As you read this meditation, consider these two verses: “Adam and his wife were both naked and felt no shame.” (Gen 2:25) Here we read and witness God’s intention for marriage. This verse is directly followed by “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord had made. (Gen 3:1) Just six verses later we read, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked. (Gen 3:7)
In just 8 verses we see a stark shift in what the Lord intended for our marriages; from being true and tangible reflections of what His relationship with us is like, into soured, mutilated, and separated. In that 25th verse of Genesis 2, it clearly tells us what the intention between husband and wife looked like, and more dimensionally, what our relationship with Him looked like, and it was without shame.
Most of my life, I have only considered these verses to mean that they were not ashamed of their physical bodies. However, with the multidimensionality of God and attempting to understand His multi-faceted ways, we could likely conclude that this also means emotional, mental, and spiritual vulnerability, and not being ashamed of any of it. However, they do become ashamed, their vulnerability is stripped from them, and they are ashamed of not only their bodies, but in that same multi-faceted vein, their emotions, their thoughts, and their spirits. They were wholly ashamed of themselves and what God had created them to be.
Fast forward to 2023, most couples, even christian couples, are choosing to either delay marriage or not get married at all. Most of these couples argue that the reason is because they “don’t need a piece of paper to prove their love” or “if something goes south we don’t want to have to get a divorce, and why rush anything”, both of these fallacies among others I have heard myself from couples I have counseled. Exploring the reasons for these delays in marriage and understanding my own “shame” in my marriage, the Lord revealed something very interesting to me. He took me back to when I was first dating my husband, Eli. He brought back into my memory the sweet times of when Eli and I exchanged deep meaningful feelings and words, the feelings of wanting to share my inner-most heart with this man that I love; and for my longing to support his feelings and being with everything that I am. The Lord reminded me of how I wasn’t ashamed to talk to Eli about my sinful past before him because I was sure that Eli loved me and would cherish me. I knew this because he had asked me to marry him.
The first year of marriage following a blissful time of dating was very difficult for me. I was unsure how to navigate a lot of things as a newly-wed; but most striking was my inability to navigate Eli’s “neediness.” He seemed to constantly want to be with me, hold my hand, and do all the newly wed things that I had found charming in our dating life. I had lived for his hugs while dating, and his doting and courtship was unmatched. Suddenly though, that had become overwhelming and his love language of physical touch was at times unbearable for me. Paralleling these feelings, those words and histories that I had shared with Eli had somehow become a focal point in my mind. I was now struggling with my past and I felt ashamed of who I was before my husband, even though I wasn’t ashamed before we exchanged vows. I found myself gripped with fear of sharing my feelings with him and out of that fear was born anger of not knowing how to communicate these feelings. I hadn’t argued with Eli once before our wedding night. And just days into our honeymoon we seemed to be arguing every other day.
As I was reflecting on this, the Lord revealed the same parallel in Genesis in my own marriage. When we were not married before the Lord and had no covenant with Him, we were not ashamed to share ourselves, our feelings, or our emotions. Just shortly after entering into a covenant with the Lord and one another, we found ourselves suddenly hit with obstacle after obstacle of communication and togetherness. Now, the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal.
In this moment, God revealed to me that just as the serpent interrupts the beautiful imagery of Adam and Eve walking hand in hand as one flesh, he had done so again to my own marriage. I was then given vision after vision of this playing out in my marriage over the years. How arguments would spike up here and there, all rooted in some feeling of shame. Too ashamed to ask for prayer, too ashamed to share a misconception of what the other said, too ashamed to share the ways we were struggling. “And they were ashamed.” Now God has revealed these things seven years into my marriage, and I am so grateful to Him because after just learning this the other day, I have been gifted with many opportunities to not be ashamed with my spouse; to love the spaces of vulnerability that our marriage allows, thanks to the Lord binding us as one flesh.
What about why we are seeing couples cohabitating rather than marrying? Higher divorce rates? “Modern Monogamous Relationships” as they’re called? He answered these questions as well.... A lot of them are living in sin, and I am sure that in most of those cases, they are not ashamed. But I have to wonder what will happen once they get married? Will that cunning serpent try to infiltrate their marriage? I believe that for all marriages before the Lord the serpent wants to attack the covenant between husband and wife, and man and God as soon as possible.
When the serpent tempted Adam and Eve, and when they both sinned, they not only felt a separation and shame between themselves, but they also felt shame and experienced separation from the Lord. They wanted to hide themselves, no longer feeling capable of being vulnerable. They now had a wall between them and the Lord, which as you can imagine must have been excruciating, given that they had met with Him and been directly counseled by Him prior.
The enemy didn’t want Adam and his wife to have this kind of relationship with God; I’m sure because he had lost this kind of vulnerability himself, and so he set out to not only displace a divide between Adam and Eve but also God and His creation. But he failed, miserably, because God had a plan to overcome this undercut.
We are VICTORIOUS IN HIM WHO OVERCAME DEATH! Through our relationship with Jesus Christ we have the opportunity each and every second of each and every day to not only renew our relationships with our spouses but to renew our relationship with the Most High. To choose to live in our marriages as they were created to be, and likewise live in relationship with Christ as we should. To be unashamed, to express our pain, our tiredness, our brokenness. In return we can open ourselves with a vulnerable heart to hear Him. To be renewed, purified, corrected—to be LOVED by God.
So when the times of shame arise in your marriage, I urge you to consider these questions with God as He leads you:
-Is this a chance for me to lay down my shame at the cross so that I can be unashamed with my spouse?
-Is the shame that I am feeling rooted in the cunning works of the enemy?
-Is this shame going to bring separation between me and my spouse?
-How can God restore my marriage in this moment?
-How can God restore me?
-Lord, how can I be vulnerable with You or with my spouse in this moment or today?
-Lord, can you reveal to me your truth about this situation, about myself, about my spouse, about You?
Rylee is a wife and a mother of 3 beautiful children and lives in Farmington, NM where she along with her husband, Eli, share the glory of the Lord at their local Mission House. Rylee has two Master’s Degrees in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling and is an experienced professional executive leader and child and family therapist in the mental health world. She has recently shifted to a stay-at-home mother where she homeschools her children. Rylee has started an art ministry, meeting with other women in her community and guides them in healing through art with the Lord. Today, she and her family, led by Eli, have begun exploring the opportunities the Lord has offered them in partnering with Him by taking part on mission trips, retreats, and in community with others to serve the Lord.
©️Rylee Morris 2023