15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” 19 The Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. 22 Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said:This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called “woman,”for she was taken from man.
24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 2:15-24

This past Monday marked the 19th year of marriage to my best friend Lindsay.
We’ve been friends for over 25 years. A quarter of a century. And to this day, I still have no idea how she puts up with me. Well, I have a couple ideas but we’ll save that for later.

My beautiful wife of 19 years has been through so many ups and downs with me. We have loved and we have fought. We have talked and giggled for hours and we have screamed and lost our tempers. Oh yes, she has a temper. She may look like a mermaid but she can cuss like a sailor! We’ve held each other and cried. I have shared every square inch of my being with her and she with me. We are still learning how to navigate the river of life together..!


Next year we plan to have Randy marry us again for our 20th. We are going to throw a huge party and invite all of you to celebrate with us. It’ll be awesome!

Let’s jump into Genesis. I want to thumb back a chapter to Chapter 1 and take a look. So if you read Genesis chapter 1, you will read a creation story that differs from the creation story we just read. Why is that you say? Well, from what I have learned and what is understood by bible scholars is that they agree to disagree.

Genesis Chapter 1 appears to be more of a chronological account.
Day 1: Light
Day 2: Atmosphere / Firmament
Day 3: Dry ground & plants
Day 4: Sun, moon & stars
Day 5: Birds & sea creatures
Day 6: Land animals & humans
Day 7: The Sabbath of rest

But when you look at the repetition of each day, God saw it was good and then evening came and then morning. Day whatever.. There is a repeating structure of each stanza. This leads most to believe that Genesis 1 is written as a poem. This poem crescendos to the apex of the creation of humans.

Let’s read day 6 starting in Chapter 1 verse 26.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.
Who is God talking to? (Jesus & H.S.) They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
Notice God says THEY will rule… Keep that under your hat for later. We’ll get to that.
27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” 29 God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, 30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth ​— ​everything having the breath of life in it ​— ​I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.

Genesis 1:26-31

Very Good Indeed!

Chapter 2 is a little different style of writing. Most agree when Chapter 2 was written, it was more of a historical account. Verse 4 says; 4 These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation. At the time that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, — Genesis 2:4 (CSB)

Chapter 2 seems to zoom in on day six when God made humans. Basically what you need to take away here is that all throughout the bible, there are many types of writing styles. Looking at the text and understanding its writer and what the intentions are will make you a more responsible reader and student of God’s words. When you realize God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit wrote the entire bible and used these people and scribes to document, it gives you a bigger picture approach.

Let’s pull up our sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty. God creates all of the things and when He is done the text says “God saw that it was good.” He made light, sun, moon, animals, everything leading up to day six, then he says it was good. Chapter 1 verse 26, God makes man and woman in his image and then looks at the completeness of everything he has created and in verse 31 says it was VERY GOOD INDEED!
I don’t mean to give you whiplash here, but follow me. Genesis chapter 2 verse 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” This is the first time in history that God says that something is not good.

Wait a minute. He is in the garden with God, living a perfect existence but yet there is something missing. What’s not good? It’s not good for him to be alone. God created a man that had needs.

See we have a God that is so loving that he constantly puts us first. He could have made Adam and instilled in Adam that worshiping Him and serving God’s needs, was all the purpose Adam needed. But God didn’t do that. God made Adam desire relationships with others. Other humans. What a loving and humble God we have. God provided a picture here in verse 22, of the first wedding. God the Father walks the bride, Eve down the aisle to be joined with Adam.

Notice that when God made Eve, he took a rib from Adam’s side. Not his foot. Not his head. His side. You see where I’m going with this? Men. Our wives are not our slaves or servants. They do not rule over us either. They are equals and help us. Men. It’s your job to lead but not as a dictatorship. You lead like Jesus serving and sacrificing. You lead by following God and your family follows you.

Let’s go to Ephesians chapter 5.

This is probably one of the most misunderstood texts in the bible. I feel it is so important that WE, men and women, understand what it is saying. I don’t have time to go very deep but I think we can cover the big picture fairly well in a short few minutes. Here we go!

