Marriage | First Sweethearts
The history of love begins in a beautiful locale, long, long ago. Lonely man meets available woman. A match made in heaven, to be sure, they seemed made for each other.
Adam desired a sweetheart (Genesis 2:18). It is normal and natural for us to desire to find one of the opposite sex with whom to share life. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22). Parents should encourage their children to interact socially, date, and develop wholesome relationships (1 Corinthians 7:36). Solomon observed, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11).
A sweetheart is a blessing from God (Genesis 2:22). In Adam’s case, God made and presented this gift directly to him. Through providence and in answer to prayer, God will lead us to a lifelong companion. Solomon wrote, “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD” (Proverbs 19:14; cf. Proverbs 3:6; James 1:17).
We should love a sweetheart as our own bodies (Genesis 2:23). In Adam’s case, she was a part of his body. Paul may have had this in mind when he wrote, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it” (Ephesians 5:28-29).
Sweethearts must leave parents (Genesis 2:24). Adam and Eve had no parents to leave, but God set this precedent to be projected into and applied to all future generations. Leave literally means “to forsake and neglect.” Young people who get married must leave father and mother
• physically (move out of their house into your own place). One old preacher said, “Put three bridges between you and your in-laws and burn down two of them.”
• psychologically (make your own decisions and live with the consequences, Galatians 6:5), and
• economically (the new husband is to support his wife, and their future children, 1 Timothy 5:8).
Sweethearts should cleave to each other and weave their lives together (Genesis 2:24). In creation, God made two out of one. In marriage, God makes one out of two. The Hebrew word (dabaq) behind “cleave” means “to join fast together; to glue; to cement; a death-grip”. It refers to a strong bonding together of objects and often was used to represent gluing or cementing. Job used the word when he spoke of his bones clinging to his skin and flesh (19:20; cf. Psalm 102:5). It could also have the meaning of following closely. The two ideas were sometimes carried together, as in Ruth’s clinging to Naomi (Ruth 1:14) and the men of Judah remaining steadfast to David (2 Samuel 20:2).
Plato had a strange, but interesting, idea. He believed that originally humans were double what they are now. Because their size and strength made them arrogant, the gods cut them into halves; and real happiness comes when the two halves find each other again, and marry, and so complete each other. This does not match the Genesis account except for the fact that God does want two to become one. We should be one emotionally, legally, physically, and spiritually. Working as a unit, sweethearts bring children into the world, train and prepare them, and send them out to repeat the process. They join together in the joys of the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4). Joining hands and hearts, they set their eyes on heaven and never look back.
Sweethearts should fight Satan together (Genesis 3:1-6). Satan chose a time when Eve was alone. Would she have been more successful in dealing with him if Adam had been by her side? Probably. Two heads are better than one. Sweethearts can lead each other into sin (Genesis 3:6). Satan tempted Eve, but Eve tempted Adam. A girlfriend may pressure her sweetheart for sexual favors against God’s will (2 Timothy 2:22). A husband may insist his wife miss church services so they can enjoy a day at the beach.
Sweethearts should not blame each other (Genesis 3:12). Men have been blaming their wives for their mistakes ever since. One of the excuses made for not coming to the great supper was “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come” (Luke 14:20). Wives have also been known to blame husbands instead of taking responsibility for their actions.
Sweethearts should understand the difficulties the other faces and be sympathetic (Genesis 3:16-19). I picture Adam reaching over and taking Eve’s hand as they dejectedly leave the Garden. They had lost everything, except each other. When Eve cried out in pain as Cain and Abel were born, I picture the look of sympathy on her husband’s face. Later perhaps he said, “Eve, I’m so sorry you had to endure that. I know it must have been awful.” I see Eve bringing Adam a glass of water after a long day in the field— sunburned, scratched by the thorns, and wearing sweat-stained clothes. “Honey, I know you had a rough day. I wish we had never sinned and brought these hardships upon us.”
Sweethearts should stay together during the hard times (Genesis 3:23-24). Marriages are not lasting as long as they once did. Here is the percentage (2014) of married people who reach these anniversaries:
• 5th: 82%
• 10th: 65%
• 25th: 33%
• 35th: 20%
• 50th: 5%
Adam did not break up with Eve because she cost him paradise. Eve did not set up a separate place and go it alone. As far as Scripture records, they remained sweethearts for the next 930 years (Genesis 5:5).
And think—you and I both came about because of that first romance in a Garden long, long ago.