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Created for Connection

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Human beings have an innate desire to connect, to experience dynamic relationships with one another.

Like Josh and Nancy, most couples begin their marriages with great expectations. In time, however, life’s stresses begin to take their toll on the relationship. Bills must be paid, home repairs demand our time and jobs consume much of our energy. Additionally, as studies show, the arrival of children typically brings greater stress to the marriage, pushing husband and wife further apart. (David Popenoe, The National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, 2002)

How do couples remain connected while negotiating real circumstances of life?

The Theology of it All

Human beings have an innate desire to connect, to experience dynamic relationships with one another. And, the deepest, most intimate relationship exists in the marital bond between husband and wife. What is the source of this human longing?

Considering all biblical information, God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This Trinitarian construct has profound implications both for God and human beings. Rather than a mathematical or mere conceptual depiction, God as Trinity indicates that God, in essence, is relational. There is an internal dynamic that characterizes the God who created. Interestingly, ancient theologians used the word “perichoresis” (lit. “a dancing around”) to describe this dynamic relationality of God.

Because of this inherent relationality, God appropriately is described fundamentally as “love” (1 John 4:7, NIV), since authentic love occurs only in relationship. The triune God created humans to exist in relationship, not isolation, just as God exists in eternal relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hence “man” (Heb. adam), who bears the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), consists of male and female to exist in relationship. In this fundamental way, human beings reflect the image of God – we long to connect in meaningful ways to one another.

The Male-Female Connection

Genesis 2 gives a more detailed description of the creation of human beings. The Creator expressed dissatisfaction with the aloneness of the man. Possibly to expose or solidify the man’s sense of relational need, God paraded representatives of the animal kingdom before him. In the process of naming these animals, the man discovered that none of them completely corresponded to his humanness.

Once the man was aware of his isolation, the Creator caused a deep sleep to fall on him. Taking a “rib,” or perhaps better, “scooping flesh and bones from his side,” God makes (Heb. banah) woman. This unusual word in the creation narrative literally means “to build.” God uses the very substance of the man and “builds” it, forms it and molds it into the woman. The word suggests a delicate process in which God carefully, artfully constructs the woman.

The Longing for Relationship

When the man awakens from his divinely induced slumber, he sees this different, but completely human, being. Literally in the Hebrew, he exclaims: “This is this time” — in contrast to his experience with the animal kingdom — “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she will be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). Man (ish) and woman (isshah). Linguistically linked; essentially the same; sexually distinct; made for one another.

The divine commentary on this human connection was: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This gives a theological basis for the ubiquitous longing for male-female relationship. It’s as if God “split” the singular human into male and female, and there is, therefore, a primal yearning to reconnect physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Some Implications

While these will be fleshed out in subsequent articles, some helpful implications for marital relationships emerge from this biblical description of human creation.

  • The well-documented distinctions between women and men are divine in nature. Both women and men share equally in the image of God, but it is reflected in unique ways. Recognizing this helps us appreciate, rather than resist, these differences.
  • As bearers of God’s image, both husband and wife mediate into the other an important aspect of God’s nature. In marriage, husband and wife have the opportunity to experience God uniquely through his or her spouse. In its most beautiful sense, connecting to one another facilitates a connection to the Creator.
  • The source of authentic love is God, not humans. Rather than attempting “to find love in one’s own heart” for the other, the biblical image is to allow God to pour through the husband his love for the wife, and vice versa. In this way, both husband and wife express and experience God’s infinite love — they begin to experience marriage as a “sacred dance.”

In the following article, we’ll consider how God’s intent for marriage has been adversely affected by human brokenness and draw out some implications on how to mitigate its effects on our relationships.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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