18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them... 20 ...But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2 ESV)
Man and woman became one flesh in the Garden of Eden. Marriage was perfectly satisfying. The sacred relationship between man and woman reflected the holy relationship between the members of the Trinity as they relate to one another. But sin soon entered the world and the oneness of marriage became forever destroyed. Man and woman were each cursed for their sin (Genesis 3).
16 To the woman “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;”
Since that time, women have struggled against their selfish desires for authority and have suffered both physical and emotional pain from her relationships with others, especially her family. Men have labored in vain to provide for the family knowing that they can never do enough to overcome death.
Each curse is reflective of their sin in the garden. Eve desired greater authority and independence (She wanted to be like God). Adam stood idly by while his wife was being tempted. Each is cursed with the pain of sin in their daily lives and each has a natural bent toward self rather than oneness. Our own selfish desires are our greatest weakness.
Marriage is a daily struggle destined for failure apart from supernatural intervention. Both man and woman are selfish and each desires his/her own way. The word and the very idea of submission are despised in our culture as each person, young and old alike, strives to find satisfaction and happiness through his own efforts.
But God (Oh, how I love every instance of this phrase in the Bible!), equips and enables us through the power of the Holy Spirit to live for Him rather than for ourselves. Because Jesus was without sin yet died in our place, we are no longer slaves to the curse of Genesis 3. Each day can be a delight as we seek first the things of God rather than the things of the world (Matthew 6:25-34). Marriage requires great, daily sacrifice. To protect it, we fight against the world culture, the temptations that surround us, and the temptations of our own hearts.
It is a continual, uphill battle, but it is worth the fight. No matter what the state of your marriage is today, will you together commit to seek God first? If you are weary from the financial strain, will you together seek God’s direction and submit to it? If you are heartbroken over the loss of a child, will you together seek God for comfort? If you or your spouse have been unfaithful, will you together seek God for reconciliation? God alone is our hope to overcome the curse against marriage. He alone is able to heal our deepest sorrows. He alone can give new life to that which is dead. No matter the circumstances, “…I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)
Despite the sin of man, “the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) And God will do the same for you and for me- He sees, He hears, and He will provide.