God’s original blueprint for marriage from Genesis 1 to 2
At the job site, you need a blueprint. And with your marriage and relationships, God has given us the Bible, God’s blueprint. Most problems occur at the foundation of a building and most marriage/relationship problems occur by ignoring the foundational principles laid out in Genesis 2. Open your Bibles and take your outline.
Genesis 1 is the creation account where God is described as creating our universe and the earth in six literal 24-hour days. Genesis 2 is an expanded description of the sixth day, the day our God created the first man and woman. Here is the original blueprint for all relationships. You must follow God’s original blueprint or your relationships will collapse. There are marriages here today that wear a smile but are sour. Friendships that look happy, but are hollow. What does God say?
#1 Marriage is a commitment designed by God for God
Marriage ceremonies are unique to each culture, but the idea of marriage is not human in origin. God saw the need and organized the first wedding. And God Himself was present to witness the ceremony. Like a father giving away his daughter to the bridegroom, at the end of verse 22 Moses tells us, “And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
This was God’s idea. Moses comments in verse 24, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” And Jesus Christ Himself quotes verse 24 in Matthew 19 as the very words of God Himself, verses 4 to 6, “And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh”? 6 Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’”
Make no mistake, God ordained marriage–it is for His glory! Marriage is more than legalizing sexual relations or recognizing mating instincts. Marriage itself is a commitment–a vow that is consummated. Listen, don’t be confused by the ceremony, flowers, dresses, food, reception or the thousands of dollars you spend–marriage is simply this . . . a vow before God and people and the consummation of that vow in sexual intimacy. Period.
It is an unbreakable agreement, an unshakable promise and the most serious union then sealed by sexual intimacy. What does the Bible say can break a marriage? Adultery violates the consummation and desertion over one’s testimony violates the vow. Adultery and desertion are so serious they can break a marriage–but thank God, God’s grace found in Christ Jesus can and has repaired even the most serious violations.
But marriage is God’s design, from start to finish. Relationships are God’s design, from start to finish–for God. Colossians 1:16 tells us all things are for Him, including marriage. First Corinthians 10:31, “Do all to the glory of God.” Brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, your marriage is not for you–it is for Him. Your dating is not for you, but for Him. Your marriage is not first for you. It’s not first for your husband or wife.
Marriage is for God Himself. The goal of your marriage is to please God, to glorify God. Relationships are not about what you want. Your marriage is not about what your spouse wants! Your relationships is to be all about what God wants. That’s only going to happen if you obey Him first, follow His Word, do things according to His blueprint.
Are you committed to your top priority–Jesus Christ? You are not two married people who are Christians–you are Christians who happen to be married. You are not a dating couple who happen to be Christians. You are Christians who are dating God’s way. The gospel warns us nothing must come in conflict with our love for the Lord–our love for Him is to be so great that compared to any other love, including our spouse, it looks like hate.
Parents, if you love your son or daughter more than Christ, you are not worthy of Christ. Just ask Abraham and Issac. If your marriage is supreme, it is a bad thing. You are to love Christ first–not perfectly, but supremely. And singles are to have, 1 Corinthians 7:35, undistracted devotion to Christ. Great relationships, including marriage, start with loving the Lord first, above all, seeking to please Him above all, so He fills you and loves through you.
Romans 6:17 and Luke 14 teach us you should want what God wants and should be willing to do anything for Christ. If Christ isn’t first, then you will be two ticks but no dog, feeding off each other but never fulfilled, never one, never bringing God the glory He deserves. Don’t be like the Ephesians with good doctrine, hard work, refuting error, but not loving Christ first. What else makes up the original blueprint? Back to Genesis . . .
#2 Marriage is designed for a male and a female
Jump back to Genesis 1:26 to 27, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
By saying, “Let us make man,” Moses is telling us that the entire Godhead was involved in the creation of male and female. Our image makes people unique in that we give the world a picture or image of God. We’re not God, but we’re like God. We are His picture on this planet to show HIm off to the world.
We also rule creation. People stand between, with God above and animals below, as God’s ruling representative on the planet. We take care of the place. For your information, your dog is not your child. And people were made both male and female to display God’s character with equal brilliance. God said, “Let them rule”–equal in value.
Don’t struggle–both male and female are human, and both are unique. And in their uniqueness, both are designed to bear God’s image. We are to be one like God is one, yet like the trinity different persons, yet one. And one is male and another is female. There is no confusion here–God never intended homosexuality, God never intended lesbianism, men and women are made different in every way. But they were made for each other, a male and female, a man and a woman.
God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. It is only the fall into sin described in Genesis 3 that has resulted in manly women and effeminate men. But from the beginning, it was not that way. In the original blueprint they are different and those differences were designed to complement. So affirm the differences between male and female. The differences aren’t just physical.
