Marriage is under attack today and has been for a long time. There’s no arguing that. But while we can easily point to outside forces such as our anti-God and I-want-to-do-what-I-want-to-do-when-I-want-to-do-it culture, plenty of negative forces are at work within married people themselves that undermine their unions: Neglect, busyness, laziness, selfishness. Too many people aren’t doing the work they need to do to keep their marriages strong.
So, let’s take a look back at what we learned Sunday as we examined more of Genesis 2 — specifically that God created marriage and four principles we can use to keep them not just alive but thriving.
Principle #1: God created marriage. He designed it for us. And if you believe God created marriage, then doesn’t it stand to reason that we should follow his plan and his design and his instructions for marriage? You’d better believe it.
Principle #2: God designed men and women to be companions. In our previous study in Genesis, we talked about God’s personal touch as he created man — whom he formed from dust like a potter forms clay on a wheel until it’s something beautiful and useful. Indeed, the Lord’s touch is deeply upon his human creation. But when all other possibilities for the man’s companion were exhausted, God got creative again. Verse 22 tells us that while the man slept, the Lord 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.
With that, 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 again was very personal in his creation of the woman — and the word “made” in this context actually means “built,” as in the process of building an altar. A sacred process! And the Lord built the woman to be the perfect complimentary companion for the man — and were designed to fit together not just sexually but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Principle #3: God designed men and women to be united in “one flesh.” Verse 24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This verse is talking about sex, plain and simple — and God designed it! But most folks look at sex as a biological function that can be reduced down to pleasure. But that’s like changing a lightbulb in the rain. Lightbulbs weren’t designed to operate around water, and the likelihood of getting zapped is quite high. Sex is very much the same way; we can argue until we’re blue in the face that it’s just physical, but God designed as something much more — it’s a spiritual activity. And when we relegate what’s ultimately a spiritual activity to the lesser rung of the physical, we’re messing with God’s system.
The Apostle Paul warns us about this in 1 Corinthians 6 and refers back to Genesis as well: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”
Sex is actually devotion — a uniting of two spirits with Jesus right there with you. That might sound strange, but it’s true. When he sees a married couple enjoying sex — the context within which he designed it — that pleases him. Just as God stated his creation was “very good,” Jesus says sex in proper context is a wonderful work of creation.
Principle #4: God designed marriage for deep intimacy and closeness. Verse 25 reads, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Obviously, this verse is saying that neither the man nor the woman was embarrassed to be unclothed around each other — but it’s also saying way deeper things that that. In marriage, we’re also unclothed from our emotions — and our mates are supposed to be so close to us that they know more about us than anyone else. It means husbands and wives accept each other and are there for each other, differences and all.
Maybe you’re telling yourself that these principles don’t describe you — that you’ve been hurt and damaged by others … maybe even as part of a marriage. Well, God is not surprised by your reaction! It’s OK. In fact, the Lord is holding nothing back. In Genesis 3 we’ll discover that this wonderful creation God put together was, in fact, damaged by human beings. Our disobedience brought brokenness into the marriage relationship, into family relationships, and into our relationships with God.
The Good News, however, is that the Lord is in the business of redeeming us and restoring us — all of us, no matter where you think your life is right now, or if you’ve convinced yourself that your life is beyond repair. Maybe you’ve experienced extreme and horrific loss. The Lord knows about it. And he has an eternity’s worth of incredible gifts for you in the midst of that pain and loss that he wants to give you starting today. Count on it.