Uncovering the Beauty – Marriage & the Curse


I trust today’s post in the hands of my very talented and wise friend Kristi. Kristi has been married to her best friend for seven years. She is on a quest to love Christ more as she makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, kisses boo-boos, irons mountains of shirts, and cleans cheerios out of the vents. She loves to study and teach God’s Word and writes daily at Run the Earth, Watch the Sky. You can also find her on twitter.


If this is why I was created, why then is it so hard to fulfill? Why is it so hard to love my husband?

Sometimes I wonder what Adam and Eve’s relationship was like for that brief span of time before they rebelled against God. They were literally made for each other. Both of them awoke into consciousness in the presence of their Creator. They lived in a glorious world, in a beautiful garden designed for them by God. They had no sin, no selfishness, no baggage from their past. Perfect trust, perfect intimacy, perfect unity.

One choice to rebel against God shattered it all.

Shame. “…they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Genesis 3:7
Broken intimacy. “…the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God…” Genesis 3:8
Blame. “The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’” Genesis 3:12

Sin came crashing into the deepest recesses of their hearts. Sin came crashing into paradise.

Genesis 3:14-19 contains what is known as the curse – God’s judgments on the creation He loved in response to their rebellion. The curse brought physical death which mirrored the spiritual death Adam and Eve had already experienced. It brought thorns and thistles – frustration and futility in man’s God-given work. The woman would suffer increased pain in childbearing. Most pertinent to our discussion, though, is the second half of Genesis 3:16.

“Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

That word “desire” is very interesting. The word in the Hebrew means “stretching out after, a yearning, a longing, a desire.” It is used only three times in the Old Testament- once in Song of Solomon, once here in Genesis 3:16, and once in Genesis 4:7. When we flip over to Genesis 4:7, we find this word used in the account of Cain killing his brother Abel. God tells him that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” “Desire” here carries the idea of control - sin wants to control you, but you have to master it.

With that deeper understanding of “desire,” this verse becomes vivid to me. Because of the curse, I do not want to be my husband’s loving helper. I want to be my husband’s ruler. Women are constantly struggling to control their husbands, and history has played out the fact that men have responded many times by becoming oppressively dominant or weak and  passive.

Because of that painful history behind us, many of us struggle with the thought of being a loving helper. We struggle with it because we live in a broken world and we battle with our human nature that is bent toward sin. Because of the curse, we constantly find ourselves struggling to dominate. In addition, so many of us have been wounded by perversions of male headship – men who have fought back in the battle for domination and have done so by suppressing, abusing, or neglecting women.

Men are broken and sinful, too.

There is good news, though! God did not abandon us in our sin and brokenness.

One of the most commonly referred to passages regarding the topic of Biblical marriage is Ephesians 5:22-33. If you are familiar with this passage, you know that wives are told to submit to their husbands, and husbands are told to love their wives.

But that’s not all.

I love Ephesians 5:25-27.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”

Christ gave Himself up for us.
In order to sanctify us.
He cleanses us with the Word.
He is preparing us to be His holy and blameless bride.

Are you struggling to love your husband? Are you dealing with sin, shame, broken intimacy, and blame? Do you battle with your own desire to control your husband and resistance to the idea of being his helper?

Being sanctified and cleansed is a process. It is a process that necessitates that we sit in the presence of Jesus, that we let Him cleanse us with the pure water of His Word. Be real with Him. You aren’t able to do this alone.

Lord, cause me to love my husband.
Teach me what it looks like to submit to him out of reverence for You.
I struggle with fear, teach me to trust You.
I feel ashamed – cover me with your righteousness and cleanse me from my sin.
I am in the habit of blaming him – show me where I need to take responsibility, and teach me to forgive him.

I am broken and sinful – and so is my husband.

I have found that when I wrestle with my own deep fears, sin, and desire to control, that God grants me eyes of compassion for my husband. For when I am honest about my own failures, I am more likely to pray for him than to blame him. When I entrust my fears to God, I can be freed to love and help my husband rather than control him.

We still live in a broken world. We still wrestle with our sinful nature. But Jesus will wash away the guilt and shame, and we no longer need to cast blame. He can free us to love.


24 Coffee Talks on “Uncovering the Beauty – Marriage & the Curse”

  1. Cathy Bryant says:

    Thank you so much for this post. One only need look around at today's families to realize the enemy's attack on marriages. Praise God that He is greater than… I came across this quote yesterday by Eugene O'Neill that goes so well with this post. "We are born broken. We live by mending. The grace of God is glue."
    .-= Cathy Bryant´s last blog post … Write Overwhelmed! =-.

