In the beginning God created both man and woman in his own image (Gen. 1:26-27). Eve was Adam’s companion, lover, and equal. She was made from his rib. As many people have noted, Eve wasn’t taken from Adam’s skull. She isn’t to rule over him. She wasn’t taken from his foot. He isn’t to trample on her. She was taken from his side, from a bone close to his heart. He is to love her, and she is to walk beside him.
The sin of our first parents damaged the marital relationship. As a consequence of Eve’s disobedience, God said, women would try to dominate their husbands and husbands would be harsh with their wives (Gen. 3:16). This doesn’t mean that God approved. The Lord was merely telling Eve what would happen.
Jesus, God’s Son, came into the world to undo the results of the human race’s fall in the garden of Eden. For this reason he asks his disciples to model their marriages after that of Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:3-9). This means one man, one woman, for life. And it means treating women kindly.
Yes, a woman is to submit to her husband (Eph. 5:22-33). But her submission is freely offered. A woman forced into submission isn’t really loved. She is dominated. Her heart is weighed down and her spirit broken. For his part, a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Jesus loved the church so much that he suffered and died for it. If a man has that kind of love for his wife, she’s happy to submit to him.
Recently, I preached a wedding for a young couple who had written their own vows. They read their promises to each other during the ceremony. These vows (based on scripture in 1 Cor. 13 and Eph. 4-5) show what kind of relationship Jesus inspires in his followers:
I promise to live with the understanding that kind actions and words flow from a heart that belongs to Jesus.
I promise to be patient and kind, even on days that are demanding and hard.
I promise to always be your biggest fan, cheering you on to realize all your hopes and dreams.
I promise to think of your needs first, mine second.
I promise to treat you in a way that is kind, gentle, and respectful. You will always be my lovely bride. And I will do everything possible to make you feel loved, cared for, and appreciated.
I promise to be a leader in our home. To the best of my ability, I will choose to love what is right, and to take a stand for God’s principles–regardless of what the personal cost may be.
Love bears all things. I will be here for you through all the ups and downs of life. I will never leave you. No matter what.
Love believes all things. I will believe the best of your thoughts, motives, and actions.
Love hopes all things. I promise to stay positive, smile often, and laugh easily.
Love endures all things. I will love you through all the seasons of life. My love for you does not depend on whether you are happy, sad, healthy, or sick. I will always consider it an honor and privilege to call you my wife, my partner, and my best friend.
I promise to view you as God does, as his precious child.
I promise to treat you with grace, kindness, and mercy, forgiving you as God forgave me.
I promise to be thankful for you every day.
I promise to strive to say the right thing at the right time; and that what I say is helpful and encouraging.
I promise to be your hard-working partner, to live honestly so that we may give back to those around us.
I promise to remember that from now on we are one body, as well as part of Christ’s body; and to encourage us to live in his likeness.
I promise that in all things to let love be my guide; the kind of love that Christ had for me; putting your life before my own.
Following Muhammad leads to misery. His teachings came along six centuries after Jesus walked the dusty roads of Palestine. But the religion he established was a tragic step backward. Islamic faith has been especially painful to women and children.