Genesis 3:16 – who knew?!

Then He said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you” – Genesis 3:16

My husband read this passage last night during our family Bible time and looks up at me. “Maybe I should read that again”. I laugh and roll my eyes, “yeah, yeah, I heard it.” We competed our reading and ended our night with a crabby toddler and little more conversation as I fell asleep early. I never gave the passage another thought.

As I received a call this morning confirming that the office will be closed and that we will all be working from home, I decided to take advantage of the early morning time and to do some reading. I picked up my book The Creative Call as I am behind in the study and know it is because I have been avoiding the working on forgiveness part.

With a heavy sigh I begin to read through the chapter again and start the exercise. God burst through the hardened heart I carry and amazed me as I wrote. It felt like I wrote forever, like God was showing me the very work He was doing inside of me as I was writing. Words cannot express what took place, but I try. Forgiveness

I put my pen down and bowed my head in prayer.

“Father, please let me see your face in this, please take this weight of resentment and pain away. I cannot let the anger go, I don’t know how to. I have heard so many people and books tell me ways to go about it. Nothing really works. You can do this work, I know You can. Right now I am begging You to push your Holy Spirit deeper into this soul. Break open this hardened heart, tear it out and replace it with a heart of flesh. I beg You to take this burden I have held for so long, cleanse me of my pride and resentment. I long to see Your face. I need You.”

At that moment I could feel His presence and so clearly heard Him. Healing was taking place in that moment and that scripture from last night was echoing in my mind. Genesis 3:16 “…And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you”

Have I heard this before? I must have! I have read through Genesis several time in my failed attempts to read through the entire Bible from from to back. (more on that another time!)

I felt this force come through me. The need to investigate this further. I began to look at other versions and they all mostly say “And though you will have desire for your husband, he will rule over you”

Perhaps this is why it never really hit me before? Maybe it was the look in my husband’s eyes when he read this to me last night and paused to emphasize? I think the real reason is that God has been doing a work in me for some time. God has been moving in my marriage in ways we never thought possible and our eyes have been opening to His true design for us.

So I dug in a bit. I looked at many versions to see what they said and then moved onto the commentaries. I found a great site – Bible Study Tool

and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband,
which some understand of her desire to the use of the marriage bed, as Jarchi, and even notwithstanding her sorrows and pains in child bearing; but rather this is to be understood of her being solely at the will and pleasure of her husband; that whatever she desired should be referred to him, whether she should have her desire or not, or the thing she desired; it should be liable to be controlled by his will, which must determine it, and to which she must be subject, as follows;

and he shall rule over thee,
with less kindness and gentleness, with more rigour and strictness: it looks as if before the transgression there was a greater equality between the man and the woman, or man did not exercise the authority over the woman he afterwards did, or the subjection of her to him was more pleasant and agreeable than now it would be; and this was her chastisement, because she did not ask advice of her husband about eating the fruit, but did it of herself, without his will and consent, and tempted him to do the same.

– excerpt from “John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible”

Greater equality before the transgression? What does that mean exactly? At this point I was moved to put into practice the way we have been studying in our Ladies Bible Study group and this is what poured out:

What does this tell me about the Trinity?

  • When God tells us to refrain from something, there is good cause.
  • God does not withhold good from us, His creation.
  • God is the true judge and will chastise those that do not live according to His will.

My life application?

  • I am to be ruled by my husband as commanded by God.
  • Just as the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, this is my role as woman.
  • Eve disregarded God’s command and this caused great pain for generations to come. When I choose to disregard my husband in my marriage, I too am disregarding God’s command. This bring pain, struggle and ruin to a marriage if not addressed.
  • I do not have to understand why god gives me a command in order to obey it. I need to trust in Him and surrender to His will.

Questions that can be answered by this passage?

  • Why should I obey God’s word even if it doesn’t make sense to me?

I am to trust in my creator and always know that He has my best interest at heart. I need to be sure to go to Him will all things, this includes my doubts in His word. I should not trust in any other influence as there is a darkness that takes pleasure in seeing my pain. 

  • If I am to obey my husband and let him lead in our marriage, then why do always the urge to step up and take charge?

Initially woman was made to be man’s helper. There was no struggle. When Eve chose to defy God’s command and eat of the fruit, sin entered the world. This struggle is part of the punishment bestowed upon us. 

I have always known that God commands me to step back and let my husband lead. I have searched for what this meant for me and my husband and always thought that my desire to take charge was a personal one. This passage has opened my eyes to the fact that this is part of God’s judgement upon Eve. 

I continued onto another commentary and here are the parts that really stuck out…

….Two things she is condemned to: a state of sorrow, and a state of subjection, proper punishments of a sin in which she had gratified her pleasure and her pride.

..Note, Sin brought sorrow into the world; it was this that made the world a vale of tears, brought showers of trouble upon our heads, and opened springs of sorrows in our hearts, and so deluged the world: had we known no guilt, we should have known no grief…

…God, as a righteous Judge, does it, which ought to silence us under all our sorrows; as many as they are, we have deserved them all, and more: nay, God, as a tender Father, does it for our necessary correction, that we may be humbled for sin, and weaned from the world by all our sorrows;….

…..If Eve had not eaten forbidden fruit herself, and tempted her husband to eat it, she would never have complained of her subjection; therefore it ought never to be complained of, though harsh; but sin must be complained of, that made it so. Those wives who not only despise and disobey their husbands, but domineer over them, do not consider that they not only violate a divine law, but thwart a divine sentence……

– Matthew Henry Commentary on the Bible (complete)

I struggle.

All women struggle.

This is the curse of sin entering into our world.

This is a role I was created to be in, the struggle itself is the price I pay for ancestors bringing sin to our world. The reward is in realizing just that and giving it over to God. Just as I endured the discomfort of each of my pregnancies, knowing that the struggle was worth the reward, I too will endure this struggle. I know that the reward will be more than I could possible imagine.

I want to write “Genesis 3:16” everywhere as a reminder!

Thank you Jesus for allowing me to see this today and I pray that you will continue to open my eyes to your divine plan. I know that when I give up the struggle and let go, I give You the room you need to work.

In Love,


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