Punching Eve in the Chops… (or How to Add Stress to Your Marriage and Family)
Apparently those women who have these incredible labor and birth experiences are blessed with the way it was supposed to be in the first place. I know a few of them – they really do exist.
I, however, am not one of them, and nearly peeled the paint off the ceiling with my fingernails – okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I really did almost stand up in those stupid stirrups.
My first was finally delivered sans painkillers by the use of some medieval torture device resembling salad tongs.
My second came squirting out so fast the resident barely caught him (everyone nearly missed the birth – he came so fast) and then I couldn’t sit for weeks thanks to his help with turning my perineum into a zipper.
My last was the best, although I couldn’t convince my OB to put in the epidural around 35 weeks, “just in case” – somehow we got it in time and I actually enjoyed the experience.
But for the most part, each time, part of me wanted to punch Eve in the chops over that little incident in the garden.
Genesis 3: 16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
And as if “greatly increase your pains” wasn’t enough, we were handed the desire to control our men (going back to the meanings of the words in the original language).
Can you relate?
I know I can.
Part of me was also glad Adam got his share of consequences for not listening to God and instead listening to his wife – and he got stuck with gobs of difficulties with work.
Honestly, however, when I see my husband leave before the sun arises daily, and coming home after it sets, I am a little sad that his is such an on-going, long-lasting thorns and thistle experience.
Labor and delivery are short, relatively speaking.
And OH, how we enjoy those babies and our kids!
I suppose we don’t have it so bad, relatively speaking.
What is interesting to me, as well, is that research by Shaunti Feldhahn in 2006 (For Women Only) showed that regardless of whether a man’s wife works, on average, he still feels responsible for providing for his family. We see that hard-wired into the majority of men as a result of the fall.
So what do these things mean for the average marriage? Granted, yours may not fit here exactly, but many do…
- Recognize that if he’s working, it’s often hard.
- Know that according to Feldhahn’s research, he’s also seriously concerned about keeping his job – and worries he might get fired at any moment, no matter how highly regarded he is at work.
- He’s doing it to take care of you and your kids – again, the research shows men work hard as a response to their wiring, and as an act of love towards their families.
- You can make him feel like a million dollars – and keep him motivated to do it all over again the next day – by thanking him for going to work, being excited to see him when he gets home (or you see him when you return), and by being content with what you have.
- You can add to his stress by being dissatisfied with what he provides.
- One of the best things you can give your kids, your marriage, and yourself is choosing to be content with less.
In America, we think we need to live at a higher standard of living than the rest of the world. We think we are suffering if we don’t have cell phones. We no longer save our money before buying things, but buy on credit – and as a result, as families and individuals, rack up tons of debt – just like our nation has.
What’s true? We really need much much less to live. If we have a small apartment and one car that runs, we have more than 95% of the world.
Did you know that?
And the things our kids remember and value are NOT the “things” they had, but the “times” they had with family. Kids are burning out of sports in droves early. 4 year olds are under psychologists’ eyes due to stress – we’re over-scheduling, over-spending, and under-relating. As for me, I’m thankful I traded a career for really knowing my kids and those moments that just happen when they’re struggling and ask you to pray for them, or when something awesome happens and they share it with you. And I still found valuable things to do with my time that stimulate my mind and honor God at the same time.
And no, I don’t feel “less than” for being home with my kids. And please don’t take this as judgment for whatever you are doing – I’ve worked full and part-time while having kids. I know what it means to be in debt and need to work to make ends meet. And, yes, I also did experience the “it gets easier” syndrome as the oxytocin decreased by leaving my baby at daycare. But once I learned that I was decreasing the bonding with my kids on a physiological level, I did what I felt God had been leading me to do – and I went from full time to part-time – and we did without some of the things we enjoyed before.
I also realize that many of us have discovered we are in financial pickles because of choices we made along the way. It’s easy to wake up one morning and discover “having it all” (as defined by people we don’t even really know) has cost us too much.
