Good to be Together
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). A few verses later Genesis says, “For Adam no suitable helper was found.” We know from other verses in the Bible that singleness can be a gift of God as well. One’s life can be blessed as a single and can be a blessing to others. Paul and Jesus both believed that.
But for many of us that verse in Genesis rings very loudly: It is not good for the man to be alone. Why not? God doesn’t say, but from our life experiences I think we can discern several reasons. One, when we are alone we tend over-focus on ourselves. What we like or want rises to the surface most of the time. Two, in our aloneness we can grow satisfied with who we are at the moment. Without someone to prompt us we may lack the inner drive to grow and mature as a person. Three, when we are alone, we are the only voice. We lack that feedback from other people, especially a spouse, that reminds us we are not the center of the universe.
Marriage has an amazing capacity to challenge us on all these fronts. Sometimes the challenge to our self-centeredness is unpleasant. Every disagreement and argument is a reminder that we have to make room for someone else.
At other times the challenge is quite pleasant, as when Adam saw his wife and said, “Wow!” That’s not the technical term for the Hebrew, but it captures the emotion he felt. Nothing Adam had seen in all creation prepared him for the joy of seeing his beloved the first time. He was no longer alone.
If it is not good for the man to be alone then it is good for him to have a partner. It is good to be married. Here’s just a few reasons why it is good. One, marriage gets the focus off self. Genesis two says Adam and Eve were unclothed yet were without shame. They didn’t have the normal self-consciousness we do about ourselves. They were focused on their mates, not with a critical eye or spirit, but with one of appreciation and joy.
Two, marriage provides a steady, life-long voice to help guide us in life. Sometimes that voices challenges our decisions. “No, I don’t think you should do that.” At other times that voice encourages us. “You did such a good job.” But it is always there giving shape to our lives and the relationship.
Three, marriage provides a companion who shares every joy and every burden with us. As we go through life we continue to accumulate shared experiences and memories that adds richness and depth to the companionship. At some point in our journey together we reach that point where we say, “I can’t imagine living life without her, or without him.” When both partners are able to make that statement, we know our marriage has journeyed down a healthy path.
The marriage relationship is both exclusive and permanent. It is exclusive because you will never share such a level of intimacy with anyone else. It is permanent because it lasts for life. Dan Allender wrote, “We must care less about ourselves than we do about our spouse” and “We must evaluate our heart toward God by the measure of how we love one another.” (Intimate Allies, 241-2).
When we focus on relationship building with this level of intensity, our relationship reaches a maturity that nourishes the marriage and provides the joy God wants for every husband and wife. We will also be able to say it is good for the man and woman to have a companion.