1. The Honeymoon Is Over - The Story of Adam and Eve
Honeymoons are delightful times. The word itself virtually drips with the freshness and excitement of young love. The term seems to have been coined to convey the idea that the first moon, or first month, of marriage is the sweetest and most satisfying. But that’s not exactly the way it ought to be. God would be pleased for our marriages to get better as time passes. Every new month should be sweeter and more satisfying than the one before. Unfortunately, some marriages have turned out just as the word honeymoon implies—the first month was the best, and everything has gone downhill from there. Maybe we can help reverse the trend by looking into the Word of God.
The Scripture does not specifically say so, but I have a feeling the honeymoon lasted much longer than a month for Adam and Eve.
Only God knows how many months or years of pure ecstasy lie between chapters two and three of Genesis. But no human relationship ever surpassed theirs in those early days for sheer joy and rapturous delight. It was, without a doubt, the perfect marriage.
Consider it for a moment. If ever a marriage was made in heaven, this one was. It was perfectly planned and perfectly performed by a perfect God. First he sculptured Adam (Gen. 2:7). Molded by the Master Maker, Adam doubtless had a flawless physique and ruggedly handsome features. And he was made in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27). That means he had a Godlike personality—perfect intellect, emotions, and will. He possessed a brilliant mind, undiminished by sin. He had faultless emotions, including tender and totally unselfish love, the love of God Himself. And he had a will that was in complete harmony with the purposes of his creator. Women, wouldn’t you like to have a man like that? Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually perfect!
But let me tell you about Eve. “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man” (Gen. 2:21, 22). Adam must have gazed at Eve with awe and appreciation. This was God’s creative genius at its best, unblemished grace and beauty, pure loveliness of face and form. Fashioned by the hand of God Himself, Eve had to be the most gorgeous creature who ever walked the face of the earth. And like Adam, she was made in God’s image. Her mind, emotions, and will were unaffected by sin. What man wouldn’t go for a woman like that?
Adam immediately recognized her similarity to himself. He said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23). It seems that without any special revelation from God, Adam instinctively knew that Eve was made from him; she was part of him; she was his equal; she was his complement and counterpart. He called her woman, “female man.” He drew her to himself in tender love. She ended his biting loneliness and filled his life with happiness. She was just exactly what he needed. And nothing brought her more satisfaction than the assurance that her husband needed her so very much. What intense and indescribable pleasure they found in each other’s company! How they loved one another!
Their home was located in Eden, the perfect place (Gen. 2:8). The word Eden means “delight,” and delightful it was. Well-watered at the fountainhead of four rivers, Eden was a luscious green paradise, blanketed with every beautiful and edible growing thing (Gen. 2:9, 10). They cultivated the ground, but as they had no thistles or weeds to contend with, their work was totally effortless and enjoyable. Side by side they lived and labored in perfect harmony, sharing a sense of mutual interdependence, enjoying a freedom of communion and communication, possessing a deep-flowing affection that bound their spirits to each other. They were inseparable.
Oh, there was an order of authority in their relationship. Adam was formed first, then Eve, as the Apostle Paul was careful to mention (1 Tim. 2:13). And Eve was made for Adam, not Adam for Eve, as Paul also pointed out (1 Cor. 11:9). But she was his helper (Gen. 2:18), and in order to be an effective helper she had to share all of life with him. She was with him when God issued the command to subdue the earth and have dominion over it and, consequently, she shared that awesome responsibility equally with her husband (Gen. 1:28). She did everything a helper would be expected to do. She assisted him, encouraged him, advised him, and inspired him, and she did it with a spirit of sweet submissiveness. Adam never resented her help, not even her advice. After all, that is why God gave her to him. Neither did she resent his leadership. His attitude was never tainted with superiority or exploitation. How could it be? His love was perfect. She was someone special to him and he treated her as such.
He could not give of himself enough to express his gratitude to her, and he never had a thought about what he was receiving in return. She could not possibly resent leadership like that.
The Word of God says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). It was a relationship of perfect purity and innocence. There was no sin in them. There was no strife between them. They were at peace with God, at peace with themselves, and at peace with each other. This was truly the perfect marriage. This was paradise. How we wish it would have lasted, that we could experience the same degree of marital bliss they enjoyed in those glorious days. But something happened.
The biblical account brings us, secondly, to the entrance of sin. There is no doubt that the subtle tempter who approached Eve in this episode was Satan using the body of a serpent as his instrument (cf. Rev. 12:9). His first approach was to question the Word of God. “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1). After he questioned God’s Word, he flatly denied it: “You surely shall not die!” he dogmatically declared (Gen. 3:4). Finally, he ridiculed God and brazenly distorted His Word: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). They would know evil all right, but they would not be as God. In reality the very opposite would be true. The likeness to God they did enjoy would be scarred and spoiled. Satan’s methods have not changed much through the centuries. We know them well—the doubts, the distortions, the denials. Yet we too fall prey to them. We can identify with Eve in her moment of weakness. We know what it is to yield to temptation.
Satan used the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to do his sinister work. God had placed that tree in the garden to be the symbol of Adam and Eve’s submission to Him (Gen. 2:17), but Satan sometimes uses even good things to lure us from God’s will. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6). Have you noticed that Eve was tempted in all three major areas listed in 1 John 2:16? (1) The lust of the flesh—“good for food.” (2) The lust of the eyes—“a delight to the eyes.” (3) The pride of life—“to make one wise.” These are the same major areas Satan uses to get us out of sorts with God and with each other—the desire to gratify our physical senses, the desire to have material things, and the desire to impress people with our importance.
