And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed or embarrassed. (AMP)
We don’t know many things about how it was for Adam and Eve, together in the Garden of Eden before the fall, but one detail that is told us is that they were both naked and yet without a sense of shame or inadequacy. This is a profound picture of what it means for two people to be in covenant with one another.
Firstly, this describes the sexual union of the couple, which is a spiritual joining of a man and woman via a physical act. Too many good Christians have belittled the value of sex within their marriage because they believe it is too non-spiritual; but God is the author and inventor of sex, so we can’t really argue with that! In fact, if there is no joy in the sexual part of the relationship, the marriage is a shadow of what God intended for it to be.
The phrase also describes the honesty and openness that the couple is called to as they relate together. This, too is crucial to the success of the relationship.
In fact, every marriage is as strong as its policy of full and unambiguous disclosure. A marriage where there are secrets and hidden behaviors of any kind is a marriage that is under threat of breaking down. A marriage where issues are known has a greater chance of staying healthy and growing past the challenges, than one where there is secrecy, even if the known issues are greater than the concealed ones in the respective marriages.
Both husband and wife have a responsibility to disclose. Neither should have to prize information out of the other, or indeed ever get the feeling of being kept out of an area of their spouse’s life. If there is a greater depth of sharing and trust with anyone else other than your spouse over the subject of the intimate aspects of your relationship, things are on dangerous ground. Don’t be careless about telling everyone your business.
Conversely it is also the responsibility of each spouse not to ridicule or belittle or despise the weaknesses of the other to the point where they shrink from being open because of it.
This degree of intimacy should not be shared with any other person to quite the same degree, except when there is an issue of safety. When there a real risk of physical harm to you or your children, that is not the time to keep it between yourselves!
Within the normal parameters of relationship, however, if you will become someone who continues to believe in your spouse even when he or she makes a blunder, your worth to him or her multiplies exponentially. Many times, when we have failed in some way, the greatest need we have to get back up is to have someone on our side who believes in us. That should be YOU in your spouse’s life.
Instead of joining the crowd of critics that inevitably show up to make the most of the opportunity to get one up, refrain from condemning or diminishing your husband or wife, even when you feel disappointed and let down. Get in their corner and believe in them again. Let them know that you still see greatness in them. As you do so, you will truly prove yourself to be a place of safety and restoration for the one you love. There is no greater expression of the redemptive heart of God than when we love another at the point when they least deserve it.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your great grace and mercy towards me. You never cast me aside or look down on me, even when I am at my worst. You are my redeemer and I am so grateful to you.
Thank you that you have appointed me to be part of the redemption process for my husband/wife. I believe I receive the grace to handle every hurt they inflict because of their weakness, and I commit myself to disclosing honestly for the sake of the good of the relationship. Thank you for the grace to build my marriage based on the foundation of covenant: naked and unashamed! Thank you, Lord!