Role Play.

"The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper who is just right for him.'...So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 2:18,27 

Relationships are one of the greatest blessings that God has given us here on earth.  Those connections to family, friendships, and relationships of dating, courting, and marriage are some of the most wonderful gifts in our lives.  They have the ability to support, challenge, and help shape us into the people that God created us to be.  He also uses those people in our lives as vessels through which He speaks, convicts, and encourages us in a more tangible way and so that we may grow closer to Christ as a result.  In my opinion, the "romantic" relationship which we have the opportunity to enter into - particularly marriage - is very special and of high importance to God.  It could even be said that it has the potentional to be our most influential and crucial relationship here on earth (aside from our relationship with Christ, of course). 

At the beginning of time, when God created the earth, He also formed man.  Adam, the first of all human creation, was made in God's image to rule over the earth and everything in it (Genesis 1).  God then created a woman, Eve, from a rib of Adam's side.  Adam and Eve were the first man and woman to roam the earth, and - as most of us know - it is because of them that sin entered the world.  Through the Garden of Eden and the eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3), Adam and Eve were no longer allowed to eat from the tree of life.  Along with that, both Adam (males) and Eve (females) were given specific consequences for their disobedience.  In a sermon podcast I listened to a while ago on marriage, the pastor described that, as a result of sin entering the world, women would have a hard time trusting their husbands and thus try to rule over him, whereas men would find that their wives wouldn't easily respect them.  Harsh, I know.

As I was having an insightful discussion with a beautiful friend of mine, the topic came up of relationships, particularly regarding to girls having control issues and guys having commitment issues.  Cliche maybe, but relevant for men and women today.  We realized that it seems as though what is meant to be our strengths have become our weaknesses.  In marriage, the Bible states that men are called to lead and love their wives (see Ephesians 5:25, 1 Peter 3:7, Colossians 3:19), and women are called to submit to and respect their husbands (see Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1-6, Colossians 3:18).  These are our clearly defined Biblical roles in marriage.  It seems that more often than not, however, men and women have the tendency do the opposite when in relationship with one another.  Men, rather than leading and loving, seem to have a fear of commitment, and women, rather than submitting and respecting, often try to control or manipulate.  Again, I realize that this is harsh, but it's pretty prevalent in our culture if you really take a look around.

So how is it that men and women are, essentially, turning what is meant to be their strengths into weaknesses?  Two reasons: the fall and the enemy.  First, sin entered the world through the fall, and as mentioned before, part of the consequence was that men and women would find some difficulties in marriage.  Second, the enemy has forced his hand into this area of the Christian life.  He has twisted it so that what we were made to do has become our greatest fear!  Men were made to lead and love their wives, and women were made to submit to and respect their husbands, but instead we find that many men find it too difficult to lead and so resist commitment, whereas women find it difficult to trust and so try to control.

Now, I'm well aware that the aforementioned Scripture references are instructions specific for marriage, but I believe that there is much wisdom to be gleaned from them in a dating or courting relationship as well.  I also believe that the fears that we have - of commitment, lack of control, or what-have-you - are keeping us from experiencing the wonderful things that God has for us in and through our relationships!  My prayer for myself and for all of you is that you would not let your fears drive your actions, but rather, that you would fully trust in and rely on God's promises.  He is the ultimate and sovereign Provider.  Resist the enemy's attempts to thwart you in your relationships, and trust the Lord to reveal His truths to you through His presence and His Word.  He does, and He will.

"So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33

[Note: While I do believe my insights are relevant, I am sure there may be some out there who do not relate and/or agree.  My only intention is writing this is to share what's on my heart and hopefully speak into the lives of others.  I am no Biblical scholar, nor do I claim to have any personal experience in marriage.]