After Adam was created, it was soon noted that he was fundamentally incomplete. He was incapable of realizing his destiny without first being rescued by another. In the same way that humankind is fundamentally incomplete without a relationship with the Creator God, a man is fundamentally incomplete without his woman.
After encountering God’s creation, Adam could not identify his suitable ezer (Gen. 2:18-20). The Hebrew noun ezer is often translated as “helper,” but “rescuer or deliverer” is perhaps a better translation. For example, God is often described as the ezer of humankind. Psalm 124:8 states, “Our help [ezer] is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Our modern use of the words “help” or “helper” sound a little weak. At Genesis 2:18, the complete verse reads, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” The Hebrew word neged, which was translated as “suitable” in Genesis 2:18 (NASB) can also be translated as “opposite, counterpart, or mate.” In other words, the woman is the counterpart of a man, and women, generally, function as the rescuer of men.
Humankind cannot realize its destiny and purpose apart from a relationship with the Creator of humankind. In the same way, a man cannot realize his destiny and purpose without a relationship with his opposite number. I will explain it this way: Young men are commonly selfish, self-absorbed, and immature. Men commonly become better people when they find their female counterpart. A wife and family require some degree of self-sacrifice. A life of meaning and purpose is built on self-sacrifice. The best versions of ourselves are discovered through our relationships with others, particularly in the light of some degree of self-sacrifice.
The reader might recall the 1946 film “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Through no fault of his own, George (Jimmy Stewart) found himself on the brink of financial destruction. Thereafter, in a moment of great desperation, George contemplated suicide. Hovering on a bridge above a cold river below, George prayed for deliverance from God. Immediately thereafter, George’s guardian angel, Clarence, jumped into the cold river below. With an instinct of self-sacrifice, George dove into the cold frigid waters to save Clarence. Clarence later explained to George that he, Clarance, intentionally jumped into the cold waters as a part of Clarence’s calculated plan to save George from committing suicide. We discover the best versions of ourselves through self-sacrifice for others and noble causes. If we listen to God, He will guide and direct us in our required acts of self-sacrifice, and by doing so, we will build and discover the better versions of ourselves.
A man and his wife are designed to be each other’s counterpart. Their relationship can be the impetus for each to become better versions of themselves. However, if they persist in their selfishness and self-absorption, their relationship will implode, no matter how much potential. Historically, in my opinion, most of the blame falls on the shoulders of men. In the United States, the breakdown of the institutions of marriage and the family was largely caused by selfish men, who abandoned their wives and families. Instead, they should have abandoned their pursuit of certain lusts (inordinate desire) and self-absorption.
A man’s leadership of his family should be modeled on Jesus Christ. We should put the will of God above ego and the pursuit of personal pleasure and personal advancement. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus spoke to His Father saying, “[Y]et not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). A life of meaning can only be constructed with some degree of self-sacrifice.
The goal of marriage is for the couple to function as “one flesh.” At Genesis 2:24, we read, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The Hebrew verb haya means “to be or to become.” It is God’s will and purpose that the man and his woman become one. However, such is rarely the result and reality. We are inherently very selfish. Additionally, “becoming one” can only happen with God’s help. Both must be willing to follow the guidance of the Spirit and Word of God. Marriage is designed by God to be a state of perpetual companionship, support, encouragement, and conversation. Both will occasionally act as agents of God to help the other establish or regain the proper course and direction.
When the naked Adam was first introduced to the naked Eve, Adam pronounced, “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Adam recognized a certain attraction and compatibility of both the soul and the body, both the inside and the outside of his gift from God. As demonstrated by Eve being fashioned from Adam’s rib, they were designed to walk through life in fellowship with each other. Despite their nakedness, there was no inordinate self-consciousness. There was no undue anxiety, fear, or worry. There was a total acceptance of and trust in each other.
In the Bible’s “Song of Songs,” it is interesting to note that the man and woman’s sexual relationship is described with Edenic garden imagery. The physical beauty of the couple and their powerful attraction for each other is described with nature imagery. The woman’s body is referred to as both a garden and a fountain (Song of Sg. 4:12-5:1). The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery states, “The most persuasive interpretation of the title Song of Songs, taken from the first two words of the Hebrew text, is that it is the best of all songs.” In other words, the sexual relationship between a man and his wife is designed by God to be a special and ongoing blessing, which, like a garden, should be guarded and carefully maintained. In the Song of Songs, “the poetic imagery expresses an emotion that transcends simple statement. It preserves a level of mystery and appeals to more than the mind – [in fact it appeals] to the whole person.”
In contrast to the institution of marriage, what about those who are tasked to go through life as single persons? Perhaps, they were married only for a period of time, or perhaps, they were never married. Jesus offered the following observation and insight: “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made by people; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” (Matt. 19:12)
I would argue that the Apostle Paul is the example of someone who made himself a eunuch for the Kingdom of God or Heaven. The intensity of Paul’s ministry and travel did not allow time for marriage and family. On the other hand, as an historical example, some were made eunuchs by people to serve in a King’s harem. Finally, there is a percentage of the population that are born to be single. As Jesus explained, they were “born that way from their mother’s womb” (Matt. 19:12). Whatever our status, our primary motivation in life should be to serve God, whether married or single. We can have confidence in the generosity of God to provide blessings for us in this life and the next.
In summation, the relationship between the man and woman is designed by God to be the foundational building block of family, society, and culture. Satan knows that if he can destroy the institution of marriage, he can destroy humanity. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery offers this additional insight, “This archetypal image of union – the man and woman as one flesh – is the cell structure out of which the organism of human society and culture is built.”
 “H5828 – ʿēzer – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 2 Aug, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h5828/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H5048 – neḡeḏ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 2 Aug, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h5048/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H5048 – neḡeḏ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).”
 “H1961 – hāyâ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 2 Aug, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1961/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “Song of Songs.” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, edited by Leland Ryken, et al, InterVarsity Press, 1998.
 “Song of Songs.”
 “Adam.” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, edited by Leland Ryken, et al, InterVarsity Press, 1998.