Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.  
God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

Hebrews 13:4

Co-equal, Yet Unique

Love is a wonderful experience that we can enjoy at any age.  With most of us it comes in our teens with grand pictures of large weddings and endless bliss with the one that we have chosen as a mate.  With some it comes later in life, but it is just as exciting, only we seem a little more reserved.

We really believe that we know each other, after all we have been together for a year or more.  We have stared into each others eyes looking deep into each others hearts knowing that this marriage is going to be different.  The Honeymoon comes and goes and we still find ourselves on cloud nine, our feet far from the ground.

We set up house keeping and the decision is made for her to work out or work in as a homemaker.  Both are noble professions, choices that set the tone and directions of the home.

It isn't long until the reality of the love commitment begins to unfold in our lives.  We begin to notice little irritations in each other that we didn't see before.  Maybe they were there, but so blinded by love it just didn't matter; now it does.  We are beginning to find out that love is a commitment, a commitment to work through problems that we were blinded to before.  A commitment to understand each other, for now we are really beginning to know the person we have married.  We find that we have been narcissistic (self centered) and we want things our way, not willing to give in as we did before.  It is not abnormal to ask, "What is going on here?"  We start with the, "I thoughts,"  because of what we had envisioned marriage to be is now somehow different.

We are in a process, we are two people becoming one flesh.  It is a life long process and those who decide to be committed to it will be the benefactors of a great love and relationship with another human being.  When I think about that statement "great love and relationship with another human being." I stand in awe that another sovereign, free, and autonomous person wants to have a relationship with me.  Think of it, what greater honor can we experience while on this earth.  Believe it or not we are following the second command (not to be confused with the 10 commandments) of God in the Bible.  The first commandment had to do with obedience; You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die. Genesis 2:16,17.  And the second with relationship.  Genesis 2:24  This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.  Those who believe that the Bible is God's Word will find it easier to understand why there is a struggle to become one.

There are principles in Genesis chapter two, that God set out at the beginning that we should understand.  Adam needed companionship, God's desire was to create one comparable to Adam, God took from Adam and made woman,(Genesis 2:18-23).  We need companionship, we need to talk, commune, and fellowship with another.  God gave the woman for companionship - and what a companion she is - God really knew what he was doing!  We needed an equal, woman was never meant to be less or more than man.  The Bible says, “and the two are united into one."  Being equal we are to become one which is the difficult part for us to understand.  We know that we cannot lose identity as an individual, so the concept must be spiritual.  We become one in purpose, direction, and objectives.  Our desires and hopes meld together as we grow together, but not without a struggle.

                                   God's Perfect Plan; Marred

God's perfect plan for us was marred by disobedience.  We will find out that obedience is still the prerequisite to companionship with God.  In the garden where sin took place, we need to remember that Adam and Eve experienced oneness only to be shattered by disobedience, So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too (Genesis 3:6).  She didn't need to go running to find him, he was with her all the time.  Genesis Chapter 3 gives us all of the consequences of disobedience that are still at work in marriages today.  I think that it would be good for us to list them.  Not having the space to address each completely, but just to understand them.  Verse 8, Adam used to walk with God in the garden; he now hides.  When we have committed sin like Adam, the first thing we try to do is cover it up.  Never works does it.  Verse 9, God in his grace always gives an opportunity for us to admit what we have done, “Where are you?"  Those words must have stung Adam's heart for he then responds, "I was afraid."  I often wonder what would have happened if Adam would have stepped out and said, "I blew it God, I ate the fruit You told me not to eat."  In verse 12 we find Adams answer to God's direct question, "Have you eaten from the tree...?" was, "The woman whom You gave me."  now it is God's fault that he ate the fruit.  

Let's recap just a little and follow what is happening to Adam's relationship with God and his wife Eve.  Disobedience, fear, hiding, and blame.  We see that it is a downward spiral ending in blame.  If blame is not dealt with the relationship is doomed and the hope of oneness is out of our reach.

                                           Consequence of Sin

With disobedience comes the consequence of sin.  Verse 16, I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth.  And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.  Ouch!   To understand Genesis 3:16 we must compare it to Genesis 4:7, with God's statement to Cain, But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!  Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.  It is not a lustful desire, but a desire to be in control.  Sin's desire is to control us and keep us from fellowship with God.  Sin also wants to keep us from having fellowship with each other by establishing a rule, resist, and control dilemma in our relationship.

God has given us the fundamental truth required to be one flesh, and sin has given us the mechanism to destroy it.  In order to bring this all into perspective for every negative consequence of sin, God has a positive response.  Not to make light, but when you catch your wife squeezing the tooth paste in the middle of the tube you accuse and she denies, you have started the downward spiral.  Or when you leave your clothes on the floor knowing that she wants you to pick them up, you are ruling and she is controlling which ends up in blame and anger.

God has given us steps to remedy this problem and the process to restore us to oneness again.  We find this remedy throughout the Bible.  Great examples are found throughout the Psalms and the New Testament.  Our example is taken from Psalms 51.  God called David a man after His heart.  As you read the Psalms you find out that David was a man who knew how to repent.  When the knowledge of sin came to David by a Prophet or by the Holy Spirit, David repented.  Repentance is not a word heard very much these days.  It simply means to acknowledge to God the truth about what he sees, and agree with him concerning the condition of your heart.  It is the beginning of the trek back to a relationship with God and oneness with our wife or husband.

                                             God's Grace

The first requirement is not to hide.  Psalm 51:1, Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. This is David's cry for mercy,  David would come before God and call on His loving-kindness.  David would not hide what God already knew, he would place himself at God's mercy knowing that God wanted to restore and forgive.

The second requirement is to acknowledge our sin to God.  Psalms 51:3, For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. David does not hide anything from God, but lays it out.  In verse 4, David acknowledges who the sin is against, Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. It is always God, but our loved ones always receive the brunt.  We can now say, "Father forgive me for wanting my way with the tooth paste."

The third requirement is truth.  Psalms 51:6, David realizes that what God wants is truth, But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.  Blame is avoiding the truth.  When we are humble enough to say, "I was the one that was wrong in this situation," then healing can begin.  We can honestly say, "Honey, forgive me for my attitude, I was wrong."  

If you really want to renew and continue the relationship that you had at first with your wife or husband, then you will follow the example of David, and seek God's cleansing and forgiveness.  I think that John summed it up for us in 1John 1:9, But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  

If we act like Adam and hide and blame, our relationship with God and our mate is in jeopardy.  But if we act like David and acknowledge and confess our sin we will find God in the middle of our relationship making us one again.

Adapted from the article Marriage Proof by David Bridgeford.  All rights reserved, for permission to use contact HangNailed.

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