The Dancing Puritan

Monday, January 21, 2013

Someone to Know Pt. 1: Thoughts on Marriage

Do you know your spouse?  Really?  Do you know how they think and feel?  Do you know their views?  Do you know what they enjoy and what they detest?  Do you know their dreams? Are you in touch with their heart? Do you know their greatest fears and doubts?  Do you care? Are you willing to know your spouse and enter into the joy of discovery?

Marriage is about knowing, knowing involves discovery and discovery is inseparable from intimacy.

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We first learn of knowing in marriage from the book of Genesis.  Now Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, 'I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD' (Genesis 4:1).

What does it mean that Adam knew Eve?  Knowing Eve meant more than simply knowing that she existed.  Indeed Adam knew that she existed.  In fact he had initially been rather emotional about her existence. This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:23).  The language is expressive and indicates that Adam was very excited about the woman. Adam knew about Eve. She was the helper fit for him (2:18) that God had made.

Genesis 4:1 introduces a word that tells us more about Adam and Eve's relationship.  It tells us that Adam knew Eve his wife.  He already knew her, but the foundational knowledge of existence and knowing things about her, became something more. Adam knew Eve intimately.

Genesis 4:1 connects knowledge with conception.  Adam knew Eve and Eve conceived.  They were physically intimate. Knowledge is again connected to conception a few verses later, Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch (17). Then again, And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth... (25).

One might say, I know Sally, she works as a clerk at the store.  That is different from, Adam knew Eve and she conceived. So there is knowledge and there is knowing.  Knowing (in the sense of this column) is the knowledge of intimacy. Dr. R.C. Sproul, in his book, The Intimate Marriage, wrote: when the Old Testament speaks of sexual union in terms of knowing, it is because knowing, in every sense of the word, is at the heart of marriage.  To be known and still be loved is one of the supreme goals of marriage.

Marriage is all about knowing. This knowledge includes sexual intimacy but is more. It is to know your spouse intimately and to be known by them. To know is to love and to be loved. It is to express that love in the most intimate of ways, in a unique, reserved, particular and exclusive relationship.

Sproul wrote, a synonym for verbal communication. Communication involves a kind of nakedness. In some situations, nakedness can be very embarrassing.  At other times, it can be supremely exhilarating. So it is with communication.  When communication is carried on in a proper way in marriage, it yields unspeakable pleasure.  When it fails, the result is two people going back into hiding.

The best way to understand the depth of intimacy is by looking to our Lord.  ...I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of iniquity (Matthew 7:23).  The workers of iniquity are those who called Jesus Lord but who did not do God's will.  Jesus said about them, I never knew you. Of course he knew them.  He knew they existed.  He knew their claims. He knew their works. He did not know them intimately.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son...(Romans 8:29).

God foreknew some people.  Foreknowledge is not simply knowing in advance but the word foreknew carries with it the idea of love and intimacy.  It speaks of God's love.  An amazing truth about God's love is that he loved people before he created them.

Think about it.  If you are married, a brand-new relationship has been created. Marriage constitutes the reason a man leaves his parents. He leaves parents so that he might cleave to his wife (Genesis 2:24). To cleave to one's wife is to be welded to her, to be grafted to her bones and bound to her heart.

Do you know your spouse?  Do you really know them? Do you see your marriage as an exciting journey of discovery?  Are you willing to know your spouse in every sense of the word?  Are you willing to be known by them?  If so then you are on your way to understanding the joy of marriage.