I purchased a book for my 8th grade daughter, The Good Book for Kids, by Lisa Bergren. Lisa creatively writes God’s story from Genesis to Revelation using the Bible, discussion, and modern-day stories. Naturally, the book begins with Genesis, Chapter 1–In the beginning…
I pondered the Adam and Eve story. Mind you, I’ve heard that story many times throughout my life and even had the felt board rendition as a child. Lisa’s first chapter only discussed creation, not the fall of man. In this concentrated focus, I imagined my marriage as God created. I began to see my husband as created by God, in His image. We all can list the many “views” or “thoughts” we have about our marriage partner. Yet, when I go back to the garden, I can see through a different lens.
I see a man who, since the beginning of time, longs to work, provide, love, play, and connect. Through these desires, he struggles with brokenness and stumbles. He is guided by God in his God story, and I have been partnered with him in a covenant relationship to journey life. He is broken. I am broken. Together we put pieces together through the power of the Holy Spirit to love and glorify God. There will be no time this side of heaven that your spouse will meet all of your expectations.
So, how do we live?
I believe the answer is in the story of chapter 3 of Genesis (Chapter 2 of my book).
- “Did God really say…..”
When you start to rationalize breaking your wedding vows to please your whims or question the sanctity of marriage, then it’s time to take a deep breath and seek God’s love and wisdom. I can lose my religion over the smallest of irritants, so I’m not judging with this statement. It’s a daily reminder that my marriage is Holy and precious, and, yes, God really did say this…
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all…
2. The serpent denied the truth. “You will not die…”
When we begin to build walls, contempt, or apathy in our relationship, the marriage slowly “dies”. Death is evident in our world, and the marriage only works when both are praying and on guard.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)
3. Trusting God versus wondering if He is a killjoy.
Eve thought God was holding out on her–there must be something about this fruit that will make me happy, and God is holding out on me. In our marriage, we can get pretty frustrated or bored. The grass on the other side of the fence still needs mowing, tending to, and, believe me, the lawn you admire or desire has weeds and dog poop, too. From a distance, that other marriage looks so perfect. Turn your eyes to your marriage (or lawn), and get to work. God’s promises are not to burden or to restrict, but to give you freedom and joy. When I look beyond and compare, I’m always frustrated and anxious. When I turn my heart towards home, I can see my reality of goodness, areas to work on, and joy.
“Great marriages don’t happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect, and a rock-solid commitment between a husband and a wife.” – Dave Willis
If you are married, pray that God will help you go back to the garden and remember that your spouse is made the in the image of God. Remember this is a spiritual lens–God’s love and affection, brokenness, and mercy. Be on guard to reject faulty thinking and deception about marriage and relationships. Be quick to claim good things for your marriage and to do the work.
If you are single, build on your relationship with God utilizing these concepts and verses. When you are drawn to God and His love, you are able to pour into the lives of others and make a difference in the world around you. Oh, how the world needs Godly men and women to show the love of Christ!