Sunday Live Stream We are live! Watch Here!

Kenny's Korner- Insights into Deeper Relationships

by Kenny Rader

In the beginning

Yes, we need to go all the way back to the beginning of time as we know it. In the beginning, God. Let's stop there. God, He was at the beginning because He’s the Creator. Sadly, that's where we often begin wavering. We often leave Him out of much of our everyday life, including our marital relationships. Let me explain.


As Christians, we agree that God is the Creator. We understand our sinfulness and believe His redemption story through Jesus’ life and death on the cross. We do our best to pray, attend church, treat others kindly, and help those in need.  And when it comes to our marital relationships, we often pray together at meals, teach our children to believe in God, and raise them to become good Christians, but after that, our godly direction begins to drift.

The marital relationship

My wife, Martha, and I had a great marriage. Early on, however, things got rough at times as we learned that we were no longer two separate individuals. When we married, we had to become a team; as the Bible tells us, we become one (Matthew 19:6). As the years went by, our marriage improved, and we grew closer together until our extremely difficult parting at Martha’s death. But I never fully understood why our marriage became so great – until recently.


Although many of us keep God at the forefront of our marriage in certain areas, let’s call them the areas of faith, we often forget God in other areas that we’ll call the more trivial parts of daily life, and that’s where we harm our marriages. A lot of ignorance and misunderstanding in marriage comes from not understanding how God created us, and how God can work in our relationships. 

Let’s go back

Let’s go all the way back to when God created Adam and Eve. After the first chapter of Genesis tells us about the creation, chapter two introduces us to Adam and Eve. God placed Adam in a garden to work and take care of it. In the middle of the garden, God planted a tree of which Adam was not to eat: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eating from that tree would result in death.


After that, the Bible says,


18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” -Genesis 2:18 (NIV)


But God didn’t make a helper for Adam right away. First, God brought all the animals and birds to Adam for him to name. He must have brought them in pairs of male and female, because after Adam finished naming all the creatures, verse twenty tells us,

20b But for Adam no suitable helper was found. -Genesis 2:20b (NIV)


It appears God let Adam notice that all the other creatures had mates, but Adam didn’t have one. Adam must have wondered why he was alone. Why did all of God’s other creatures have a mate, but not Adam? Evidently, God wanted Adam to understand his need for a partner. Adam was alone, and God wanted to make life better for him; much, much better. Therefore, God created Eve, and it appears Adam was pleased with God's final creation.  

Life before sin

We don't know how long Adam and Eve lived in the garden before Satan entered the picture in chapter three of Genesis. They might have lived there for weeks, months, or even years. The Bible doesn’t tell us. Sin hadn’t entered the world, and God doesn't reveal Adam and Eve's life before sin. He didn’t have a reason to tell us because the purpose of the Bible is to reveal God's redemption story of how He prepared an ancient people of which Jesus was born. Then in the New Testament, God tells us how the redemption plan plays out. So, the Bible doesn’t focus on Adam and Eve’s life of bliss before sin.  It wasn’t until after sin that Adam and Eve’s marriage would have struggled.

Life after the “I do”

When we married our special someone, most of us never thought about the problems that would arise after saying, "I do." We were in love, and we expected that love to keep us together in a perpetual honeymoon, but it didn't work that way. Maybe we made it through our honeymoon without a spat, but the honeymoon fell apart soon after we moved into our new home. 


For instance, I don’t remember what Martha and I argued about, but one day, early in our marriage, I was so angry at her that I walked out the kitchen door fuming. I remember slamming the door so hard that I was surprised the glass didn’t break. Yes, arguments eventually invade the best of marriages, and it doesn’t take long for problems to arrive. 


But that doesn’t describe Adam and Eve in the garden before sin. Life was perfect. That might be difficult for us to imagine. They possibly had a disagreement or two, but nothing that resulted in sin.

So, what happened?

When sin entered the scene, something changed between Adam and Eve, but what was it? Here’s where we have to do some guesswork. Did Adam and Eve’s personalities change as a result of sin? Men and women are definitely different. Is that a result of sin? Did men's and women's personalities and the way we view things change? Or did the differences between men and women remain the same as before sin, but our willingness to understand each other change? Draw your own conclusion, but something changed either subtlety or drastically after Adam and Eve’s sin. In many ways, men and women are as different as night and day.

What do we do with these differences?

Here’s what we’re getting at. Do husbands and wives genuinely seek God in working at understanding one another? Most do not. While I tried to understand Martha, I never figured her out. We each gradually molded ourselves into the likeness of the other as best possible – or did we? Did we genuinely seek to understand and do our best to please each other? We tried, but it wasn’t until we knew Martha had terminal cancer that we began communicating and understanding one another in a deeper level of love. 


For example, while she had cancer, Martha told me how my angry outbursts at our children when they were young hurt her. What? Why did she wait until our last child graduated high school to tell me? Why did she wait until our twenty-seventh year of marriage to tell me how my bad temper with the kids upset her? Why did she wait until cancer shook the core of our lives? The answer to those questions is that she finally told me because a more urgent love was growing within us. Love that could not keep silent. 


The second example of our deeper level of love when cancer struck is that Martha and I committed to total honesty and openness. We agreed never to hide anything from each other: complete transparency. It was cumbersome at first because we (mostly me) sometimes expressed honesty too bluntly and in inconsiderate ways, but we were slowly learning to communicate open honesty in a softer tone. It’s not that we had dark secrets, but we decided that total openness and total honesty would make our marriage better, and it did. We just didn’t get the chance to see what life held for us after cancer. 


We had a great marriage, and I knew it could have been better, and it was getting there, but I didn’t understand how to make it better. Evidently, neither did Martha. Cancer brought us to a deeper level, but we couldn’t comprehend the mechanics of it. Mechanics sounds like the wrong word, but it’s the correct word. In a great marriage, certain elements have to be in place, which is why I’m beginning to understand how to help others make their marriages better. My goal is to help you in your marriage before any catastrophe strikes and shakes you to the core of your marriage. What kind of catastrophe? It could be an accident, an illness, an affair, or the threat of divorce.  

Consider this

With God in the forefront and as a foundation under everything you do in your relationship, may I suggest that you and your spouse talk to each other? Talk heart-to-heart. In a godly attitude, communicate with love and understanding to learn your and your spouse’s differences. Try to comprehend and appreciate what love languages each of you speak. That’s the foundational step in making your marriage better. With the love and grace of God within you, discuss your similarities and your differences. You’ll likely discover that what you want of your spouse in pleasing you is very different from what your spouse desires of you to please him or her. 


For example, on average, most men place sexual fulfillment and physical activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, or sports high on their list of what they desire their wives to do with them. Women, on average, however, often prefer the opposite in comparison. Most women want affection and communication with their husbands as their top needs. Women, on average, often place sexual fulfillment and physical activities at the bottom of their list. (Now, guys, listen up. Do not confuse affection with sexual fulfillment! The two are uniquely different.) While these examples reflect most men's and women's top priorities, your list may not look the same. Bottom line: talk heart-to-heart with each other to learn the other’s needs.

Let’s chat

We don’t have the time or space to go deeper here, but I can recommend resources to help you and your spouse. If you want to learn more, please come and talk with me, but I suggest both you and your spouse come. Why? Because it helps if I explain the resources and for both of you to hear my initial suggestions. My desire is for you to learn insights into a deeper relationship with the special one in your life.

It’s Valentine’s month

February is the time of year we think of doing unique things for our sweetheart, but why restrict it to only one month? It doesn’t matter how great your marriage is now; God and you can make it better – but only if you and your spouse want to make it better. The choice is yours.


Love you & God Bless,