  2. TeriLynneU says:

    So good! That constant battle to rule … and the lying, manipulation, and deceit that come with it. And yet, when we grasp the freedom of submission … to Christ, to our husbands, to others … we find a deeper peace than we ever dreamed possible. Thank you, my sweet friend Kristi, for this wonderful post.
    .-= TeriLynneU´s last blog post … My Marriage Toolbox =-.

  3. What a wonderful article. I think you hit the nail on the head on God's design of loving our husbands (helping and respecting) and being loved in like manner…despite our struggles with sin and human nature to dominate one another.
    .-= Kristine McGuire´s last blog post … I Was A Christian Witch =-.

  4. Amy T says:

    This was truly a great article. God's design and plan he has for each of us. I can say after 22 wonderful years of marriage that we have never had an argument of any kind. We all have sin, it is human nature, but you need to pick your battles carefully. We need to give everything over to God.
    Again, thanks for the super article.

  5. Debbie says:

    And people call our monthly cycles a curse? HA! That's nothing compared to this. If I would just commit myself to God's way and submit to my husband's authority, all these struggles and battles would be so reduced, if not eliminated. ACK! Such a control freak. Such a woman. Such a sinner! This molding process is so difficult when I focus on my husband, and not on my Maker. That's my biggest struggle and realization. When I keep my eyes on my Perfect, Sinless Maker it is so much easier to do His Will. When I focus on my beloved – but sinful husband – I get all wrapped up in ME and can't see past my own desire… sigh.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog post … Hello Girls Friday! =-.

  6. Mandi says:

    I really appreciate your blog – got connected, actually, from Kristi's blog.
    Thank you for posting TRUTH today and reminding me of my HIGH calling as a wife. :)
    .-= Mandi´s last blog post … Tis the season for…Mexican food? =-.

  7. Traci says:

    Loved this post, loved its truth and sincerity, rawness, and vulnerability!

    "Being sanctified and cleansed is a process. It is a process that necessitates that we sit in the presence of Jesus, that we let Him cleanse us with the pure water of His Word. Be real with Him. You aren’t able to do this alone."

    .-= Traci´s last blog post … Or Maybe Not, Not Today =-.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Again, another amazing post. And this one brought tears to my eyes. I often struggle between the idea of loving my husband and controlling him. This post definitely stirred my heart as the Holy Spirit was trying to get my ATTENTION!

    Thanks so much.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog post … Do You See This Guy? =-.

  9. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Mae, Kristi. Kristi said: I'm honored to guest post for @sarahmaeblogs today! Come on over and join the discussion! http://is.gd/4OOCJ [...]

  10. Larie says:

    Hmmm, Genesis 3:16 is my favorite scripture.

    Kristi, thanks for taking the time to study and then courageously share what you've learned with us. I'm sure you know that this topic is one of many, that we sometimes do not want to hear about. You've done well to address it as you have, with knowledge and in love.

    .-= Larie´s last blog post … …of "We Snap in Silence," by LaVender Shedrick Williams =-.

  11. Hannah says:

    I just wanted to thank you both for such a wonderful post. Thank you Kristi, for writing it, and thank you Sarah Mae for hosting it. I'm not yet married, but I do appreciate such teaching. Thank you!

    Blessings to you both,
    .-= Hannah ´s last blog post … *Almost* Wordless Wednesday: Sun Beauty =-.

  12. Wow. I haven't decided if I want to be you or Kristi when I grow up. I love her understanding of the bible. Love it. I can honestly tell you ladies, I am a better everything because of the encouragement, knowledge and conviction of these amazing blogs.
    .-= Lori Zimbardi´s last blog post … Forgive and Be Forgiven: I Hurt People Too =-.

  13. I think what I struggled with the most in the past was not "trusting" my husband with the care and authority of our family. We have slowly been working on that this last year especially. I've learned to hand over the reigns so to speak, and he has done a magnificent job of trying his best to lead a household I controlled for so long. It has been a definite and needed shift in the balance of our God-given roles, and has produced much fruit.

    Now we are working on re-establishing that intimate connection–it is so much harder for me to be open and vulnerable with him…to allow him to provide a safe and nourishing place for my heart…then it was to let go of all the logistics.

