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The Hundred-Ninety-Ninth (Marriage Part 3)

Last week we took a look at YHWH’s definition of marriage, including what the process of the creation of Adam and Eve told us about that definition as well as what marriage does to us spiritually and physically by forever connecting us to our spouse.  This week, we’re going to start looking at the husband and wife roles in marriage and how we can live those out.  First though, there is a point of clarification that needs to be made.  

When we saw last week that sex constitutes marriage, it’s important to understand that just like Yeshua said someone can commit adultery simply by lusting after someone else (Matthew 5:27-28), you can become married by a decision to place yourself in a position of a marriage-like relationship.  In other words, while engaging in sexual activity with someone absolutely is marriage, prior to that occurring you can already have become married in your heart.  The focus last week on sex being marriage was born out of the world’s propaganda that sex is meaningless so you can have it with whoever you want without consequence.  So, I apologize for any confusion that may have caused.

This is something that goes along with what we’re looking at this week, however.  Our thoughts, our spiritual status, and our physical actions are very intertwined.  We can effect a change in our spiritual status both by our thoughts as well as our actions, as evidenced above.  By lusting, we can commit adultery, and we can also commit adultery by physical acts.  And if you don’t recall, adultery is a very spiritual concept because it is used to describe engaging in idolatry (Isaiah 57).

In order for us to live out the roles YHWH intended for us in marriage, we must be in that role in our heart and act that role out.  We will create dissonance in ourselves if these two parts are not in alignment, but by starting with our heart, our actions will follow (Luke 6:45, Proverbs 4:23).  Therefore, mentally, we have to make the decision to be in the role YHWH intended for us, and sometimes that means making that decision every day!  Or even multiple times a day!  

So, what are those roles?  Well, last week we identified that there is a hierarchy in marriage just like there is a hierarchy with the ekklesia and Yeshua (Ephesians 1:22).  That hierarchy flows down from Yeshua in that the husband is just below Yeshua and the wife is just below the husband (Ephesians 5:23-24).  In this day and age, this can get to be a very touchy subject, with feminist movements, our sinful nature, and a bit of prideful hesitation (or maybe a lack of trust?) about being in a role of submission.

As we saw last week however, this hierarchy was evident also from the process of Adam and Eve’s creation.  Adam was created first, from the dust of the earth, and then Eve was created from a piece of Adam (Genesis 2:7, 21-22).  Also, this hierarchy is shown by another theme you see all throughout scripture: naming someone or something.  Adam named Eve “woman,” (Genesis 2:23), and naming is an action denoting authority and responsibility.  Adam was given charge over every living creature, and part of the process of being given this charge was naming them (Genesis 2:19-20).    

This authority of Adam over Eve is not one of complete domination though.  To look at it that way would be to neglect the fact that Eve was created for a reason: to be Adam’s helper (Genesis 2:18).  When was this need for Adam to have a helper identified by YHWH?  It was after Adam was commanded to cultivate and keep the garden and after the commandment to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-16).  YHWH could see that Adam couldn’t do that by himself, and especially not after He created all the living creatures, which Adam was to be in charge of as well.  

So, YHWH created Eve to not only help Adam but to provide a means to procreate, which would enable adding to the manpower needed to carry out YHWH’s commandments of tending to the garden and the living creatures.  This shows us that while the process of Eve’s creation and Adam’s naming her indicates a hierarchy in the relationship, it was intended to be more of a symbiosis rather than a relationship solely of Adam’s dominance over Eve.  Both Adam and Eve had specific roles in the relationship; roles that one was created to be better at than the other.  

Obviously, part of Eve’s role was obvious.  She was to be the child-bearer, and as we can see generally today this includes being more naturally nurturing so that the child will be taken care of.  Adam’s role was one of work, tending to nature and creatures, and we can see generally today this includes being more task-oriented and physically stronger.  We don’t see until a little later in the account of Genesis some of the other aspects of marriage that YHWH intended for us to carry out.  The things we just identified were mainly physical.

Do you remember what happened before Eve was created?  Besides Adam getting the commandment to tend to everything on earth, he also got the commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  Eve was not present when this commandment was given, so what was Adam’s responsibility?  To make sure Eve knew YHWH’s commandment and followed it.  Adam did not fulfill this responsibility (Genesis 3:6).

By this, we can see that Adam’s role, and therefore the man’s role in marriage, is also one of leadership both spiritually and, by extension, physically.  Spiritually, Adam was supposed to ensure Eve knew the commandment from YWHW, internalized it, and then physically lived that commandment out.  Instead, he allowed her to not only consider the serpent’s temptation, but to give into it.  In that moment, he let Eve become the leader, the leader in transgressing YHWH’s commandment.  He then followed her lead by also partaking in the fruit that they were forbidden to eat.

This transgression and swapping of roles was then placed as a curse on Eve, which we can still see today.  A curse that she would desire to control her husband but he will still rule over her (Genesis 3:16), which we have looked at previously.  Both Adam and Eve received a physical curse based on their physical roles in marriage (Genesis 3:16-19), but Adam’s spiritual curse was not overtly spoken by YHWH.  That’s because he would also suffer from Eve’s spiritual curse in that she would continually desire to control him, making it difficult for him to be the leader in their marriage.  So, not only would Adam have difficulty physically, he would also have difficulty spiritually in his marriage to Eve.

So, as we can see, YHWH put in place unique roles for man and woman in marriage at the very beginning when He created Adam and Eve.  A man’s role is to be leader, both spiritually and physically, tending to the earth to provide sustenance for him and his wife and guiding his wife in the commandments of YHWH and how to live by them.  A woman’s role is to help the man in his role by following his leadership, bearing children in the process of procreation, and helping with things like nurturing children as they grow.  

Man and woman are two parts to a whole, each with our own strengths and weaknesses, and the only way for that whole to work the way YHWH intended is for us to work together to do whatever His will is in our lives.  Despite what the world is pushing, a man can never bear and give birth to a child, and despite what the world is pushing, YHWH designed a woman generally to be physically weaker than a man, as far as things like manual labor go.  That doesn’t mean a man is any better than a woman or a woman is any better than a man.  We each have our own unique worth, given by YHWH in our designed roles in marriage.  

This point needs to be overemphasized because it’s so hard to overcome the world’s messaging, which is coming from the agenda of The Adversary to destroy marriages and YHWH’s design of marriage in general.  A role of submission or a role of leadership has been equated to a measure of worth in the world, which has then been used as an argument to say wives shouldn’t submit to husbands and husbands shouldn’t lead their wives because it shows that one is better than the other in some way.  The truth is that YHWH designed us to be better at certain roles in a marriage, just like He designed certain people in His ekklesia to be better at certain things and therefore have a different role in Yeshua’s body (Romans 12:4-5).  

We will get more into how we live out these roles in a marriage and what the New Testament scriptures say about them next week.  For now, if you are married or plan to get married in the future, think about YHWH’s design and what you think it means to live it out.  We’ll figure out if you’re on the right track next week!

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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