"How do I love my wife well?" Young husbands frequently ask me this question, and it is a great one to ask. They are often faced with a laundry list of good tips: prioritize date nights, lead family prayer times, organize evening devotionals, take walks together, buy her flowers, write poetry, help around the house, etc. I have found that these lists can be extremely helpful examples or extremely tyrannizing laws. If you anxiously try to accomplish them all, the stress could steal the joy of your marriage.
So what do we do? Is there one guiding principle that can help us navigate marriage well? I believe so. I believe we see it clearly in Genesis.
Genesis 1:2 presents a problem: "Now the earth was formless and void..." "Formless" means quite literally that it lacked form; it had no structure. "Void" means that it had no content. It was not full of anything. No form, no fullness. No structure, no content. Then God initiates. He spends the first three days of creation building structure: first air, then sea, then land. He fashions the static life-support systems necessary to sustain life.
Then in the following three days he fills these structures with content. He fills the air with birds, the sea with sea creatures, then the land with animals.
God sees formlessness and void and responds by bringing form and fullness. He creates order, but not stuffy, stifling order. It is order specifically designed to maximize the flourishing of life! This is our God. He brings structure, then content; form, then fullness; order, and then flourishing.
Foundations for Flourishing
You see a similar rhythm play out in Genesis 2. God places the man in the garden. Though the garden is truly a "delight," it is not yet all that it could be. Thus God commands the man to "cultivate the land and keep it." God charges the man to take the raw materials he has been given and structure the environment in such a way that promotes the flourishing of all the living things under his care. This is the role of man in the image of God!