16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
As a mother of four children, I agree there is pain in childbearing. I do believe that God has also shown mercy in this area as well, because no matter how hard I try, I really don't remember the pains of childbirth. There are other pains that come with childbearing, the pains of not being able to get pregnant, the pains of not carrying a child to term, and just the struggles that come with having children. I really think that we can not deny this punishment, it was given to us from God and it is real. What I think we forget is the next line, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." This is harder to pin down, harder to see in every day life, because we look at our desire to be on the same level as men as our rights as women. Is it? Are we trying to put ourselves into the same position as men, because desire what they have? We struggle with the knowledge that we are not the same as men, women don't want to admit that, but if we did, maybe it would be freeing to us. I also think this verse shows that once sin entered the world, there began a break in the union of husband and wife. What all do we desire from our husbands: attention, comfort, praise, security, etc. Security, that one I think sometimes women don't realize how much they want that. I think, and I could be wrong, that if we really admitted it, we want a husband that takes care of us, a husband who does the work that pays the bills so we don't have to, a husband who lovingly makes the final decision on decisions that are hard, and a husband who truly leads his household spiritually. Our biggest fear is that if we admit this out loud, other people will think we are weak and that it will give our husbands some kind of power over us and he will be cruel to us. I believe that is what Satan wants us to think. He wants us to think that we can not really trust our husbands to be the head of the household, because we as women can do a much better job. He is wrong and I fear that is why so many of our families are struggling today.
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 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 in no way got off easy. "Through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life." All the days of your life, ALL, that means that the man will always have to work to provide for himself and for his family, this will not be easy. "It will produce thorns and thistles for you," In other words, this work will never be easy. Not only is man going to have to work ALL the days of his life, it is not going to be easy work. I think it is in man's nature, all of our nature, to want it to be easier, I believe that is why so many men have allowed women to take on their roles in the world. It is easier to let someone else do the hard work, but it is not what God had planned for man. Once again God was showing mercy to man, because through that hard work that man is doing for all his life, he is growing, he is learning and he is bettering himself and his family.
I believe that God set these punishments as punishments, but also as a way of life for us to grow and to seek Him. Just as when parents punish their children to teach them a lesson and to make them better people, so should we see these verses for us to be better people, see why we desire what we do, how we may have to learn from that and that we may need to change our attitudes.
This has been interesting for me to look at. I have no problem saying out loud that my husband is the head of our household, although inside me it is harder sometimes. Over the past 19 years of marriage, we have both grown a lot and I have learned to seek my husband's wisdom before I speak, which is a very good thing for other people, because I could be a quick tempered person. I have also watched my husband grow as the spiritual leader of our house, which I personally think is awesome. I know that he loves his family and would not do anything to hurt us, I appreciate that he discusses things with me, takes what I have to say and then is willing to make the final hard decision. There is a freedom knowing that he loves me like Christ loved the church, which makes me even more willing to submit to him.