Eve’s 2nd Curse Gen 3:16

What do YOU think about the curse/punishment brought on by Eve's actions? #letstalk

I breathed in deep as I watched him come down off of the stage. It wasn’t until he was 3ft from my face did I realize I had been holding my breath the entire time he was walking up to greet me. I hadn’t seen him in person for years but his presence still felt familiar. Finally breathing out slowly, I saw our whole lives flash before my eyes… we had a set of twin boys and lived far from the bitter winters of my hometown. I imagined we’d built a business together and lived blissfully in our wealth, sharing all we had with our family and those in need.

Why do we do that? Us women specifically? There are so many examples I have of female friends, colleagues, and clients imagining the life we could have with the man of our dreams – often times more than once throughout our lifetimes. For me, it happened the most once I started my journey into abstinence. I had not taken the concept seriously until my cheating boyfriend broke up with me (yes he did!) during my freshman year of college. It wasn’t until I went a little looney with male attention and found myself in my dorm room, alone with a very charming chocolate man with bad intentions in his eyes. I had nothing on and was under the covers when he silently backed out of the room. This wasn’t the first time I was turned down but this time I took it as a serious sign from God – something had to change.

That was it!

I am going to try to keep my legs closed once and for all. My decisions with men were not getting me any closer to marriage, so maybe I would try it God’s way. So I took church attendance seriously and remained consistent with my on-campus ministry activities – I had to get busy and stay busy (I knew that much about myself). I called myself filling up with God, work, and school so much so that I wouldn’t have the energy to think about men or dating. Nah…didn’t work! My focus only shifted in another way. Now… every guy I saw was put up against what I considered ideal marriage material. I constantly found myself asking, “Lord, is it him? Is that the man I am to marry?” I WAS OBSESSED! And come to find out, I wasn’t the only one. I spoke with many of my single Christian female friends who felt exactly the same way. Some young ladies even considered their friends’ and family members’ exs as possible ‘soul mates’ – it was a dog-eat-dog world trying to navigate in that existence, which often times breeded competitiveness, comparison, cattiness, manipulation, backstabbing, gossip, and jealousy. Meanwhile, my Christian male friends and associates couldn’t be thinking less about marriage! Not only were they not worried about matching with the right woman, but they sought out NOT ONE WOMAN to seriously date (let alone ‘court’). Something was off here…

Were we only in church to find a husband? Were we only ‘serving’ in ministries to be found busy by a potential Boaz (who was actually Ruth’s second husband by the way, but that’s a whole different discussion)? Were we trying to pimp God to just get what we thought we wanted?

Fast forward to my current coaching career and the countless women I connect with. Most of my talks regarding marriage have to do with providing practical examples of ‘submission’ and ‘allowing a husband to lead the household’ – these were topics God dealt with me right away during my short stint as a (legally married) wife.

Then I came across a scripture that hadn’t previously intrigued me, but now it was starting to make me question the second part of Eve’s curse in the Word of God and how it might be connected to both the strong desire for a husband as well as the tendency to want to be the head of the home.

The NIV version (my favorite to study from) of  Genesis 3:16 states:

“To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.”

This part had always been clear and often one I remembered during the special time of the month and the first few weeks during and following the birth of my daughter. It was the next part that seemed to stump me…

” ‘Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’ “

My desire will be for my husband? Like the man I choose to marry? Well, of course I will desire him, right? But what about the “rule over you” part? This make me review a few different versions of the language in this scripture.

The AMP version of the scripture reads:

“To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth; In pain you will give birth to children; Yet your desire and longing will be for your husband, And he will rule [with authority] over you and be responsible for you.'”

Okay… so is that where the constant fight for independence comes from? Hmmm…

The AMPC version says:

“To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and craving will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Wait a minute, ‘craving’? This terminology reminded me of my college years – I HATED obsessing over marriage! These guys CLEARLY were not interested, nor were they mature enough to become responsible husbands and fathers. But during my initial exploration with abstinence, I had no choice to think about marriage – this was the only way I could see myself rationalizing the dismissal of my urges. So was it an issue with Christian men or was it an issue with me being ‘hot in the pants’…or maybe…

The DRA version states: “and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.”

Now we were getting into some interesting territory. My hardest reality inside of marriage was the submission part. I felt like I had some valuable input, faster protocols for taking care of the home, and more empathetic ways of leading in ministry that just took my ex-husband too long to grasp or replicate. Often times, I would find myself being annoyed with his ways of thinking – to the point where I would try to force him to do what I wanted him to do. And then God did something I never expected but appreciate to this day…God told me to ‘shut up’. It wasn’t nice, polite, or suggestive. I was talking too much and not allowing the man I married to lead us. What I learned from a few times of hearing that, was that in marriage we make sacrifices for the greater peace of the home AND God gives us the grace to submit to another human being (yes, Christian men are also human beings who deserve grace just like us!). How could it be such a struggle to submit to someone I loved and ‘desired’?

ESV says: “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

MSG reads: “You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you”

The NET version says: “You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”

Finally, the VOICE version of Genesis 3:16 reads: “(to the woman) As a consequence of your actions, I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth and the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation. You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion, He will be the dominant partner.”

Is the curse/punishment of Eve the reason we struggle in our relationships with the men we love? It comes up a LOT during my coaching sessions with married, Christian women. Sometimes, a little encouragement and reminder of our purpose in our family and community does the trick to get back on track.

Many of us have imagined our married live and to most married women, this is a waste of time – married life is VERY different from the reality we create in our heads as single women. Marriage is a LOT of work, even between two Christians, that requires a careful look at every facet of communication, trust, and intimacy to say the least.

I have also heard the second part of the curse be referred to as a ‘single-minded devotion to her husband’, which answers the question as to why some of us find it easy to neglect every other relationship once we find the ‘right man’. We also tend to do this whether the marriage papers have been filed or not, unknowingly making numerous men throughout our lifetime our ‘husbands’.

John 4:15-18 reads, “The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’ He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.'” What the wha?!?!? Jesus tried it…and got oh girl all the way together! We’ve got some nerve placing people in the ‘husband’ spot and then complaining when he ‘rules’ over us and dictates the atmosphere of our households.

The first part of the curse was a punishment we seemed to comprehend, but with modern medicine we still attempt to combat the pain (Lord, please help us! That process is NO joke and I’ve reached for any type of relief possible more than once, so I judge not). The flip side is that maybe before the fall, that meant childbearing was in fact NOT meant to be painful – what a concept to imagine?

The second part of that curse/punishment then means that before the fall, our ‘desire’ would NOT have been for our husbands, and he would NOT rule over us? What does that mean? Maybe more harmony without much effort?

By the way, studying these scriptures gave more even MORE courage to be diligent (over the years) in my journey towards abstinence. If I am going to do relationships the way God intended, it will require a deeper understanding of this love letter He left for us to follow (The Bible).

This is NOT an attempt to judge others for their decisions but a way of sparking discussion.

What do YOU think about the curse/punishment brought on by Eve’s actions? #letstalk

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