In this chapter we see human relationships as God originally intended. We will explore 4 dynamics of this vision, and consider an application for each.
When God made woman, He used a rib, taken from man’s side. If you read the footnotes in your NIV you’ll see that the word ‘rib’ was taken from ‘part of the man’s side’. Why is this significant? Because it denotes equality between man and woman, not sameness, but equality.
But is this a modern reading, have I only come to this conclusion because I’m a 21st century reader in the western world?! No, see Matthew Henry’s Commentary (written in 1708) written over 300 years ago:
“That woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, or out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him” (pg. 8)
This was God’s original intention for relationships between man and woman. Equality, protection and love. How far we have come from this! How far we have rejected God’s plan and decided our way was best. How wrong we were!
In terms of an application, as people of a New Covenant, who live for the Kingdom of God, let us pursue equality.
2) A Song of Appreciation
We see some of God’s creative qualities arise in man, at the sight of his new companion! Man composes the first ever song, and it wasn’t a “worship” song! It was a song of appreciation towards his wife!
Too often we take relationships for granted, either that or we idolise them. Here Adam models for us a healthy middle option, appreciation and thanksgiving. May we do the same!
3) Leaving Parents, Cleaving to Wife
A challenge all couples are faced with, abandoning the old and enjoying the new. Marriage does not work if we carry our parents into it. Boundaries are required.
Jay Stringer uses the dichotomy of simultaneous “honour” and “honesty” when we think about our parents. We are to honour them, even as married people, but we must also be honest about how they have impacted us (for good or for ill). Part of this honest assessment is choosing to abandon that which was wrong, hurtful and damaging.
We all carry childhood baggage, either intentionally and explicitly handed to us, or subconsciously and unwittingly received. May we choose to leave this behind. At the same time let us seek to honour, and thank God for good parents who loved us and attempted to pattern for us God’s parental love.
4) Naked and Unashamed
This was God’s intention. And we see that it is one of the very first things to be destroyed by sin. Shame creeps in, people want to hide themselves, and forgo intimacy. We may hide physically, mentally, emotionally, creatively, verbally, or even behind various personalities. We dare not let people in.
And we have very good reason not to, have you see the damage and harm “letting people in” can do? We have all been betrayed, and hurt by those closest to us.
In marriage, may we lead by example in vulnerability. In our friendships may we match
One of my favourite definitions of intimacy, is a cheesy word-play: “in-to-me-see”. Within intimacy, we allow others to see into us, for who we truly are, and we are allowed to see into them.
I am stirred by the concept and power of vulnerability. So here is one final thought: We are most tempted to cover-up and feel shame over our weaknesses. We hide them, whatever they are. But in marriage God invites us to be truly vulnerable, to share our weaknesses. The Bible says that God’s power is, in fact, made perfect and complete in our weaknesses. Chose to reveal yourself in marriage today, not hide.