theology

WIFE: the missing link

"She’s got gaps and I got gaps, between the two of us,our gaps meet and we sort of fill each other in." -Rocky Balboa, Rocky

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t use the same raw material and method to create Eve that He used for Adam?  I have.  He could have used the same dirt or a petal from a flower or a leaf from a tree.  Why from the man at all?  And what is so significant about the rib?

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; And while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.

I wonder what that experience was like for Adam.

What is missing?

Imagine standing in your kitchen, in the middle of making thanksgiving dinner.  In a brief lull as you wait for the turkey drippings to reach boiling for gravy, you doze off in a daydream for a few seconds but when you snap out of it, all the spoons are missing, even the one in your hand!

That’s what happened to Adam.  God took something away from him.  The part that God took was not a spare part or an extra part, but an essential part; it made him autonomous.  The piece that enabled self-sufficiency in Adam, was now missing.  Let that marinade for a second:

Adam was created complete and self-sufficient; he needed nothing

but when he wakes from his nap

he now has a … gap.

Something has changed inside of him,

he is not self-sufficient anymore.

he has a lack.

Adam’s rib, more than just bone and marrow, is an essence.  The Amplified describes it as, a part of his side.  Not literally less a rib, because men and women have the same number of ribs, but something represented by a rib.

WHo & what wives are?

Dig a little deeper into this essence and what you find is power and strength.  God took power and strength out of Adam’s side (his rib) and used it to create another human.  This strength and power is both beautiful and dangerous.  Beautiful because it can propel a man to be his best.  Dangerous because it can cause a man to limp along in life or even stop him in his tracks; to literally cause him to halt.  That is some serious power.

Now the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Of all the English words to describe God’s intent for wives, helper meet is the weakest.  I struggle with the English translation because it casts the vision of a companion to remedy isolation or to fill a void of loneliness.  God said “alone” not “lonely.”

The word for wife [helper] is ezer.  It means power and strength; just like God is power and strength.  Interestingly, the word ezer is used many times in the Old Testament and it is almost exclusively in reference to God.  When you are at a loss or at the end of your rope, and you’ve got no one who is powerful enough to do the job … God Himself will be your EZER.  He is ESSENTIAL.

Dig even deeper under the strength and power and you find purpose:  To rescue, to save.  Not to save eternally, as God does, but in a human relational sense: to save the emotions.

In keeping with the fullest meaning of ezer, a more accurate interpretation of Genesis 2:18 might be:

I will make for him a power and strength that will rescue and save

How Wives Do It

In simplest terms wives receive, respond and reveal through reflection.

It makes perfect sense that God chose the power and strength from the man to create woman. He knew there was going to be some tension in marriage as two people become one flesh.  The woman needs to be a match for man’s strength and power, otherwise, she wouldn’t be an accurate reflection and she wouldn’t be strong enough.

The original word is, kenegdo.  It means parallel or opposite to  each other.  Think of a mirror.

In her book Captivating, Stasi Eldredge quotes Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, as saying, “…that this phrase [ezer kenegdo] is “notoriously difficult to translate.”  She goes on to say, “The various attempts we have in English are “helper” or “companion” or the notorious “help meet.”  Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat … disappointing?” “

I’m with this Stasi on this.  When I hear “helper, companion, or help meet”, I think of a two-dimensional, compliant safe Stepford Wife, one that is a supplement to a husband; instead of a real woman like Sarah.  Ready to risk as she steps into the fray for Abraham.  Sarah, the essential.  The power and strength that would have been required for her to submit to Abraham’s requests to exchange her own safety for his just aren’t captured in the word “companion.”

Training Partners?

The Torah Study for Reform Jews defines an ezer kenegdo as a “helper against him.”  The tension between male and female is there by God’s design.  We are adversaries with a common goal:  we are against each other for the sharpening of each other, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].(Proverbs 27:17)  But these well-sharpened blades are not to be used on each other, but FOR each other in the greatest battle against our common enemySatan.

Training from within to conquer together is played out every day in sporting teams.  I love sports metaphors and analogies because they transfer from the natural to the spiritual perfectly.  There isn’t a team sport out there that doesn’t practice against one another, as adversaries, to get stronger and to learn.

This is why God wants us bound in marriage.  The sharpening of each other, that is, the becoming of one flesh can be quite a ferocious battle.  We are both such powerful forces on our own … but together, wow!  When we stay together and fight together; back-to-back against Satan through God’s power … we are unconquerable.

