This is part 3 of my series on marriage. To read parts 1 and 2, please begin here.
The subject of this message is relationship and marriage. I treat relationship every Saturday with Jack & Jil, as you may know. It’s become a phenomenon. We’re now in 86 countries, and the blog reaches over two million people every month, with 29,000,000 impressions in the first six months of this year alone.
The Bible affords us the opportunity of digging into the very fundamentals of relationship and marriage, to examine the thought pattern of the conceptualiser of marriage, God. This we shall do in this message.
In studying archival documents relating to events leading up to the Garden of Eden Crisis, we observe there were two trees at the center of the crisis. There was the Tree of Life and then the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Incidentally, both were geographically located in the center of the Garden, a befitting metaphor for the centrality of the role the two would play in the unfolding history of mankind. And with those trees God established two principles. The first is the principle of freewill and the second is the principle of personal responsibility. Man was free to choose as he willed with specific instructions on the consequences of determinations. The trees represented the paradigms of freewill and personal responsibility.
Adam was forbidden from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but he was not forbidden from eating the fruit of the tree of life. Indeed he was encouraged to eat from every other tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The reason God identified the trees and located them in the center of the Garden is to make accidental consumption impossible. You can’t eat the fruit of the tree of life and the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil accidentally. And if you notice, Adam never offered that excuse in his defense. He never said he ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil accidentally. And Adam was one dude who liked to cop out. Just like some dudes who impregnate girls and declare it was all an accident. Can anyone please explain to me the mechanics of accidental pregnancy? I mean, how does it work? A car hits you and you suddenly find yourself inside a woman or what? I don’t get it. You get baited by your own desires, the Bible says. If for example you begin to consume porn, that’s an expression of desire for a certain kind of sexual experience. The Bible says the porn will become a bait for you. And if there’s a bait, there must be a trap somewhere. No wonder people say she “trapped” me with pregnancy. You see the Bible is real? Your lust is always your bait. Read James 1:13-16.
We’re told in scriptures that like every other tree in the Garden, these two trees grew from the ground. In other words, the two trees followed the pattern of natural progression, like other trees, yet they were most potent. The most potent things in life often appear natural and often progress naturally. Jesus was born through natural means for example, just like any other man. His gestation followed the course of natural progression, just like ordinary men. Yet the potency of his life was extraordinary. In the same manner, the guy Satan will send after you to derail your destiny, or the woman sent for that very purpose will not appear in demonic form. He’ll look normal, like every other dude. And everything will follow a natural course. You’ll meet at the cinema, become friends. He’ll toast you, take you out. But his master has an agenda. The guy is just an agent. Same with men. She’ll show you kindness, show you genuine love. But the whole scheme is to wreck your marriage, to make you have a child out of wedlock, and then alter your testimonial. Be very discerning. If something is not adding up on the inside of you, if you have no peace, if it doesn’t feel right, or you feel hacked into, God is warning you about something.
The trees grew from the ground, the Bible says. In other words, they drew nutrient from the very same material from which Adam was made. Thus they shared a nativity and provincialism with Adam. A sense of shared nativity often breeds disrespect and careless familiarity. Adam didn’t respect those trees as he ought to have. He was careless with the familiar. Look at the consequence. Over-familiarity is why the Israelites took Jesus for granted. There was a shared nativism after all. They couldn’t recognise their Messiah and so couldn’t receive God’s message. A prophet is without honour in his own country. Sometimes the people God sends to warn us are people we share nativity with, like our wife, or our parents, or our siblings, or our friends. Or even Leke Alder. There’s Twitter nativity. What they say jumps at us, pricks our heart, touches a raw nerve. There’s a sense of de javu. Don’t be like the Jews. Recognise the voice of your Lord. The Bible called Esau profane because he failed to appreciate the sacred. The sacred often hides in the ordinary. And as you will soon see, those two ordinary looking trees were symbolically prophetic.
The third principle hidden in those trees was the principle of parity with consumption. You become what you consume. You are the data you consume. When Adam consumed the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil he became a bipolar entity – a conflicted individual capable of both good and evil in equal measure. And he did so in a representative capacity. That explains why men are capable of the loftiest of noble ideals and yet so capable of the depths of the depravity of evil.
The incidence of the tree of knowledge of good and evil bifurcated the marital history of Adam into pre-consumption and post consumption eras. Two different husbands emerged from this scenario.
