Mastering desire for the sake of others

‘There is a wholeness about the fully grown man which makes him concentrate on the present moment. He may have unsatisfied desires, but he always keeps them out of sight and manages to master them some way or other. And the more need he has of self-mastery, the more confidence he will inspire among his comrades, especially the younger ones, who are still on the road he has already travelled. Clinging too much to our desires easily prevents us from being what we ought to be and can be. Desires repeatedly mastered for the sake of present duty make us, conversely, all the richer. To be without desire is a mark of poverty. At the moment I am surrounded by people who cling to their desires, so much so that they haven’t any interest for others: they give up listening, and are incapable of loving their neighbour.’

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison, Letters to a Friend, March 19th 1944

What does it mean to be made “one flesh” in marriage?

“These words [one flesh] are not to be understood to mean that [husband and wife] only physically become one flesh and blood, but they pertain to everything that belongs to outward physical life. The written word flesh means one’s outward life in the flesh. It should transpire that everything belongs to both of them and that they accept everything together and that each one brings to the other body, goods, honor, shame, poverty, illness, and whatever else there is.”

Sermons on Genesis, 1527, [WA XXIV], quoted in Susan C. Karant-Nunn and Merry E. Wiesner, Luther on Women: A Sourcebook, [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003], 18.)