Are you using that strength and power that God used to create you for your husband or against the marriage?

 

WHAT IS MARRIAGE AND WHY DO WE DO IT?

The Wedding

Do you ever think about your wedding day?  I think about mine.  Do you remember that morning when you woke up, I bet your heart wasn’t filled with doubts and second guessing, “Well, I guess it’s better than being alone.” Or, “I’ll give it my best shot … and see what happens.”  Like me, I bet your heart was full of hope for a great day and the expectation of a wonderful future with the man of your dreams!  I remember laying in bed that morning excitedly thinking, “Today, is the day!”
Generally, most of the weddings we attend, or hear about, unfold seamlessly.  The day is a blur of excitement starting with the ceremony itself leading to a great wrap-up party, the reception!  Lastly, the bride and groom are swept off to some exotic destination … just the two of them.  Life couldn’t get much sweeter!

The Honeymoon

During this beginning season the marriage holds such high hopes of promise.  Beginnings are like that.  In fact, we see the same delight at the inception of creation, everything is:  GOODx6 and a VERY GOOD marks the finale.  But then, within one and a half chapters into the story of humanity, something goes tragically wrong.  Adam and Eve free in the garden, lost in wonder and delight of all that was very good, had their eyes maliciously and irrevocably opened … and the first brick in the wall of separation was coolly placed between them.

The Marriage

It is the same pattern in our marriages, something … changes.  It happens ever so subtly.  Something has slowly crept in between the bride and groom that we didn’t expect and certainly didn’t plan for.  Somewhere between The Wedding and The Marriage, there has been a shift.
Isn’t it true that we wake up on our wedding day assured that we could conquer anything and that we’d grow old together?  But within a few short years we sense an UNsureness, we start to feel a little suspicious that our fairy tale wedding day isn’t delivering everything to our marriage that it promised.  Slowly our expectations are dashed one-by-one as reality is revealed, this slow creep causes the shift to become more prevalent and our marriage begins to get hard … along with our hearts, and it starts to show in our thoughts:  Why did I ever marry this personWhat was I thinkingMaybe they are the wrong person.

MISperception

I know it might sound silly but it never occurred to me that my marriage would be nothing like my wedding day.  In hindsight it became completely clear though, either no one told me or I failed to listen.  Either way reality proves the truth that the marriage and a wedding day are actually polar opposites!  A wedding day is so well planned that you might as well call it a script; everything falls into place perfectly and we work on that script for almost a year, sometimes longer!  Lots of hard work, planning and compromising with each other went into that script for that ONE day.
How did I miss that?  A marriage is not just going to magically happen when even a magical wedding day didn’t magically happen.  I think the knowledge is there for the learning, we just don’t believe the information applies to us when it says, “It could get ugly at some point, what’s your plan?”  Even though we read statistic after statistic that divorce rates have been climbing.  We can’t see past the euphoric pleasure of the present to comprehend any such conflict driving us apart.  And still, somewhere deep inside us we know it makes sense because marriage is the single most challenging adventure of all the earthly experiences.
Marriage is the most significant institution we will ever join and it is the relationship with the most consequential and far reaching effect in our lives.  Yet there are no courses on spousal selection and anyone can get a marriage license with zero training or preparation.  Sydney J. Harris captures the mindset perfectly, “Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves a great success in any field of activity, yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage.

Why Choose to Marry?

So … why do we get married?  It’s a question that begs self-examination.  Is it because of some innate fear of being alone?  Or is it because, it’s just what we do?  You know, you’re born, grow-up, go to school – fall in love and get married.
Fall in love.  There’s a phrase I find … curious.

Falling in Love?

It’s interesting, for a book that is full of love talk, I can’t seem to find anywhere that God speaks of falling in love.  Why do we say it that way?  It does have a romantic echo to the phrase, but it also has a sense of lack of responsibility, perhaps even commitment.  If the marriage gets too hard there is a pathway already prepared:  we can say that when we were falling in love, we fell for the wrong person.
We humans do that.  You can see it in Adam’s response to God when He was looking for accountability of Adam’s actions after eating the fruit.  Adam didn’t only try and shift the blame to Eve but also onto God Himself!  The woman YOU gave me did it.  And then with Eve, she tried to pass the buck too by saying that it was the snake’s fault.  It seems none of us want to take responsibility for our part, do we?
The most romantic description I’ve ever heard as to why people get married is from the movie, Shall We Dance, here’s the clip of the scene:

 

*SIGH*

Now, although that’s a beautiful sentiment and maybe even a worthy declaration, I don’t believe it’s entirely what God had in mind when He established marriage.

