Adam & Eve: Traveling Toward Intimacy
How can you move your marriage toward harmony and intimacy?
The true meaning of intimacy is the phrase, “In-to-me-see.” God designed our hearts and souls to blend with another’s, so we can “see into” who they are and they can “see into” us. Intimacy was God’s original plan for man and woman, and it was why He created Eve from Adam’s very body. In Genesis, we learn ways to nurture emotional intimacy in our marriage.
About This Journey
God says that it is not good for man to be alone. Life is better with the buddy system—in the Military and especially in marriage. It gives us a greater reward for our work, someone to help us when we fall, and a shoulder to rest on. In “Devoted to My Husband”, we journey with six women through intimacy, trust, communication, healthy boundaries, generosity, and teamwork.
This Week's Readings
Adam & Eve: Traveling Toward Intimacy
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”-Genesis 2:18
To call my husband “my buddy” sounds a bit trite and corny. I tend to use that word with little children as a cute term of endearment. But the military uses buddy in a way that brings depth and purpose. It is anything but cute. In the military, a buddy can be a means to save a life. The buddy system has come to represent team cohesion and resilience.
Whether as a shipmate in the Navy or Marines, a wingman in the Air Force, or a battle buddy in the Army, the military recognizes the necessity of companionship. Partners are assigned not just for friendship, but also for physical and emotional protection. Two buddies watch out for each other and look after each other’s welfare. The military buddy system improves work performance and is the major source of encouragement to overcome stressful military-related situations, from basic training to war zones.
When God created the world, he looked at everything he created and pronounced it “good.” But in Genesis 2:18, God states emphatically that it is not good for the man to be alone. In other words, it is bad. The contrasting repetition of the word good grabs my attention and highlights the truth that no human can fulfill God’s plan alone—we are made to need a battle buddy.
The writer of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes describes the buddy system poetically:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12)
Life is better and richer when we operate with the buddy system—especially in marriage. We will have greater reward for our work, someone to help us when we fall down, and even someone to keep our feet warm in a cold bed.
What positive aspects of the military buddy system can you apply to marriage? How are these characteristics evident in your marriage? Name one characteristic you will focus on this week to strengthen your marriage.
Lord, thank you for my husband. Strengthen our relationship as we offer love and support to one another. Amen.
Made For Each Other
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 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. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 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. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.-Genesis 2:18-22
You’ve seen those couples who look like they were made for each other. It may sound shallow, but be honest—you know exactly what I’m talking about! Scripture does not give us any indication of the appearance of Adam and Eve, but there is no doubt they were made for each other!
The idea conveyed in Genesis 2:18–22 is that God intends to create an indispensable companion for the man. Her contributions would be essential. As his helper, she would do what no one else could. She would not only join in taking care of creation and raising children, but these two would experience the mutual support of companionship.
The animals are presented to the first man Adam for him to name, but none of them pass the implicit test in the helper fit for him department. So God provides what is missing, or who is missing. God did not make the woman out of dust like man and the animals, but from the very body of the man.
An often-quoted description by the seventeenth-century theologian Matthew Henry communicates the spirit of the text:
Not made out of his head to top him,
not 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’s description, though sweet and flowery, is also a glimpse into the ideal of marriage as a relationship marked by harmony and intimacy.
Adam and Eve were made for each other. In what ways are you and your husband made for each other?
Lord, you created me to be in relationship with you and with others. Help the relationship I have with my husband to be one of harmony and intimacy. I know these things do not come naturally, so help me to be willing to do my part. Amen.
A New Family
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.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.-Genesis 2:23-24
“If you want to experience the truth of Genesis 2:24, just marry a soldier, sailor, airman, coastguardsman, or marine. You will then understand to the fullest what God had in mind when he gave the instruction to leave and cleave!” These words from veteran military wife Carol ring true. “Cleave” (the term used in older English translations for this verse) is a word packed with meaning that needs to stick in the minds and hearts of every married couple. In fact, that is exactly the translation of cleave: to stick with. The word describes the “inseparable relationship between the man and the woman in marriage as God intended.”
Carol recalls the emotions she experienced when, after nine months of marriage, her husband received military orders to Germany. She said, “The idea of going to another country made me think I might never see my parents again.” She questioned whether the love she and her husband had for each other would be strong enough to withstand the adjustment of life without her mom and dad.
“Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” speaks of the uniting of a husband and wife as one. The wording of Scripture in Genesis 2:24 conveys the radical nature of the marriage union. Consider the case of a female egg and male sperm coming together to form a new human being. One day that new person will physically depart the mother’s body and live separately. Though this child shares traits, genes, and relationships with others, the child has an identity apart from the family of origin.
