Have you noticed yet that the paradise of Eden still remains in your heart? Have you recognized where the Eden in your heart has affected your relationship with your spouse and your expectations in your marriage?
Let me explain.
In the beginning, God created man “in his own image . . . male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). Then after all of Creation was finished, the passage continues by saying, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (v. 31).
The first man and first woman were created in God’s image, as all of us still are even today. But where we differ from Adam and Eve, whom God declared as created “very good,” is that they were placed in paradise as two unfallen, or perfect, human beings.
Adam was created as the Perfect Spouse for Eve. And Eve was created as the Perfect Spouse for Adam. Perfect. Literally perfect.
But of course, they did not stay so for long. And as a result of their Fall, all of us to come after them, though still created in God’s “image,” are also now cursed from conception with a fallen nature.
Yet Eden remains within the human heart, because we were made for another world. A perfect world. Man began in paradise, and those whose names have been written in the Book of Life will end up in paradise. In between, however, we are not in paradise, yet the remnants of paradise still reside in us as fragments in the human breast. We long for the happy ending, the happily ever after.
And what this means for our marriages is that we long for the perfect romance. The perfect intimate conversation. The perfect sexual union. The perfect understanding. The perfect family. In our inner eye, we not only hope for the perfect spouse, we actually project the perfect spouse onto our imperfect spouse. We take the Eden hiding in our heart and hold each other up to that standard.
There is a hunger and thirst deep in our souls for the Perfect Oneness and Perfect Adventure. Perhaps there is a leaning toward one based on gender. She yearns for the adventure of their perfect oneness. He yearns for a oneness in their perfect adventure.
And 100 percent of the time, we are disappointed with the outcome of our comparison. Typically we do not yet even notice the discrepancy until after the wedding. We suddenly feel betrayed by this imperfect spouse. Who is this person? Why is he falling short of the image in my mind? Why is she not the Eve my heart is set on?
We do not believe that these expectations of Eden in our hearts are unreasonable. We can’t help what is in our heart after all, right? So we conclude that our spouse has changed. The person before the wedding who was once the Perfect Spouse has changed, and is now Someone Who Shatters Dreams.
But your husband has not gone from perfect to imperfect. Your wife has not transitioned from unfallen Eve to fallen Eve. Though God has placed Eden in your heart, it is not so that you may strive for that here on earth but so that you may know you were created for another world. For a world beyond this one. A literal paradise God cannot wait to share with you.
Here on earth, in this fallen world, if you are so blessed as to get to walk through it with a husband or wife, find joy in getting to hunger and thirst together for the perfect oneness and perfect adventure that is to come in the next world. It will not be found in your imperfect spouse, in this imperfect world. But the Eden in your heart is still to come. Journey together toward it!
- Why is it important to know that we were created with a fallen nature, whereas the first man and woman in the garden were not? What does that tell you about the ability husbands and wives have today to find perfection in paradise?
- If we are not living in a perfect paradise right now, and haven’t since the Fall, why do remnants of Eden remain in our heart?
- Yes, people change all the time. Even for the worse. But has your spouse actually changed from the perfect, fairy tale prince or princess to an imperfect crusher of dreams? Why do we so often fall for that lie of the Enemy? How does he try to convince us that we are right to expect perfection in our marriage/spouse?
- Consider what may actually be the benefits and blessings of walking through an imperfect world, on an imperfect adventure, with an imperfect spouse, as an imperfect person yourself—together moving toward the paradise you were created for beyond this world.