In this month that emphasizes love and the blessings of togetherness, let me remind you of the provisions that God has given husbands and wives in “being one” through His design for marriage.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (MSG) is a beautiful description of partnership and what it provides. Relate this to a marriage:
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.
The most intimate and valued partnership I have with another human being is with my wife, Cyndi. We don’t always see things the same, and we can sometimes respond quite differently to a situation or circumstance. When we where first married, I really felt threatened by this fact that we didn’t think exactly alike and there were times, I would make her feel guilty if she saw things differently than I did. By that, I kept her from truly expressing how she felt or what she was thinking.
I’m not sure when the change began to take place in this distorted view I possessed, but at some point, I began to realize that better decisions were being made and a greater quality of action was being pursued as we combined our different ways of thinking.
In Genesis 2:18, there is God’s statement in creating the first marriage partnership –
“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” After God made man, he saw man was alone and God said is wasn’t good. I think Adam had looked and saw that others of creation had partners – others like them. But as he looked for himself, no suitable helper was found. So God creates one for Adam. A partner is created and notice the words “suitable helper”.
So whether you are a husband or a wife, we are all called to be helpers. This is not just a description for the female gender. So let me ask… How do you respond to being a “helper”?
I think our sinful and selfish nature is repulsed by being a helper. Most people don’t seek to be a “helper”. For many, the goal is to be in charge, the top dog, at the top of the ladder, not a helper!! The word “helper” means one called alongside to give strength to another. God’s definition of “helper” is not a demeaning or subservient term. In fact elsewhere in scripture, the same Hebrew word is used to describe God himself. Psalm 54:4 says God is my helper and the very same word is used. Jesus calls Holy Spirit our Helper in John 16. So if it’s good enough to be used to describe God, you’re in good company.
The word suitable (as found in Genesis 2) simply means they were the same, both human and yet they were different. God made them male and female. His design is that in our differences, husbands and wives are created to fit together in a beautiful way – physically, emotionally, and socially. Those differences compliment and strengthen us.
In the marriage partnership, God creates a helper that is a perfect fit for the other. That’s why it is so important that we allow God to develop and grow our love partnership, rather than trying to force it into our design and for “what I need”. A perfect fit for us is not a perfect fit to meet our needs but a perfect fit to help us become all God wants us to be and all He seeks for our spouse to be.
When God describes the marriage partnership in Genesis 2 as becoming one flesh, I picture it like two separate rivers flowing down two paths, then coming together, sharing the same direction, the same banks, meeting the same obstructions, but still flowing together. The two rivers are so connected, you really can’t divide them. They are one! Every partnership including marriage, calls for give and take. It can’t be “my way, or the highway” attitude. Marriage partnerships have been created by God to bring a mutually desired result. A river cannot flow with two streams flowing in opposite directions. All that produces is a whirl pool where you go nowhere but down.
While there will be other partnerships that God may place you into, none will have the same intimacy as marriage. So in this month of love, find some ways to nurture and grow your love partnership. Ask God to help you and your spouse grow in the oneness He has designed.