Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.”
Marriage is God’s idea, God’s creation, God’s gift. The foundational passage on marriage in all the Bible is Genesis 2:18-25.
Adam is in a paradise environment, unlike any we can imagine. He has God above him. He has the animals below him. But he has no one alongside him. No one to share life with.
And God says this is not good. But we immediately see the goodness of God because God goes on to say that he will provide what Adam needs, a helper.
The Hebrew term “helper” carries no notion of inferiority. The term refers to someone who has resources and capacities that we lack. In fact, the term is used of God himself, who is the Great Helper of Israel.
God is telling us that woman has capacities and gifts that man lacks. By implication, man has capacities and gifts that she lacks.
Here is God’s ideal for marriage: a man and woman, gloriously different, helping each other be all they can be for God. As Alan Ross once pointed out in the theological magazine Kindred Spirit, marriage was not given to accumulate possessions, but to develop persons. Two equals, two life partners, each for the other and both for God.
Perhaps pairs figure skating pictures this best. The man and the woman are equal but different. One is strong, the other is graceful. One lifts, the other jumps. Each member of the partnership is essential. When they work together something beautiful happens.
This is God’s ideal for every marriage.