God has made the husband and wife to be a team. He didn’t design them to do the same things. Like a doubles team in tennis, they each take care of their side of the court. In Matthew 19:4 Jesus said, “‘He who created them from the beginning made them male and female.’” Healthy marriages complement each another, like a pilot and a co-pilot, each doing their distinct job to keep the plane airborne and safe.
You play different instruments in God’s orchestra, but they were meant to play in harmony–different notes, but they make music. Singles, figure out biblically what a man is and what a woman is and pursue it.
Biblical Men need to 1) reject passivity in their lives and follow God’s plan for them, 2) accept the responsibilities God has placed on them, 3) lead courageously in all of life, 4) be motivated by God’s approval, not man’s.
Godly Men 1) lead, not saying, “Do what I say,” but, “Let’s do what God says,” and 2) are responsible. It’s your fault if the finances are out of whack, no matter what she spends. It’s your fault if the relationship is not obedient to the Word. If there is an argument, you make it right first—you’re responsible. More later on that.
Wives submit to their godly husbands. Wives run the household and more. Differences are to help one another and do whatever is necessary to make the team successful, each fulfilling their own God-given role. Remember, she is not one of the boys, and he’s not your girlfriend. If a relationship or a husband and wife fail to recognize their differences, they will not work together as a team.
#3 Marriage was planned to bring happiness, not misery
Notice what Adam says when he sees Eve for the first time in verse 23, “And the man 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.’” This is the world’s first love song–it is poetry, the highest language possible to describe the amazing creature that woman is.
This is why women are always suckers when it comes to musicians–the guy can be a total loser, as ugly as Mic Jaeger. But if he’s a musician, some gal is going to be attracted to him. This phrase, “Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” became a favorite Old Testament saying to describe an intimate, personal relationship.
You have to believe that God is pleased with Adam’s reaction, because marriage in part was designed by God for our joy. This doesn’t mean marriage is easy–it is work. The big difference between a day spa and a gym? Marriage is a gym—it is work. Everyday efforts help it run deep. Great marriages need more than a weekend seminar–you have to cultivate some good habits to make a strong relationship that serves Christ and honors His Word.
Dating is mainly designed for friendship and, to be honest, it is to discover whether or not this person is a future mate. Dating and relationships should be pursued with the premise that the other is not your spouse, and should be treated as if they were someone else’s spouse until they actually become your future spouse at engagement.
This should be fun and enjoyable too–but when we violate that premise, then dating moves to defrauding. When we start treating them as a spouse without a proposal, we defraud. We violate relationships with promises, gifts, affection and time. When we make promises, give gifts, affection and time that belong to a spouse and not a date, then we defraud. Relationships, especially marriage, are supposed to be a blessing. The New Testament calls marriage the grace of life, plus . . .
#4 Marriage must begin with leaving other relationships
In order to establish a new permanent relationship between one man and one woman, look at what Moses says in Genesis 2:24. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother.” Marriage begins with leaving–leaving all other relationships. The diminishing of all other relationships. Marriage requires you to leave mom and dad, and certainly requires that all lesser ties be broken, changed or left behind.
Practically speaking, leaving means all activities are secondary to cultivating a true love relationship. The husband/wife relationship must be the priority over work for men and over children for women. The first principle of a healthy marriage is to leave our first family. The word leave means to abandon, forsake, or sever one relationship before starting another.
In other words, marriage is to be a one-family relationship. As a single, you’re part of your parents’ family, but when you marry, you start a new and distinct family. To leave your father and mother means to sever a previous family relationship and place your trust and dependence in your mate. This is the very reason a wedding is a good idea. It represents a starting point and a terminating point.
It is the beginning of a new relationship and the severing of an old relationship. Before marriage, you honor and obey your parents. After marriage, you honor your parents, but obey God by making your husband or wife your primary relationship. You are to look only to your wife. You are to look only to your husband.
God does not want women to hang onto daddy. God does not want men clinging to their mommy. God wants us to cut the umbilical cord. We are not to be plugged in anymore to our parents. Some of you need to cut the cord to your parents. Even if there are strengths lacking in your spouse, you must give up the former family bond. If you are not ready to leave, singles–don’t get married.
If you are unwilling to leave in your heart, then the framework of your marriage will be weak and the house will crumble. It is so important, it may mean you have to move in order to establish a solo relationship. Unfortunately, many marriages are destroyed by parents. Some parents are ruining their children—this is true of some in the Hispanic and Asian cultures.
Parents, when you give them away, you let them go–leave them alone, get out of the way, even be careful what advice you give. Husbands may have to lovingly tell parents to back off. Don’t let your parents will affect you. The picture in Genesis 2:24 is so strong that the verb “to leave” can even mean to amputate—to chop. Get the parents out of the way–love them, honor them, but establish your own home, habits, priorities, affections.