The First Marriage

The first marriage was an act of purpose.  The voice that spoke all life into existence then united a team.  It’s interesting that God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time.  He could’ve but instead He chose to create Adam in a vacuum.  This wasn’t a mistake.  He didn’t create Adam alone then realize, “Uh-oh, Adam is alone – I guess I didn’t think that one through, maybe one of the animals can keep him company.”
I think Adam was meant to experience his aloneness in the real time of watching the animals come and go in pairs as he named them.  God brought all the creatures to him, but … there was not be a suitable companion for him.” (Gen 2:19-20)  God could have just as easily told Adam that when he was done naming the animals that He would bring him someone special.  Someone just like him!  But God didn’t say anything.  Instead, He let a yearning grow inside of Adam; a yearning for his pairing.
Adam was meant to notice something special in Eve; something he needed.  And he did!  You can tell by his response to seeing her for the first time, “Finally!  Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!”  Or, in our present vernacular, “Finally!  Now SHE belongs with me!”
The both of them, were meant to see that they needed each other for the journey, that they had to depend on each other, lean on each other … not blame one another.

The Step From Bride to Wife

I think it’s significant that Eve was never a bride.  She was created as a wife.  We are brides for a single day, but we are wives for the life of the Marriage.  We can make make generalizations for the answer to the question, what is marriage?  And there are lots of different ideas, to be sure.  But in order to find out what your marriage means to you and why you got married?  Only you can answer that, because only you know the woman inside of you.  Only you know if she’s a bride or Wife.

 

 

 

TGIF – Fri June 05

FRIDAY FAVS

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

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LEADING with TRUST: After Your Trust Has Been Broken – 5 Ways to Avoid a Victim Mentality – “You will have your trust broken. It’s not a question of if, but when. What’s important is your response after trust has been broken. You have two choices: victimization or resiliency.”

Marriage Gems: Is your spouse different from the person you married?“But unless you married a goldfish, the person you married is a distant reflection of the individual who is living and breathing and changing before you each day.”

 The Generous Wife: One Thing at a Time “Bringing up multiple issues tends to cloud the discussion.”

 Journey to Surrender: When Needs Go Unmet “We all have a tendency to withhold love when we feel we aren’t receiving love in the way we want. It’s natural. It’s natural, but it’s not Biblical. We are called to radical love by the One who loves us radically.

 

The mark of a true professional is giving more than you get. –Robert Kirby

 

 

TGIF – Fri May 23

FRIDAY FAVS

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

AAA new thought 8

 

Pearl’s Oyster Bed: 12 THINGS MY MOM SAID ABOUT MARRIAGE Six of one, half dozen the other. Sometimes, there’s no perfect decision. You pray and trust God will be there for you in the decision.”

 The Daily Positive: 3 Keys To A Sincere Apology “We’re broken people. But even then, we must learn the skills to step into the pain, to feel how they feel, and to come to a place where our hearts authentically desire to mend what was broken.”

 Choose To Trust: Robinson Cano, Twitter, and Dehumanization “Followers of Christ do this as well. How often do we dehumanize and categorize people by their sin and shortcomings? Forgetting from where we came, we pull out a standard response, judgment or prescriptions for proper behavior.”

 THE XY CODE: More on Brain Based Gender Differences “There are those who deny men and women have any real differences, and there are even those who claim science backs them on that. In reality, science continues to show gender is more than skin deep.”

 

BACKGROUND QUOTES (Fri Fav May 22)

 

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TGIF – Fri May 2

FRIDAY FAVS

 

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

AAA new thought 8

 

WisdomForLife: Dancing lightly on the surface of the earth“For the Christian, this present existence is provisional. He is aware that every activity he undertakes is schooling for something else—that it is all directed toward a higher end.”

