When God presents Eve to Adam, God doesnt nervously say, Hey, only make sure you love me more than Eve, okay? He didnt need to.
By Liz Wann
Growing up in church as a young single woman, I heard a phrase about humen I might date: Make sure he loves Jesus more than you.
I thought, Well, of course, and glossed over the clich without actually thinking about it. Adam, strolling in the garden with God, would have been perplexed by that advice. For him, there would have been no rivalry for his heart and intellect, because God gave Eve to him in a perfect and sinless world.
Before Eve, Adam had unbroken fellowship with God: no sin , no shame. This relationship was enough for Adam. Gods perfect love, grace, and pleasure flowed freely into Adams soul. We dont read about Adam feeling discontent and needy for someone else besides God. And yet God sawwhile Adam enjoyed the all-sufficient Godheadthat it was not good for Adam to be alone( Genesis 2:18 ). Eve was Gods idea and Gods gift to Adam.
Love for God and Love in Marriage
When God presents Eve to Adam, God doesnt nervously say, Hey, only make sure you love me more than Eve, okay? He didnt need to. Eve was not a threat to Adams relationship with God. In the garden, the three relationships between God and Eve, between God and Adam, and between Adam and Eve sang in perfect harmony. There was beauty and balance in the intersections of these loves.
But sin disrupted the balance and halted the harmony. Abruptly, Gods good gifts had become gold-plated calves we adore and serve instead of him.
Though marriage will not have a permanent place in heaven, God deemed it important for his kingdom here on globe. The balance and harmony between a spouse, a spouse, and their God is restored, and continually being restored, through Christ.
But before a man and woman are joined together, they must get to know one another and determine if theyre on a track toward that kind of marriage.
Love the Lord Your God
Jesus gave us the first and greatest commandment in Matthew 22:3640: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, intellect and strength. We know God should come first, whether were married, single, or dating. But how do we set God first when we are falling in love with someone elsewhen its not only me and Jesus anymore?
God had something more for Adam than God himself. He wanted to bring Adam another relationship where he could experience and practice love and deep fellowship, a love always rooted in and flowing out of the love and fellowship of God. First John 4:1112 says, Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
No one has insured God yet, but when we have taken part in biblical love for one another( dating, marriage, or single ), we can see God. We consider him by the work of his grace and love, as it perfects us through one another. We are the physical the representatives from Gods love to each other. We can begin to see that harmony and balance restored from the garden: God loves us, so that we can love others, and our love for others exposes our love for God.
God or Girlfriend?
The clich phrase is not as simple as it voices, because a boyfriend doesnt necessarily have to choose God over us, or us over God. Harmony and balance is being made possible again through Christ, but we still have to deal with fractures in that restored harmony caused by sin. Therefore, the clich can be helpful. It alerts about the possibility of idolatry in our dating, as well as in our marriages.
Lets are aware of: Your boyfriend should be really into you, and this does not automatically mean he is idolizing you. We dont want to over-spiritualize Christian dating. Ive heard romantic feelings and attraction dismissed as unimportant or unnecessary among Christians. Lets be careful not to adopt a functionally gnostic or simplistic way of looking at romantic relationships, where the physical is evil and the spiritual is good. They are not opposing forces, but in fact joined together in the person of Christ. We follow the God-man, who is wholly physical and spiritual.
Its clear in Song of Songs that the man and the woman are enjoying the physical and spiritual dynamics in wedding, and that God delights in them both, as well. God wired us for romantic feelings and attraction, but there must also be biblical love present in the relationship( something very different from romantic feelings ). We subject our feelings for one another to God and his word.
So, dont mistake your godly boyfriends natural longing for you as idol worship. But dont immediately assume his affection for you is balanced, either. He should treat you like a prized princess, and he must also be giving his undivided heart and attention to the King of his life and lover of his soul.
Which Love Comes First?
When I was dating my husband he was( and still is) a godly human, but looking back he considers styles that our relationship slowly replaced his relationship with God. As a single human he spent more of his free time in Bible reading and prayer, but when we started dating that time was much more often devoted to me. He recalls that “when hes” first marriage “its become” challenging to expend personal time with the Lord while I was around.
He finds now how easy “its all for” him( somebody who values physical touch and presence) to replace his relationship with God with our relationship. The slow process of these small, seemingly innocent choiceslong conversations, watching movies, hanging out more and moreturned into spiritual drifting.
Isnt it easier and more natural for us to select the insured over the unseen? But when we choose to prioritize and pursue the unseen, we start to experience more of the harmony and balance Adam and Eve once enjoyed together.
God still made Eve for Adam, even though Adam had God. This shows that the male/ female relationship is significant and beneficial. But following the fall, we have to be mindful of sins pitfallsways in which we exalt the gift above the Giver, the insured above the Unseen, the relationship above the Relationship. If you want your boyfriend be transformed into a spouse who loves you like Christ, make sure he is strolling with Christ. How else can he love you like him?
The best style for your boyfriend to love you is to love Jesus.
** This article originally appeared on Desiring God.
About the Author : Liz Wannhas a B.A. in English and writing from Rollins College. She now lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two little boys. She writes at lizwann.com, while being a stay-at-home mom .