By Elizabeth Prata
In Genesis 3, Eve chose a path that defied her God and ignored her husband’s teaching. Adam’s passivity as a leader was part of that event. As a result, God cursed the ground the man worked, (Genesis 3:17-18). Remember, man’s original charge was to work the Garden, Genesis 2:17). He told the woman her pains in childbirth will be greatly multiplied. Additionally, God said that the woman’s desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her.
Thus, the harmonious, companionable relationship established in Genesis 2, was corrupted by the woman’s quest for self-fulfillment instead of obedience, by man’s failure to lead, (“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife”), mankind fell into sin and separation from God.
In the latter part of chapter 3 of Genesis, God pronounces the results of the wife’s rebellion and the husband’s passivity. Of the woman, God said that she will desire her husband. Desire is the same word as in Genesis 4 where God told Cain sin is crouching at the door ‘desiring’ to have you. It means an inward inclination. A wife’s inward inclination will be to usurp her husband. She will always strive to take control. If a secular wife, this causes either heartache and strife, made worse for both if the husband remains passive. In Christian marriages, God was merciful to tell us ahead of time, so we can work at slaying this tendency to want to usurp the husband.
“For Eve listened to a creature instead of the Creator, followed her impressions against her instructions, and made self-fulfillment her goal. This prospect of material, aesthetic, and mental enrichment (6a) seemed to add up to life itself; the world still offers it. But man’s lifeline is spiritual, namely God’s word and the response of faith (Dt 8:3, Hab 2:4); to break it is death.” Source: Derek Kidner, “Genesis- An introduction and commentary”).
It should be noted that the woman when confronted by God, did not humble herself. Nor did she repent. She instead cast blame and attempted to justify her disobedient actions. We see this all too frequently in rebellious “Christian-professing” wives today! Pink says,
“She did not humble herself before the Lord, gave no sign of repentance, made no broken-hearted confession. Instead, she vainly attempted to vindicate herself by casting the blame on the serpent. It was a weak excuse, for God had capacitated her with understanding to perceive his lies, and with rectitude of nature, to reject them with horror.” (AW Pink, Gleanings from the Scriptures).
“If men don’t stand up and lead the women will fill that vacuum.” Josh Buice
As for the husbands, “We also need to be mindful of the fact that not every man is this this just roaring bold personality. Sometimes a more passive man marries a more bold woman. In that case he’s going to have to work extra. He has to be taking his leadership responsibilities in his home seriously“. (Buice, ibid).
When I was married I was not a Christian. I did want my husband to lead, but he was very passive (and lazy). In practical matters like managing the home, like cleaning, organizing, and repairmen appointments, I just took up the slack, figuring it was my job anyway. But in marriage matters and in big decision matters, his vacuum left me in a quandary. There was strife, resentment, and eventually bitterness. I’m glad I have Christ now. Though I’m not married any more, I know to submit to my elders and the Bible provides the template on how and why. I was a lot like post-Fall Eve, instantly blaming and being defensive, justifying myself. It’s what sinners do!
If you, dear sisters, have a personality that is more bold, the reverse is true of the passive man, we need to work extra to adhere to biblical precepts so that the home will run smoothly. Marriage is hard, really hard. Two sinners living together in mutual harmony seems almost impossible but it is possible. Why? because there are two sinners and One Sinless, as this article from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood describes:
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit—the power that brought about resurrection life, softened hearts of stone, and gave eyes of faith when we were blinded by sin. Yet sometimes in marriage, in the dismal moments of anger, hostility, or painful hurt, we forget that we’re not doing this alone. Sometimes in our sin and failures, we forget that the power and help of the Holy Spirit is ever present, ever helping, ever convicting, guiding, prompting and empowering us to do what is right.
Praise the Lord for His wonderful mind, that sympathizes with us, gave us all the helps, and will bring us to blissful heaven in His time! Meanwhile, ladies, don’t be tempted to fill that vacuum…or to go beyond our role in marriage. It’s easy to do, but Jesus will forgive if we repent. The wedding over, marriage begins the long work of sanctification.