Intentional Today: 5 Ways You Can Build Your Marriage Today“1) Pray   2) Commit to personal change   3) Give extravagantly   4) Create a light fun atmosphere in your home   5) Don’t blow up every challenge”

Leadership Freak: HOW TO CONNECT FORGIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITYDon’t lower expectations. Elevate forgiveness.” ~ 1) Forgiveness rises above fairness.   2) Forgiveness is freedom, mostly for you.   3) Forgiveness is a line in the sand that says, “Let’s start over.”   4) Forgiveness is a process not an event.   5) Forgiveness and learning from mistakes go hand in hand.”

Encourage Your Spouse: Saying “I Love You” – What does your spouse need to do?“Most of us believe we show our spouse unconditional love. But consider – There are no prerequisites … for an unconditional love.”

AAA TGIF

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TGIF – Fri Apr 4

FRIDAY FAVS

Lifting up others and their endeavours is very important. In his letter the Philippian church, Paul tells us to not only be on the look-out for our own interests but also the interests of others. I think this verse can have multiple applications but for the purposes of my Friday Favourites I’m taking it to mean find interest in the interests of others. There is the benefit of encouragement to others as well as shared information within your community.

 

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TEDRUBIN Straight TalkHow to Look People in the Eye Digitally – “You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they’re constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they’re looking at their watch, or anywhere except at you?  Those signals mean they aren’t really “present” in the conversation, so there is no true connection.”

Intentional TodayMarried?  You Should Not Have a Pinterest Board called “eye-candy”“10. You should not expect him to make a good girlfriend. He’s dude.  You married a dude.”

Pearl’s Oyster BedSirens“There was a flash in my mind.  I remember feeling the need for an ambulance to come save our marriage.  Our wounded hearts were bleeding dry.  What if I pray for hurting marriages every time I hear a siren?”

LEADERSHIP FREAKCHOOSE YOUR DEFAULT RESPONSE TO EVERYTHING “The next time you feel like defending yourself, ask a question.  3 curiosity tips:  1. Ask about the obvious.  2. Declare yourself and your intentions or curiosity feels threatening to others. Don’t hide behind curiosity.  3. Curiosity isn’t the answer. It’s the path to the answer. Execution follows curiosity.”

Ruby SlippersWhat is Lust? – “Lust is an unbidden desire that compels us to act in a way that denies the mutuality and intentionality of relationship by funneling, conflating, or inordinately focusing the satisfaction of this desire into sexual fulfillment.”

 

 Blessings on your marriage

TGIF – Fri Mar 21

FRIDAY FAVS

I know, it’s been a couple of weeks – oops, sorry for that.  Sometimes when we start new things we stumble along for a bit … this was one of those times.

Here’s hoping you are just as encouraged as I was by these articles and that you and yours have a great stupendous weekend!

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Warrior WivesON GIVING MARRIAGE ADVICE TO OTHERS — “We are smothering each other with well-intended input when we often need to just listen and pray…the truly wise don’t constantly trot out tips on how to better manage the chaos.” (Kimm Crandall)

Leadership FreakHOW TO LEAD LIKE BILLY GRAHAM“… In 20 minutes, he had an impact on me that would forever change the way I think about leadership.” (Michael Hyatt)

Return of QueensHow to Give to Your Man “It’s time to stop focusing so much on what we want from men; they’ve heard it all and their eyes start glazing over before we even begin with the first demand on our endless lists. The men of the West are walking away from the pattern of monogamy, marriage and family.”

Frankly Speaking:  “Look Away!  I’m Hideous” Part 3 “I’m not here to talk about nutrition and diet. I’m not here to beat the drum that a certain amount of excess fat can be healthy and they should leave us fatties alone either. I’m here to encourage a dialog about why we eat too much; too much of everything, too much of some things or too much of one thing.”

The Forgiven WifeWhat Will the Kids Think?“He told me that the topic of parents having sex had come up in conversations with his friends. Several of his friends have parents who have sex only once a month or so. (They apparently know this because of overhearing once-a-month sex, or, more often, overhearing their parents argue about it.) He told his buddies how lucky they were that they only had to hear it once a month. All of his friends turned to him and said how they would much rather have his problem of having to hear it more frequently. His friends said things that actually made him thankful for his parents’ sex life:  “It’s always tense around my house.”  ~  “My parents barely look at each other.”  ~  “I haven’t seen my parents kiss in years.”  ~  “My dad tried to pat my mom’s butt and she glared at him. In the morning I found him asleep on the couch.”  ~  “I hate the tension at dinner.”

Blessings on your marriage!

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