Growing up in church as a young single woman, I heard a phrase about men I might date, “Make sure he loves Jesus more than you.”
I thought, “Well, of course,” and glossed over the cliché without really thinking about it. Adam, walking in the garden with God, would have been perplexed by that advice. For him, there would have been no competition for his heart and mind, because God gave Eve to him in a perfect and sinless world.
Before Eve, Adam had unbroken fellowship with God: no sin, no shame. This relationship was enough for Adam. God’s perfect love, grace and joy flowed freely into Adam’s soul. We don’t read about Adam feeling discontent and needy for someone else besides God. And yet God saw—while Adam enjoyed the all-sufficient Godhead—that it was not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Eve was God’s idea and God’s gift to Adam.
Love for God and Love in Marriage
When God presents Eve to Adam, God doesn’t nervously say, “Hey, just make sure you love me more than Eve, OK?” He didn’t need to. Eve was not a threat to Adam’s relationship with God. In the garden, the three relationships between God and Eve, between God and Adam, and between Adam and Eve sang in perfect harmony. There was beauty and balance in the intersections of these loves.
But sin disrupted the balance and halted the harmony. Suddenly, God’s good gifts had become gold-plated calves we worship and serve instead of him.
Though marriage will not have a permanent place in heaven, God deemed it important for his kingdom here on earth. The balance and harmony between a husband, a wife and their God is restored, and continually being restored, through Christ.
But before a man and woman are joined together, they must get to know each other and determine if they’re on a path toward that kind of marriage.