    ((Sigh)). I seem to always be a work in progress.
    .-= Lindsey @ A New Life´s last blog post … Living for the First Time =-.

  14. Lindsey – I totally understand that struggle to trust. God really has been working on me over the years and teaching me that when I submit to my husband, I'm ultimately submitting to God. He is no less sovereign over his life than mine!

    Thank you for sharing that journey of God's work in your marriage – what a testimony! So true that we are always works in progress.
    .-= Kristi_runwatch´s last blog post … The curse and your marriage =-.

  15. Nikki says:

    I have never thought about what Adam and Eve's relationship was like before the fall. Very interesting.

    Kristi said, "Because of the curse, I do not want to be my husband’s loving helper. I want to be my husband’s ruler."

    Convicting line for me. I truly desire to love, honor, respect, trust, and submit to my husband. Sometimes I don't realize the "little" manipulations I try truly are a sign of me trying to be my husband's ruler.
    .-= Nikki´s last blog post … Still Life Portrait =-.

  16. What a beautiful post…"teach me what it looks like to submit to him out of reverence to You"…love it!
    .-= Melissa Multitasking Mama´s last blog post … Thankful no matter what… =-.

  17. Carrie says:

    Thought provoking!

    Listening to John Piper's series on marriage (also along these lines) really helped me understand the marriage relationship. I highly recommend it!

  18. Tiffany says:

    Wow! What and amazing article. I am so glad that I came here to read this today. I just read an article on Crosswalk titled "Traits of a Godly Wife" by Dr. John Barnett.
    I call myself a Christian but I don't practice living the Biblical marriage that God wants us to have. Starting to transform my ways with my husband is going to be a long road. Thank you for writing this.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog post … Under the Microscope-Using Parables Today =-.

  19. Ellen says:

    Great Post!!! I understand the reality behind the scripture and, like a lot of other ladies on this comment trail, struggle with this. But where me and my husband get wrapped up on this is the following…if my husband is to love me as the church was loved, in order to be presented holy and blameless, where is the line drawn where my husband determines and decides my actions as wrong or right. His statement: He is held accountable for me as my leader and needs to present me as holy and blameless….


  20. What a wonderful post Kristi!! 17 years of marriage and I still don't have it down, but hopefully I'm growing and improving. I'll be continuing to pray for His help.
    .-= Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates´s last blog post … Would You Like Dessert With That? ~ Pumpkin-Ginger Pie With Golden Marshmallow Topping =-.

  21. Ellen, you're right – that is a tough question!

    I think as women we have to remember that ultimately we are still individually held accountable before the Lord – He is still our only source of Truth and standard of morality. Therefore, if our husbands say something is right but God says it's wrong, we submit to God and not our husbands on that point. Just like any authority – government, workplace authority, etc, if they contradict God's Word we are accountable and responsible to obey God alone. Knowingly following our husbands into sin is not a proper view of submission.

    However, if our husbands are uncomfortable with something that we feel we have freedom in Christ to do, we submit to our husbands. For instance, if the wife's family of origin was comfortable with drinking wine with dinner, but her husband had a strong conviction against that, he is her head and she needs to submit to him on that point.

    Our husbands have a God-given responsibility to lead us and protect us as much as they can – and they need to do their best to guard us spiritually and make sure we have opportunities to grow and deepen our walk with God. They will be held accountable for how they lead us in that manner. However, it is not my husband who can wash me and present me holy and blameless. Only Christ can do that. My husband can, however, follow the example of Christ by self-sacrificially loving me and seeking my best interest spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
    .-= Kristi_runwatch´s last blog post … The curse and your marriage =-.

  22. Pepper says:

    I have struggled with letting go, but I have found that I don't want to be in charge. I don't want to be his mother I want to be his wife. It is so freeing to let go of this role that I'm not supposed to be in.
    .-= Pepper´s last blog post … Super Sunday Surfing =-.

  23. It is so true that marriage is made of two broken people. I think it's a divine miracle anytime a man and a woman are able to blend into one and reflect God's glory … must be God's doing and His design. And I find that when I'm struggling with issues in my marriage, my Heavenly Father is the One I can go to with my unedited outpourings and know I will receive peace and direction in return.

  24. [...] so well with our series on the pain and difficulties of life stemming from death and the curse, so hop on over and join the conversation. [You'll want to stay and look around a while - I love Sarah Mae and her [...]

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