Stop going back, stop relying on parents–figure out your own marriage. I love the father who got a call from his newly married daughter after her first fight with her husband. In tears she said, “Daddy, it was horrible–I want to come home.” And her daddy said, “Honey, you are home,” as he gently hung up the phone–leave and cleave.
#5 Marriage requires an inseparable joining of a husband and wife throughout their lifetime
Finish verse 24, “and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Cleave means an unswerving loyalty, a continual love that will not let go no matter what. Practically speaking, a wife and husband commit to never say or never do anything that would drive a wedge between them. Say your peace to each other, but if anyone else is critical of your spouse, you take them to pieces–absolute loyalty.
Singles, your goal in dating is to help them become more like Christ. If you leave them, they should be godlier, not less pure. In marriage, you not merely leave the former family relationship, but you cleave to each other, living together in a totally new relationship. To cleave is to weld, to grip, to adhere. It’s the glue that holds you together. It literally means, “I am stuck on you.”
Show it with the ten most important words in marriage—ready? I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you. Never keep lists, don’t let the sun go down on anger issues.
For marrieds, share everything. You see, marriage is never to be my space/your space, my money/your money, my things/your things, your dreams/my dreams. It’s a gluing our lives, where everything becomes ours new together. We’re not to be like the couple who, when asked the secret of their great marriage relationship said, “A quiet dinner and candlelight in a dark restaurant–I go on Tuesday and she goes on Thursday.”
Don’t think about separate anything. No, we are to think us and we–not I and me. It’s not merely what you like and what I like, but what we like, what we learn to like together, learning to enjoy what our spouse enjoys. Backpacking or walking together. Card games or word games. Bodyboarding or sun tanning. Camping or hoteling. Rate your favorite things one to four–things you love get a four, like are a three, give an okay a two, and a one if you don’t like it. The things you both love, spend your marriage doing them.
In dating, you are trying to figure out if there are enough similarities to make the marriage work. In marriage, it’s not my needs and your needs, but meeting each other’s needs. It’s not my time and your time, but our time. Walks, workouts, tennis, bikes, cards, gardening—together. Find those things that you both want to do. Play an instrument.
This doesn’t mean that couples never need space from one another–they do need time alone with the Lord. In some couples, there is one very social individual and one very private individual. But unique differences should never be used as an excuse or rationale for failing to pursue each other in a cleave relationship. You are to be glued to each other–less of you and more of us.
In dating, you let everything progress evenly. Socially, physically, spiritually, emotionally starts really slow and progresses until it is, “We should go no further, or we should pursue engagement”–normally about a year, in the context of a church, in the context of ministry, with godly people giving you continual input. Progress slowly.
#6 Marriage means oneness in the fullest possible sense, including intimate physical union without shame
Verse 24, if you amputate your relationship to your parents and glue yourself to your spouse, then you will become one flesh. I believe Adam and Eve probably could communicate without words. They were perfect. But since the fall, we have to work at making lifelong commitment to the process of enjoying a one-flesh relationship. It’s a unique relationship, a unique unity–a unique blending.
Like the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One yet Three–marriage is one, yet three different persons . . . you, your spouse and Christ. Look at how intimate Adam and Eve were in verse 25, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” In the divine pattern of marriage, sexual intercourse between husband and wife includes both intimate physical knowledge (God created sex) and an intimate, personal knowledge of each other.
So leaving, cleaving and knowing each other results in a new identify in which two individuals merge into one–one in mind, one in heart and one in body. One flesh does involve sexual intimacy, but it is much more than the physical act. It is an issue of total completeness. Look at the failure of marriages that have enjoyed plenty of physical intimacy and you know that one flesh is more than physical intimacy. It is a social, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical intimacy between a husband and a wife in everything.
One flesh involves the complete identification of one personality with another, in a commonality of interest, pursuits, purposes and personalities, which is best expressed in physical union. Marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. It is the total commitment of the total person to another.
Dating couples need to answer—“I can spend the rest of my life with this person forever, for better or for worse.” Let’s interpret the Bible correctly and admit, “One flesh” is mainly about sex. Turn to 1 Corinthians 7. No two creatures God created were more alike than Adam and Eve and He said they would be one flesh–a unity.
Literally, the Hebrew of one flesh has the idea of mashing meat together–not too attractive, but that reference to sexual intimacy is an important part of marriage. You know what 1 Corinthians 7 says in verses 2 through 5, “But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
God just commanded you in these verses four times–four commands to take care of each other. That means whenever a husband wants intimacy, you wives are to grant it. And whenever a wife wants intimacy, you husbands are to grant that. For dating, 27 times in the New Testament—no. In marriage—yes.
If a man wants intimacy four times a week, and a wife wants intimacy two times a week, that means you ought to be having sex six times that week unless they overlap. You need to be in bed more often and take care of each other. Some of you are glorifying God in this area and some of you are disappointing God in this area–for God expects you to take care of each other.
