In Genesis 2:25, we read this astonishing statement: “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.” The first man and first woman had no secrets, no desire to hide or manipulate, no shame. They lived in unity, face to face.
It’s hard for us to imagine, because we live in a world that shames, that warns us to watch out for ourselves and be cautious about trusting anyone—even our spouse!
We may think such open and trusting relationships were destroyed forever by the Fall. However, Christ came to redeem, to set things right, and to restore relationships back to God’s original intent. That is the message of Empower that we share all over the world—that equality and mutuality is God’s design, and that we are made (and invited) to be naked and unashamed in the marriage relationship.
When we ask seminar participants for feedback about what they learn, invariably they mention this concept—that they can be “naked and unashamed.” Although some couples reported that the wife allowed her husband to see her naked for the first time after attending the seminar, being “naked and unashamed” has less to do with physical nakedness or even sexual relations than it does with the spiritual and emotional connection between spouses. In many of the contexts we teach in, husbands and wives do not trust one another. As a result of this broken trust, they will do things like:
- Hide money or information about finances from one another.
- Have an affair or engage in casual infidelity.
- Lie or manipulate.
- Engage in power struggles.
After attending our seminar, participants change their thinking—and their actions. They are set free from the destructive patterns of relationship that hindered them before. The teaching dismantles traditional power structures, and enables them to talk as peers, often for the first time. As a result, the idea of being “naked and unashamed” is no longer scary but thrilling.
Here are some comments from participants at a recent New Man, New Woman, New Life seminar in Kenya. When asked what they learned and what struck them the most, they replied:
“Naked and unashamed: I have learned to be fully open as a husband, especially financially.” (Anonymous)
“I have learned the difference between obedience and submission; to be naked and unashamed (where nothing is hidden between husband and wife). Not to coerce or provoke my children but to nurture them.” (Gladys Njoki)
“I learned God’s ideal plan. Nakedness is not only about our bodies but all about us. Husbands and wives should be submissive to one another. Submission is not lordship but sacrificial.” (Anonymous)
“I learned that cultural and traditional practices have interfered with God’s ideal plan of creation; and that at time of creation, man and woman were equal. I realized that as a woman, I am valued by my obedience to the word of God more than my cultural requirements. Obedience to the Word of God validates me.” (Jane)
“I’ve learned that neither man nor woman were cursed. It has created a new perspective in me. That man and woman are equal in the eyes of God.
I have understood positive masculinity, what it means to be a man in a marriage relationship.” (Anonymous)
“Ideal relationship of Gen 1 & 2. The fall and its consequences on relationships between man, woman and with God. Woman is not sex object. The difference between submission and headship and how they apply in our day today lives in a homestead.” (Nancy Ndicu)
Ever wanted to experience the study we teach in New Man, New Woman, New Life? You can! We have created a self-guided study (for individuals or groups), specifically for a U.S. or U.K. audience, based on the NMNW content, called Face to Face. You can order a copy of the full-color, 72-page study on amazon.
If you’d like a free e-book PDF copy of the study, it’s available as a free download on our site here.