Marriage 3: The CounterpartEGP Blog post from April 18, 2004
Genesis 2:18–24 (NASB)
 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable° for him.”  Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky°, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky°, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam° there was not found a helper suitable° for him.  So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.  The Lord God fashioned° into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She° shall be called Woman°, Because she° was taken out of Man°.”  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:18 Lit corresponding to
Genesis 2:19 Lit heavens
Genesis 2:20a Lit heavens
Genesis 2:20b Or man
Genesis 2:20c Lit corresponding to
Genesis 2:22 Lit built
Genesis 2:23a Lit This one
Genesis 2:23b Heb Ishshah
Genesis 2:23c Lit This one
Genesis 2:23d Heb Ish
The “helper suitable” spoken of in verse 18 can also be translated as a “helping counterpart” (cf., Marriage 1: God’s Original Intent). Joining together to become one flesh is a reference to the unity of the marriage team. Thus, God brings your counterpart, not to complete you, but to complement you.
The word counterpart is defined as “someone or something resembling another,” but breaking down this word reveals even more about it.
The prefix of the word is “counter-”, which is defined as ”acting in response; done in reciprocation or exchange; complementing; opposite in direction or position.”
- act of moving backward and forward alternately; give and receive mutually; make a return (of an emotion, response, etc) in kind
- giving and receiving in turn
- made like or corresponding exactly to an original; growing or existing in pairs
The word “part” is defined as “a portion of a whole; a distinct piece or portion that fulfills a specific function in the working of the whole; one’s proper share, as of obligation or performance (i.e., to do one’s part); role; divide or break (something into parts, separate; keep or move apart; become divided or broken into parts; go away from each other; cease associating; depart.”
The Marriage Circle
Marriage is not 50-50, but 100%-100%. If you’re not fulfilling your role 100% as a spouse, then it creates a gap between the two halves. As the gaps increase in number and size, then the contacting surface area decreases, causing friction and strain, making the Marriage Circle easy to break apart.
If a person is to be your counterpart, then that person will complement your personality. This doesn’t mean that you will be exactly alike or exact opposites, but you should be a healthy combination of those two and especially of the middle-ground area (i.e., similarities).
The reason this balance is important is because the productivity of the relationship depends on your (plural) ability to work together. Our responsibility as Christians is to “move on to perfection” and glorify God. (Hebrews 6:1) If your personalities don’t complement each other, then your circle will not join together correctly. For example, if you are both hot-tempered then that part will always clash forcing the other parts (no matter how closely they are fit) to separate.
Also, if you are both lacking in a quality or trait (e.g., ability to make a decision), then that will leave gaps between the two halves. Both of these cases, the frequency and magnitude of the gaps, cause separation and result in an easily broken circle.
Am I saying that two hot-tempered people cannot remain married? No, I’m saying that you must reciprocate each other’s personalities by extending guidance and grace to prevent division.