Living redemptively means seeking to play out the gospel in marriage. It’s an ongoing, visual display between a husband and wife of Christs’ willingness to cover our shame. It doesn’t condone or overlook sin and weakness. It covers sin and weakness with grace.
What should be a wife’s response to a husband who seeks to live out this redemptive pattern in marriage?
Thou shalt not Mooch in on thy Husbands Racket
In Genesis, God said to the woman,
Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you. (Genesis 3:16)
Most women, when asked whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, admit that it is a good thing, but a difficult thing.
They take the verse to mean that you are to desire (love, want, passively submit to) your husband and he is to be the boss.
This verse is often misunderstood. God is in the middle of dishing out a covenant curse, which to my mind, makes this a very bad thing (from our point of view). Whatever this verse means, it is most definitely not good news.
The problem seems to be that we impose our own 21st-century definitions on words like “desire” and “rule”. Instead of letting the Bible be its own interpreter.
In the very next chapter, God comes to Cain and says this,
…if you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for it but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7)
Here we have an almost identical statement to that pronounced on Eve. Desire is likened to a crouching tiger, drooling over its prey, determined to overcome it.
Cain must respond by beating the thing off with a stick. Sin desires to overtake him, but he must make war over it and rule it.
Take this back to Genesis 3:16.
The meaning seems to be that under the curse, she is going to repeatedly attempt to usurp her husbands’ place. She is going to covet his authority and try to take it for herself.
As a fallen woman, she will attempt to leave her own sphere of responsibility and place his responsibilities upon her shoulders.
However, she won’t succeed. Her husband will rule over her. She is going to claw at her husbands’ authority, and, under the curse, he is going to strenuously resist.
But here comes the good news. Jesus Christ delivered you from this curse by taking it upon himself. In Christ, godly order is being restored.
The battle of the sexes is something which Jesus has put to rest. You are now free as a woman to love and serve beside your husband. Likewise having being delivered from the curse, he is now free to lead with sacrificial love.
Under the curse, he will always rule over you (even if this means walking out the door) and you will be forever frustrated. Under grace, you are both learning to live according to God’s liberating design.
Most wives know this intuitively. That is why, when she has finished beating and clawing at her husband, she complains that she can’t find a decent man who will love her and care for her.
All women in marriage want the tenderness and security of a faithful husband. Yet, under the curse, they are frustrated by the desire to bring him down.
In the gospel, marriage is transformed. A husband is learning to guide, govern and guard his household and a wife is becoming content and secure and has no need to mooch in on her husbands’ racket.
If you want to enjoy the freedoms of marriage, encourage him and let him love you and your household through godly leadership.
Marriage Preparation PDF
Marriage exists because Christ died for the world. He came to kill the dragon and get the girl. Which He did.
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