I was a groomsman at a recent wedding and I was asked to give a devotional to the groom and the other groomsmen. What follows is a lightly edited (maybe sometimes heavily edited: speeches are always better on paper) version of that devotional. I have changed the bride and groom’s names to Susan and Ben for privacy reasons.
If you’ve attended a lot of weddings, you probably have seen that the ministers circle around the same few Bible passages. And there is nothing wrong with that, because they are generally beautiful passages. You might hear Ephesians 5, speaking about the reality of Christ and his Church that marriage points to. Or you may hear about 1 Peter 3 for a practical picture of how husbands and wives relate. Or you may hear about 1 Corinthians 13, a picture of what love looks like in practice.
But today I want to talk about what I think is the most misunderstood “marriage passage.” And that’s Genesis 2. Genesis 2:18 says, “it is not good for a man to be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” And then God creates Eve. Which is a great passage for a wedding, because in this passage is the first of all marriages. And by observing the reason for this marriage, I think the Bible can tell us something about the reason for all the marriages that follow.
But here is how this passage is often unhelpfully understood. When God says that it is not good for man to be alone, we think that the reason it was not good is because man was lonely. So God saw lonely Adam and said “let me make him a companion so he is not so lonely anymore.” Therefore the implication is that it is good to get married so that you are not so lonely anymore. I don’t think that is the thrust of this passage. And the reason I think it is not is because the text does not say that God made for Adam a companion, it says God made for Adam a helper. This passage does not say that Eve was made for companionship, it says that she was made for help.