Just as we cut the umbilical cord at the birth of a new baby, there must be a separation from mom and dad so we can stick with and hold fast to a spouse. A mama wants to hold tight to a newborn baby, but it would be absurd—and unhealthy—for her to want the umbilical cord to remain intact.
Marriage does not mean you forget about your family of origin, but does mean your primary family identity now comes with your spouse. A new union that creates a new family happens when you say, “I do.” This union between a man and woman goes beyond physical union toward the union of spirits through love and concern, faithfulness and devotion, support and involvement.
What does healthy emotional sustainment look like? What are the dangers of leaning too hard on your husband for emotional sustenance? What other sources of emotional support do you have? How does a military marriage enhance or discourage emotional sustainment?
Lord, teach me what it means to be one with my husband. Give us healthy boundaries, and help us overcome those things that would hinder closeness. Amen.
More Than No Clothes
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.-Genesis 2:25
Intimacy and vulnerability are two words that make me uncomfortable. These words share a strong connection, because in order to be intimate I must be willing to be vulnerable. Imagine a time without vulnerability—but there it is in Genesis 2:25: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Naked. The word alone communicates vulnerability.
Yet at creation Adam and Eve were two completely comfortable and uninhibited sojourners in paradise. Naked did not conjure up feelings of body image, insecurity, acceptance, exposure, or exploitation. Naked and unashamed was God’s intended plan for marriage. The original state of being for Adam and Eve was intimacy. God provided everything they required and they were content.
God defined the initial concept of intimacy by nakedness, which he characterized by innocence and integrity. Adam and Eve hid nothing from each other. They had no secrets, no agendas, no deception, and therefore no shame. Their nakedness represented openness and trust.
Physical nakedness is a gift for a husband and wife to enjoy together. It is also a metaphor for the emotional and spiritual intimacy of marriage. To disrobe my fears and failures feels risky. What if my husband does not like what he sees in me? Deeper levels of intimacy take time as we erratically remove each layer of concealment until our souls are bare and we are not ashamed.
As the years progress in marriage, two naked bodies will fade from their youthful beauty. But two naked souls can grow into a lovely intimacy that will keep the gleam in the eye ’til death do you part.
How would you define emotional intimacy? What are ways you nurture emotional intimacy in your marriage?
Lord, help the love my husband and I share to grow deeper each day. Protect our relationship and make us willing to be vulnerable, willing to give each other time to bare our souls. Amen.
An Apple A Day Keeps Intimacy Away
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.-Genesis 3:4-7
A tree at one of my childhood homes was filled with beautiful orange fruit. Our family assumed it was an orange tree and we eagerly awaited the time we could pick the oranges and enjoy fresh juice for breakfast. The day finally came! We plucked the lovely oranges from the tree. We juiced the oranges. We tasted the juice. We all ran for the sink to spit out the vile tasting liquid! The tree deceived us. Its fruit was for ornamentation, not for consumption.
We cannot know what type of fruit Eve and Adam ate in the garden that led to their downfall, but the iconic symbol has become the apple. Like the oranges of my childhood, the fruit looked delicious (and probably was). Moreover, it seemed to hold a special ability to enhance mental faculties that would make one wise. At the urging of the serpent, Eve decided to take a bite and disregard God’s warning. Adam, who was with her, wanted to taste the fruit too—and he did.
The act had dire consequences. Eating the fruit ultimately led to their deaths, but the first price recorded in Genesis was the loss of unfettered intimacy as they covered themselves with leaves. Their nakedness was more than skin deep. Disobedience had torn apart a perfect intimacy of souls and wrapped their wounded spirits in the coverings of distorted desire, distrust, blame, and fear.
Since Adam and Eve left the perfect Garden of Eden, couples have had to work hard to rebuild any semblance of their original intimacy. Even in good circumstances, intimacy can take a long time to develop. When we eat the fruit of criticism, distrust, or deceit, intimacy will elude us and we miss a particular purpose God intends for marriage.
Take a lesson from Eve. No matter how tasty a forbidden fruit appears, it doesn’t compare with shared intimacy in marriage. Even if one could grant special powers, the results will never match those of following God’s plan for an intimate relationship with your husband.
What factors can erode intimacy in a military marriage? What factors can improve intimacy in a military marriage?
Lord, it is easy for me to avoid intimacy. It feels risky and uncomfortable. Don’t let me run away from sharing myself completely with my husband. Help me to see the ways that even this military life can help me run toward a deeper connection with him. Amen.
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