The Marriage Curse

August 22, 2011 at 9:20 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 13 Comments
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Going by what is taught in the Bible, we have to admit that both men and women are affected by the fact that we inherited a fallen sin nature. There is something in the fallen nature of women that wants to rebel. There is something in the fallen nature of men that wants to shirk the responsibility to lead. The world, which for the most part rejects that the Bible is really true, gets this wrong. The world’s portrayal of the stereotypical male who is a bad husband is the “alpha-male” who is overly aggressive and bossy and domineering. The stereotypical picture of these men is that they love to be “leaders,” but they lead with too much force and ego. However, that is a worldly lie, because it is not really the deeper problem. The real problem with men in marriage is that they are not really “leading” because they are not modeling forgiveness or selfless giving.

The Bible gives a pass to neither men nor women when it comes to both of them abdicating their God-ordained roles in marriage.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

I Timothy 2:14

Transgression against God in marriage will break the covenant boundaries of God’s protection. That’s why headship and submission are so important. I did not say that headship and submission are “natural” – but they are vital, and the roles of men and women – according to God – cannot be swapped.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16

Child birth and home-keeping are two areas where women find much joy. Married women’s lives tend to revolve around their children and their husband – “the home.” Even when they are at work outside the home, for most women, their hearts and minds are still occupied throughout the day with the welfare of their children and husbands. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, they were still commanded to be fruitful and multiply – and to be married. The curse that God placed on them because of their sin was that the child-bearing and the marriage relationship would now be marred by pain and sorrow. Pain and sorrow are in this world we live in because sin exists in this world.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5

Suppose Adam and Eve had never sinned. Women would still have been subordinate, but that would have been the best thing – because their desire would have been to be subordinate to their husbands. (The other part of the curse had to do with pain in child birth. Men don’t experience pain in child birth. This, too, is part of the curse, because the exact thing that women need at that time is empathy, and men have no way of giving it, having never experienced anything like it.) The desire that Eve had – to be subordinate to Adam – still exists in women today, but, because of the sin curse, this desire exists alongside a competing desire to rebel against authority. Women are, in a sense, doubly cursed, because the man you are commanded to be subject to is a fallen sinner like you, and on top of that he will be an abuser (at least mentally and emotionally at times, if not physically), a terrible leader, insensitive, uncommunicative, and prideful. Eve, in her sin, wanted to take the lead in her marriage relationship, and because that was a disobedient and sinful thing to do, God pronounced a curse such that all future wives would have a desire to take that lead, and that desire now competes with their role of subordination, which causes much heartache and many complications in marriage.

Of course, the Gospel has an answer to these problems, which we will look at next time.

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  1. […] Last time, I described the effects of the curse brought about by sin on the first marriage. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. […]

  2. […] needs of their husbands. We were made in the image of God, and we do have emotions that survived the fall in the Garden of Eden. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; […]

  3. I really got a lot out of this post. Can you tell me who the author is? Is the author a pastor? I tried looking it up online and came up empty. Thanks!

  4. Robbin: Thank you very much for reading, commenting, and subscribing. I am the author of the post. I am not a pastor, but I do teach an adult Sunday School class and regular married couples’ Bible studies.

  5. […] and they were ashamed. God put a curse on them and all creation, and He said there’s going to be trouble in the husband-wife relationship from now on: the wife is going to secretly want to usurp authority […]

  6. […] more masculine attitude toward combat, but this “masculinity” is not based on a “tough-guy” caricature of manhood. It comes from a fear of […]

  7. […] 2 8. Reverence in Marriage (Part 1) 9. Reverence in Marriage (Part 2) 10. Marrying and Burying 11. The Marriage Curse * 12. Desire in Marriage 13. A Designer Marriage 14. A Marriage of Flesh and Bones 15. Whose Idea […]

