What Genesis Tells Us About Marriage

Genesis describes the first man, woman, and marriage. This first book of the Bible also provides insights into God’s original design of marriage as well as helps explain why many of today’s marriage fall short of God’s plan. The challenges and troubles in current marriages are easily explained by the consequences set forth by the bite of forbidden fruit.

God’s Design of Man and Woman

In Genesis 1:26 (NIV), “Then God said, ‘Let us make man [mankind, human] in our image…let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth…” “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, NIV). These Scriptures show that in the beginning both man and woman were made in the image of God with neither one or the other above or below each other.

God first created woman from Adam’s rib. She was part of Adam’s DNA: bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23). This description gives deep understanding why a man will leave his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Before the Fall husband and wife were equal but different with neither one more superior than the other. You could infer that Adam and his wife lived in paradise and had the perfect marriage. And then crawled the serpent through the Garden of Eden playing head games with the woman.

Sin Changed Marriage

….and not for the better. The one bite of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil changed marriage from that moment on. When Adam and the woman disobeyed God of their own free will, they had to pay a price for their sinful choice. What was their punishment?

In Genesis 3:16, “To the woman [God] said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with the pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”

Woman’s consequence for her free will behavior was to be lorded over by her husband. She lost her status as an equal to husband. Why is it important to understand the penalty? Because today many marriages suffer, when husbands lord over their wives, a direct result of Adam’s and Eve’s sins. Remember, this was not God’s design of the perfect marriage.

Why Woman Became Known as Eve

Up until the Fall, God refers to the first woman as “wife” or “woman”. She doesn’t get her name until God says that Adam would rule over her, so “Adam named his wife Eve” (Genesis 3:28, NIV). This was the same instructions that God gave Adam when He gave Adam dominion over all living things (Genesis 2:19). Where once Adam and Eve were co-managers of the Garden of Eden, now Adam ruled over Eve. And it didn’t end with the first couple. They set in motion the same sinful outcome for generations.

Marriage Message for Our Time

Many wonder why there’s so much inequity between men and women in general, and even in marriages?  Christian marriages no less. The simple answer is the consequence of sin in the Garden of Eden has propagated through family legacies.

God didn’t design marriage for the husband to rule over his wife, yet the Fall explains the fight that started with the first bite of the forbidden fruit. As Christians we should know what God’s design for marriage truly is and to fight to live it out in our own marriages. Are you treating each other as equals? If not, you have knowledge and free will do choose better for your marriage.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

How to Have a Thriving Marriage

Love FamilyAs a coach who leads couples through premarital and marriage coaching, most of the programs are designed around understanding how individual personalities mesh and equipping with tools to navigate a long-term successful relationship. Evans (2012) brings a fresh perspective that starts with God, our relationship with Him, God’s design for marriage, and the adherence to laws that help couples sustain a thriving marriage over time.

Our Deepest Needs

Evans (2012) proposes that people have four basic needs that we consciously or not strive to satisfy.  We feel fulfilled when we have:

  1. Acceptance: feeling that you are needed and loved by others
  2. Identity: knowing that you are special and significant
  3. Security: recognizing you are protected and provided for
  4. Purpose: understanding your reason for living

Non-Christians and many Christians as well look to personal accomplishments, family, friends, possessions, money, jobs, and pastors, to get these four needs met on a consistent basis.  A significant subset put enormous pressure on their spouses and children to fulfill those deepest needs.  The result?  Grave disappointment.  Why? Because no human, not even your spouse, can meet your deepest needs.  With people suffering from some degree of selfishness, imperfection, and limited resources, they will naturally disappoint and at times hurt you.

What Happens When We Turn to God to Satisfy Our Needs

Only God can meet our deepest needs. When a couple releases unrealistic expectations of their spouse to fully meet his or her needs, both are then open to have these needs met by God. Spouses are then free to support the other in their individual Godly purposes as well as live out the mission of their marriage. The chance of divorce is minimized, because neither has the pressure of being the provider of their spouse’s acceptance, identity, security, and purpose.

God’s Four Laws of Marriage

Evans (2012) references 4 laws of marriage that God created.  When we abide by these laws, marriages not only work, they thrive.

  1. Law of Priority: When a husband and wife leave their families and become “one flesh,” they put the other above every other earthly relationship. Their spouse comes before parents and their children. Time, energy, and resources are prioritized and protected for the spouse and the health of the marriage.
  2. Law of Pursuit: Like anything of value, marriage too is hard work. Spouses put forth intentional effort in pleasing their partner and investing in the marriage.
  3. Law of Possession: Because marriage is a complete union, everything is owned and managed jointly. Without this operating agreement, mistrust, jealousy, and reduced intimacy creep into the marriage.
  4. Law of Purity: When a couple is “one flesh,” nothing is withheld from the other. Every aspect of the body, soul, mind, and spirit should be shared without shame or fear. Marriage requires spouses to be totally open and vulnerable with each other.

Breaking any one of these foundational laws will cause turmoil within a marriage. Breaking two or more typically spells doom.  This brokenness may not lead to court, but it may lead to separate bedrooms. Is a marriage held together solely by paper any better than divorce?

Where Do Most First Marriages Get Off Track

In my experience, first marriages unknowingly start to develop their first crack when they violate the Law of Pursuit. In an over-scheduled society and drive for success, couples tend to focus their energy on jobs, careers, and fun activities. This focus intensifies when children come along, and parents want to provide them with the best things and opportunities. Marriage takes a backseat to all the other demands for time, money, and energy, and spouses start to take each other for granted.

Where Do Most Second Marriages Go Wrong

When I coach couples, who are marrying and have biological children from previous relationships, they typically set their second marriage up for trouble prior to even saying their “I dos.”  I find the Law of Possession is the most common struggle from the start, when they decide to keep some money separate and discipline of the child is reserved only by the biological parent. They’ve already designed division into their marriage.

What Should I do Before Saying “I do”

With an average divorce rate in America of ~ 50% and second marriages at ~ 70%, I would encourage everyone who is dating with the intention of marrying to pray, think about, and answer the following questions for themselves:

  1. Am I relying on God to get my deepest human needs met?
  2. Do I have reasonable expectations of my spouse and marriage?
  3. Am I willing to sacrifice and abide by God’s 4 laws of marriage?

If you can honestly live out a “yes” to these three questions, you will likely have a model, not perfect, marriage and find that others seek you out for marriage mentoring.

Reference

Evans, J. (2012). Marriage on the Rock: God’s Design for Your Dream Marriage. Dallas, TX: Marriage Today.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.