We think of love as some sort of feeling within us but love is really manifest by what we do when the feelings are not present. Instead of obedience or love based on an inward “feeling” of fondness, we do the things which are representative of one who truly cares. Changing a baby’s diaper is not pleasant and the child would suffer if parents waited until they had fond feelings of handling human excrement.
Many can “fake” an attempt at keeping God’s standards by focusing merely on the externals. What we cannot fake is the aroma of a life that lives in genuine love for God. Jesus taught that cups must be cleansed from the inside out. So it is with families. The “inside relationship” in any family is the relationship between husband and wife. They are called to consciously strive to relationship of Christ and the Church.
This is not about some simplistic system. True obedience will always frustrate the crowd that thinks that all of Christian living is bough in “How to” manuals and “paint by numbers” instructions. The mere copyist can say what the unregenerate Saul could say, “concerning the righteousness which is in the law, I am blameless….” While he may deceive himself, the externalist can imitate godliness but will never possess the substance of it. Only Christ produces that in a transformed heart that depends upon Him for strength and righteousness. The aroma of a man proceeds from his heart and men cannot produce new hearts by their own strength.
Thus, the basis of all of a Biblical marriage is a man and a woman who are first, and foremost, Christian. God does not give His commands so they can be patched on top of a humanistic or pagan framework. God doesn’t come to “round us out” because we’re pretty good already.
God is Lord of heaven and earth and His creatures have the moral responsibility to acknowledge His preeminence in everything they do – including how they marry. Those who have this orientation, man and wife in a covenant bond, enjoy a Christian marriage. Others claim God with their mouths but deny His preeminence with their lives and do so at their own peril. Maturity in the Lord is a prerequisite for a mature marriage.
Adam first noticed a lack of a suitable helper after naming the animals (Gen 2:20-21). When Adam was naming the animals, he wasn’t just handing out random labels. Names in the ancient world were significant and named the nature and character of the thing named. This is very important in the naming of Eve because, in the naming of animals, Adam saw none who could be appropriately named as a helper suitable for him.
After his wife is created, Adam receives her, and names her (Gen 2:23-24). Verse 24 show that Adam and Ishshah (Woman) were a paradigmatic couple. They were NOT just any two individuals. Christ Himself appeals to this creation ordinance when condemning divorce. The temptation is to think that God only joined Adam and Eve together as individuals. In reality, Christ insists, that when God joined them together, He was joining together every man and woman who has ever come together sexually in a covenant bond. This is why divorce and adultery are so sinful.
At this point, Adam had not named his wife Eve yet. Adam gave his wife two individual names. The first was Ishshah, or Woman, because she was taken out of man. The second was Chavvah – life-bearer, or Eve in English. (Gen 3:20) Both names, in their giving, reveal truth about her. The first reveals her dependence on man – she was taken from him. The second reveals man’s dependence on her – every man since is her son! The Epistles remind us to remember that each wife is an Ishsha, and each wife is a Chavvah. Each is Woman, and each is Eve. (1 Cor 11:11-12) Notice Paul’s progression: Woman came from man (Ishshah), even so man also comes through woman (Chavvah); but all things are from God (Adam).
Thus God began the practice of calling our first parents by the collective name Adam or man or mankind. Modern rejections of this use that seek to be “gender inclusive” and “sensitive” actually destroy the spiritual meaning within it. (We are also all called “Sons of God” in the NT – this is not a mistake that God made). The taking of the man’s name is not “…just something we do.” It is covenant security. It is a recognition that God has joined us to be joined together as one.1
1 Doug Wilson, Reforming Marriage