Contrary to some popular contemporary theology, the first and second chapters of Genesis are not contradictory creation accounts. Rather, Genesis 2 expounds on the final day of Creation and illuminates much about God’s design in creating humanity.

Alone with God

Both Adam and Eve spent time with the Creator in the absence of the other. For Adam it was before the creation of Eve, and for Eve it was whilst Adam slept. Before He brought them together, God made sure that they both had a personal relationship with Him. A professed Christian has no business looking for a marriage partner if they are not investing in their relationship with God.

This also means that there’s nothing wrong with being alone. Just because we’re created to live in community does not mean solitude is proscribed. On the contrary! Adam’s time alone with God awakened the realization of his need for companionship.

Individual mission

God committed a specific work to Adam, and we may infer that He did the same with Eve. In Genesis 1:28, God gives Adam and Eve a mandate that they must fulfill together. But in chapter 2, he commits to Adam alone the work of naming the animals. Before finding a spouse and uniting in mission, a Christian must have an individual work to do for God. The Christian who is not working for God is not ready for marriage.

Furthermore, it was while Adam was working for God that he came to realize his need for companionship. In fact, the true nature of his need became clear in the light of his work. Had he not observed that the peacock and peahen are similar yet different, he may have been misled into thinking he needed a companion biologically identical to him. God reveals what we need in a spouse through our work for Him.

Partner in ministry

The mandate that God gave to Adam and Eve as a couple was separate from the work He gave them individually. They had a ministry as a couple that they needed each other to fulfill—to replenish the earth. They needed each other, in their distinct individuality, to fulfill their mission as a couple. So a Christian cannot effectively partner with another in ministry when they have not first discovered who they are in Christ. It is precisely their uniqueness that will make them a good partner—their individuality is not to be subsumed by the other.

The other apparent inference is that a couple must have a mission. When seeking a spouse, the Christian is not looking for someone to complete them, because they are already complete in Christ. The relationship is not meant to be inward focused, with the sole purpose of pleasing each other. A godly relationship has a mission that extends beyond itself. A Christian should seek a spouse with whom to engage in ministry.