Anytime you take two or more individuals and link them together in a team—a business team, a church team, a marriage team—there will be a certain amount of friction. Every person has his or her perspectives, passions, strengths, and history that rub against the perspectives, passions, strengths, and history of others in the group.
Too often, marriages operate like a tension-filled committee of two in which each committee member is bent on gaining the upper hand. Instead of living in oneness, the couple lives on a battleground of power struggles, and authority is the casualty. But God designed a beautiful plan to empower couples in marriage and to release the God-given authority of marriage.
Where did he do this? In the Garden of Eden.
You Can Find Good Help!
"It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18).
What kind of helper did God have in mind? A personal valet? An executive secretary? The word helper is pretty ambiguous until you look at the original language. What the Hebrew reveals is nothing less than stunning. Helper is actually a two-word phrase: 'ezer keneged.'
The first word is extremely powerful. It doesn't denote the menial help that comes from a slave or a servant; it's the rescuing help that comes from an ally who is more intelligent, more capable, and more highly resourced than you are. This is the "help" that Psalm 121 ascribes to God himself: "I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (verses 1-2).
This word 'ezer' is so powerful, in fact, that God had to add a second word to it in order to make it fit his intent. The second word, keneged, means "equal." It completes God's idea of woman being an ally, an equally empowered partner with the man in the conquest of planet Earth. Author David Hamilton says that "if God hadn't added that word equal to the word 'ezer, we might have been … trying to prove that men could be leaders, too!"
What emerges from God's heart in the creation of woman is—surprise!—the perfect partner for his "one flesh" mandate. There is no question that the woman is a partner worth leaving mother and father for! She is a partner who completes and complements so powerfully that Adam can confidently embark on the daunting adventure of "ruling" the earth as long as Eve is his equal partner.
The Missing Link
It is precisely in the act of becoming one in marriage that God releases his authority within the relationship. There are, of course, various understandings of how authority is meant to flow between a husband and a wife.