God’s plan for marriage is laid out for us in Genesis 2:15–25.
God created man and woman for companionship.
“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).
Adam’s original job description
As you read the creation account of Adam, you might say that he had it made. His job description (Genesis 2:15–17) was to discover the secrets of the garden and enjoy fellowship with God and His creation. He enjoyed the companionship of the animal kingdom. He even took time to name them—but something was missing.
God made a helper comparable to Adam.
The Hebrew word helper in Genesis 2:18 could be best translated “someone who assists another to reach fulfillment.” It is used elsewhere in the Old Testament when referring to someone coming to rescue another.
The phrase comparable to him could also be translated “suitable to him,” or, more literally, “corresponding to him.” Eve would provide what was missing in Adam’s life.
“Eve was made by God not out of [Adam’s] head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, but under his arm to be protected and near his heart to be loved.” —Matthew Henry
God wants a husband and wife to leave and cleave.
Marriage begins with leaving.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Genesis 2:24).
Marriage begins with a leaving of all other relationships. Note that God specifies the closest relationship outside of marriage—the parental relationship. In essence, God is implying that if it is necessary to leave your father and mother, then certainly all lesser ties must be broken, changed, or left behind.
The man’s primary commitment must be to his wife, and the woman’s primary commitment must be to her husband. Each must still honor his or her parents, but a leaving must take place. Otherwise, this attachment can be extremely detrimental to the marriage.
Leaving means giving other relationships a lesser degree of importance. Your husband or wife is not just to be your spouse and lover—he or she should also be your best friend! Malachi 2:14 says, “The Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.”
Leaving means giving other activities outside of the marriage a lesser priority. This means that your business, career, house, hobbies, interests, and even church work should come after your relationship with your spouse. The order should be God, family, service!
Marriage involves a cleaving.
“And they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
It is no use leaving unless you are willing to spend a lifetime cleaving. Becoming one flesh suggests a process, not an instant fact. This begins at the marriage altar and is a lifelong pursuit.
To cleave means to “adhere to, to stick, to be attached by some strong tie.” The verb suggests a determined action in its essential meaning. In other words, we hold on because we choose to hold on. There is nothing passive about the act of cleaving.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for cleave means “to stick like glue, to be welded together so the two cannot be separated without serious damage to both.”
Points to ponder
If you are married, take stock of your life periodically and make sure that you are applying these basic principles. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is there any relationship or pursuit in my life right now that would put distance between me and my mate?
- Will my current activities or friendships build our relationship up or tear it down?
- Are my mate and I leaving and cleaving as God intended?
If you fall short of God’s original design for husbands and wives, take steps now to change the direction of your marriage. If you do, God will bless your marriage.