But I am a wife. And I have many friends in the same vocation.
In the many couples I know who are struggling in their marriage (for no couple is without their struggles), it all seems to boil down to the same thing: She wants him to be more romantic, to be more physically affectionate, and to speak more words of affirmation.
What is amazing to me is how all of us women are feeling the SAME things. How can our stories be so similiar when our lives are so different?
This must mean that we women have fundamental similarities and needs. Likewise, it must mean that our men are all wired like each other. But why do we women have such strong needs to be fulfilled by our husbands? Is it even fair to think that men CAN fulfill them?
To answer these questions, let's go back to the Garden of Eden, that lovely Paradise of a place where our problems were auspiciously absent. It was pure perfection...until our free will (and the chosen disobedience) got us into trouble.
Disobeying God brought the effects of sin into the world. With it came some specific consequences, said to us by the booming voice of God. To the man, God said that he would have to work hard all the days of his life in order to obtain food from the earth. None of this would come easy. His brow would sweat as he worked for his sustenance, Scripture says, and we know that most good men today shoulder this burden to provide for their families.
But what did God say to the woman? In Genesis 3:16, He says to her, "I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children."
Ouch. OK, so this is one we all know well.
But the sentence afterward is something we usually glide over and go past. God then says to the woman, "Your yearning shall be for your husband, yet he will lord it over you." Other versions of the Bible say, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
The younger version of me used to think, "OK, so childbirth is gonna stink, but...desiring my husband? I'm fine with that!"
But remember, this condition of yearning is meant to be a consequence of original sin. And a consequence is a negative result from an undesirable action. This desiring, then, is one which is meant to BURDEN us.
Let's look more closely at what this Biblical translation might be telling us. To desire isn't just to want; it is to yearn so strongly that it is to crave and to deeply ache for--and, according to some Bible versions--it is even synonymous with the want to control.
Ladies, do we get like this sometimes? We do!
This deep ache for our husbands is a consequence that will last continuously during our earthly experience. Just like painful childbirth, this ache for him is a burden we must carry as women. For, if we are always to desire him, it seems reasonable to understand that we will never truly be satisfied by him.
This does not mean that men are incapable of loving women correctly or that we cannot aim for wonderful, happy lives together. But it does mean that our needs will always--in small degrees and in large degrees--remain unfulfilled. Why? Because until we behold our Beloved God in Heaven one day, having been truly redeemed from our sins by our Savior Jesus Christ, our ache will really be for Him and what He originally intended for us as couples. Heaven is meant to be even more glorious than that original Paradise we messed up. God, in His Mercy, has a plan for us that is more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
So what do we women do with this burden of continuous ache for the actions of our husbands? We allow it to purify us, to strip us of ourselves, to sanctify us, and to ultimately turn our hearts to the One who CAN fulfill.
In the hope of Heaven, we live today as if we HAVE been fulfilled. We live out our belief in God by doing so!
Our God is a jealous God, and He did not give us husbands to replace His rightful place in our hearts. Our ache is for Him, and so we must live and carry ourselves with the hope of bringing Heaven to earth now. By letting Heaven dwell in our hearts and minds, we conduct ourselves as saints and carry our earthly burdens with joy.