  8. I am recently married and love my wife. But we got married after 2 months of knowing each other. Before meeting her I just left a 4 year relationship and was still in love with my ex. In fact I had planned to marry my ex. Long story short, My now wife is aware of all my past, I am now realizing that she never cared about how I felt and rushed to marriage for her own selfish desires. I was foolish to make my own decision, she rushes me to marry her so she could have me for herself even though I was in love with someone else. I had asked my wife for some time alone and patience before we got married and was guilted into getting married. I love her but I got into this marriage too fast. She says she always going to be there for me, that’s because I am already her husband. I feel used and tricked into marriage for her own selfish gain. I never officially asked her to marry me, I told her to wait for me to be ready. The next day we went to the mall and ended up buying rings. She told all of her family that we were getting married and in a very short time I was at the altar saying yes. she guaranteed me that I would get over my ex and that it wasn’t going to affect our relationship. I feel like she’s delusional and has been hurt in the past and found safety with me and quickly rushed what was to be taken with patience. I think about my ex everyday since then, I tell my wife and she doesn’t feel like its a big deal and that I would get over her with time. I tried to deal with my ex before we got married but my wife would never let me, I regret getting married quick and not dealing with my ex before we get married. I am already thinking about getting a divorce and the only though is how much I would hurt her now. I am stuck and I don’t know what to do. We prayed to God many times and two time God told us to wait. She has abandonment issues and that could also be why she rushed the marriage without taking how I felt into consideration. I don’t know what to do. I feel so much resentment towards her for not letting me grief and I tell her that I don’t feel like im giving her all of me and she doesn’t seem bothered by it. We’re both Christian and felt like we were connected from the start. God told me to wait the day before the marriage and I ignored him. I can’t blame my wife for all that’s happened because I was the one to say ” I do “. Now we’re not even 1 month into our marriage and I don’t know what to do. When we should be celebrating I am thinking about my ex and not giving my wife all of the attention. I don’t know what to do now. I don’t want a divorce mainly because of how she will feel and how God views marriages. But we were disobedient to God and ignore his call to wait. We also didn’t want to rush the marriage because we didn’t want to have sexual relations outside of marriage. Now having sex with her is far from my mind. What do I do? My wife understands all of this and doesn’t feel like its a big deal because at the end she got me. I fell used and tricked. HELP.

  9. Mr. Alphonse: Thank you for reading and commenting. I am sorry that you are having this trouble in your marriage, and I will pray for you and your wife. It is difficult for me to offer suggestions since I do not know you personally, but the Bible clearly prohibits you from divorcing your current wife. It may help you to think of the Bible’s definition of “love” as something you are commanded to do to your wife by the way you treat her. You are commanded to love her the way Christ loves the Church. It sounds like you think of love as more of a feeling or something that “happens to you,” rather than something that you, as a Christian man, are commanded to perform. Also – and I am sorry if this sounds judgmental – but it sounds (just from your comments) that you are blaming your wife for somehow coercing or manipulating you into getting married, when, in reality, you must take complete responsibility for your own decisions, and you must honor and uphold your commitment and oaths. You say you are a Christian, so I must assume you belong to a local church assembly. If so, you should speak to your pastor about your problems right away. If not, please find one that teaches the truth about Christ and the Bible. It also sounds like you believe that you are getting some type of private special revelations directly from God, and this is a dangerous way to base your decision-making. You need to seek God’s Word for you in the Bible, rather than trying to discern His voice internally. In the meantime, I have some other articles that deal with these issues, which you might want to read:
    https://swimthedeepend.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/the-blessings-of-an-unhappy-marriage/
    https://swimthedeepend.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/the-blessings-of-an-unhappy-marriage-part-2/
    https://swimthedeepend.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/mysteriously-meaningful-marriage-part-1/
    https://swimthedeepend.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/reverence-in-marriage-part-2/

  10. […] and leading-in-love that the Bible gives to husbands as a fearful and Christ-honoring responsibility. Paul was not married, as far as we can tell, but there was nothing about his full-time service as […]

  11. Thank you for sharing do you mind explaining this, “Suppose Adam and Eve had never sinned. Women would still have been subordinate, but that would have been the best thing – because their desire would have been to be subordinate to their husbands. ” The curse entails that the man will rule over the woman in a marriage, not “continue to rule over her” Woman do not desire to be subordinate. To be “ruled over” is a curse, it’s not enjoyable or the best thing. No woman takes pleasure in being opressed by a man. The best thing would have been equal respect as co laborers, not one controlling or ruling over the other.

  12. Thank you for reading and commenting. I will do my best to explain, but I disagree with the premise of your question. The Bible teaches that the headship of the husband and the loving and voluntary submission of the wife were God’s ideal in creation before sin and the curse. Male headship is not part of the curse. The sinful way men often exercise that headship today is a result of sin and the curse, but not the headship itself. Furthermore, the Bible does not teach that being ruled over is unenjoyable or a curse in and of itself. Authority and submission are found in different and varying forms within the Triune Godhead, and are ordained by God for His glory and the good of human beings in government, in parent-child relationships, church leadership settings, and, of course, in the joyful obedience God commands and allows His children to exercise toward Himself. I agree that women do not take pleasure in being “oppressed” by men, but loving sacrificial leadership/headship/dominion and loving obedient submission/obedience/help are not “oppression.” They are a form of true freedom, as defined by God, although not, sadly, by a fallen world. God states in His absolutely true Word what is the “best thing” (Titus 3:1) for us, for others, and for His glory.

    Do you mind if I ask where you saw the post? Thanks.

  13. […] from Christ, and because it is the cause of the curse upon this world, including death, disease, misery, and the exhibition of God’s wrath against His creatures, it is a serious foe, opposing the glory […]


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