The Roles We Play

After Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, we see, in Genesis 3, where God lays out the roles for both sexes.

Men -Vs. 17-19 “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.”   God’s judgment on men – they’ll have to work hard to feed  and support their families.  

Women -Vs. 16 “In pain you shall bring forth children.  Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”  God’s judgment on women - we see that this will be an area we struggle with all our lives.  We devote our time to our children, but our desire is for our husband. God has now given him work that will take up a lot of his time, often times becoming his priority, and he will rule over us.  Not only do we yearn for more time with our spouse, but we also have to find the balance in allowing him to “rule over us”.  We all fight that, and we all have misconceptions about what it means.     

The world would like to see our male and female roles now as the same – no differences - with women working outside the home and everyone pulling their weight to help around the house (in a perfect world).  How many of you are STILL doing everything for the kids and doing the cooking and cleaning too? Surveys show that most women who have full-time jobs will come home and do the majority of the work there even though they work outside of the home as many hours as their husbands.

Although our society clearly refutes these responsibilities as being gender specific, I personally believe that these roles run deeply in our veins (God commanded them in Genesis), and if we are honest with ourselves, most of us long for the days where women were the homemakers and men the breadwinners.  That is how God made us to be, and that is our deep-down desire. There are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, a majority of women and men (although they'd be afraid to admit it) feel this way.  It doesn’t mean we’re lesser people, it just means that men were made to be different from us.  

Men were also made to be the head of the wife (take the lead).  Somebody has to and God chose man to do it! After all, he was here first and Eve came later to be a helpmate.  On top of that, Eve was the first to sin.  (Thanks Eve!)  Just what does it mean for men to be the head of the wife?

What I believe to be an important part of the marital relationship, Paul speaks about in the fifth chapter of Ephesians.  Vs. 22-24 talk about the wives.  “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Submit is a word that many women struggle with, but that’s only because the world has distorted its meaning.  Submit here is not talking about an act of obedience where the husband barks out orders and a wife jumps, but more of submitting to your husband as an act of submission to the Lord.  It means to put your husband's needs ahead of your own.  Submitting is showing your respect.  That also doesn't mean that the husband sits back and does nothing in this relationship.

The previous verse, v. 21, says to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  God calls us all to submit to each other, not only husband and wife.  That is the key to our Christian walk, part of the reason God put us here.  Placing your spouses' needs ahead of your own, husband and wife, is one of the major keys for a successful marriage.  How do we submit best to each other?  By getting rid of “SELF” in our marriage.   When you finesse that, you are well on your way to a heavenly vision of a healthy marriage.

Stay tuned as I talk about how Paul tells the husband to treat his wife – the key for a wife to want to submit and come to terms with the “rule over us” command.


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