By Ezekiel Olukolajo
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 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. Genesis 2:21-23.
On the fateful day of their union, Mr. Adam woke up only to be presented with a wife, the woman he would spend the rest of his life with! Going through the accounts of the first marriage as instituted by God, we understand that Adam was not involved in the process that produced Eve. In fact Adam was completely asleep and unconscious while God was busy putting together the woman that would become his wife. Although Adam did not have the opportunity to dictate or suggest specifications and qualities of the woman nor was he in any way involved in the process from which Eve his wife emerged, it’s however noteworthy that when God brought the woman to him, he was really pleased with what he saw. From the account of the scriptures, it’s apparent there was a ready acceptance and excitement on part of Adam. His exclamation was something like ‘WOW! This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man’!
Going by the fact that God created man with free will and ability to make his own decisions and choices, our curious mind may want to reason if there was any possibility of Adam not being pleased with the woman God presented to him as wife. Under a critical reflection, the first thing that we need to bear in mind is that Adam had no options or basis for comparison. In fact he didn’t even realize there was a need in his life for a mate that would make his life complete. God made ONLY ONE woman, and that was the ONE he presented to Adam as wife, but then, from what we see, it’s clear that he was really pleased and satisfied with the woman when presented to him. Going by Adam’s initial sincere exclamation of great excitement, there’s nothing to suggest that the woman (Eve) would at anytime, then or thereafter, be regarded or treated as some form of ‘imposition’ that must be managed or endured.
Although Adam may not have had any opportunity to make inputs or be part of the process that produced Eve his wife, it’s however correct to conclude that the woman actually became Adam’s own ‘choice’ going by those beautiful things he said about her. In addition, when Eve was presented, it’s not on record that the Almighty God did any form of introduction, but then, Adam, who was seeing Eve for the very first time in his life, expressed deep satisfaction and acceptance. It also appears that by instincts, Adam understood and knew all that there was to know about the woman; Adam saw himself (his image) in the woman God graciously presented to him as wife, and proceeded to establish her with a name as he did all other living creatures.
The first step to a fulfilling and exciting marriage relationship is acceptance. From what we see, on the part of Adam, there was complete acceptance of the woman God gave to him as wife. We must understand that the beginning of real love is acceptance; you can never love or cherish someone you’ve not accepted in your heart. This brings to mind the story of Isaac’s union with Rebecca. The marriage of Isaac appears to have few things in common with that of Adam before the fall. Like Adam, Isaac had never set his eyes on Rebecca (the woman who would become his wedded wife) until the very day of their union, but there was a ready acceptance on his part according to Genesis 24:67. ‘And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death’. Isaac accepted and loved the woman he married and that was one of the reasons he had an outstanding marriage among all the patriarchs.
Looking at the marriage of Isaac, the matter of acceptance appears to be even more pronounced on part of Rebekah. Rebekah had never set her eyes on the man that would become her wedded husband, yet she agreed to take a leap! Remember, there were no such things as internet, Skype, Imo, picture post, video clips etc that would provide Rebekah with a fair idea of the man she was about to be hooked to; she had no idea whether the man was blind, crippled, short, tall, dark, fair; or whether he was an eloquent man or a stammerer, yet she took the decision to marry him, that’s absolute acceptance! Rebekah had obviously settled the matter of acceptance in her heart, so it wouldn’t matter what the man turns out to be, no real or perceived shortcomings, weaknesses, flaws would ever affect her happiness in the relationship.
Some people are of the opinion that love is the foundation of a successful marriage; they say things like ‘marry the man you love’ or ‘marry the woman you love’. But from the marriage of Isaac, we can see that love actually proceeded forth from marriage and not the other way round. Marrying the woman you love is NOT a guarantee for a successful marriage, but loving the woman you married will produce the stability to sustain your marriage relationship through rain or shine!
The frustration that most of us have in our marriage relationships stems from the fact that we expect or even demand perfection from our spouses, willfully forgetting that we ourselves are not perfect. If we truly accept our partners inspite of their seeming weaknesses, flaws and shortcomings, our frustration will be minimal. I’m not in any way suggesting that people should not make conscious and consistent efforts to improve on their person, character, disposition etc, but the reality is that it’s not everything that will change. When there are observed gaps, weaknesses and shortcomings in our spouses, the only thing that will guarantee our happiness in spite of these things is acceptance. When we accept our partners the way they are, it will not be difficult to love them.
Avoid the Deadly Trap of Comparison
You don’t lose excitement and satisfaction in what you have until you begin to compare it what you don’t have! I remember when mobile telephoning began to get popular ages ago, all that majority of us at that time had, was this heavy Nokia 3310 or walkie-talkie like Saigem mobile handsets, but then we had so much excitement and satisfaction with it. We carried it with great pride and delight. But today I’m sure nobody will ever appreciate that phone even as a gift because this is the age of androids and iphones. All that we now know today as limitations of Nokia 3310 were not in existence as it were because we didn’t have android phones to compare with. It was when iphones came into the market that we realized that our dear Nokia 3310 handset is no longer in vogue. That’s exactly how it is in our relationship when we are caught in the traps of comparing our spouse with another person out there – may be in the office, church, neighbourhood or some place. Why have we lost excitement we used to have about our Nokia 3310? Yes, it’s unarguable that there were limitations and shortcomings with it, but these were never known to us until we came in contact with iphones and the wonders they can do!
If you want to be happy, never ever compare your spouse with someone else. In fact God wants every husband to see his wife as the ONLY WOMAN on earth and vise versa. If he or she is the only man or woman, then there’s no basis for comparison. Anyone who compares his spouse with someone else is a fool; he or she’s bound to be frustrated. If you see the man or woman you have married as the only man or woman on earth, you will always want to see how to invest in loving him or her so that you can always derive the joy and pleasure you need.
The Blame Game
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Genesis 3:9-12;
The blame game obviously is one of the fallouts of the fall of man. Until Adam and Eve sinned against God and fell from grace, Adam at no time ever saw or described Eve as ‘the woman whom thou gavest to be with me…’. It’s unfortunate however that when God confronted Adam about his choice to disobey the express instructions he was given, the woman whom he once described as ‘bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh’ had suddenly become ‘the woman whom thou gavest to be with me,’, that’s the effect of the fallen nature! When your spouse suddenly becomes ‘the man or the woman thou gavest to be with me’something has gone wrong!
What was Adam trying to suggest by the statement he made to God- ‘the woman whom thou gavest to be with me,’? As far as I’m concerned, that statement is a show of ingratitude. Ingratitude in the sense that the whole idea of a helpmeet for Adam was borne out of God’s deep love to make man’s life complete. Adam didn’t even realize his problem of loneliness, but God saw that ‘it was not good for the man to be alone’ and therefore responded by creating woman to cure that defect. Eve was designed to be a solution not a problem, a blessing not a burden, but Adam had lost sight of all these wonderful things, all he now saw was a woman that was a problem.
Yes, it may be true that Eve gave the forbidden fruit to Adam to eat with her, but this does not in any way free him from taking responsibility for his own actions, since it was he that God passed the instructions to originally. Adam willfully turned a blind eye at his own failure, but was quick to pass the blame to ‘‘the woman whom thou gavest to be with me,’. Be careful when you begin to see your wife as a problem; be careful when you begin to see your wife as a burden that must be carried and endured. It does not matter what has happened in and around your marriage, God designed your wife to be a blessing and not a burden. The scripture says ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord’.
Love the woman you married! Men who do not see their wives as blessings may not experience the true joy of marriage.
Ezekiel Olukolajo can be reached at: [email protected]