Instead of fleeing from temptation as the Scriptures later exhort us to do, Eve flirted with it. She had everything a person could want in life, but she stood there and allowed her mind to meditate on the one thing she did not have until it became an obsession with her and brought her happy honeymoon to an unhappy termination. That same kind of vicious greed has ended many a honeymoon since. Husbands sometimes squander grocery money on recreational equipment, hobbies, cars, or clothes. Wives sometimes drive their husbands to make more money so they can have bigger, better, and more expensive things. And the material possessions of this world drive a wedge between them. When we allow our minds to covet material things, God calls it idolatry (Col. 3:5). And He pleads with us to run from it: “Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14).
Eve did not flee. “She took from its fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6). The text is not clear, but the words “gave also to her husband with her” might imply that Adam watched her do it. We have no idea why he did not try to stop her, or why he did not refuse to follow her in her sin. But we do know that he failed her woefully on this occasion. He neglected to provide the spiritual leadership God wanted him to provide, and instead he let her lead him into sin. What a powerful influence a woman has over her man! She can use it to challenge him to new heights of spiritual accomplishment, or she can use it to drag him to depths of shame. God gave Eve to Adam to be his helper, but her covetous heart destroyed him.
Together they waited for the new delights of divine wisdom Satan had promised them. Instead, a horrid sense of guilt and shame crept over them. Their spirits died at that very moment (Gen. 2:17), and their physical bodies began the slow process of decay that would mar God’s beautiful handiwork and end ultimately in physical death. The Apostle Paul was speaking of physical death when he said, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). That’s the way it is with sin. It promises so much and delivers so little. It promises freedom, wisdom, and pleasure, but it delivers bondage, guilt, shame, and death.
Suddenly their nakedness became symbolic of their sin (Gen. 3:7). It exposed them openly to the penetrating eyes of the most holy God. They tried to cover their bodies with fig leaves, but it was not acceptable. God would later reveal that the only adequate covering for sin would involve the shedding of blood (Gen. 3:21; Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22).
That brings us, finally, to the painful aftermath. Sin is accompanied by disastrous consequences whether or not we are willing to accept the blame for it. Adam blamed his part of the tragedy on Eve and God: “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12). Eve said the devil made her do it (Gen. 3:13). In much the same way, we may try to blame our marital problems on someone else. “If she would only stop nagging I could …” “If he would only be more considerate I could …” But God held them both responsible, just as he holds each of us responsible for our part of the blame. And there is usually some blame on both sides. God wants us to face it squarely, not skirt around it.
The consequences were almost more than Adam and Eve could bear. For Eve, the pain of childbirth would be a recurring reminder of her sin. In addition to that, she would experience an insatiable yearning for her husband, a piercing desire for his time, his attention, his affection, and his assurance. Her need would be so great, her sinful husband would seldom be willing to meet it.
And finally, the authority Adam possessed over Eve from creation was strengthened by the word rule. “And he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). In the hands of a sinful man, that rule would degenerate at times to harsh and heartless domination over her—disregard for her feelings and disdain for her opinions. Eve no doubt chafed grudgingly under the sting of her sin as Adam drifted farther from her, paid less attention to her, and became preoccupied with other things. Bitterness, resentment, and rebellion began to settle in her soul.
For Adam, cultivating the ground became an endless, tedious chore. Anxiety over his ability to provide for his family added to his agitation and irritability and made him less sympathetic to his wife’s needs. As a result, conflict entered their home. Sin always brings tension, strife, and conflict. And never was that more painfully obvious to Adam and Eve than when they stood beside the first grave in human history. Their second son had lost his life in an ugly family squabble. The honeymoon was over!
This would be the saddest story ever told were it not for a glorious ray of hope by which God illuminated the darkness. Speaking to Satan he said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen. 3:15). God promised that the seed of the woman, a child born into the human race, would destroy the works of the devil, including the havoc he had made of the home. This is the first biblical prophecy of the coming Redeemer. And now He has come! He has died for the sins of the world. His perfect blood is a satisfactory covering for the sins of every human being who will trust him. He offers to forgive us freely and restore us to His favor. And He makes available to us His supernatural strength to help us live above our sin.
He can even help us overcome sin’s consequences in our marital relationships. He can give husbands the same tender love and unselfish consideration that Adam had for Eve before they sinned. He can give wives the same encouraging helpfulness and sweet submissiveness that Eve had toward Adam before the Fall. In other words, the honeymoon can begin again. But we must first receive Jesus Christ as Savior from sin. There is no hope for a marital relationship to become all it can be until both husband and wife have the assurance of forgiveness and acceptance by God. That assurance can only be experienced when we have acknowledged our sin and placed our trust in Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice on Calvary for deliverance from the eternal condemnation which our sin deserves.
If you have any doubt, settle it now. In all earnestness and sincerity, pray something like this: “Lord, I acknowledge my sin to you. I believe that Jesus Christ died to deliver me from sin’s guilt, sin’s penalty and sin’s control of my life. I here and now place my trust in Him as my personal Savior from sin and receive Him into my life. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming into my life and forgiving my sin.” When you have made that decision, the way is clear for God to fill your heart with His tenderness and love, take away your selfishness and stubbornness, and give you a self-sacrificing concern for the needs of your mate. And you may yet enjoy a little taste of paradise.
Let’s talk it over
1. Is the issue of eternal salvation firmly settled in your mind? If not, is there any good reason why you should not settle it right now?
2. What ingredients that made Adam and Eve’s marriage a “honeymoon” can improve your marriage?
3. In what ways could Satan use the desire to satisfy physical needs to affect the relationship between a husband and wife today? How about the desire for material things? The desire to be well thought of by others?
4. In what ways can a wife challenge her husband to higher goals? In what ways is it possible for a wife to weaken and destroy her husband?
5. What can husbands and wives do to help keep from blaming their problems on each other?
6. What can a husband do to meet more fully his wife’s tremendous need for his attention and affection?