“‘At last!’, Adam exclaimed. ‘She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called ‘woman’ because she was taken out of man.’ This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:23,24 New Living Translation
This is probably one of the best known verses in the Bible, following closely behind the Ten Commandments, the Twenty-third Psalm, and John 3:16. They are not necessarily in that order of course, and it will depend on your circumstances as to which of these verses may be at the front of your conscious thought.
In two weeks I will have the pleasure and privilege of performing a wedding service for a friend of mine and his bride to be. I quite like doing weddings, and have been giving thought to what I will say as I conduct the ceremony to join these two into what God created to become one. As usual, my head is buzzing with all kinds of interesting musings. I’ve been thinking about the headship theology issue and what it means to be the man of the family.
Let’s say you were to join me when I was conducting a marriage ceremony. Which verse might you consider to be the most likely one to be in first place? I prefer Genesis 2:23,24 hands down, although sometime later the Twenty-third Psalm just might fit better than “… the two are united into one.” The truth is there are times when the two may feel they are traversing “… the valley of the shadow of death…” as they discover it isn’t easy becoming one.
Personally, I blame Adam with his declaration of supreme, delirious joy at finally having a mate for creating the picture we carry of that oneness being so easy to achieve! Honestly, Adam had no idea what it would be like for two beings who were so very different to make the sacrifice inherent in two becoming one. For it is a sacrifice, one that isn’t easily made.
For some reason we think all there is to it is a few words, a party, and let the joining begin! It might have been that easy in the beginning, but something went terribly wrong and the two who were once one threw each other under the proverbial bus.
Once more I blame Adam, unlike so many who, over the thousands of years, have laid the blame at the feet of Eve. Why wasn’t Adam watching out for her, this woman he declared to be his flesh and bone? Why aren’t we husbands watching out for our wives today? This world is a dangerous place, filled with predators who are more than willing to snatch your wife right out from under your nose! That’s what the Serpent did; he beguiled Eve, turned her head, mesmerized her (and I will step out here knowing the arrows may fall like rain on my head). In her fear she ran to the one who was supposed to protect her, and he caved rather than take a chance God could fix the problem.
I wonder if any of this sounds familiar? You see I believe that ever since the Garden of Eden men have been trying to get it right by getting it completely wrong. Instead of acknowledging the priceless pearl God had provided men to bring balance in their lives, men took this precious treasure, the female, and tried to make her of no value. They made an effort to whitewash their guilt and shame, knowing they weren’t getting it right.
The sad truth is that it continues today. We stand before our friends, family, and guests and promise we will cherish, honor, give till it hurts, give till we die (pardon the paraphrase), and pledge ourselves to the woman standing with us. But men, what happens?
Quite frankly, I’m not interested in any excuses, because mine don’t get me anywhere with God or anyone else, so why should yours? I have known my wife for over 40 years and I still struggle to get it right. Often, it’s because of ghosts I refuse to bury which still haunt my nights, but none of this is her fault! Just as it wasn’t Eve’s fault that Adam choked on the most important day of his life!
I will put before you today that you may already have choked on that day. I’m not talking about the wedding day; I’m talking about the day the one who is “bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh” needed your protection and you did an “Adam”! Here is the point, God’s Grace can and will change all that if you and I will allow Him and His Grace to begin the transformation process that makes us truly Men!
And we don’t need some headship theology to define who we are as Men of God because Men of God look like Jesus, not Attila the Hun!
“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.” Ephesians 5:28-33 The Message