Husband + Wife + Jesus = One.
Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." ...
Gen 2:22-25 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 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." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
One of the greatest blessings that has ever occurred in my life was the day God placed my wife in front of me. That day resonates in me as if it were yesterday and probably always will. We were on a singles retreat and I never imagined that God would lay before me the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on.
I was hanging out in the dusty gravel parking lot with a couple of friends and in pulls a Chevy Blazer with a couple of ladies with bicycles in the back. Being the good Christian man that I was I walked over to the vehicle to offer my assistance. It was a perfect summer afternoon and the sun was shining high. The trees were just slightly blowing and a hint of pine whispered with the breeze. I greeted my passenger friend and was quite intrigued with the driver. She was a thing to behold... that was what went through my mind.
I assisted them with the bikes and made it a point from that moment on that I was going to get to know this girl. As the weekend went on I took every opportunity I could to spend time wherever she was at. And little did I know, she was doing a little evaluating of her own. After the retreat we all went to a mutual friends for swimming and some fast food. After that weekend I went my way and she went hers. Since we were members of the same church I knew there would be opportunities to see her again.
A month or so went by and we were spending time as a group of friends around a lake in the area. I was involved in a pretty difficult situation that weekend and she unselfishly stepped up to the plate to help me. It was at that moment that I realized I wanted to spend a lot more time with this gal. We have never left each others side since.
God has an amazing way of bringing people together and an even more amazing way of keeping them together. I would love to say that our relationship has been like a Disney fairy tale, but as we soon discovered... we both have issues! She was beauty and I was the beast... We are fallible human beings and we are subject to sin and failure. Without the covenant of marriage and the strength of Christ we were doomed for extinction.
So what does it mean that the two shall become one? To me it is quite a mystery. Just like the virgin birth, the Trinity, or the resurrection of Jesus, becoming one flesh is a concept that was difficult for me to grasp. Becoming one flesh requires that two people give up their needs as individuals and look to the common need of the relationship. This was a painful process for me to do in the beginning of our marriage and is still a work in progress. As I would get closer to her I began to feel more vulnerable and would start to pull away. This pulling away would cause damage to our relationship as if to pull apart a piece of flesh from the bone. After a little pain I would draw closer again and the pattern would continue. Because we had a covenant relationship between us and Christ we stayed together. Once we realized that our house was being built on sand, we turned from our selfish ways and committed to begin rebuilding our marriage on the Rock of Christ. This is when we began to thrive.
Mat 7:24-25 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
I believe that the scriptures clearly lay out for us the ingredients for a successful marriage. As marriages are being attacked more and more, the one's who find their foundation in Christ and stay committed to the covenant will prosper. The Bible has many verses to help us stay faithful, pure, and committed to one another and if they are followed then every marriage can stand the test of time.
1Co 7:2-3 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
As we began to give up our own selfish desires we started looking more and more to the health of our marriage. Lori and I got tired of being right, tired of being frustrated, and tired of defending our own ground. I remember the day it all changed. God revealed Himself to us in a way that not only changed our marriage, but changed our lives as individuals. The words we heard stopped us in our tracks and we started down a difficult road of repentance and healing. The main thing I discovered as a husband was where I fell short as the leader of my family. Oh, it was easy to blame her for everything, after all, wasn't it Eve who caused Adam to sin in the garden (tongue in cheek). The more we learned about ourselves the more I understood the words of Ephesians 5.
Eph 5:28-30 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
It all started with me and my role before God as a husband. The most amazing part of this whole transformation for me was, as I started to look at her unselfishly, the things I thought I needed changed. My fulfillment started to come from Christ and not my wife. And as I was being filled with the richness of Christ I was able to then be fulfilled in the relationship. And the needs I did have in my marriage started to be filled as well.
It is kind of like when I was a builder and we would pour a foundation on an addition to a home. If the forms were laid correctly then the foundation would be level. Once we had a level foundation then the rest of the structure went up with great ease. On occassion my concrete guy would pour a foundation and the top would need to be shimmed, or it didn't match the existing home, or it wasnt't perfectly square. When the foundation was wrong the entire framing process became more difficult.
Once I took to heart that Christ was my true, level, and perfect foundation I began rebuilding my marriage and my own life over again. I finally understood that I was to be the framing that was laid on that foundation and my wife and family were to be the rest of the home. Without a good foundation built on the Rock and solid framing, a home will never stand.
The Lord has been faithfully working in our lives for many years. He is faithful to complete the good work He has started and that includes our marriage as well. I thank Him daily for the gift of marriage and the beautiful woman he gave me that day. I can truly say that she is more precious to me today than when I first laid eyes on her... and I attribute that to God. But it has taken work. Lots of hard, grueling, heart wrenching work. And it has been worth every painful and glorious minute.
Lord thank you for opening my eyes to my sin. Thank you for showing me where I fall short and keeping me faithful to turn to you for guidance and truth. You have been faithful to me in spite of my selfishness and Lord I pray that I can always look to you to help me be the man I need to be to the woman that you have given to me.