Marriage Monday: The Covering
We read about the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 and as many have taught on the third verse, we see the picture of covering.
Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves – Ge 3:6–7 (CSV)
It was when Adam ate the fruit, that the final consequence came down. God created covering in a marriage relationship and so we should really give it some thought in our marriages. Today, the idea of the man covering the woman in marriage is kind of taboo. We live in a culture that has reacted to the abuses of women and rightly so. Many of the issues being fought today are a result of a fallen world.
Jesus Covers Us
What does it mean to be covered? To be concealed, forgiven and represented which is what Jesus does for every believer. I remember as a kid, I watched the Carman music video, The Courtroom, where Jesus was the lawyer in white coming to represent us in a courtroom where our very eternal life was at stake (watch it here). He is the one who steps in our place, not just on the cross two thousand years ago, but each and every day, His covering is evident and real.
Husbands Cover Wives
We learn in the Bible that man is to cover his wife (Eph 5:23) and not lord over or treat her as unequal. Rather, it is an intimate decision to take responsibility for the home and answer to God for your mutual decisions within the marriage. Today, that could sound a bit misogynistic, but to a believer, this is the picture of Christ in the Church. Covering a person does not imply ruling like some monarch or seeking what only fits the one doing the covering. It is quite the opposite, it is hard work and beautiful intimacy.
How Do We Cover Our Wives?
There is so much to say about the subject of husbands covering their wives, but I want to speak on a few areas only: Prayer, Encouragement, Empowerment. This morning we will dive into the prayer aspect.
As a husband, I daily pray for my wife in the morning and evening and throughout the day as I think about her or when I am prompted to do so. Why? It’s not jusst the “Christian” thing to do, it is the intimacy builder in our relationship. For example, we both have a hard day and I lose my temper or say something harsh before dinner. She is upset, but she proceeds on with life and tries to put it away. The stubborn man I am, I proceed as if nothing is wrong and hope time will heal. We are about to settle down for the night, and I start my routine of praying for her as I brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I am instantly convicted, and I ask her to forgive me for being so harsh and inconsiderate of her.
My prayers for her will not only cover her daily, but they will convict and instruct me to love my wife beyond my own ability. Covering prayer causes the one praying to run to restitution and make sure relationship is right. Unfortunately, it may take more than one prayer time for me and she gets it way before me. (Can I get an amen)
No one should pray for your wife more than the husband! I remember when we got married and her father told me that he prayed all the time for Heather and her future husband since she was born. Initially, I just thought my father-in-law was just an intense prayer warrior bent on discipline to pray for Heather. He was covering her as a father and when we got married, He told me that his prayers came to fruition and now he no longer needed to cover her this way. It was my turn to take over after two decades of covering and our first year of marriage probably exposed the weakness of my covering her.
We would have discussions about how her father did things and how great her father was. While he was an awesome man and father, it frustrated me, but I soon found out that I was not sufficiently covering her and to start, with prayer. I needed to take the prayers and covering built for her previously and transform it into the proper marriage covering God intended for us.
So I pray, even when I am upset! Even when I am hurt, I pray! When I feel like the weight of the world is on me from all other sources, I pray! My pursuit of intimacy with my wife is only as strong as my pursuit to cover her.
So What Now?
It really is possible to start now, even if you have had years of marriage that lacked covering. Set some smartphone alarms/reminders that remind you daily to pray for your wife. Don’t expect crazy changes on day one, but it will come. The worst thing a husband could do is come home with a covering teaching and announce his covering if the marriage lacked it for awhile. Do it ninja style, it is the quiet, secret place where God speaks loudly. How powerful would it be that a year from now, you are on your date night and your wife opens up about how she has seen changes and loves what God is doing in your marriage. You could then bring up how God convicted you over covering your wife and that you have been working on it. Each day is a chance to have a day one, start today.
I will write on encouragement and empowerment in the next few Mondays. Thanks for joining us for Marriage Mondays.