What women really want

What women really want

In Genesis chapter 3 God speaks to Eve about her future. Unfortunately God’s words have been interpreted by male expositors in a way that makes God out to be a false prophet. In Genesis 3:16 in the NASB, God said “In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband

After the fall, God speaks about the future. In the quote above, God says “you will”. This is a prophetic utterance about the future and about the desire that Eve will have for her husband. What is this desire? In the Hebrew the word desire means a stretching out for – a longing for. The Complete WordStudy Dictionary describes this as the strong feelings of desire one had for another, but it wasnt always a healthy one. So is the “desire” of Genesis 3:16 a healthy desire or not? The word translated as “desire” is only found three times in the Old Testament.

In Song of Solomon 7:10 it says “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.” This desire is a very healthy desire of a husband toward his wife. This desire is between a man and a woman.

In Genesis 4:7 it says “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” This desire is a figurative desire of sin wanting to control a person.

So which kind of desire is God prophesying about in Genesis 3:16? Is it like the figurative desire of sin to control and to destroy? Or is it like the longing of one person for another? Almost every commentary you read, the male commentator says that God gave a judgment on the woman so that she will desire to rule over the man. But is this true? Can scripture be properly interpreted that way? First of all the fact that the woman will desire her husband is not God’s judgment against her. It is a prophecy that would be shortly fulfilled and the desire for the man is the natural longing of the woman in spite of the pain that she experiences from having his children and in spite of the domination that the man has over her. She will long for him in spite of all the reasons for her to want to stay away from him.

In a recent bible study class the instructor brought up these verses and said that it was God’s judgment that women would desire to rule their husbands. When we broke up into groups for discussion, the first thing that the women said was “I have no desire to rule or control the man.” Every one of the women in our group said the same thing.

If we take the interpretation that the male interpreters have put onto this passage, then it puts God into dire straits because he has predicted something that on the whole simply is not true. Perhaps the male expositors should have taken the time to ask women what their desires are and then they would have known for sure the proper way to interpret this verse. So what do women really want?

Women want men to love them emotionally. Women long for their men to hold them and speak tenderly to them and to be treated as if they were the only woman on this planet. Yes women want sex too, but sex is an outworking of the emotional bond between man and woman. Women are not like men. Women do not use emotions to get sex. Women throughout the centuries have naturally used sex to get emotional love. So what is it that women want? Women want and desire emotional love. Women’s innate desire is not to rule men.

I have spoken to many women about this verse and most think the concept about them desiring to rule men is abhorrent. They can’t even conceive of it. Think about the women in all the third world countries. Do they desire to rule men? No. They dream about and long for freedom from being dominated and controlled. Women just want to be free to be themselves, they aren’t looking to rule the men, and above all they want to be loved.

So why have men chosen to believe that God said that the woman would desire to rule her husband? It is only because they are men who don’t know the internal nature of women.

Now think about it this way- if God’s intention was to punish women by making them want to rule their husbands, then why is it world-wide that women are not trying to rule their husbands? Why is it that the womanâ’s natural state is one of being easily controlled? It is because the woman’s natural tendency is to please the man and to want to do whatever will get emotional love from him. God’s words about her desire are not a curse on the woman, they are a prophetic statement concerning the innate longing that the woman will have.

And within a very short time, God’s prophetic words will come to life. Think about this – God kicks Adam out of the garden of Eden. He does not kick Eve out. Why is that? Because God knows that Adam in his rebellious state will desire to eat from the tree of life. Eve was deceived into eating the forbidden fruit – she did not eat because she was acting in a rebellious way. So God kicks out the rebellious one.

Genesis 3:23 and 24: therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

God kicks out the rebellious Adam and he is forced out of the garden. So if God doesn’t kick Eve out, then why did she leave? It is so simple. God has already told us. He prophesied what was going to happen. Eve left because she desired her husband.

9 thoughts on “What women really want

  1. Very well stated and supported. This information should be in a book; maybe an ebook too, so that others can learn more about what the bible says about God’s intentions for men and women.

  2. Yes, the NET Bible Translation notes unfortunately favour the interpretation of ruling the husband, but the commentaries of Welsey, Gill and James, Fausset and Brown (JFB) don’t seem to infer that she was looking to have authority over her husband (after all, she did offer him the fruit — if she had bad intentions, wouldn’t she have kept it to herself?). Wesley says, “She is here put into a state of subjection: the whole sex, which by creation was equal with man, is for sin made inferior.” JFB write, “…her condition would henceforth be that of humble subjection.” Gill said, “…it should be liable to be controlled by his will, which must determine it, and to which she must be subject…”

    The thing that really bothers me about every interpretation that I have seen thus far is that they all interpret these things as God cursing the man and woman. However, this is not the case. God curses the serpent in Gen 3:14 and the ground because of Adam’s rebellion in Gen 3:17. Otherwise, He merely says that He will increase Eve’s pain in childbirth and prophecies about Adam’s toil, Eve’s desire for her husband and Adam’s rule over her. Given that Eve had not yet had any children and din’t know the pain of childbirth, its hard to imagine that this is what God is speaking of. Perhaps what is meant is in reference to the heart and emotional anguish she would experience with the sin of her children — her first son was a murderer. After all, it is the mother who bears the children from her very own womb, breast feeds them and mothers them and so has a closer connection.

