I sat at our neighborhood pool the other day watching the children play. They were mostly five years old and younger because it was a school day. Initially, five little girls swam in the pool, playing very well together and acting like sweet little angels. They helped each other and shared their toys, quietly enjoying the companionship. Then the boys arrived. They carried large nerf squirt guns and ran around the pool yelling and squirting everyone, causing the girls to squeal and run. The noise level grew painfully louder, and I felt like the Indians had rushed through the fence to destroy the peace.
I remember when my children were babies. I had a boy and a girl and swore I would treat them equally with no influence of gender. How quickly I discovered the innate differences between them. My mothering styles had little effect on their gender identity.
I believe our gender roles and identity were determined by the fall of mankind when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. God originally intended for mankind to live peacefully in the Garden of Eden with nothing to hinder the love He desired from us. But then Adam and Eve sinned against God Himself. He passed a judgment on them that would establish our human nature forever.
Genesis 3:16 says, “To the woman He (God) said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.”
Thank you Eve! All of us who have children know very well the consequences of this particular judgment. Not to mention the havoc hormones can physically wreak on our bodies every month, which I believe goes along with the “pain in childbirth”.
The last part of this verse, though, touches deeper into our emotional psyche. “Your desire will be for your husband.”
A woman’s greatest desire is to spend time with her husband. Most of us would love nothing more than to spend our days walking hand-in-hand with our spouse in the Garden of Eden with no cares in the world, discussing the joys of life. Attention is the best gift a man can give his wife. I long to whisk my husband away in our RV and not have to deal with work, and mortgages, and college loans, and have his undivided attention. Our RV is our sanctuary, our haven where we feel removed from the world. It’s our best time together.
Now I want to look at Adam’s part in all this, the cause of the disconnect in most couples. Verses 17-19 show us God’s judgment on Adam. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Man will have to work very hard for his food and to support his family. He becomes tough and calloused, turning into a workaholic in the process. His job will take precedence over his life until he learns to put God first, and then his wife, ahead of his job. It becomes his greatest desire.
Most women share the same issue; “He works too much. He doesn’t spend enough time with his family or
with me. He never helps me around the house.” God's judgment would consume man with his work leaving him with little desire or energy left to help the woman.
This toughness and callousness appear early in the lives of men, as demonstrated by the little boys at the pool. Women are much gentler because they were chosen by God to be the nurturers of the family, to take care of the children and the husband.
*More to come on our roles and “he will rule over you.”