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God's Bonding Delight for Marriage

Friday, June 9, 2023

Now Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain. Gen. 4:1.

While some more modern translations of the Bible may be more technically accurate, the King James Version portrays the story of Eve and Adam's marital union most sensitively and poetically. It takes sexual union out of the purely physical realm and gives it a dimension of wholeness.

When we say we "know" someone, as we use the term in daily speech, we mean that the person is more than an acquaintance. We feel that we have a relationship that includes respect, understanding, good feelings about, favorable regard for, and an interest in the other's activities and his or her thinking. Knowing someone well takes time, interest, and motivation.

When the King James translators used the word "know" to refer to the sexual experience of the first pair, they were saying something extremely profound. In order for sex to be the bonding delight God intended it to be, marital partners really need to "know" each other in much more than a physical sense. They must try to understand each other's emotional needs and strive to meet them. The couple will be interested in each other's values, goals, and ideas and will share spiritual insights. Only then can they truly "know" each other sufficiently to join their bodies in a complete knowing. And since the years will change their feelings, ideas, and perhaps even their interests, such knowing each other must be a continuous process of communicating and sharing.

Being increasingly able to participate in this type of openness can lead to a higher sense of intimacy. A couple who have only physical proximity of bodies without the other components of togetherness cannot be considered truly intimate. Intimacy denotes a closeness of the whole person.

This type of experience reflects the meaning of the word "within." When married lovers are "within" each other's life boundaries, they are sharing at a level unique to the marital relationship, a space not open to others.

The beautiful part is that when God is central in our lives, He can revive flagging or even troubled marriages. Through God's abiding love we receive the power to love each other as He has loved us.

Dear Father, we know that we can't manufacture love on our own. But we praise You for the promise that You can love through us. Amen.

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.