It seems everyone has an opinion on how marriage should look: who it's for and how to make it last. The book of Genesis gives us the story of Adam and Eve, a picture of God's design for marriage—and proof he is using marriage to work his purposes for good in all situations.
God noticed it was not good for man to be alone, so God created a helper comparable to him. Adam named her 'woman' because she came from 'man'. The man and his wife cleaved together to become one flesh.
On pondering over this, I realised Eve was created from Adam's rib—close to Adam's heart and from his side, to stand together side by side with her husband—not from Adam's head to stand over him or from his feet to be trodden on.
A little further along in Genesis, we read Eve was tempted by the serpent into eating the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, after which Adam was then handed the fruit and ate of it also.
It seems Adam loved Eve so much he chose to sin, rather than to go on without her. Whatever destiny was brought on her head, he knowingly, willingly, joined her.
Genesis reveals Adam's true love and deep devotion for Eve. Even the poem he utters when he first sees her shows his delight: 'bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!'
Do I really love my wife?
If my wife made a serious mistake, causing us to lose our house, car, furniture, everything, would I stay with her continuing my husbandly duties or run to the divorce court?
The Bible says the only acceptable reason to leave your spouse is sexual infidelity, and even then I have known couples to recover from this.
Jesus and his Bride
There is another obvious biblical man and his bride that comes to mind, Jesus and his bride, the Church.
John chapter 3, verse 16 says: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.'
Jesus chose to give his life for us, by the ultimate sacrifice, to save us of those who choose to believe in him, his bride the Church, from the results of the fall.
In Ephesians chapter 5, verses 22-33, we read of God's pattern for holy submission, and a little further down, in verse 31 and 32 it states:
'"For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church'.
After pondering these things, I believe God holds marriage between a man and a woman in the highest esteem, as it models Christ and his bride, the Church. What Adam's love for Eve gave us a glimpse of, we see perfectly played out by Christ and the Church.
Think for a moment how imperfect we can be as Christians. All the things we are forgiven of in our past, and the things we continue to struggle with.
Nowhere does Jesus say 'If you stumble too often, I will divorce you'. To the contrary, he will never leave or forsake us. Guys, this is how we are called to love our wives!
Would you be willing to exchange your eternity and everything you have for her welfare? Jesus loves the Church the way a husband is supposed to love his wife.
As it is written in the book of 1 Corinthians: 'Love is patient, love is kind, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.'
I know I now look at my marriage in a new light, and I pray you do also.
Michael Dahlenburg is an Electronics Engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, most things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his wife Michelle and three children in God's own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html