I have been thinking about the other half of my curse, the curse of women. Genesis 3:16 says, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” I skipped directly over this half of the verse before I was married, but now it makes sense.
The Hebrew word tesuqah can mean sexual desire, but in this case it most likely means a desire to defeat or overcome the husband. The curse has played out over history. Though we have known some victory (winning the right to vote, for example), victories are hard won. And most women will agree, we are still on the losing end of the battle. Life for a woman is not fair.
My husband does not beat me. He is interested in my opinions. I am a strong and vibrant woman, and Steven has never tried to squelch that facet of my personality. It is what attracted me to him in the first place. Yet there is this desire in me, of cursed magnitude, that wants to command him with an iron fist. This desire is funnelled toward Steven at prolific proportions. No other man in my life has ever known such wrath. I cannot describe the kind of she-devil into which this desire transforms me.
Before Steven and I were married, he would make decisions I opposed. I would say something, if I felt I could say it out of love. Then I would move on with my life. I had my own work, my own finances, my own friendships and family to deal with. If Steven wanted to make bad decisions, it bothered me because I loved him, but I could let it happen and let him bear the consequences.
Then we were married. And suddenly he had the ability to wreck my life. When I was his girlfriend, I could walk away from the wreckage. As his wife, I am broadsided with the consequences of his decisions. I can kick and scream. I can manipulate. I could even take a swing, but I cannot seem to gain mastery over my life in the way that I knew before I said, “I do.” This is the consequence of the original sin. This is my curse.
I have observed different reactions to this loss of mastery. I have considered them for myself.
I could live my life like a bucking bronco, fighting every pain he inadvertantly inflicts on me. I could see to it that where he falls short, I take over. If he works part-time, I will work time-and-a-half. If he forgets, I will remember. If he is passive, I will be aggressive. I could right his wrongs to prevent his consequences. I could choose to exhaust myself physically and emotionally in the fight to regain control. And I would resent the living daylights out of him, until he finally decides to get his act together. You have met these kinds of women before. They are angry and resentful. They wield power like poison. They are not beautiful, for even their beauty is a tool for manipulation.
Or I could lose myself. I could forget my strengths, giftings, and aspirations to make myself my husband’s victim. I could relinquish my desires completely. I could resign myself to the curse. I could become a pale and lethargic wife, robbed of inspiration and life. Though my resentment would be hidden under this pallid guise, still I would resent my husband. For though we are smaller and more delicate, we are no less individual than our husbands. We were never meant to be sold as prostitutes. We were never meant to be hidden away from life, behind a stifling burka or cookie-cutter, suburban expectations. We were never meant to be property, counted among livestock. We ought not resign ourselves to the curse.
Neither of these options are what I have chosen. The life I have chosen does not exempt me from pain. Rather, it puts me in its path, since it draws me closer to Steven, and he is painfully human.
The woman I have chosen to be acknowledges pain, is honest about her frustration, lets her tears and weakness be seen, lets her husband’s bad decisions make a mess. She does not clean the mess up for him. Rather, she waits. In the meantime, she revels in beauty. She creates. She works. She is resourceful. She is a safe haven. She is confident. She is magnetic. She acts, not out of resentment, but out of love. She lives life well, not to be comparable, but to find joy. Her joy is otherworldly. Her husband could never fulfill her in the way she needs to be filled. She looks to her Creator to find her path. And she walks in it.