The Adam before consumption was a progressive individual: brilliant, articulate, culturally literate. He was what we’d call a Renaissance man today. A renaissance man is a polymath. His knowledge spans different fields of expertise and he’s able to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. Here was a guy who could name and classify the totality of the animal species. To put things in perspective, there are currently 8.7m species (plus or minus 1.3m), 1,258 genuses, 156 families, 29 orders and 5,937 recognized living species of mammals.
Adam was culturally literate. The first piece of statement attributed to him on the sighting of Eve was a landmark piece of poetry. It contained that powerful line: bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. And he demonstrated transcendence and spirituality in discerning that the woman was taken out of man. He was never informed. He just knew.
He was also a very confident man who knew what he wanted and went for it. God never told him to marry Eve. He knew she was what he needed and he just went for her. And he allowed his wife be. That she made some wrong choices doesn’t take away the fact that she retained her individuality. The ethical issue does not vitiate the selfhood. This information is particularly relevant. You see, one of the lies peddled to successful women is that you need to drum down in order to attract a man. But Eve was not your average babe, yet Adam went for her. That’s a principle established right there. The right man will always go for the right woman. Eve was a super babe. The Bible says she complemented Adam, which means she must have been intelligent, spiritual and culturally literate. Adam wasn’t intimidated by her, or her beauty, her cultural taste and class, individuality or intelligence. A real man is not intimidated by those things. They are his brand assets.
There is an inherent contradiction in trying to build a relationship of honesty and trust with pretense and deceit. If you need to drum down your qualities in order to attract a man, the question must arise, what quality of man are you then aiming for, and what quality of marriage will you then have? And why would a man go for what he can’t afford, what is beyond him? He will suffer from inferiority complex and the next you know, he’s trying to really drum the woman down in order to assert authority. These are realities.
The truth however is, our inability to attract a man at a certain level of attainment is sometimes because of our character and attitudinal disposition and less because of the fact of our achievement. That’s not saying some men aren’t intimidated by a woman’s profile. No, not at all! But if you’re bossy, willful and temperamental you will find it hard to hold on to a relationship, any relationship. That has nothing to do with the fact that you’re CEO, it has to do with character. There are serious consequences to marrying someone you’re not suited to. Please don’t do it.
The Adam that evolved after the fall was another Adam entirely. He was a different kind of husband. The image of confidence and spirituality disappeared. This was a pusillanimous fellow who hid from God. He turned into a coward, a man extremely conscious of his inadequacies. He had now realised he was naked and began to look for fig leaves to cover his nakedness, just like many inadequate people do today. They look for fig leaves. And there are different types of fig leaves. Expansive talks about non-existent contracts, outright lies about assets, resort to funny accent to impress about sophistication, deceitful portrayal of relationship with important people, crass glorification of manhood…the list is endless. And for some men it’s pretentious spirituality.
But perhaps the most damning part of Adam’s transition was the fact that he was ready to throw his wife under the bus. He distanced himself from her emotionally. She became “the woman whom thou gavest me” – a pronoun and 3rd party. She was no longer bone of my bones, she was now bone in my throat. Any time a man distances himself from his wife in public, or accuses her before 3rd parties, or throws her under the bus… these are, many times attempts at self-vindication. Adam spoke of his wife as an object of patrimony. “The woman whom thou gavest me,” he said. He was the first individual to objectivise women. This was not the Adam we knew. This Adam cannot be depended upon by any woman. He cannot take responsibility for his actions and inactions. You’d think he never took that fruit. Instead he blamed others for his predicament, including God.
In moments of crisis a man must step up to the plate, not cowering behind the flag of fig leaves and blaming his wife for his lapses. And there are many illustrations of “the woman whom thou gavest me.” A young man is doing well in business before marriage. But suddenly the economic environment changes and his business suffers. His economic fortune dips. And immediately he begins to call his wife a witch. Instead of going into prayer of agreement with her, asking God to reverse the misfortune, and for favour and wisdom, he turns his wife into the enemy. He regresses into the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc – being the conclusion that if B occurs after A, A must have caused B: the witch cried last night, the baby died today. Clearly the witch killed the baby! It doesn’t matter if the baby had a congenital defect. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
You’ve got to be definitive about the kind of man you want to be, and as a woman you’ve got to be definitive about the kind of man you want to marry: Adam before the fall, or Adam after the fall?
