We can learn so much about the nature of the husband/wife relationship from Genesis. In this post, we will walk through Genesis 2:18-25, making a few comments. At the end, we will give practical advice about how this works in our lives.
Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
The first time that God said “it is not good” in the creation account was about man being alone. I think that still holds true today. No man is an island. I have never met a person who was both happy and secluded. God designed us for companionship, as a mirror of the relational nature of the Trinity.
In the naming of the animals, God was making a point to Adam—he was unique among creation. As Adam searched for companionship in all of the animal kingdom, his loneliness grew. Finally, as God often does when forming a new covenant with mankind, he caused Adam to fall asleep.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
To prevent us from thinking that men and women have a different makeup, he made woman from the very stuff of man. God did not form a new pile of dust into human flesh and then breath life into it. He made her out of the same basic material as man, to show us that we are the same.
The idea that “Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus” might give us the wrong understanding. The problems in our relationships with the opposite gender do not come from them being a different makeup, but rather from sin. God designed man and woman to be different, but in a wonderfully completing sense. Man and woman are meant to fit together. The fault is not in the nature of the opposite sex, but in the sinful nature of humanity, and that is much scarier.
And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Verses 22-25 are a record of the first wedding ceremony. Verse 22 is the first “Giving of the Bride.” God, being the true Father of Eve, “brought her to the man.” I imagine that as Adam was waking up from his surgery, he looked up and saw God walking Eve–arm in arm–toward him through a clearing in the trees.
The first time that Adam saw Even, he cries out “At last.” This corresponds to some people’s favorite part of a wedding ceremony. The bride is always radiant. The decorations are awe-inspiring fantastic. The first kiss is somewhat awkward and innocent. However, some people love watching the groom as he sees his wife for the first time on the wedding day. The groom’s response is often, “At last!” It is a loving anticipation and longing that is finally met with reality as his soon-to-be bride walks toward him.
A marriage ceremony, by definition, is the beginning of a new family. This new family trumps all other family relationships. Daughters are still daughters and sons are still sons, but the relationship should change, or a world of problems can happen. This wedding ceremony is the mark of that new family relationship.
- Singleness can be good, but generally, it is not good for humans to be alone. We are created as relational creatures, and the greatest earthly relationship that God is the marriage relationship.
- We need to stop blaming our marriage struggles on gender issues or ‘translation’ problems. We must realize that our fights are because of sin, not because of our gender.
- We need to stop running to ‘Guys Poker Night’ or ‘Girls Shopping Night’ to find someone who can understand us. When we run to our gender to understand us rather than pursuing an intimate relationship with our spouse, we are missing out on the wonderful blessings that God planned for each of us in a marriage relationship. (this, of course, does not mean that we should abandon all other friendships–guys nights and girls nights are good things, but our marriage relationship is primary)
- It is good for us to spend some time re-stoking the flame of our romance for our spouse. We should pursue anything that would bring back those thoughts of “At last! Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
The Gospel and Marriage
Ultimately, the problem in our marital relationship is sin, not a misunderstanding between the genders. The genders are very different, but they were made to fit together perfectly in a sin-free relationship. Our sin damages all of our life, but it can be most obvious in a relationship with our spouse. Sin is destructive to our lives to show us that it is an atrocity to God. God gives a wonderful gift to us in marriage, but many of us do not appreciate that gift. We hurt our spouse with words, coldness, and sometimes abuse. This ruins the wonderful relationship that God gave us, but much more importantly, this is a sin against the one who gave us our marriage.
The gospel tells us that we can never be good enough. We never appreciate the gifts God gives us. We never use them correctly. Instead, we are selfish, proud, and argumentative in our marriages. No matter how hard we try to improve them or how many books we read, our lives will always fail to honor or thank God for his gift of marriage.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ died for all of our sins, including ungratefulness, selfishness, pride, and argumentativeness. God pours his wrathful punishment for our sins on Jesus Christ so that we could be justly forgiven. God has forgiven us for all of the ways we failed in our marriages. He will forgive us for all of the ways we will fail in our marriages. But we must confess, believe that we are forgiven, and abandon our sins. He gives us new life so that, by his Spirit’s power, we can thank him for our marriage and honor him through our marriage.