“# 2 ~ The Marriage of God’s Dreams”

Scott and Cindy

Recently, I was reflecting upon a 4-hour teaching seminar Cindy and I gave for a local church’s Weekend Marriage Retreat.

As I was praying about what direction to take my blogs for 2012 and the goal of helping you achieve the marriage of your dreams, I felt impressed to loosely follow the outline we used for our talk.

So, over the next few months, I will be systematically going through what I shared with that group (which means you get the benefits without paying the $’s!).

However, before we get there, I wanted to share something I read today as I was working on my doctoral thesis.  It fits well with what I shared in my last blog, in which I stated that meeting needs is something that God intends for marriage.

In my reading today, I came across an Old Testament scholar’s take on Genesis 2.  Ray Ortlund reminded me that the garden that Adam inhabited before the fall was almost a perfect place.

It was generously supplied not only with the necessities of life, but “also with rich luxuries to be wondered at under any circumstances”.   Furthermore, the “tree of life” existed to sustain the man indefinitely with ample sustenance.   And, Adam was given meaningful work (“to work and till the garden”).  In addition, God throws open to the man the freedom to enter into the joys of his new existence with only one restriction (the “tree of good and evil”).  And, to top it all off, God was there!

YET, “amid abundant provision, meaningful responsibility, personal care from God, and splendid promise for the future, God puts his finger on the one flaw in this otherwise ideal environment:  “It is not good for the man to be alone”.”   Amazingly, Adam had needs that only his wife could meet.

So, total perfection demanded one more creative act ~ the provision of a helpmate for the man!  As I was reading Orlund’s exposition of Genesis 2, I was struck anew with just how dynamic God intended this relationship to be.

The English doesn’t do well with translating the Hebrew.  Let me paraphrase Genesis 2:23-24 using some of Ortlund’s insights.

Genesis 2:23:   This woman, this one right here, this amazing woman standing right in front of me, at last and I mean FINALLY, oh how long have I been waiting for her, she is FINALLY here.   She is a part of me, and I am a part of her.

Genesis 2:24:  Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave and they will become one flesh — and by cleave I mean that the highest allegiance I have is to my wife (above the allegiance to my parents ~ she I will put above all other human relationships).  Ortlund goes on to write:   “Furthermore, to cleave means that, physically, the man takes his wife in his arms,  so that in the course of normal life their marriage is frequently symbolized, celebrated, and refreshed through sexual union.  Emotionally, the man fixes upon her alone his deepest affections, under God, with a profound sense of attachment, contentment, and fulfillment…The new life created by a marriage fuses a man and wife together into one, fully sharing human experience,s prompting mutual care, tenderness, and love.

I think Adam looked at his wife and said, “Wow ~ Now This Is Living!” (or, as I like to say to my wife, “You Are Sexy”! )

And, yet, as I captured anew a vision for my own marriage, something else he wrote violently grabbed me ~ Orlund wrote ~ “There comes a day when every married man, stripped of everything he cherishes in this life must let go even of his beloved wife’s hand.  Marriage is profound, but not ultimate.”   While I am married to my wife here on earth, I will not be in heaven.  Our union, though a life-time, will not be an eternity-time.

So, as I sat there reading those words, tears flowed down my cheeks.   Realizing that my days to honor and love my wife are numbered (as in, one fewer than they were yesterday), I resolved to love her to the best of my ability while I am privileged to have the opportunity.

So as we enter 2012, I wonder if you will join me in setting aside the shallow excitement of much of what we chase, and set about the business of joining Adam in saying, “WOW ~ NOW THIS IS LIVING!”  I’m betting Adam was living one heck of a romance ~ don’t you think ?   I’d like to join him.  I’d love to have you join me in the journey.

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10 Responses to “# 2 ~ The Marriage of God’s Dreams”

  1. Jenni Leonard says:

    Scott, my first response is WOW! That is an unbelievable take on Adam’s reaction to God’s creation FOR HIM! That is what I desire from my husband and I know we’re not there. I’m going to share this with him and see what he thinks.

  2. Megan says:

    Enjoyed this article: . http://m.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/features/27749-you-never-marry-the-right-person

    My husband and I have often talked about how people change after marriage, so marriage must be built on much more than being compatible and in love at the altar.

