Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
The first mention of “wife” in the Bible comes immediately after God brings Eve to Adam. Prior to that, God said he would “make him (Adam) a helper fit for him”. In Genesis 2:20, God brought all the beasts and birds to man, and no suitable helper was among them. Neither did God present man with another man – God made extra effort to present man with a unique new creation specifically designed to meet the fitment God knew was needed.
What does “cleave” mean?
- To adhere, cling, or stick fast.
- To be faithful.
In our society, the existence of a husband and wife implies that marriage has happened. Marriage often involves government and/or officiation – it is the social label we put on the existence of the union (cleaving) of man and wife. I find it interesting that the word sequence of Genesis 2:24 (above) allows that Eve may have been Adam’s “wife” before the cleaving was complete – or that she became his wife, initiating an ongoing cleaving process. I think most older couples would agree, based on their experience of growing with one another over many years.
Eve is documented as Adam’s “wife” upon God’s presentation of her to Adam. Before you marry, it is so appropriate to ask God if He approves of the one you wish to marry!
Sex before or after marriage?
Hamor knew marriage comes before sex. The sons of Jacob asked in Gen 34:31: “Should he (Shechem) treat our sister as a harlot?” What is a harlot: a woman who engages in sex without marriage – a prostitute.
I have a friend who has said that a man & woman who are living together are husband and wife, in God’s eyes. What puzzles me, is why couples doing this hesitate to socially formalize the marriage. With no formal commitment, is the man hoping for a live-in, free prostitute? Is the woman so desperate that she will agree to this, just to retain this man in hopes he will someday commit to her? This is a tenuous way to live. There is a better, higher way…
A man’s responsibility is to nurture, protect and preserve the world God has given him dominion over. This includes women – all of God’s creation. Man is to nurture, protect, and preserve the women who he is not married to, keeping them sexually pure/intact for the husband they will one day marry. We are all short-sighted – but God has the best way in mind.
A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Be(come) the one you would want to marry.
- Do you want a faithful man? To get a better start, become a woman of faith, and with God’s help, you may attract a man of faith.
- Do you want a woman far better than the ones you see in bars? Stop visiting bars – start attending a good church and see what God provides.
- Do you struggle to find “the right one”? Ask God to form you and provide what you need, just as He did for Adam.