“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him” (Genesis 2:18).
The old t-shirt said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
It’s cute, but quite wrong. Dead wrong, as a matter of fact.
We all need other people in our lives. God made the genders male and female so that we complement each other. Because we are different, we bring different things into the marriage. Some of those “things” are gifts and endowments and strengths and some are what we call “baggage.” Such “baggage” may include character flaws, prejudices, areas in which we are immature, fears, guilt, and needs.
No one enters a marriage empty-handed.
The last couple I talked with about their upcoming marriage were not Frank and Dave, nor were they Henrietta and Harriet. They were a young woman and a young man. Let me describe them to you….
The bride-to-be is of average height, slim, and gorgeous. She is utterly feminine and has a smile that lights up a room. She is a real head-turner. The groom-to-be is tall and stout and nice-looking. He wears sideburns and is all man. He would make one ugly woman. But that’s fine. Oh, and he knows nothing about music. The reason that matters is that she has a master’s degree in piano which she teaches. Both are Christian, and they are goofily in love.
Nice arrangement. They are different in a hundred ways and solidly alike in maybe twenty.
Eventually, given twenty years or more, they will be different in twenty areas and alike in a hundred.
This is not to disparage singleness. To some, God gives the gift of singleness, and we applaud that. His wisdom is infinite and flawless. But, as a rule, the plan is a husband (man) and a wife (woman).
The symmetry and simplicity of that arrangement is wonderful.
A car needs two headlights.
The head needs two eyes.
The body needs two arms and two legs.
We have two ears.
It’s about balance and counter-balance, about perspective and vision. It’s about symmetry and compensating.
Woe to the man who loses an eye. There goes his depth perception.
The man who loses a leg has balance problems. Lose an arm, and everything in his life changes as he seeks ways to adapt and compensate.
Woe to the man who loses a wife.
The man who “loses” a wife through death quickly finds an essential part of his life has been taken from him.
He loses his best friend and lover.
He loses his companion and partner.
He loses his breakfast buddy and his advisor.
It’s a little like losing an arm and a leg, an eye and an ear, all at the same time. You wake up one morning and her side of the bed is empty, and you wonder, “How will I ever live? What am I going to do now?”
But you do live. You wake up the next day and the day after that. And you start looking for ways to make life work without this one who was so much a part of your days and nights for, in my case, more than two-thirds of my years.
I have known of widowers whose second wife was practically identical to the first–in appearance, mannerisms, age, everything. Sometimes the name is the same. Personally, I find that scary, even a little weird.
Choosing a life-mate is one of the most faith-driven actions a person can ever take. Imagine selecting a roommate when you are 19 years old and knowing you are stuck with him/her for the rest of your days. And yet, people do that every day.
After the great faith-champion George Muller buried his wife of four decades, later he was musing on the choice of a wife, and how that decision should be made….
“1) Much waiting on God. 2) A hearty purpose to be willing to be guided by Him. 3) True godliness without a shadow of a doubt….should be the first and absolutely needful qualification; and 4) Suitableness. An educated man should not marry an uneducated woman or vice versa.” (from William J. Petersen’s “25 Surprising Marriages”)
Muller said, “Neither beauty nor age nor money nor mental powers should be that which prompts the decision.”
The biographer says Muller followed his own advice and that his wife Mary was “exquisitely suited” to him.
I have been told by people whose Hebrew is much better than mine that the term used in Genesis 2:18 is “like opposite.” The Lord is going to make Adam a mate who is both like him and opposite to him.
Did He ever!
It’s actually a great arrangement. After all, why in the world would I want to marry “another me”?
As the French say, Vive la difference!
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow….”
His wisdom is infallible, His guidance divine, His will flawless.