Paradise LostThere was a time when everything was perfect. It was paradise. And the Bible refers to it as the Garden of Eden. But as the rest of the Bible tells us, and history confirms, Eden has been lost. Therefore, paradise has been lost, leaving the world in a wasteland of imperfect people.

What does Eden teach about relationships?

One of the valuable lessons of Eden is that in this imperfect world, every relationship involves two fallen people who aren’t perfect. Whether it’s a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, family member, or friend—no one is perfect. And the sooner someone comes to grips with this reality, the sooner they will have healthier, more satisfying relationships. This is because they can accept the other person for who they are and work together to solve any problems in the relationship.

But for the individual who still wishes they were back in the Garden of Eden where things were perfect, they will:

  • Become frustrated when they realize others aren’t perfect.
  • Have unrealistic expectations of others.
  • Judge and protest the reality of their spouse, partner, or someone else.
  • Not be someone safe for others to love and grow alongside in life.

Another lesson to learn from Eden is that the two things that will kill a relationship faster than anything else are perfectionism and narcissism. If there are demands for perfection and the ideal person, love is blocked. Real love can only grow where someone’s authentic self is known and accepted by the other person.

Love grows and thrives as one can see and accept another person as they are. In a relationship, anyone who attempts to control what the other person thinks, feels, wants, does, values, or believes will drive them away and ultimately destroy love. Steve Arterburn once said, “Because God is love, it’s a pretty safe bet that whatever way God loves people is the way that we should try to love them also.”

So, when one person says no to another, the kindest and most loving thing for the other person to do is to listen and respect their no. Abuse is never to be accepted in any relationship. When one has a partner or spouse with different needs, desires, and opinions, they must find a way to work out the differences. Ephesians 5:21 says: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Mutually submitting means working out the differences for the greater good.

Although paradise has been lost and no one lives in the Garden of Eden anymore, never forget that God has made every person in His image. Therefore, everyone should be treated with the dignity and care they deserve. For help with relationships, see a licensed Christian counselor in the New Life Counseling Network.