Monday, October 28, 2013

Cleaving to A Wife

You remember the passage:
KJV Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Jesus clarifies in Matthew 19:4-5 that the words of verse 24 came from God, not from Adam.

So from God's own mouth we have a clear mandate that when a man is forced to choose between loyalty to his wife or to his parents, he is to choose his wife.

This is exactly what Adam did, when Eve presented him with the forbidden fruit.

Eve was deceived, not Adam (1 Tim 2:14), into eating the forbidden fruit. But having done so, she brought the fruit to Adam to eat (Gen 3:6). In that moment, Adam had a choice to make: Would he be loyal to his Parent who created him and told him not to eat this fruit, lest he die? Or would he be loyal to his wife, who was walking dead already?

Adam chose Death, in order to stand loyally with his wife.

I can't praise Adam for this choice, because he brought sin and death into what had been a "very good" (Gen 1:31) world, bringing misery and destruction to billions of people. But had it not affected the rest of us, had it only affected him, we would laud Adam for choosing to stand by his wife even though it meant death for himself.

In a like vein, while in a time of praise with a local congregation, I had the thought go through my mind that a man
needs to focus on making his wife happy, on meeting her needs. He doesn't need to focus on his job, or on his kids, or on his own interests; he doesn't even need to focus on Jesus. He needs to focus on making his wife happy.
I immediately balked at this idea of putting a man's wife above Jesus, but then this scripture came to mind:
HCSB 1 Cor 7:32 I want you to be without concerns. An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.
Notice that Paul does not castigate the married person for focusing on their spouse; he simply says that married people can't focus on Jesus because they're focusing on their spouses. There is no judgment for this situation, just a preference that if it can be avoided, it should be avoided.

And then another scripture comes to mind:
HCSB 1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
This verse is saying that if you don't have a proper relationship with your spouse, you won't have a proper relationship with God.

So I'm back to this strong "sensation" that a man needs to understand that his job is not to take his daughter to softball practice, or to keep the electricity on, or to get his son a car. All these things are important and need to be done. But his job is to make his wife happy. (And that doesn't mean by buying her stuff; it means by connecting with her heart.)

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