When God created Adam, He gave him the job of naming the animals. Adam noticed that pairs of animals complemented each other. “[B]ut for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:20). There was no complement, no helper fit or worthy for Adam.
After God established a relationship with Adam and instructed him about the essential knowledge of the two trees, He took one of Adam’s ribs and created a woman, a suitable help, especially for him. Both the order and manner in which God created Adam and Eve reveal how God created the roles of husband and wife! He created not only a man and a woman but also the relationship between man and woman when He instituted marriage. The role of the husband is to love and to lead, to provide and to protect. The role of the wife is to submit and to support her husband.
God had a very specific reason to create the relationship this way. Remember, His ultimate purpose is to expand His Family of Father and Son!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God …” (John 1:1). The word with denotes the closest spiritual relationship two beings can have! God and the Word do not have a marriage relationship, but God put the essence of their relationship into the marriage relationship! The Word was God’s assistant. They complemented each other perfectly. And there was government: The Word submitted perfectly to God in everything, and they had blissful, perfect unity.
God wanted Adam and Eve, and all mankind (through marriage and family), to experience the same level of unity that God and the Word have always experienced, because unity generates happiness, peace and joy!
When the Word became Jesus Christ, He said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4-6).
“They two” refers to male and female. Man and wife become “one flesh” not merely physically through sex but also mentally, emotionally and, most importantly, spiritually. That is why it is God who joins man and wife together in marriage. Marriage enables them to accomplish better and greater things together, complementing each other through a resplendent unity of mind and purpose!
Through marriage, God wants man to experience that joyful, exhilarating unity that He and the Word experience. Only through fulfilling the God-appointed roles as husband and wife can men and women ever experience this kind of unity. And to do that, man and wife must each be led not by the spirit of this world but by the Spirit of God.