    • Dear Megan,
      Yes, exactly.
      For the most part, who can’t have a good time dating — you basically spend money and go out. How hard can that be? The real “work” comes after the marriage, when the kids come, and the bills come, and the time constraints come, and the job stress comes, etc. Then, how much “work” will you put into making your marriage succeed and meeting the needs of your spouse?
      With regard to your posted article, I agree with the parts about the fact that a successful marriage is about work (change, growth, etc). That is so true.
      However, the one point I disagree with is this idea that our visions and goals for our relationships are too high, too hard, to exalted. The reality (from my position as a Marriae Life Coach) is that most peopole as not asking for the fasion-model/astronaut combination, but for someone to pick up their clothes, help with the kids and dishes, and to be taken out for a date once every two weeks. I don’t believe these things are too demanding of a spouse to ask from the person who is supposed to be the most important person in their life, and who has promised to “honor and cherish them till death do us part”.
      Thanks, again, for your thoughts. I do appreciate them.

      • Megan says:

        I got the impression that it’s the dating and single people who too often go into it looking for some perfect ideal. I remember a guy friend of mine telling me once that he was probably going to dump his girlfriend because he felt that she ate too much and didn’t work out as much as he did. I hoped for her sake that he did break it off because I wouldn’t have wished for my worst enemy to date let alone marry a guy that narcissistic and self-serving.

        I hope in one of your future posts you’ll address marriages where one spouse has needs the other spouse truly cannot meet and how to deal with the frustration and guilt both partners feel as a result. Especially cases where their needs are in direct opposition to each other.

        • Dear Megan,

          Thanks for your comment.

          With regard to people wanting “the ideal”, there may be some truth to the fact that dating people tend to look for the perfect ideal. And, I would lay that issue at the feet of those people who are doing pre-marital counseling in a way that is so superficial it makes you want to puke. I am counseling a young man right now (who is separated from his wife) who had two sessions of pre-marital counseling with their pastor and all they did was talk about the wedding plans! That pastor should be reprimanded for absolute negligence (and I happen to be a pastor as well for 20 years !). I do pre-marital counseling in my Marriage Life Coaching in which I see the couple for 10 hours and have them do 30 hours of growth assignments. Trust me, when they are done, they know the pluses and minuses of their partner. So, people should NOT be getting married looking for the ideal,.

          However, having said that, most spouses have a whole lot of growing to do to get to where they are truly saying they are doing their best. So, in my experience, most spouses really are not focused in the right areas to meet their spouses true needs (nor are they making it enough of a priority in their busy lives). So, when you talk about “needs that the other spouse cannot meet:”, I really haven’t seen that much. I’ve seen cases where the other spouse is “unwilling” to meet the needs, but rarely have I seen the case where the spouse just can’t meet the need.

          I’m sure there are exceptions. But, I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples and I’ve rarely (if ever that I can recall) seen a case where a spouse couldn’t meet the needs of their spouse. I’d need to think about that more to see if I’ve seen that much..

          So, I’d be happy to think about a specific example if you have one. And, I’d be glad to blog about that in the near future. If you have a specific thought in mind, you can continue this public comment by replying to this e-mail or just e-mail me privately at mttop4u@gmail.com. I’ll look forward to trying to be of help.

          Thanks, again, for you comment.

          • Megan says:

            Here’s an example from my own life. Differing sleep needs. I need 8 hrs a night; hubby needs 5. We both get up between 5&6 am. By the time the children are in bed, I am exhausted, having been with them all day. I want to get in bed and read for an hour (I’m an introvert and recharge by reading and being left completely alone), but my hubby would love for us to spend a couple if hours together, generally involving romance. Accomplishing that and meeting his needs means I’m limited to maybe 6 hrs of sleep a night and then run at a constant deficit. This makes me foggy headed, short with the kids, resentful of time with my hubby. Neglecting his needs leaves him feeling unloved and resenting that the kids suck the energy out of me.

            We work around this by agreeing to a “schedule” of nights I can read and rest, and nights that we spend time together, but on the nights that we get our own way, the other person is still left feeling like their needs aren’t being met. Obviously marriage involves constant negotiation and compromise. But if we are honest, we both know that our love languages and temperaments play a big role in how difficult it can be for us to daily meet each others needs.

            • Dera Megan,

              OK. Got it. Give me a day or so to think about it and I’ll get back to you.

              Scott

              • Megan says:

                Would definitely like to hear your thoughts. I appreciate you encouraging couplesto spend 15 hours a week talking, but it’s tough to find those two hours a night, and my husband works at least 12 hours a day 6-7 days a week, so we don’t have large ninterrupted blocks of time on the weekends to make up for long weekdays either.

                • OK, Megan. Sorry for the delay in answering your question. In an effort to get more info from you, I will e-mail you privately and we can go from there. So, I will have more time tomorrow (Sat) to devote to answering your questions. Thanks for your patience.

  3. Pingback: Being Content vs. Wanting Needs to be Met | The Marriage Mechanic – Scott R. Minnich

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