The Gender Wars

“To the woman he said: ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire will be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.’ And to Adam he said: ‘Because you have listened to the voice of you wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, “you shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field…’” – Genesis 3:16-18

As we read yesterday, God calls out to the man, “Where are you?” God calls the man and the woman forward. He deals first with the woman’s sin and then the man’s sin and, subsequently, there is a curse that is placed on both men and women – the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam. For Eve, her curse will be children, they will be painful. Additionally, she will distrust and mistrust her husband. She will have many fears that cause her to want to rule over him, to dominate him. That curse in Genesis 3 for Eve is the same as the language that is used in the next chapter of the Bible. Genesis 4:7 speaks about how sin wanted to rule over Cain. Some women will do this through crying, manipulation, sex, threatening, being sweet or pushy, nagging, or being bossy. But one way or another they’re trying to play their men like marionettes do puppets. That’s her curse.

His curse is that his wife won’t immediately or easily respect him and that his job will be marked by thorns and thistles. Any man who’s tried to make a living and feed a family knows that the curse is still in effect. That work is hard. It’s important to note that we were given work to do before sin entered the world, but it’s become increasingly more difficult for a man to feed his family since the curse. God then makes a promise that ultimately Jesus is coming in Genesis 3:15. The proto Evangelion, which means, “the first gospel,” will defeat Satan and he will undo all that Adam has done. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls him “the last Adam.” Adam’s loss will be overcome by Jesus’ victory as he crushes Satan, sin, and death.

From Genesis 3 forward, the gender wars ensue and men are prone to go one of two directions through not understanding masculinity in general and marriage in particular. One, is cowardice. They, like their father Adam, are passive cowards. They avoid responsibility, they avoid conflict. They dump parts of their curse on their wife. Two, is chauvinism. These are men who don’t want to be like Adam, who don’t want to be passive, silent, worthless cowards and they overcompensate. They become chauvinists, bullies, thugs, jerks, and bad boys. The history of the world is really marked by these two men. Throughout my pastoral career, I have seen certain types of men that fall under these two branches of either chauvinism or cowardice. I have listed them below: 


  1. No Sissy Stuff Sam: He doesn’t know what a man is. He just knows a man is not a woman. So, whatever a woman is, he’s gonna be the opposite. He thinks a man is whoever can belch the loudest, spit the farthest, and punch the hardest.
  2. Success and Status Stewart: This is the guy that defines himself by what he has. He has a leftover hyper jock competitive mentality. “Here’s my car, here’s my house, here’s my success, here’s my victories.” Worst of all, he treats his wife like just another trophy. He doesn’t love her well or serve her well. He’s more worried about his income and his possessions than his wife and his children.
  3. Give ‘em Hell Hank: He’s angry, violent, has a short temper, is rude, crude, and mean. He’s harsh, overbearing and intimidating. He is scary.
  4. I’m the Boss Bob: This guy is just bossy. He thinks that wherever he is, he’s the king of the whole thing. He’s always telling everybody what to do. He stands back at a distance like a drill sergeant and barks out orders to his wife and children.


  1. Little Boy Larry: He’s a total sweetheart, but he can’t keep a job and forgets to set his alarm. He’s eight years into his undergraduate studies, works part-time because full-time work stresses him out, and possibly still lives with his mom. 
  2. Sturdy Oak Owen: This is the dad who goes to work and comes home, pays the bills, turns on the TV and checks out. This is the dad who is physically present but emotionally absent.
  3. Hyper-Spiritual Henry: This is the guy with the Christian T-shirts, the Christian bumper stickers and who is always listening to praise music. Everything’s about God, but it never really makes any sense. He wants everybody to know how hyper-spiritual he is to the point where his wife and children are embarrassed by him.
  4. Good Time Gary: Everybody loves him. He’s the life of the party. There’s always a crowd of people around him. He gets along with everybody. But here’s the key – everybody loves him, but they don’t respect him.

-Men, which of these 8 types of men do you tend to default to? Ask for God’s help to make you more like the perfect Man, Jesus Christ. 

-Women, what aspects of Eve’s curse do you struggle with the most in your marriage relationship? Ask for God’s help when those tendencies to rule over your husband creep in.

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