"Adam Knew Eve"
On Friday night TCPC hosted an evening for the marriages of our church. There was a wonderful turnout, and the stories continue to come in of the Lord’s blessing on the evening. I have also received many requests to provide the details so that those who couldn’t make it could still participate. What we did was nothing novel at all.
The evening was rooted in Genesis 4:1, “Adam knew Eve.” Isn’t that an interesting way for the Bible to speak of sex? Sex is a deep and intimate knowledge of another. And sex, among other things, is intended to be a demonstration of an even deeper knowledge – a physical experience of an inward reality. You can think of sex as the sacrament of a marriage. What is the sacrament we call communion? Communion is a physical manifestation of an inward reality as we taste and experience the gospel that is at our core. This is a good way to think about sex. It is the physical manifestation of the intimacy that exists within the bounds of covenantal love.
Now we all know that there is a temptation for communion to become an empty ritual. The act is not an accurate witness of what is going on inside us – perhaps we are doubting, perhaps we are numb, perhaps we are wrapped up in sins that we refuse to give up. In this way we “honor the Lord with our lips but our hearts are far from Him.”
The same can be true of sex. It becomes an empty ritual. A couple “knows” each other physically, but they don’t even truly know each other – we honor each other with our bodies but our hearts are far from each other. I think this condition is pervasive in marriages, yes even in the Church.
Marriage is intended to be the place where we are fully known and fully know another, and that intimacy is experienced within the safe haven of a covenant guarded by marriage vows. And then that intimacy overflows into a physical manifestation of that knowledge, God’s good gift of sex. That’s how it is supposed to work. But of course every marriage falls short of this ideal.
That’s okay. God’s grace can handle imperfect husbands and wives. But this vulnerability is something that can be cultivated. And that was the aim of the TCPC marriage encounter.
We sent couples out on the town for dinner with 10 questions to work through. It wasn’t a diagnostic test, it wasn’t a list of things to do to enrich a marriage, it was a list of probing question that we hoped would promote intimate knowledge – perhaps talking about things had never been brought to light, even after years of marriage.
Each spouse was admonished to demonstrate the gospel in the presence of your lover’s shame. Whatever came out of their mouth was not new ammunition but was received with the utmost grace and support. Here are the questions we gave them, but you can come up with your own.
They start easy and progressively get a bit more scary…
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is what we need more than anything.” – Tim Keller
1. What is your funniest memory from our marriage?
2. What is your happiest memory from our marriage?
3. What has been the most challenging season of our marriage?
4. What would a perfect day for you look like?
5. From your parent’s marriage, what have you always wanted to emulate, and what have you always wanted to avoid?
6. What triggers your deepest anxieties and greatest joys?
7. Where do you turn for comfort in times of stress, disappointment, and sadness?
8. In what area is it most difficult for you to demonstrate self-control?
9. What has been a consistent insecurity throughout your life?
10. What in your life do you have a hard time believing God can forgive?