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 Post subject: Lessons from Adam's Marriage: Naming a Rose
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:29 am 
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Until Eve was made, Adam was single. Then God made Eve and 'brought' her into Adam's presence (I'm guessing she simply followed Him through the trees as He strolled along, like a puppy follows its mother). There were, as yet, no customs regarding marriage: no vows of committment, no wedding rings, no in-laws and friends to witness the proceedings, and...no clothes. (Adam here was a grown man and he still couldn't tie his shoes! How pathetic is that?! :lol: )

It is not recorded as to whether God said anything or not. But, I think it safe to say that what record we do have of this first marriage is sufficient to show the basics. So, when I take this record at face value, it says a lot to me about the nature of human society, and specifically about that core social unit which we call 'marriage'.

I'm hoping I don't have to refer to this Bible record in order to obtain agreement on my sentiment that there are only two basic states of human life: single, and married. Regardless, though, my impression of this record is that when Adam and Eve suddenly found themselves in each other's company for the first time, they didn't think through a list of all the basic kinds of human relationships as if to wonder which kind they were. I also doubt that they had a socially inherited word to refer to it; they apprehended the manner of this relationship immediately.

To me, that's the first lesson from this record: only two basic states. But, let me jump ahead to its first application to life in the fallen world: marriage itself is not a committment, since a committment is about whatever is being committed to. The question is why is committment involved? The answer is in the fact that there are only two states: single and married. But, if there are only two states, then what about engagement? Engagement is the spirit of marriage, and marriage is simply that spirit fulfilled, so engagement is really marriage. And this brings me to the answer of why committment has become involved in marriage:

Because divorce is the only other state. Some people get the impression that divorce is possible only if a couple are in a legally binding marriage. But, this is not how divorce began in the world. Divorce is really nothing more than a person's disowning of the natural responsibility incurred by welcoming another person's wish to belong to each other in a romantic, or socio-sexual, relationship. So, most cases of 'dating' are actually marriage without a legally binding committment, and when or if the couple break-up or dump each other, they are truly divorcing.

The spirit of engagement is what makes it an engagement, not the customary fact that engagements are entered by way of some formality or other. Just like marriage is not itself a committment, engagement is not itself a formal promise. Engagement is a thing unto itself the very nature of which promises its fulfillment.

Breaking up a serious, overtly romantic, semi-sexual dating relationship IS divorce, regardless of whether there was a formal or legally binding comittment to remain together for life, and regardless of the extent to which the couple interacted as lovers. The only real distinction between, on the one hand, serious dating involving romantic and semi-sexual exchanges, and, on the other hand, being engaged, is the maturity that convinces two people to take a legally binding vow to soon become actually married. Such dating is nothing more than two people feeling and acting as if they are engaged, regardless of whether they have already learned enough about themselves, each other, and their relationship to decide either to become committed to a future marriage or to break up.

So, like a rose, marriage is what it is, even though today so many instances of it have been cheapened into being thought of as something else, something pragmatically vague. Contrary to the God-given design of the heart, in the fallen world there is no simple step between single and married. Just one complicated step.


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