Have you ever fantasized about the perfect relationship? I used to spend hours dreaming up “The BEST Relationship That Ever Was and Ever Will Be!!” If you’re like me, your list may have gone something like this: someone who understands you, someone you can be totally yourself with, someone who was wowed by you when he saw you for the first time. Maybe even someone that would help share in your goals and work, someone who could enjoy intimacy with you, as well as a deep intimacy with God.
Doesn’t exist, you might say. Perfect relationships are something Disney and Hollywood fabricated to sell movies.
Um, not exactly.
Adam and Eve had the perfect relationship—there were no barriers between them. The Bible says they were united as one, not just with each other, but also with God. They worked together and enjoyed being able to walk and talk with God on a daily basis.
How incredible it must have been to have complete and total intimacy with God and your spouse! Nothing to hide or fear. No shame or guilt (Gen 2:25).
Of course we know it didn’t stay this way. Satan came and did what he does when we listen to his lies: he destroyed. I don’t know about you, but every time I read this story I get a little miffed at Eve, and then I just feel deeply saddened. Why was Eve tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in the first place? Sure, it may have looked pretty and delicious, and she heard it could give her wisdom—but why did she need any of those things when she was living in the God-given paradise of Eden?
Did Satan’s whispered questions imply to her that she was inferior, lacking something? Was that the first seed of insecurity, prompting her to believe she could, and needed, to be somehow better? The Bible does not describe her motivation, but the results of that decision had a tremendous impact on her relationship with her husband and with God (Gen 3:1-23).
After eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve gained knowledge—but not the kind they were looking for. Now the couple had first-hand knowledge of evil, sin, and shame. Sin, the true relationship wrecker.
We know that sin is destructive and damaging. Unfortunately, what we don’t always realize is that sin not only separates us from God, but also creates a wedge in our earthly relationships.
The first snowball in the avalanche of consequences described in the Bible was the change in Adam and Eve’s relationship with each other. A barrier developed between them. Shame separated the perfect couple. They realized their guilt and, in an attempt to cover their shame, sewed fig leaves together to cover (and separate) themselves physically (Gen 3:7). Then came the blame game as God spoke with them about their newly discovered “knowledge.” How do you think it affected the relationship as Adam pointed a finger and told God that Eve was the reason for his disobedience? Emotionally and physically, things were strained, difficult, and—I’m sure—painful for the couple.
Only then does the Bible describe the massive change in their relationship with God. Sin ripped apart the unhindered relationship Adam and Eve had with their Creator and with each other.
See? You might be thinking. I knew perfect relationships couldn’t exist now! And you would be correct. However, intimate Godly relationships still CAN exist.
In wedding ceremonies, we often hear that God needs to be at the center of the marriage. That is certainly true—not just because God is the glue that holds them together. Individually, an intimate personal relationship with God is what keeps sin, the ultimate home wrecker, out. It helps us resist the very lies that drew Eve into that first bite, a bite that resulted from entertaining Satan’s whispered promptings.
We can follow all the advice books and “how to” philosophies on building strong marriages and positive relationships with others. But a daily walk in close relationship with God is the single greatest factor in maintaining a relationship with someone you love. If you want a fortress to protect your relationship, then allow God to be the foundation, bricks, and mortar that protect your mind, heart, and spirit against sin.
A strong and intimate relationship with another cannot exist unless you first have a strong and intimate personal relationship with God.