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Early in our ministry, My wife, Lynne, and I had an experience that brought revelation to us in an area that is a challenge to every pastor and minister. It was not a positive experience, I'm sad to say.

A young, attractive and intelligent woman came to us for counseling. She was devasted as a result of realizing the extent of deception she had experienced in her marriage.

She said, "The day I got married, everything I had ever hoped and prayed for had finally been realized in my life. In one short month, I realized I didn't know the man I married. Instead of living a life of heaven on earth, I am experiencing hell on earth."

She proceeded to share with us a list of very negative things she experienced with her new husband - including physical abuse. I'm sorry to report, I have heard this same scenario many times over the years. People with the highest expectations and hopes for their new life as a married person, find their dreams of marriage shattered.

In Love With the Idea of Marriage
Yet amazingly, people are still in love with the idea of marriage. Even people who have had disastrous experiences in marriage, seek to be married again! Oh I know, you hear talk about the "new liberated approach" and couples living together out of wedlock, but statistics show that 95 percent of Americans today who are single, desperately desire to be married.

But I was amazed to read the results of a study done by a behavioral scientist on the reasons why people get married. For example, many people get married to a specific person because of their parent's expectation. They want their parent's approval in the spouse they choose. Another common reason why people get married is to simply move out of the parental home.

One of the most powerful drives is the paternal instinct. Many people get married because they want to have children. Also, people who have been married previously seek to get married again in order to provide a mother or father for their children from their first marriage. It all sounds worthwhile, but it is not a reason for marriage.

I couldn't believe it when I read one reason people get married is because they want to get back at an old sweetheart who broke up with them! Can you believe that? In fact, that reason was high on the list.

Then there are people who get married for practical reasons such as career enhancement. It is a sad fact in the corporate world that many young executives feel the pressure to have an image of being a responsible, family man. So they marry to enhance their careers.

Some people get married simply because someone is head-over-heals in love with them. They figure they better marry them in case no one else comes along. People get married for power, for money, for prestige, or for readily available sex.

The reasons for getting married are numerous and it seems that everyone is hoping to, planning to and eventually does get married. Yet statistics show that half of those people, once married, will find their dreams dashed.

Unmasking the Myths
Over the years, I have found that there are three principle myths that exist in marriage relationships. At least one of them is always in evidence in a failing relationship. These myths are what motivate many people to pursue marriage. If marriages are to stand a chance, these myths must be exposed and dealt with.

Very briefly, those three myths are: 1) Marriage can solve the loneliness problem. 2) Marriage can heal your broken and hurting soul. 3) Marriage is the door to your happiness in life.

If you're looking for a potential spouse to fill any of these roles, your marriage is doomed before it starts because marriage can do none of these things.

Exposing Myth Number One
Almost every unmarried person I've ever counseled with perceives marriage as something that will solve the loneliness they feel as a single person. This perception seems to be reinforced by everything they see around them. Everywhere they go, they see couples. So they conclude that marriage is the answer to loneliness.

Our response to these people is always the same: "The most desperately lonely people we minister to with regularity are not single, they're married!" Loneliness is not a problem associated with single people. In fact, it's a greater problem with married people.

People get married thinking it will solve the loneliness they feel, only to find their marriage relationship has no capacity to fill the hole in their heart. When this realization sets in, they become desperately lonely. They think, "Now what do I do?"

It's a fact: loneliness is not solved by marriage. One reason Christians think that God intended marriage to solve their loneliness is because of what He says in Genesis 2:18: "Then the Lord created Eve and brought her to Adam and the two became one flesh."

They say, "God saw that Adam was alone and He solved it by giving him a wife." But that's a wrong understanding of this verse.

Look what Jesus says in John 8:14-16:
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
(John 8:14-16)
In these verses, we see two ideas connected. The idea that Jesus is not alone because the Father is with Him, is connected with His understanding of where He came from and where He is going.

In the same way that God tells us in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us nor forsake us, Jesus is telling us here that He is not alone. Why? Because "I do always those things that please Him."

A simple, yet, profound truth is that you will know God's presence in your life when you begin basing the direction of your life on His Word. Jesus was not alone because He did the things which pleased His Father. What things did He do? Those things written in the Word of God.

A Definition of What Things Please the Father
I think it's important I define what things please the Father. I'm not talking about traditional, religious activity like showing up in church and mindlessly raising your hands as we worship the Lord.

And I'm not talking about going to confession, or getting baptized, or going to confirmation. These things are not what please God. They are merely empty form and ritual.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us without faith it is impossible to please God. What is faith? Faith is deciding to believe the Bible is true and then basing your life upon it. That is faith. When you do that, you please the Father. Don't look for a burning-bush experience. Just continue doing the Word.

This is where the solution to loneliness begins: by being a student of God's Word. Don't just read the Word when you come to church on Sunday morning. You need to read the Bible every day.

When you begin patterning your life after the principles of God's Word, you'll find yourself walking with God in a way you've never known Him before.

Adam Fell Out of Fellowship With God
Let's go back and examine Adam's life. God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a help meet for him." Adam was alone. We can safely conclude that to mean he was not doing those things that pleased the Father.

The religious person would say, 'Wait a minute! He hadn't sinned yet. He hadn't eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so how could his fellowship with God be broken? How can you say he hasn't done those things that pleased the Father?

We need to kick over a religious cow here. The fact is that Adam had already sinned by disobeying a command of God.

Let's look at Genesis 2:9:
And out of he ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden....

And the Lord God commanded the man to eat.
(Gen. 2:9)
Adam did not obey God's command to partake of the Tree of Life. In order to understand the significance of this, you must understand that the Tree of Life is a type of Jesus, the Living Word. Nearly all Bible scholars agree on that.

God's commandment to eat from the Tree of Life was a commandment to partake of the divine nature, to feed on His presence. In so doing, Adam would have strengthened himself to resist the temptations of the evil one in the Garden of Eden.

I strongly believe that if Adam had obeyed God and had partaken from the Tree of Life, he would have never partaken of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. How do we know Adam didn't partake from the Tree of Life? Look at Genesis 3:22:
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.
(Gen. 3:22)
Had Adam partaken of the Tree of Life after he sinned, he would have lived forever in a fallen state. God had to banish Adam from the Garden of Eden to keep him from partaking of the Tree of Life.

The obvious conclusion is that Adam failed to eat from the Tree of Life. Adam didn't base his life on obeying God's direction. As a result, Adam's fellowship with God was broken and Adam found himself alone.

It is at this point in Adam's life when God introduces marriage. God brought Adam a "help meet" in Eve. Why did He call Eve a help meet? The Hebrew word describing (help meet) is "ezer" and it means simply: aid. Adam needed an aid. Obviously, he needed help in making it to the Tree of Life.

And things have not changed for modern man. There are so many distractions and demands, that man needs help staying oriented to the Tree of Life. A wife is there to encourage, to admonish and to help man to reexamine his value system making sure he is basing his life on the Word of God.

Are you beginning to see the folly of someone trying to solve their loneliness problem through their marriage relationship? If you put that expectation on your spouse to fill the hole in your heart, you've set the relationship up for failure. They cannot possibly fill the void in your heart that only God was meant to fill.

The loneliness problem is solved as you continue to partake of His Word, the Tree of Life; you'll walk in the consciousness that God is at your side and you'll never know the problem of loneliness again.

Copyright © Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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