Marriage Matters: Lessons from Biblical Couples 3
Adam and Eve – Companionship Matters
Genesis 2:18-25; 3–4
When we think of Adam and Eve, perhaps we still see them as tiny figures on a flannelgraph in Sunday school. She sits beneath a tree while the serpent hangs from a branch, tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit. He stands beside her with hand outstretched to eat it, and then rushes with her behind the bushes to hide from God. While the fall is the climactic moment of humanity’s disconnection from God and from each other, it is not the scene in which Adam and Eve’s story began.
After God created the first man and tasked him with naming and caring for all the animals in the garden, God saw that there was no creature suitable to help man fulfill all that he had been designed for. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So God made the woman—a perfect counterpart to this man, fully equipped to work with him, communicate with him, and love him in ways no one else ever could. Adam was so overjoyed when she arrived that he said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (2:23). Finally, God had given Adam someone to spend his life with. In Adam and Eve, we see that God designed husbands and wives to be companions from the beginning.
Matthew Henry once said, “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” Henry clearly found the side-by-side nature of the marriage relationship to be highly susceptible to misinterpretation. No, wives are not designed to control their husbands, and no, husbands are not designed to step on their wives. Yes, husbands should protect and cherish their wives. But the undercurrent to all of this is that God made the woman from man’s side—they are knit together centrally at the core of who they are—and God made her for a reason. Eve was created to be a helper suitable for Adam; our marriages are still designed to work in this way.
There has, of course, been much discussion and debate about what exactly the “helper” role entails, but whatever specific functions wives carry out, it is abundantly clear they have been intentionally designed by God to prioritize being compatible companions for their husbands. Those of us who are married have likely learned that Hollywood’s definition of “compatibility” is not what everyday married life is all about. Yes, our spouses are our sexual companions as we get to share that intimate relationship exclusively with them. But companionship is far more than just physical.
Married couples get to share in the most difficult and the most joyful moments of their lives. They grieve losses together, they celebrate achievements together, they welcome and raise children together, they make their homes together, and they live out the Great Commission together. They spend their days talking with one another, making decisions together, and nurturing one another in practical and spiritual ways. They laugh together and play together and learn new things together. Deep, long-term companionship is the one factor of a good marriage that absolutely no other relationship can offer.
Yes, we will enjoy the blessings of other friendships. There will be certain things we simply don’t enjoy doing together or hobbies we have no interest in. But let us strive to live life side by side with the best friend we have—our spouse. Perhaps we all need to make a bit more time for quality time in our marriages. Perhaps we need to find a ministry in which to serve together or a project on which we can collaborate. Perhaps we just need to build a deeper friendship by having conversation time with no one else around. Whatever our unique relationships may be needing right now, let us ask God to help us be the companions that our spouses crave. Let us ensure that we are the one person with whom they can safely share every single hard and hope-filled moment until the Lord takes us home.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. For if one falls down, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to help him up! Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)