Any discussion about marriage is much more than a discussion of all things sensual. Marriage is about intimacy, a point not immediately made though inferred by the use of the term relationship. Marriage is—or is a lack of—a relationship between two—a man and a woman. I am maintaining that the ability of a marriage to endure through hardship into old age is decidedly dependent on the degree of intimacy a couple has been able to reach during their time together. Couples that don’t talk to each other run a serious risk of drifting apart since much discovery of who they are has become buried in years of painful misunderstandings and regrets. The ‘real’ them is never gifted to their partner.
If marriage is about relationship and relationship is about intimacy, for me, then, it is about a couple finding each other in a world of unreasonable challenges and unexplainable setbacks. To me, then, it is the Biblical idea presented in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden.
In the Garden, therefore, for me at least, at the dawn of time is the definition of marriage. All our discussion about this scripture or that scripture, this gene or that gene, this environment or that environment, notwithstanding, it is to the first Adam and his Eve we must look to see intimacy as it was envisioned by the Creator—I trust you believe in a creator or I just ramble on about nothing.
So, let me give my writng a biblical tone: Add to your marriage, relationship; and to relationship, intimacy, and to intimacy, sharing and discovery, and to sharing and discovery, agape love. I think Adam and Eve just said “Amen” but with lowered head and solemn tone. They understand what I am trying to say.
Intimacy is developed through the sharing of secrets which by default becomes a sharing of one’s self, one’s personality with another, discovering each other, what matters to each, what hurts and what helps, what excites and what saddens, and eventually who they are. It is washing each other’s emotional feet!
Secrets are not secrets if they go viral or public, though. What happens in the bedroom must stay in the bedroom, if you know what I mean. The principle should be simple: share them with your spouse, not a bar maid or co-worker or best friend or the man next store—and especially not with the preacher.
The sensual aspect is simply a vehicle to bring two people close. It is not merely about procreation but a step toward each other that lends itself to a moment of intimacy. Sex—there, I said it—is more the means than the end. It—you know—is not primarily about satisfying urges or experiencing excitement although the Garden was a paradise of pleasure. It is primarily about getting close and opening a door to each other’s soul. It is about beginning a journey of discovery and learning the secrets that define one’s self and one’s partner, who ‘they’ are, what ‘defines them’.
Intimacy eventually and ultimately becomes an awareness that “I love and am loved” by each of them, where the term ‘love’ at least in the Garden sense took on a Biblical meaning. I might add, Paul uses the word agape (love) about the marriage relationship—again I believe, as God saw it in His Garden vision.
And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. [my master]
Ishi means husband in Genesis 3:6. Ask any wife the difference between husband and master. God is saying to Israel you will no longer refer to me as your master but your husband. Not only is the word different; the position of my in the relationship has changed. My master means the master of me. My husband describes the terms of the relationship. As the Shulamite put it in the Song of Solomon (2:16 )
My beloved is mine.
Granted, the word husband carries no mystery anymore because we have softened its meaning to a legal term. Not to seem derogatory but in same-sex partnerships or marriages, which one is the husband? To me the message is clear: The Garden of Eden relationship had to be and was as God saw it originally—heterosexual.
But beyond this, I maintain there is a dynamic present when a man and a woman spend a life time discovering and sharing each other with each other that leads to “Oneness“. Back to the Garden, God instructed Adam and all men through him:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
We are a hurting race. Broken marriages, pornography, an inability to sense what is important to the people most important to us. A frighteningly long list of negative feelings that are winning the war for the heart of the people we want to be closest to. Women who are repulsed by men and men who are disinterested in women. It appears to me that the human heart is evolving into something less and less able to communicate with the Divine heart on the subject of love as He wanted to share it.
You can’t wonder why I try to wax poetic. It is an attempt at describing the indescribable. It is an attempt at using words to visualize something we cannot fully appreciate this side of the fall, this side of heaven. We are caught in between what God planned and what ultimately He will do.
Hosea 2:19,20 [ERV]:
And I will make you my bride forever. I will make you my bride with goodness and justice and with love and mercy. 20 I will make you my faithful bride. Then you will really know the LORD.