22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.

Guys. When you hear this don’t even giggle. No elbow nudges for your wife next to you. This is not an opportunity for a misquote or taking verses out of context. This is huge. In order for a woman to submit to her husband like the church submits to Christ, she needs a man. A man that chases after the heart of God. One that loves God first and her second. Are you that man? Are you having issues with your wife submitting? Take a good look at your relationship with God and let Him show you what’s going on.
But wait guys… there’s more..

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.

This verse is familiar and opposite of what we just heard in Genesis chapter 2.
See in Genesis, God is giving us “men” a helper. She is a helper not in the way of cooking meals or doing laundry. She is a helper that is given to help us become all that we should be in God’s eyes. So God inspires Paul here in Ephesians to make men aware that we are the helper for the women in our lives. To make her holy.. Washing her with the word. It’s really quite beautiful how this design works. But also is a parallel with our approach to the church. Bathing the members of the church with the word of God. This is my best understanding. Let’s go on..

27 He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:22-33

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.

That is a tall order, don’t you think? It gets you thinking of how sacrificial a relationship must be. Any idea of how sacrificial? That’s right. I’m speaking of the cross. Pick up your cross and follow me Jesus says. But look what Jesus did for us. Jesus was taunted as he hung on the cross. One of the criminals hanging beside him said “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself and us.” He could have come down from that cross but he stayed. He stayed not for himself but for all of us. We should be so committed to God and our spouses.

Ladies. You have been sitting quietly and patiently and now it is your turn.
Submitting to your husband is difficult. He was given the job to lead by God here in the scriptures. He’s not going to get it right. Not at first. Remember what love is?

4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Corinthians 13:4-7

Most people stop right there but not me..
Look at the beginning of verse 8.

8 Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13:8

I am learning every day that there are just some things women do that I will never understand.
Why so many shoes?
Group bathroom trips?
Need for details.. they use the word WHY as their interrogation technique…
Purses and carrying bags. Have you ever seen the amount of stuff that comes out of a purse when they are changing to another purse?
Here is a classic… Man says what’s wrong? Woman says nothing. Man says obviously something is wrong what is it. Woman says….nothing. Man says maybe I can help, just tell me what’s wrong and maybe I CAN FIX IT.. Woman says there’s nothing wrong.
I’m fine is definitely not what she is. Guys, a little advice… Walk away…

Love never ends. Man is joined with his wife and they become one flesh.
Here are some things I have learned about loving my wife.
Listen deeply and don’t try to fix everything. If you’re confused just ask her. “Is this a listening time or do you need suggestions?”
Pray with her. One of the most intimate moments we have is going before God together. Ask her if she needs prayer for anything.
Tell her to take the day off and relax with a book and a bubble bath.
Hold her hand. Open the door for her. Write her little notes and thank her.
Never stop dating your wife.
Most important. Listen up, guys! Be careful with your words. Your words are so powerful. James says the tongue is like a little rudder on a ship that steers the huge vessel. Your words can build her up or tear her down.
Be careful with how you say things and think before you speak.
That’s good advice for all of us.

Brides… Grooms… I am speaking to you. Marriage is not… listen closely… IS NOT A CONTRACT ! A Contract is “I do this, you do that.. “ We agree to provide for each other as long as we keep up our ends of the bargain. People default on contracts all the time. Marriage is a covenant. A forever promise. Covenants are for eternity. God gave us a covenant and the rainbow reminds us of what?
He will never flood the earth again like in the days of Noah.
God doesn’t break covenants and His love never fails.
They will become one flesh!
Women. Your husband needs to know you got his back. He needs to know you are his “helper” or in military terms, his reinforcement.
The Lord God said, “I will make a helper corresponding to him.”
Corresponding to him is translated from the original text meaning “like opposite.”
What? Is it like or is it opposite? Yep!
When you find the one you marry, there are going to be differences.
There are likenesses too.

