On the sixth day, God created Man and placed him in the Garden of Eden. Even though Man had paradise at his disposal, it wasn’t enough. “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18) Man searched among all the living creatures for an acceptable companion, but none (not even the golden retrievers) could fill the role in the way that God saw necessary. So, God created woman.
Then, He joined them together in marriage. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” It was only then that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
Marriage is part of God’s plan for perfection. And while in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve’s union was perfect. But even before the honeymoon, the serpent enters the scene at the beginning of Genesis 3. And with one act of disobedience Adam and Eve’s marital bliss came to a screeching, finger-pointing halt.
Once sin entered the world, so did pride, envy, selfishness, impatience, infidelity, addiction, busyness and all the other threats to oneness. Marriage became hard work.
As it remains today.
While it’s actually not true that half of all marriages end in divorce, a large percentage of them do. We live in a time when marriage seems disposable. Expendable. Temporary. Unnecessary.
But, we hold onto hope for the perfect union God designed so very long ago. When we marry and pledge “I do,” we pray that we really will. And when we witness a happily married couple that’s stood the test of time, we celebrate, admire…and take notes!
Last weekend we celebrated my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary. I always knew Dan’s parents had a wonderful marriage, but I gained an even deeper appreciation for them as a couple. They’ve weathered the expected ups and downs that life brings, yet after five decades of togetherness they not only still love each other very much, they like each other, too!
The kids and grandchildren gathered round an anniversary memory book and DVD created for the occasion and saw evidence of a beautiful life knit together. I wondered how they managed to do marriage so well.
Here’s what I see are their “secrets” to success: mutual respect, commitment, submission, unselfishness, loyalty, shared goals, love and lots of laughter. It’s a formula as old as marriage itself. Easily said, not easily achieved.
Oh, how I could use more of these qualities in my own marriage. Sure, I throw these words around, but Lord knows I don’t exhibit them often enough! Some of you commented on what a good wife I was while Dan was away last month. Heck, it’s easy to be a good wife from afar (it’s like being a good parent when you gaze at your angelic children as they sleep). The hard part comes in the face-to-face, day in and day out. I tumble off my pedestal real fast!
I look at my in-laws’ marriage and thank them for the example they’ve shown us and our children. I pray that Dan and I approach our golden years with as much grace and beauty.
I put my hope for success, not in quick fixes, shortcuts or secret ingredients, but in the fact that marriage isn’t a man-made notion. It’s not a fad or outdated concept. It’s a relationship so vital that it was the first one God created. And when He did, He declared it very good.
Together, man and woman complete the image of God.
Is anything more beautiful than that?