What a Good Marriage Looks Like

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God created marriage, and when it conforms to His ways it’s wonderful.

There is only one perfect marriage between humans described in the Bible (though it didn’t stay perfect for long), and it is the first one He created.

These are some things we learn from God telling us that story in Genesis 2:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

God created a man, a male human, in His image, and then He gave Him a job. A task for God’s image bearing son, in God’s perfect world.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”

God decreed and defined it as not good that this man not have a helper. So He lovingly decided to make a complementary helper so that Adam would not be alone.

“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.”

This man was given authority, by the only one who can give authority, to name parts of creation and work God’s perfect garden. But none of the animals of the garden was suitable enough to be his helper.

“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. 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.'”

God made the first woman from the first man’s rib, made a second human creation from His first one, to be a helper fit for him. And then Adam, who had been given authority to name the animals, named this creation “woman,” and God honored that name.

God’s sinless man was clearly struck by her, as all men should be with their wives. And Adam saw himself as (a) having God-given authority in the relationship, and (b) bonded to her in love.

“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.”

God created marriage. He made it a loving, sexual, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. They were and are to enjoy it, in the Lord. And He gave and gives the man authority to serve the living God and to represent Him in a unique way in that relationship.

And that carries responsibilities with it, because for the rest of the Bible he refers to the sin Eve kickstarted as Adam’s.

So a good marriage is one that seeks to replicate God’s first and only sinless one.

And seeks to model what the New Testament tells us Adam and Eve and Prince William and Kate and you and me and our spouses are all only images of anyway: Christ and His church.

A good marriage looks like a man and a woman doing God’s will together. Him exercising his uniquely authoritative and responsible role given by God. Her submitting to God first and him second. They love each other and enjoy each other and rest on God’s grace for each other so that they are unashamed. They love one another faithfully and sexually and sacrificially. They do it all to honor and obey God.

And they do it for life.

A good marriage is a marriage that reflects God’s purposes, design, and character.

God made marriage.

Trust Him. He is impossibly good.

P.S.

Some closing New Testament light on this passage:

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” 1 Timothy 2:12-13

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Ephesians 5:22-33

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