Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”
“We must never be naïve enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the fall…The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the fall: marriage.”
When we read the account of creation in Genesis, we find that at the end of each day God looked over His work and “saw that it was good” (1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25).
There was, however, one exception; after God created man He declared, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (2:18 ESV).
What’s interesting is that after creating the woman, God looked at Adam and Eve and saw that His work was not just good – it was “very good” (1:31).
Love in marriage is the culmination and crowning point of God’s creation.
The writer of Hebrews reflects this divine image of matrimony when he writes, “Marriage is honourable in all…”(13:4 KJV).
The Greek word for honourable – timios – means held as of great price, esteemed, precious. It is the same word used to describe precious stones like diamonds, rubies and emeralds, things that are beautiful.
But, as I am sure many of you are aware, anything with that potential for beauty also has incredible potential for pain and brokenness.
You don’t have to go very far in the Bible – Genesis 2 to Genesis 3 – to learn that the enemy of our souls has unleashed all of his power and strength to steal, kill and destroy our relationship with God and each other!
In many homes, it seems that he is winning the war.
Bliss has turned into brokenness.
A golden wedding ring feels like a “band of bondage”.
And it seems that everything in life competes for our affection in love and marriage.
It’s easy to find ourselves empty and exhausted – just trying to get by.
When someone challenges us to be “ravished” with one another’s love, (Proverbs 5:19 KJV) honestly, it often feels more like ravaged, than ravished.
One discusses – one distances.
One rages – one disengages.
One escalates – one escapes.
And relief rarely comes.
How do we stop the opposition and discord?
Let’s go back to Genesis for a moment. After God created the man and the woman, He gave this life-long guideline for every marriage: “Therefore shall and man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” (2:24 KJV)
Leave and cleave…
Leave – a choice to “leave behind”… “abandon”… “forsake”…
Cleave – a choice to be “joined together as with glue”…
The result of leaving and cleaving is found in the last phrase of this verse – “they shall become one flesh.”
The concept in the Hebrew language is that a man and a woman then become so united that they are literally woven together as one. And the union cannot be divided without wounding both individual parts.
God wants a bond of intimacy so strong that there is no fear in their love, only a freedom to love and to be loved. Love each other like that.
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who recently married Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.