The book of Genesis means the book of beginnings. And in chapters one and two of Genesis we see seven beginnings each one outdoing the previous in glory. The rhythms of the creation story provide us with a pattern for a healthy marriage..
On day one of creation God spoke into a formless state of darkness and chaos and said, “let there be light” and there on that first day blasting forth from the very word of God came light. He then separated the light from the darkness and gave them names. We see this theme of light throughout all the scriptures as being intrinsically tied to the very person of God. The gospel of John says, “The light (who is Jesus) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” As the light was created on the first day of creation to give life and direction to the rest of God’s creation, so Jesus is to provide you with guidance in this new creation called marriage. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 that the covenant of marriage between a husband and wife exists to reflect the glory of the covenant Jesus has made with his bride. May you live in such a way that that the light of Christ will shine through your marriage as you love and serve one another.
On day two of creation, God separated the waters above from the waters below. Symbolically water represents cleansing. As the priest, with water, cleanses the leper, so Jesus cleanses his bride. Water not only represents cleansing, but it also represents the movement from the old to the new. After Noah entered the ark in the old world, God baptizes the whole word with water, cleansing it and making it new. When Noah and his family stepped out of the ark, they entered into a whole new world. Many marriages are inaugurated with the symbolic act of washing each other's feet or hands. This washing represents a new creation, a new day, a new world for a husband and a wife.
Day three of creation is the day when God creates grain for bread and fruit for wine. Bread and wine represent the new covenant we have with Jesus. Likewise, after your wedding, you celebrate the new marriage covenant by enjoying a party where you feast with wine and cake (which is probably what bread tasted like in the Garden of Eden). As bread satisfies and sustains your life, so in marriage, you are called to satisfy and sustain each other. And as wine puts fire in your belly and brings joy to your senses, you are to enjoy each other as this is good and pleasing to God.
On day four God created the sun, the moon, and the stars. God created the sun to rule the day and the moon and the stars to rule the night. Throughout history kings and rulers have been associated with the sun, moon, and stars. In your marriage, you have been called to rule as a king and queen. You will work to build a home, to build a career, to build a family. Many things will be asked of you in marriage, many needs will arise, and many issues that need to be addressed. As the sun, moon, and stars work in perfect harmony to rule the day and the night so you will need to continuously learn to work together to rule well all that has been entrusted to you, from the big to the small. From purchasing a home to the types of sheets you want on the bed. From the movies you watch to the goals you have for the future. May Jesus, who is your light guide you as you learn to rule the kingdom God has given you.
On day five God created the fish of the sea and the birds of the air. The birds and the fish represent the heights and depths of God’s creation. There will be days and seasons of great joy and unspeakable delight in your marriage. There will also be days of deep sorrow, hurt, and pain. There will be highs and lows. There will be ups, and there will be downs. When you are experiencing the heights of your marriage be sure to praise the God who made the birds of the air, and when you face the depths be sure to remember that every night has a morning, and that morning will be far more glorious than the one that came before.
All of creation up to this point has gone from one stage of glory to another each day outdoing the previous in splendor. And now day six is the crowning glory of God’s creation. On day six God created man and woman, and he created them in his own image. He created man and woman to reflect his glory and splendor in every aspect of life. He also created man and woman with eternal worth and value as they are indeed image bearers of the almighty God. As you look at each other today, and in 50 years as you celebrate all that God has done in your marriage - always remember that you are married to an image bearer of God. You are married to a person who God has created and knitted together for the purpose of expressing his great love.
So you are to love one another as God has loved you. Paul says the greatest gift given to humankind is love. And apart from seeing each other as image bearers of God, this love will be left unexpressed. May you pursue loving each other with a militant devotion, and fierce intensity. This is the love God has for you, and it is only as you receive it from God that you will be able to share it with each other.
Day seven is the day God rested. He looked at his whole creation and saw that it was good. He worked to create a universe for us to play in, to enjoy, to laugh and sing, to work and sweat, and when he was done, he rested. The seventh day is the only day in the creation story that has no end. There is morning, but no evening. This seventh day has continued throughout history, and God’s people are invited to enter into his rest. May your marriage be a reflection of the rest Jesus Christ has given you. May you take time each week to enjoy the work of your hands, may you work hard to create a healthy marriage and may you rest well and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Your marriage will follow these rhythms of creation. Seasons of joy, bliss, excitement followed by seasons of struggle, pain, and frustration. Each season will have a beginning and each season will have an end - remember this: As you follow Christ, as he shines his light upon your lives, he will bring you from one stage of glory to another.