    Your article is very well written, immediately engaging and a powerful argument.

  3. Preach it, girl.

    This is SO well supported through a quick look through history—it is RARE for women to revolt, even against the most horrific forms of domination (female circumcision, burqa wearing, etc). It is, however, NORMATIVE for women to continue to desire a relationship with men, even when it comes with a burqa or mutilation.

    (This is not, of course, to say that *all* men secretly want all women in burqas, or to come across as man-hating in any way, becuase the male gender certainly got his share of the sad consequences of the Fall, and *both* genders are certainly in need of a New Creation)…

  4. Ryan: The thought of the woman ruling the husband is not that she did so necessarily before the fall, but that her innate desire after the fall will be one of wanting to rule the man. This is how many commentaries define the word “desire”. They see her desire as being a bad thing, not as something good. My article was to dispute that. In fact, my article was in defense of God’s prophecy. God is the one who said that the woman would desire the man. Women understand what this means. In fact, I believe that it is God’s grace that allows this. As one who laid in the delivery room in excruciating pain as I gave birth to each child, at that moment in time the thought of ever allowing him near me again so that this pain would happen to me again was repugnant. Yet after the birth of my child, those thoughts were gone. The same thing happens when women are dominated and controlled and at times treated as if they are children and not mature adults, yet the women still keep coming back to the men that they love. There is something in a woman that keeps her love for him no matter what. Any other meaning for “desire” in this passage would fail to prove out as a fact in this world.

    Molly: Your comments were well said. Women understand our ability to take abuse and mistreatment and keep coming back for what we hope will eventually be emotional love shown in the way we need to receive it. It is so rewarding for me to see so many men refusing to continue the tradition of male domination and who are now coming alongside women and treating them with respect and who have a willingness to hear what women have to say and to teach them. In the past if men would have been more willing to listen to women, they would not have so easily attributed to God a prophecy about women’s desire to rule men. That is a false prophecy that God did not originate. Instead God prophesied about women’s future and their ability to love the man despite being treated as a creature to be ruled over. Oh that God would allow the time to come quickly when every member of the body of Christ will be treated with dignity and respect and honored for their gifts and placement in the body no matter what their gender happens to be.

  5. Got a question, which I’m sure comps would bring up:

    The same phrase “the man” is also used to describe who “has become like us, knowing good and evil”. Can it be argued that if only Adam was driven out, then only Adam had become like God, knowing good and evil? I noticed also that the TNIV says God drove THEM out, but I don’t know the Hebrew.

  6. Paula: Thanks for the questions!

    “The man” who has become like us keys in on the one whom God said would be tempted to eat from the tree of life. God is specifically talking about the man here, but because the woman also ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, obviously she too would have been like God in knowing good and evil. However, she wasn’t the problem one. Adam was the one who sinned with knowledge and by his own choice without his being deceived. He was the one in rebellion and was charged with bringing sin into the world. Although we can assume that Adam and Eve were both knowing good and evil because Eve also ate the fruit, we cannot assume from scripture that God also kicked out Eve from the garden. God tells us only that Adam was kicked out of the garden. Unfortunately the TNIV takes the literal Hebrew and puts their interpretation into the text. Instead of saying “the man” as most translations render this verse, they assume God means both Adam and Eve because we do know that both of them left the garden. The assumption is that God kicked them both out of the garden but the text doesn’t say that. A much better answer is the prophecy that God gives to Eve that she would desire her husband and obviously her desiring him would cause her to want to be with him. It is also understandable that his sinful rule over her would not have allowed her to stay in the garden. He wasn’t leaving alone!

    So to summarize, the Hebrew for Genesis 3:22 is not plural but is accurately translated as “the man” and God’s mentioning Adam becoming like him in knowing good and evil cannot be used to say that the woman did not also know good and evil. The emphasis on this verse is the rebellious man.

  7. (First time poster, glad to find another believer in Biblical equality)

    I’ve never understood how the idea that women will “desire to rule” men has any staying power. I’m a survivor of eight years of Christian schools and a graduate-escapee of one of the strictest Christian universities in the nation, and I’ve never seen or heard of a woman trying to rule a man. I’ve known of plenty of women who have sacrificed everything they were to win a man’s love… and fail. I’ve known of women who have stayed in abusive relationships and tried to be perfect in order to win a man’s love. I’ve known women who have married unbelievers because they wanted a man who would love them. I’ve heard women who have chosen to idolize their husbands because their churches have taught them to do so. But rule? The closest I can think of for a woman trying to rule a man is one who tries to save a man from his own mistakes/sins/whatever, and even then that’s a desire for love and acceptance and not an open attempt to rule anyone.

  8. TNJaguar:

    Thanks for your comments. I heartily agree! I have yet to have anyone point out for me where any majority of women are trying to “rule” men. This interpretation just makes God out to be a false prophet so I wonder how so many have been fed this interpretation have swallowed it hook line and sinker.

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