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

Relationships: Have You Discussed Your Non-Negotiables?

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What’s on your non-negotiable list?

Have you fallen “in love” and much further into the relationship found a few flaws in your partner’s character or behaviors that you judged to be show-stoppers? Did the person you thought you would likely spend the rest of your life become the person with whom you could not imagine spending another night? An answer of “yes” is not uncommon, and for some feels like a regular response when they jump from relationship to relationship hoping to find the right one for them.

Why the common pattern? I would wager that the relationship demise is not attributable to any one person changing, but instead the inevitable collide of non-negotiables. For those not familiar with the terminology, non-negotiables are those attitudes, personal characteristics, and behaviors that are incompatible with a person’s expectations in how his or her partner should conduct themselves within and outside the relationship.

When people don’t take the time to define their relationship non-negotiables, they can’t evaluate their dating partner against them early in the dating process. Without an understanding of objective non-negotiables, the “love” chemicals dominate their thinking and rationalization. As the chemicals fade, the issue of non-negotiables naturally come to the forefront. I encourage everyone, regardless of age, to have a list of non-negotiables, even if they change based on accumulated learnings and experiences.

You may be sold on the concept but unsure of what qualifies as non-negotiables.  First, there are no right or wrong, better or worse answers.  Second, the list should be rooted in core values and deep-seated preferences.  My husband had only two for the woman he would marry: (1) high self-confidence, and (2) a shared faith and love for the God he served.  He felt he could work with anything else.  On the other hand, my list was much longer and included: (1) never lay a hand on me, (2) be a financial provider for the family, and (3) maintain a family life where no one walks on egg shells.  Although the list is short, the conversations are long with regards to unpacking what each of these looks and feels like in daily life.

As you may suspect, many of our non-negotiables were derived from prior experiences that left a prominent mark in how we expected to live our lives in the future. The list encompassed what we determined was intolerable or a “must-have.” If you have not yet written your list, I encourage you to carve out the time to create one. Although there are no minimum number, if you find yourself with a grocery list of non-negotiables, you may be describing wants and not just non-negotiables.

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional leadership coach with an extensive background in premarital and marriage coaching, education, and mentoring. She coaches individuals, and couples, as well as facilitates relationship workshops.  She has a passion to help people experience outstanding marriages and relationships.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website www.shinecrossings.com