There is a reason Titus 2 tells young women they need to be trained by an older woman on how to literally like their husband. If you are battling here, ladies–it is time for you to talk to an older, godly woman about this. You need her wisdom on this issue. We need to be one flesh in marriage. It is God’s plan, His design.
Let me be practical–use common sense. Wives, if after taking care of four kids, the house, and a ton of chores, then making a fantastic dinner for your husband, you are worn out and you’ve got nothing left for him. Let me make this simple suggestion–let the house be a little dirtier, do a few less chores, make peanut butter sandwiches for your husband—then be intimate with him. You will have a happier marriage.
There is no command for a spotless house, or all the chores done, or for fantastic meals–but there is a command to take care of each other physically. It is a command. Most men I disciple feel that once the kids come, they are put on an intimacy starvation diet. They don’t complain, to keep the peace–but they are experiencing a struggle only their mate can take care of. Take care of each other. Some couples actually plan to be intimate certain days and times. Others pick certain days of the week. I know one couple that said every day that has a “T” in its name–and the husband said, “Yeah, Tuesday, Thursday, Taterday and Tunday.” Okay.
According to Matthew 19, God put you together. Genesis teaches you to look to God for your solutions–not to each other. Why does God give us trials in marriage/dating? He wants us to know Him better. As we do, we will know each other better. As our vertical relationship is established and strengthened, we can achieve a horizontal one-flesh relationship.
You can’t be right with your mate unless you are right with God. You can’t be right with your date unless you are right with God. Once you are right with Christ, then you can also be right with your mate as you pursue this one-flesh relationship. It takes a decision, a commitment, and then time with dependent effort.
There is a reason Ephesians 5:18 is before the discussion on marriage. We need the Spirit to pull off biblical relationships and marriage. The most mature are in the Church–those who have godly marriages, and those who maintain pure relationships where you can still see each other at church after the break-up.
Nothing will prove your walk with God like a guy-gal relationship as a single. And nothing will prove your walk with God more than your marriage. And few things will bring God greater glory and be an amazing witness to the lost more than a Spirit-filled, truth-directed relationship. So here is our opening challenge . . .
#1 Live by TRUTH–do what the Bible says
It’s been said that animals follow their instincts, people follow their emotions, and Christians follow the truth of God’s Word. Do what the Bible says–these are not ideas, helpful hints, but God’s Word is the only way it works. And only by God’s Spirit can you live by His truth.
#2 Develop relationship COMMITMENTS
First Commit to STAY married, no matter what
Malachi 2:14, “Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” God was a witness at your wedding, He was there. You agreed with God you would not break that covenant. “Till death do you part–as long as you both shall live!”
Ruth Graham was asked, “Would you ever consider divorcing Billy?” She said, “Divorce? Never. Murder? Yes. But divorce, never.” Divorce is not an option–murder maybe, but not divorce. You made your vow to your spouse–an unbreakable commitment. Take all possibility of breaking your vow off the table.
Second Commit to spiritual GROWTH
Second Corinthians 3:18, “We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” Only those who grow remain fresh, only those that grow become intimate in the way God designed. Make time in the Word and prayer. Make time to serve together. Go over sermons after Sunday, to discuss them–take steps to apply them.
Third Commit to PREFERRING the other
Romans 12:10, “Give preference to one another in honor.” Not 50/50, but 100%–all of you. And for men, this means exercising leadership. Embrace the fact that you are responsible if finances are out, then start paying the bills. Don’t be passive and let your wife lead out of fear. Ladies, trust the Lord and trust your husband. If communication is wacky, then work out ways to talk better.
Fourth Commit to the kids SECOND
Genesis 2, before children, there was marriage. You’re heading for a divorce with your children–you will leave them, but never your spouse. Children are temporary, but marriage is lifelong. Because of fear and because of this culture, many women are cleaved with their children and not their spouse. If there is a conflict with the kids and spouse, the spouse must win.
Don’t ever say, “I will always be there for you,” to the kids. Disciple your kids and train them to leave. Train them to make an impact for Christ while on the earth after you are gone.
Fifth Commit to the BRIDE of Christ
Sports, video games, social media are all out of control and killing the Church. Christians are violating the commands to serve, to give, to sacrifice. They are worshiping their homes over God. Home is an idol, kids in sports, video games, social media is an idol. Why are you doing more of that than serving Christ? Why are you here?
Sixth Commit to TIME together
Schedule intimacy, if you need to. But most of all, schedule a regular date night, just to talk. This is the gym, not the spa–but it has paid off. Let’s commit to the main things–the foundation. Marriage does not have to be a three-ring circus. Starting with an engagement ring, next a wedding ring, then end up with the suffer-ring. Turn to Christ, depend on His Word, do things according to His blueprint and you will be blessed. Let’s pray.