Marriage is about the mission. That’s one of they key points we explored in last Sunday’s message and here on the blog this week. Today we’ll consider some implications of this truth for us as men and women.
It’s plain from Genesis 2:15 and following that Adam was created first, and that he was the one initially given a job to do. Eve was created after this, to help Adam in that mission. This order of operations helps us understand why, at least generally, women seem to be more relationally oriented then men.
After all, the first thing Eve encountered in her life was another person with whom she was already connected. Her relationship with Adam quite literally defined her existence. Adam, on the other hand, began his life alone, tasked with steep responsibilities. His relationship with Eve quite literally came second to his work.
I’ve spoken to several men who are struggling in their marriages and tell me something like, “I don’t get what the problem is—I’m working so hard for her! I leave home early in the morning and I work late every night to provide for her, and I’m never just sitting around, and I don’t get why there’s this distance between us.”
Those are the words of a fallen son of Adam—a man who can see only his work, and nothing else. A man who has forgotten, or was never taught, that he married a daughter of Eve. And so I tell those men, “You’ve just described the problem. To have a relationship with your wife, you need to sit around a little. As in, sit down on the couch with her and a cup of tea and ask her about her day. Cherish her, just like you promised you would.” And then we go to Genesis 2:15-25 and Ephesians 5:25-33 and talk about what it means to love someone who is inherently different from you.
Pastor Ray Ortlund has helpfully explored these dynamics from a slightly different angle:
God made Adam first and put him in the Garden with a job to do, a mission to fulfill. In the heart of every fallen man is the self-doubt that wonders, “Am I man enough to climb this mountain God has called me to? Can I fulfill my destiny?” A wise wife will understand that question at the center of her husband’s heart. And she will spend her life answering it, communicating to him in various ways, “Honey, I believe in your call. I know you can do this, by God’s power. Go for it.” In this way, she will breathe life into her man.
God made Eve from Adam, for Adam, to help him follow the call. In the heart of every fallen woman is the self-doubt that wonders, “Do I please you? Am I what you wanted?” A wise husband will understand that question at the center of his wife’s heart. And he will spend his life answering it, communicating to her in various ways, “Darling, you are the one I need. I cherish you. Let me hold you close.” In this way, he will breathe life into his wife.
Men and women are wonderfully different. Many of the reasons why are found right back in the story of our creation, and we need to understand that story in order to understand, and celebrate, one another today.