I ran across a passage that I love, but had temporarily forgotten about in Genesis 26 today. It comes in the middle of a story about Isaac following in his father’s mistake by trying to pass off his wife as his sister in order to avoid confrontation or threats to his life. Now, this was not intelligent for so many reasons, but let’s get to the positive part.
The passage says that several months after beginning this ruse, someone in authority looks out a window and sees Isaac with Rebekah. Here is where the passage gets interesting. The verb used between them is translated differently in several versions. You might see he was laughing with her, playing with her, or perhaps fondling her. The Hebrew verb used here, though, is similar to the one used of Sarah and Abraham laughing when they are told they will have a son, and Sarah’s laughter upon Isaac’s birth, and also the one most similar to Isaac’s own name.
Isaac here is being himself with his wife. He has no mask, no persona, no facade. He is living up to his name and the two can enjoy that fact. Considering that marriage is of itself a stripping away of the facades, or should be, and a brief return to the unashamed state of the Garden, this laughter and enjoyment makes sense.
As people of faith, we often focus on the negative. We shout out loud over and over again about what we find wrong with the world. Lately, we’ve had plenty of reminders that all is not completely well in the relationship between the genders. But instead of harping on what we shouldn’t do, why don’t we, as adults, model the behavior we want our kids to inherit.
I was blessed with very affectionate parents and got to watch them enjoy joking, laughing, hugging, kissing. It gave me an idea that marriage is supposed to be fun – something to be enjoyed. And I have carried that over into my own marriage. In fact, my wife and I will share kisses and hand holding in front of the kids we minister to. Why? Because ours may be the only positive model of marriage they see. Not to say our marriage is perfect, but we are a team, are affectionate, and have each other’s back – and not all marriages can say those things.
So when faced with talking with your kids about how relationships work, focus on the positive. Spend time on the do’s and not just the do nots
What conversations have you had with your children about relationships, whether that be friendship, romance, or family? How do you positively model marriage and relationships in your own home? How affectionate are you in front of others?
photo: “Under the Veil” via Wikimedia Commons