print.