“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).

After hearing the constant refrain “it was good” throughout the Creation narrative, we are jolted by this declaration. In the midst of all the “good” that God is creating, there is something not yet good enough! “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

This single passage of Scripture contains invaluable, though sadly controversial, lessons for us still today.

First, marriage is God’s idea.

Here we must tread carefully and yet boldly. God’s normal prescription for humans is that they not be alone, that they be married.

Yes, we must be careful in saying this, because Jesus and Paul both were single men. And Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that some are given the gift of singleness by which they can serve the Lord, in some ways, with greater focus and flexibility than if they were married.

There is also the fact that we are all single for a period of time when we are young, and then perhaps single again when we are old. Yet even the extraordinary grace that God provides to widows and widowers in their loneliness is a pointer to the fact that humans are generally not meant to spend life alone.

So if you are single and longing for a spouse, I my intention is not to rub salt in that wound. God is good, faithful, and  His plan and timing for each of us is different. If you, however, are single because you are too busy chasing after knowledge, after material security, after personal pleasure—then you are too busy. You are, ironically, trying to obtain what Adam already had in complete fullness in Eden! Adam had everything the single mind and body could enjoy; yet God looks over his situation and says, “It is not good for him to be alone.”

Remember that Adam was not your typical bachelor—cooking Ramen noodles in the microwave—Adam was in Eden! Adam literally resided in Paradise, was made to live forever (so what’s the rush to get married, right?), and doubtless enjoyed an enormous intelligence (as indicated by his naming all the animals). Yet even Eden could not fill the void for which God created Eve.

Might we go even a step further and observe that Adam had God to keep him company? Yet God still created Eve. While it is entirely right that God alone is enough to fill any person’s needs, it is also true that God has designed the world in certain ways. The fact that God alone is all any person needs does not mean, for instance, that Christians don’t need the fellowship of other believers in the body of Christ. In God’s design, God meets our needs with himself, yet often through other people. Similarly, God designed marriage to be a primary conduit of his divine blessing to individual humans.

Can God give extraordinary grace so that a person can survive without a church? For instance, in prison for the gospel’s sake? Yes. Can God provide extraordinary grace so that a person can thrive without a spouse? Certainly. The very word “extraordinary” reminds us that this is not God’s ordinary way of working.

God has designed marriage as a primary means of blessing and sanctifying his people, ordinarily.

Second, God made husbands and wives to complement one another.

Contrary to the almost universal attitude of Western culture today, a woman is God’s greatest earthly gift to man. A godly wife is one of the greatest means God has given men for sanctification, fellowship, and mutual enjoyment.

The fact that Eve was made to be Adam’s “helper” speaks to his inadequacy, not to any inferiority in her. The same word is later used by God himself! (Psalm 70:5; 146:5). God helps us, not because of any inferiority in himself, but because of inadequacies in us.

God made wives for the purpose of filling in, of completing, the needs that he saw in man’s makeup—even as a morally perfect human being. Think about that: even the pre-fall, perfect Adam was in need of a helper! This is the role for which God created Eve. And the very fact that Eve was created to “fit” Adam likewise means that the husband’s role—as spiritual, servant-leader to his wife—also perfectly fits her.

Finally, God created humans either male or female.

We are reminded of this inspired account that we do not need to wonder what our gender identity is, for God has already revealed that to us by the way he has made us. God made men male, and God made women female. And because they are made for each other, to complement one another perfectly, trust God on this: no man-made mutation of the marriage union will bring the blessing that God intended it to be.

When God said, “I will make him a helper who fits him,” God did exactly that. A godly wife exactly fits the needs of every godly husband. And marriage, God declares, is a suitable, appropriate, healthy environment for both husband and wife to thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually.