Marriage was made BEFORE the fall. So before sin entered the picture, God brought man and woman together to form the first family. This newlywed couple had the perfect “love garden” environment. (In Gen 1, as God created each piece he said it was “Good” which in the original language is “tob”, and it can be translated, “good, beautiful, or functioning according to design”.) It was a beautiful wedding, (God brought them together!), a beautiful couple (no appearance of sin — yet!) and they are in a beautiful place (a “Tob”garden created by God).
One of most people’s “love lines” made popular by the movies is “ You complete me” and in a sense, this is Biblically accurate, at least in Genesis 2. Genesis 2:18 says, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”
“Tob” in the beginning
God says it is not “Tob” — not good, beautiful or as God intended for man to be “alone.” Alone here means in solitude, separated apart, isolated and curtained off. It is pretty clear that for the vast majority, God intended man to live with woman in a committed monogamous love relationship.
(The exception would be when Paul calls singleness a gift. “One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord” It is a gift because a person can focus fully on service to God and not have to balance work, marriage, family at the same level. See 1 Cor. 7:32 – 35) God designed the majority of us for marriage.
The term “suitable” is a unique term. It means “near by.” In context, it is the complete picture of God making all the animals, parading the animals past Adam, and Adam realizing he is alone (and that is not “tob”). Adam is realizing from seeing each animal with its’ partner, that he is missing his partner. He realizes there a missing piece.
God then pulls one of Adam’s ribs and “makes” Eve for Adam. We have a fond affection for this term, “make.” It is much more than “make” cookies, or “make” dinner or “make” a date. “Make” is a much more personal term here. It means God manufactured Eve. He created Eve. He put some thought and energy into his creation too! “Make” can also mean to accomplish, appoint or bring forth. So God didn’t just dream about Eve, He accomplished the dream. And in verse 22, God “fashioned” means he built or constructed Eve. So when God looks at marriage, He appoints someone for you because He has the ability to accomplish a creative masterpiece, construct a beautiful being, and fashion you a mate that fills in that empty place in your heart and life. By marrying the one designed for you by God, life does feel more complete.
To translate a bit of this rich word study to today’s world, if I embrace the Genesis 2 view of my husband, Bill, then I will ask God to help me be “tob” in his life. I will take up the cause of teaming with God to make Bill’s life good, beautiful and functioning according to design. I give Bill my heart to lead, and I will try to picture what Eve must have been like before the fall: available to Adam, fostering a friendship and a romantic relationship with Adam; and I would also follow their early wise choice — I’d be careful to walk with God. To keep my heart soft toward Bill (and God), I remind myself that Bill was made (fashioned, designed personally) by God for me. Bill is designed for me when he is kind, attentive, thoughtful, and romantic. But he is also designed for me when his idiosyncrasies irritate me; when he fails to woo or wow me; when his testosterone just isn’t jiving with my estrogen way of seeing life. Just as one diamond is used to polish another, so Bill, all of who he is polishes me up for God’s good (“tob”) use of my life!
“Tob” to the next generation
Just as I believe I am made for Bill, I also believe God has the ability to create a complimentary mate for each of my sons. I began praying for the spouse of my child before my child — or his future spouse was even conceived. However, my major prayer went back to how Adam and Eve related to God before the fall. They walked with God, they were God’s friend, they listened and obeyed God’s guidance. So I spent (and still spend) the majority of my prayer time for my kids praying each will walk in unity with their Creator. Because as a person walks with God, he/she hears and wants to follow God’s leading, and that is the best way to discover and discern just who God has “made” for you.
Pretty recently, I was holding the face of my daughter in law, framed by her wedding veil, an as I looked in her eyes and I said, “I prayed for my son’s future wife since before he was even born. That God would bring him the perfect woman, made just right for him and he just right for her, and God answered my prayers. But even more God answered my son’s prayers when God formed you. The Bible says you are wonderfully and beautifully made. I thank God because you are a gift to my son and you are a gift to our family.”
And as I was praying with the bride, her mother was telling my son the exact same thing!
In our book, The Before Your Marry Book of Questions, our goal is to help people gain confidence in their relationship. Either they become confident that God has “made” each for the other, or they become confident they should release each other for someone else to marry. Be sure, God is a personal God, and if you listen, walk closely with Him and obey, He will be faithful to lead you to the mate that He fashioned for you — or help you remember and rejoice that the husband you are married to now is fashioned just for you.