RX for Marriage

Fran and I have been married 47 years. Through better and worse, poor and not-so-poor, in sickness and in health – the Lord has sustained us. Through the years we have had the stressors of our own selfishness and immaturity, financial uncertainty, children, grandchildren, extended family, the church, and the demands of ministry to cope with – and we still love and enjoy one another. When I officiate at weddings, I pass on to the couple what has provided Fran and me stability through the decades.

After creating Adam, God said that it was not good for him to live and labor alone. You know the story. God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and took one of his ribs, which He fashioned into a woman. I tell the couple getting married God did not bring Eve to Adam so that she could serve Adam and wait on him hand and foot. God did not create her so she could cook his breakfast and find the remote when he lost it or bring him a beer as he sat in his easy chair. The reason God created Eve was so Adam could have someone to serve. Here is my reasoning –

Adam was created in the image of God.

  • God is a Spirit, and Adam had a spirit. Spirituality is part of what it means to be made in the image of God.
  • God has emotions, and Adam has emotions. Emotional capacity is part of what it means to be made in the image of God.
  • God has a mind, as did Adam. Rationality is part of what it means to be made in the image of God.
  • God is neither male nor female, yet he Has the ability to bring forth new life. Gender is part of what it means to be made in the image of God.

God is a lover and a giver. To be made in the image of God is to be created a lover and a giver. Now we know why it was not good for Adam to be alone. He had no one to serve, to love, to pour into. It would only be good for Adam if there was someone he could serve and thus manifest the image of God. All the animals were paraded before Adam to see what he would call them, but for Adam there was not a helper found. The implication is that he was looking for a mate and could not find one. He just could not see himself being happy with an elephant or a monkey – and certainly not a musk ox!

God brings Eve to him, and he cries out, “Bingo!” Finally, someone who corresponds to him in every way. Adam can relate to Eve spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically (sexually). She is a perfect fit. All that Adam has to give, he can give to her. All that he must pour out, he can pour into her. I tell the groom standing before me that he will not be happy and fulfilled until he is serving his bride with every capacity he has. I tell him that he will not be fulfilled unless she comes first.

Now, here is the thing – Eve was created in the image of God as much as Adam. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Being created in the image of God, Eve was a lover and a giver as well. She would not be fulfilled as Adam poured into her, but only as she poured into Adam and sought to bring blessing and goodness to his life. Here is the Biblical picture of marriage. Two people trying to out-love, out-serve, and out-give to one another. The Biblical picture of marriage is two people who consider the other more important than themselves and the desires of the other as more valuable than theirs.

Wherever there is a divorce, one or both have stopped serving the other.

Times are tough for marriages because the tenor of times emphasizes rights over responsibilities. The philosophical season we are in says that there is nothing and no one more important than you; not your spouse, not your children – no one. The lie that is stuffed in our ears clogs our hearts, sickens our souls, and shreds our relationships, insinuating that you can only be fulfilled and happy when others recognize you, serve you, and pour into you. We are told that the way to unhappiness is the servitude of allowing others to have power over you. This lie is from the pit of hell. I think that the autonomous individual is halfway to hell already. The marriage of two autonomous individuals is doomed from the start because the Biblical insistence is: The two shall become one. In too many marriages the two remain two. Too bad.

A woman went to a Christian counselor seeking advice about divorcing her husband. He could see that she was determined to do this, and so he offered this counsel. “Don’t divorce him right away. He’s hurt you and you want to hurt him back. Do this – for the next six months treat him like a king! Pour into his life and seek to bless him in every way you can. And then when you do divorce him six months from now, it will really hurt him.” She thought that was great advice and told him that she would do that. A year later he saw her and asked her how life was as a single woman. She said, “Are you kidding me!? I followed your advice and treated him like a king, and then he started treating me like a queen, and now things couldn’t be better!”  The counselor went on his way rejoicing.

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