Imagine two puzzle pieces. If they were exactly alike, they would not go together. They have to be close in similarity but opposite in order to fit together. No one who enters into marriage stays the same. We grow together into a beautiful image of God. Marriage is made to do that. It shows the glory of God.

I’m not sure if you remember from last year when I preached about the Weekend to Remember conference that Lindsay and I had gone to. This weekend opened our eyes to what we needed to work on in our marriage. I remember mentioning an analogy of floating on separate rafts in a lazy river. The picture here is that as long as we held hands we wouldn’t drift apart. The moment we let go of each other we would start to drift apart. Drifting toward isolation. Being intentionally aware of your spouse and their needs, helps you to move towards each other to form a “oneness”. Well, the third aspect of this illustration is showing God’s design as oneness as a couple and that is called impact! Your marriage is a picture of the gospel to a watching world.

Paul tells us in Ephesians:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31

Remember that old commercial from Reese’s cups? There’s this guy walking down the street eating a chocolate bar and around the corner heading his way is a woman eating peanut butter out of a jar. You know… that happens all the time right?
So they round the same corner and run right into each other. He says your peanut butter is on my chocolate.. She says your chocolate is in my peanut butter. They take a bite of the peanut butter/chocolate creation and go Yumm..
And there is the birth of Reese’s peanut butter cups. Two are joined and made one.

Here’s another analogy. This one is a little different. Imagine super gluing a plastic salt shaker and a plastic pepper shaker together. The glue sets up nice and strong. After a while, you try pulling them apart. They won’t budge. You try and try until one of the shakers succumb to the struggle and now what do you have? A chunk of one of the shakers rips off, spilling the contents of the shaker and permanently damaging it. The other shaker has the chunk stuck to it. You see where I am going with this? Divorce is messy and both parties are damaged. One flesh being ripped apart. God’s design is not getting married and getting divorced.

The myth that you hear when someone says you have to find “the one” is just that. It’s a myth. It’s not biblical. It is as important to become the right person as it is to find the right person. The person you marry is the right person. You need to grow together with God in the center.

Your spouse is a gift from God to you. Just as Eve was for Adam and Adam for Eve.

Ok now Paul says at the end of Ephesians 5:33
Women respect your husbands. God also gave him to you as a gift.
There are different love languages for each of us. We can see it here in the scriptures: love your wives and respect your husbands.
These are two different approaches that mean everything. This is profound because of how we are made. Paul doesn’t say women, love your husbands and husbands respect your wives. Women know how to love. Men know how to respect. These come easy to us. What Paul is telling us here is to go beyond our nature and do the hard thing. Men, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands.

Ladies… When you respect your man, this is the greatest act of love HE understands. Respect is as complex as love.

Here are some tips ladies:
Choose Joy, honor his wishes, give him your undivided attention, emphasize his good points, don’t nag, don’t interrupt, be thankful, pray for him. Here’s an easy one. Kiss him goodbye and greet him when he comes home.

We were made to be in relationship with each other. That was God’s design from the beginning.

Here is my last point. What if you aren’t in a relationship, married, or maybe you are widowed? Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians chapter 7. There is a lot there but I think I can sum it up as to this.
If you are unmarried or widowed, you have a better opportunity in the body of the church to refine others and to be refined. Married people get married and are pulled away from the body in a way that they have to concentrate on each other and family. Single people can be more involved on a one-on-one basis with many brothers and sisters. Maybe the Stephen ministry or some other interest that God leads you to can help you grow and help you help others. That is your relationship. You have freedoms that married people do not have. Paul says “in his opinion” that it is good to be single. He even says at one point that he is trying to spare the reader by giving this advice. Obviously, he has seen some bad marriages and relationships. But suggesting people be single. This was unheard of in those times because being married was a status.
I think, in my opinion, Paul is saying that if you are single, you have more time for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. He misses the part that in marriage we refine each other because we are so close. Iron sharpens iron. God’s design is beautiful. Very Good Indeed…

In Solomon’s words…

9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

The three strands are Him, Her, and God.
Husbands, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands.