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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”—Genesis 2:24-25 (NKJV)
On the day of my wedding, I spent the last few moments as a single woman alone. The bridal party had lined up in the hallway, and I waited with anticipation in the bride’s room for my new role as a wife to begin. One thing was very clear to me: In a few moments, I would walk down a long aisle wearing white and forever leave behind my life as a single woman to step into my God-appointed role as a helper, friend, partner, and lover. The vows I was about to speak were not just words, they were a lifetime commitment to steadfastly love and serve one man.
Genesis 2 outlines God’s design for marriage. First, we are to “leave.” Our allegiance transfers from our parents to our spouse. We are to devote greater honor to our marriage than any other earthly relationship. Second, we are to “cleave” or “join” with our spouse. The Hebrew word here implies sticking with closely, adhering to, and clinging. The husband and wife are to cement their relationship into an inseparable, permanent bond. The tenderness and beauty of the woman combines with the tenacity and strength of the man to gloriously display the image of God as one flesh.
Before the fall of man, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” This doesn’t just mean they ran around without wearing clothing. “Naked” refers to a vulnerable authenticity where husband and wife are completely comfortable with one another. God created marriage for us to enjoy one another completely. As we reveal our true self to our spouse each day, we forge a deep intimacy where we freely share our hearts, minds, and bodies without holding back. Our homes should be a “shame free” zone where we do not have to keep our inner lives hidden from view. We are to help one another walk toward greater freedom in Christ.
If you are not married, keep in mind that the principles outlined here are a picture of our covenant relationship with Christ. Your Savior is a jealous bridegroom, and you are His radiant bride (2 Corinthians 11:1-3). Today, we can live naked and unashamed before God and develop a deeper intimacy with the One who loves us most.
DIG: Read 1 Peter 3:1-12. Using the suggestions Peter makes in this passage, make a list of practical steps you can take to love others well this week.
DISCOVER: Set up a coffee date to chat with a couple who has a solid Christian marriage. Ask them to share their story with you. Seek godly counsel on how to forge deeper intimacy in your marriage or in your friendships.
DO: Spend time this week praying for God to help you be authentic and vulnerable in your marriage and/or to show you how to cultivate intimate, godly friendships.