The First Couple
Timothy Yeung—Vancouver, Canada
Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a
woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone
of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because
she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his
wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The first union of a man and a woman in the history of mankind: What a
solemn moment for Adam and Eve, when God personally put them together
for life! What joy, what bliss, what excitement! What bright hopes for
their future! Their hearts were so close, to the extent that Adam called
his wife “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.” There is no greater
intimacy than that.
Unfortunately Adam and Eve’s bliss did not last. Only one chapter after
their “wedding,” they sinned against God and, as a result, were driven
out from the garden of Eden, away from the face of God. At the same
time, they began to experience problems in their marriage. Note how Adam
addressed Eve when God required an account of him for their sin: “The
woman whom You gave to be with me…” (Gen 3:12). What a contrast to his
previous way of addressing her! We can imagine how much they had drifted
apart from each other… all because of sin.
In fact, our relationship with our spouse is directly related to our
relationship with God, for if there is discord between husband and wife,
their prayers are hindered (1 Pet 3:7).
Today, we may wonder why we encounter difficulties in our marriage even
though God has put us together. While it may be true that God has
matched us with our spouse, we still have to make efforts to maintain
and manage our marriage.
Although Adam and Eve lived thousands of years ago, the challenges and
problems they faced in their marriage were quite similar to those we
face today. For this reason, it is worth looking into their mistakes to
learn how we can preserve and manage our own marriage.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which
the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said,
‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said
to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but
of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has
said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God
knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you
will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Initially, Adam and Eve never thought about eating the forbidden fruit
because there were so many other fruits to eat in the garden of Eden.
They were satisfied with what they had. However, when the serpent told
Eve about the benefits of the forbidden fruit, her desire was aroused
and she ate of the fruit.
Many marital relationships break down due to temptation. Just as Satan
made use of the serpent to change the relationship of the first couple,
he offers many temptations in the outside world to husbands and wives
There was once a brother who had a beautiful female colleague. He loved
his wife, so he didn’t give any thought to this colleague. However, over
time, he became attracted to her because he had to work very closely
with her and they could communicate well with each other. When he
realized that he looked forward to going to work everyday because of
her, he knew that he was in danger. In the end, he changed his job to
escape from this temptation and to protect his marriage.
Hence, if we are faced with temptations from the opposite gender, we
must run. We may also need to share this with our spouse and ask him or
her to pray for us. Eve did not flee from the source of temptation; she
even talked to the serpent—in the end, this caused her to downfall.
FULFILL YOUR ROLES
When God put the first husband and wife together, He wanted them to
become one flesh. Yet He assigned different roles to them.
God created the husband to be the head of the wife, as Christ is the
head of the church (Eph 5:23). As such, the husband should provide
leadership to his family, especially in spiritual matters. For example,
he should take the initiative to bring his family for church services
and in building the family altar. Furthermore, he should correct his
family members when they are about to go against God’s commandments.
However, we see that Adam did not lead his family during a time of need
(Gen 3:6–7). When his wife became weak, ate of the forbidden fruit and
even gave it to him to eat, he did not stop her; instead Adam listened
to her and compromised his own spiritual life.
When God formed Eve, He wanted her to help Adam tend the garden of Eden
(Gen 2:18, 15) and to be his companion. In fact, this companionship was
for both Adam and Eve, and should not be merely physical but should
extend into the spiritual realm. Just as husbands have the
responsibility to bring their wives before God, wives have the
responsibility to keep their husbands close to God. Instead of doing
this, Eve gave the fruit to Adam to eat, leading him away from God (Gen
In our life and faith journey, we will inevitably meet with trials and
setbacks. At such times, God wants husbands and wives to support each
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their
labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
Abigail left us a good example. When her husband Nabal risked losing his
life because he had reviled David’s messengers, Abigail stepped in. She
took up the responsibility for not meeting David earlier and appeased
him with her gift of food and wine. She fulfilled her role as her
husband’s helper and supporter, without blaming Nabal for his own folly.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was
pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took
of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he
When Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, the Bible describes only actions;
there was no communication between her and her husband. Eve acted on her
own without consulting her husband, and was subsequently deceived.
This goes to show that there must be communication in a marriage. Quite
often, we lack communication with our spouse because there are too many
distractions. After a busy day at work, we often want to relax by
watching our favorite television program, surfing the web or playing a
However, the less we talk to our spouse, the colder our relationship
will grow because there will be less and less common ground between us.
We need to remove these obstacles to our communication. Instead of doing
our own thing all the time, let us try to share quality time
together—even if it is just by switching off the TV and talking to each
other over dinner.
COME BEFORE GOD TOGETHER
When God looked for Adam and Eve after they had sinned, they withdrew
from God and hid themselves (Gen 3:8). But did this solve their problem?
When we encounter problems in our marriage, we tend to think that this
is due to personality differences, communication problems or
temptations. Quite often, that causes us to repeat Adam and Eve’s
mistake: they blamed each other and the serpent (Gen 3:11–13) instead of
looking at themselves.
In reality, our marital problems are often linked to our relationship
with God. Perhaps we are too stiff-necked and unwilling to change our
bad habits or listen to our spouse’s opinion. That indicates a sense of
pride; yet God has said that He resists the proud but gives grace to the
humble (Jas 4:6). Maybe we are so busy pursuing our careers or caring
for our children that we have forgotten about our spouse’s needs and
neglected to draw near to God. Yet God has said, “do not worry about
your [or your children’s] life, what you will eat or what you will
drink; nor about your body, what you will put on… For after all these
things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need
all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt
6:25,32–33). Therefore, we need to examine ourselves and our
relationship with God.
Moreover, we need to come before God together with our spouse. If both
husband and wife draw near to God, they will also grow closer to each
other; for the Lord Himself will bridge the gap between us.
The importance of having a family altar cannot be underestimated. In
fact, it is vital to establish our own family altar from the start of
our marriage. When we study the Bible together, we can discuss and
understand each other’s weaknesses and encourage each other with the
word of God. We will also experience the joy of sharing with each other.
When we pray together, we can experience the strength of two people
praying together. And as we allow the Holy Spirit to constantly fill us
and work in us, we will be able to forgive and support each other, as
well as to face the challenges in our marriage together.
Let us therefore draw near to God with our spouse in the garden of
Eden…the place where God first blessed mankind with the joy of marriage.