And you can see the effect of guilt and pressure on Adam. Some people don’t know how to function under pressure. They begin to malfunction, lashing out at their partner. Lack of money exerts enormous pressure on a marriage. It’s why I advise young men: no job, no marriage. A marriage must have an economic model. Adam had a job before the issue of marriage even came up. When you lash out at your wife when you have no money, you get her angry. And when you lash out at your husband when things are tough, you demoralise him. I’m talking of a good man, not an irresponsible man. If you marry an irresponsible man, you can’t complain when he behaves irresponsibly. “I do” does not transform human nature. The potential problems in a marriage are always obvious before the marriage. God is that merciful. It’s just that we choose to overwrite the obvious and choose to ignore facts. But the facts you ignore today will haunt you tomorrow. If he’s a girlfriend beater, chances are he’ll be a wife beater. If he’s insecure before marriage, chances are his insecurity will escalate after marriage. If she’s a dirty girlfriend, chances are she’ll be an unhygienic wife. If he’s a lazy fellow before marriage, chances are he’ll be a lazy man after marriage. Always deal with the facts. Face the issues. Don’t traffic in suppositions.
And we also deal in suppositions when we use the wrong criteria to choose our life partners. That he’s a good usher is not the definition of a husband. It is a basis for promotion to head usher, it is not the qualification for a husband. That she can sing down the heavens is not the credential of a good wife, it is the qualification for a Christian record deal, or America’s Got Talent. Do you want to marry a chorister or a wife? Do you want to marry an usher or a husband? That’s not saying those qualifications are totally irrelevant. But they’re not primary qualifications; they’re secondary and even tertiary. A wife doesn’t need to be able to sing. Neither will a man be an usher at home. That’s why it’s dangerous for the pastor or elders in a church to recommend a wife or husband for you. They will be recommending a faithful usher and a wonderful choir member, not necessarily a husband or wife. All they really know about the person is what he or she is in church. But what you are is what you are outside church. And some believe they can convert a man, or convert a woman. Are you the Holy Spirit? Last time I checked your name was Busola and your name was Emeka.
Never treat marriage with levity. It’s the most potent institution on earth because of what it represents. It represents the union between Christ and the Church. It was through the instrumentality of marriage that the impossible and the imponderable were accomplished. Through marriage, God changed the biological configuration of the Godhead. We are the body of Christ through marriage to Christ. We are engrafted into the Godhead as the body of Christ. The woman was taken out of the man in the first Adam but she was grafted into the Man in the 2nd Adam. And so did man assume constitutional membership of the Godhead. Only marriage can accomplish that feat. That’s how powerful and potent it is. Marriage is a processor. There’s no way you can go into marriage and come out the same. Marriage processes you. It’s why you go into it advisedly.
The point being made is that marriage is so potent it will determine your destiny. The life of that young man you marry will determine the outcome of your life; and the person of that young woman you marry will greatly modify the trajectory of your life. That’s not saying you should be afraid of marriage. It’s such a wonderful thing, if you get the right partner.
And Genesis defines the right partner based on three parameters: Complementariness, suitability, adaptability. Do you complement and complete him? Are you suitable to each other? Can you adapt to him. If you cannot answer these questions in the affirmative, I’d advise you have a rethink. It is within the context of the crisis in Genesis that you can understand Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” The first Adam gave up his wife for himself. In this we see two iterations of love.
The first Adam was a man who understood romance. He could compose poems and titillate the heart of his woman with rhyme and rhythm. And that’s just like many young men today. They know how to toast, send baby, baby music clips, wax lyrical about the curves of the woman, her exquisite beauty, scintillating eyes, bee stung lips, her breasts, her derriere… They are not ready to sacrifice for her. They will repudiate responsibility under pressure. Notice how many deny pregnancy. Young men want sex without responsibility. But true manhood is not the size of the penis, virility or sexual ardour. Manhood is defined by responsibility. And that was the character of the last Adam. Unlike the first Adam he wrote the poetry of love through death and sacrifice. His blood was the ink. He hung on that cross, claiming responsibility for the error of his wife, the Church. True romance is based on sacrifice.
It is my sincere prayer, that you have such a wonderful and fulfilling marriage.
#Illuminare © Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org