I’ve been married to my husband for almost 17 years, but the truth is: sometimes, I don’t like him. To speak even more truth, sometimes he doesn’t like me either. (Don’t worry, he read this and laughed in agreement.)
We feel deep love for each other most of the time but, when the feelings wane, love becomes a matter of determined choice and commitment until the feelings return. So, why do I stay in a marriage with someone that I sometimes don’t want to talk to and who can, at times, hurt me more than anyone else in the world?
As believers, we made a commitment before God, our families, and friends that we would stay together and strive to have a marriage that honours God. Also, God did something to us when we got married. He took two individuals and made us one. I don’t really understand how this works, but I do know that even in moments of not liking my husband, I don’t want to live without him.
Genesis tells the beautiful story of the first marriage. It also tells the story of how that perfect union was fractured by sin. There is no marriage today that is free of problems because no marriage is free of sin.
There is no marriage today that is free of problems because no marriage is free of sin
Despite the unavoidable presence of sin, there is benefit in looking back at God’s design for marriage. As we see what it was supposed to look like, we can ask the God “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”, to redeem our marriages so that they reflect what He had intended from the beginning.
Maybe you are in a marriage that is currently characterised by strife or apathy more than joy. The problem is not your marriage, it’s sin.
Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.” Genesis 2:22-23
The first recorded words of Adam were in response to seeing the woman God had made for him. His response wasn’t territorial or brutish as some may interpret the text. Adam looked at his wife and in awe exclaimed, “Wow! This amazing creature was made from a bone that used to be in my body! God made her just for me, but also from me!”
Eve was unique — God had not linked any other creatures in such an intimate and personal way. Adam was in love with his wife at first sight. He understood that she was special.
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25
This simple verse is quite telling. Nakedness demonstrates that they lived in an environment where they felt free to be vulnerable — there was nothing to hide. There was no jealousy or envy in their marriage. They never lacked confidence around each other, nor did they have to fight for validation or worth. They didn’t have silly miscommunications that led to overblown spats. Adam and Eve were free to enjoy one another and God through the gift of marriage.
Eve was unique — God had not linked any other creatures in such an intimate and personal way
Unfortunately, Satan entered the picture and tempted Adam and Eve to follow their own desires instead of obeying God. After choosing to sin, God confronted Adam and Eve and asked them to explain what they had done and why. While Adam was talking to God, he referred to his wife again, but his words no longer conveyed the love and emotion that they had previously:
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12
It’s easy to miss the change, but Adam went from referring to Eve as “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” to “the woman whom You gave to be with me”. Eve quickly went from helpful partner to liability. Adam blamed God and Eve for his actions and Eve blamed the serpent. Neither of them faced the fact that the problem was their sin.
Ephesians 6:12 says: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul reminds the church that the real battles in their lives are happening on a spiritual level. Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve was not just an attack on Adam and Eve, it was an attack on God. He went after the part of creation that God specifically chose to be made in His own image.
Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve was an attack on God. He went after the part of creation that God specifically chose to be made in His own image
Marital struggles are still ultimately the result of Satan trying to destroy what is meant to bring God glory. Our only real hope is to go to the Lord and seek His help in resolving conflict the right way — by addressing and weeding out sin.
Additionally, one of the worst things married couples can do is to fall into the trap of labelling their spouse an enemy instead of partner because “what God has joined together, let not man [or woman] separate”. Problems in marriage are to be expected because we live in a fallen world and marriage was an institution ordained by God. However, these problems should not be allowed to fester.
If you and your spouse cannot resolve things on your own, use the other resources that God has provided. The church, marital and family counsellors, more spiritually mature married couples and other resources are available to those who desire to preserve what God has joined together.
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