In the beginning Adam and Eve are God’s prototype of the marriage relationship.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him…. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:18, 24 NASB95)
God commanded Adam that he should “shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24 NASB77)
God puts the onus on the husband to honor the one flesh relationship.
The husband declares his marriage vows, before god, to his bride and to those present an that he will never leave nor forsake her. Marriage is the joining together of a man and woman as one flesh, inseparable partners working together within God’s creative design for their marriage, which may also include children, work and ministry.
The apostle Paul would be aghast if he knew that his words were being used to justify and encourage a Christian husband to neglect his marital responsibilities and abandon his wife and children in order to serve God in ministry, work and pleasure or for any other reason.
In our travels we noticed an interesting swing set combination in a park in Florida. The illustration of the swing set helps demonstrate the difference between being single and entering into the marriage relationship.
The single individuals on either end of the swing set have the freedom to swing independently by themselves and at their own pace without any concern for another.
The couple on the middle swing has chosen to be yoked together and must cooperate with one another in order to enjoy the swinging experience. The option of swinging independently causes much conflict and discomfort for both.
The Apostle Peter puts it this way, “Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1Pe 3:7 AKJV)
The predominant cultural ministry model, however, is that the husband abandons the relationship (swing) with his wife and lives as though he is single, even though still married, uses Paul’s “model” of singleness to support his actions. This causes an emotional and supportive disconnect, leaving his wife to carry the full responsibility for the marriage and family, not realizing that her husband’s default placed her in that position.
Men in ministry and men in general, find it easy and acceptable to bemoan and blame their wives for their marital problems because he is the one most often held with high respect. He will point his finger and say that she is not supportive and that she will not submit to his headship. This model is reinforced by his peers.
The adverse fallout of a husband’s neglect and abandonment of his wife and family is observable in the high percentage of marriage separations and divorce today.
The Apostle Paul very clearly spells out the husband’s responsibility and places on him the onus for the marriage in Ephesians 5:21-33. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church” (Eph 5:25, 28-29 NASB95)
The Apostle Paul reiterates the Genesis passage in verse 31, “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
God designed and prioritized the intimate and exclusive marriage relationship as an earthly visible picture of Christ’s unfailing and exclusive love relationship for His own bride, the church.
Husbands have the awesome privilege of having Christian marriages, designed by God, that manifest Jesus before an unbelieving world. Thus following God’s Creative Design will be a powerful witness to our generation.
About the Author:
Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years. He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years.
CUPbearers is a discipleship ministry centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and located in Englewood, Colorado. CUPbearers holds that the transformation of the natural and /or fleshly person into a mature spiritual Christian is a supernatural process. This transformation cannot be accomplished through education and self-effort alone, or by trying to improve the old nature through some system or discipline. It is achieved through the ministry and work of God's indwelling Holy Spirit in agreement with the Word of God and the active and willing cooperation of the individual, conforming each one to the very image of Jesus Christ (John. 15:5). Therefore, according to God’s design, Jesus Christ is enabled to function in, through and with the participating Christian as one's full and abundant life (John. 10:10).
The commitment of CUPbearers is to the full sufficiency of Jesus Christ and His ability to meet the needs of all individuals. CUPbearers is also convinced that the Bible is the inerrant revelation of God to mankind and the resultant relationship He planned for and desires to have with those who individually and corporately trust Him. We believe that the Bible speaks directly or in principle to the practical, daily issues of how fallen and emotionally damaged men and women can be restored to healthy maturity in Christ.