A good friend of mine is raising her kids, working, and her husband is working two jobs to get out of debt. They’ve traded the SUV’s, great vacations, designer clothes and private schools for a more humble existence. And honestly, they will tell you the whole experience is more rewarding than they would have imagined.
I especially admire this gal, an abuse survivor, who writes about telling her husband a firm financial truth here.
Seems to me that our idol has become the dollar, prestige, and “keeping up with the Jones,” who, btw, aren’t real people – instead of God.
What about you? I’ve been poor and I’ve been comfortable – neither affected my joy, peace, or comfort like relationship with God and family. And if you are struggling, might I gently suggest Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University? If you have kids, you’ll want to take action before they end up in the same debt boat.
How do these thoughts strike you this morning? Might I gently encourage you to consider whether or not we need all that we have? David Wilkerson calls this the “greatest deception” of the church – putting a badge of approval on covetousness. OUCH. I don’t know about you, but that phrasing stings. I also realize that “covetousness” as a word makes me sound like an old lady. But the word has it’s place. And the concept itself IS old. Human nature has been human nature for a while.
And it applies to me this day, also. I know if I had less, sold more of what we don’t need, I could give more. I need help becoming more of a minimalist. It’s not popular, and I’ve a covetous nature.
What about you?
Glad that you are on the journey with us.
Love to you,
P.S. Perhaps today is totally the wrong day to ask for help, but we’re trying to raise money to finish getting Daughters of Sarah on DVD. If you feel blessed by anything you’ve ever read here, or in The Respect Dare, or on our Facebook page, know we’d seriously appreciate the help. 100% of our staff (including me) is volunteer. You can donate here.
Girl, I know exactly what you feel like. It is a tough place to be in. I dont have much time or I would dive into a lot here. In my situation I cant help feeling like they need someone b/c Ive prayed and it hasnt changed, but I dont know how to reach them either but pray. I will pray for you as well and wish you all the best in finding those friends. Who knows, maybe God just wants you to spend some time being His friend.
Peace to You – Kristina
I found the most important lesson of childbirth to be submission. My first, 48 hours of labor and for all things right in the world I was determined to hold out against the evil epidural. About hour 46 I changed my mind. Two hours later… baby. Hmmm. My second, 24 hours, same story. About hour 20… screw this noise, epidural. Face up – I was relieved he turned at the last minute avoiding a c section by days and they wouldn’t tell me how many stitches after… less than a shirt, more than a handkerchief was the answer to my concerned questioning. In spite of his choice of position, that kid was getting ousted turkey cannon style. My youngest and last I was again as always determined to forgo the epidural, again 24 hours and at hour 20 with no progress (a THREE… WTF a THREE… you’ve GOT to be kidding me. After two out the chute she should be rappelling down the sides.) Fine, epidural and predictably, three hours later, baby. There’s something I do when in pain, I batten down the hatches in a way that things don’t progress. without the epidural, labor would likely be a long and painful lesson of having to exhaust whatever muscles I’m holding that don’t let things go along, and by that time the rest of me would be beyond anyone wanting to be within shouting distance of. I’d be one for the padded room crews.
Less is more… I’ve been very blessed to have grown up on the east coast in the Blue Ridge Mountains, out in the goonies. My mothers parenting style could be summed up by yelling off the back porch about dinner time for everyone to come in. I’ve done my time in Texas and most of my best friends are still from Texas. I’ve also spent quite a few years in California, which unfortunately has been one of the hardest places for me to make friends. I don’t connect with the “I just got a new cell phone that has more features I don’t need than the one I bought a year ago” style of thinking. It leaves me puzzled that people can be on one hand so in touch with their feelings, but so out of touch with themselves. Jones culture runs amok out here. People have the best intentions, but that’s where the accountability ends. My husband asks why I don’t try to make some girlfriends out here to go do stuff with, but I can’t help but feeling like I’m putting myself in a place to be influenced rather than to influence. The tide flows strongly in a direction I don’t want to go. Misery loves company. Been there, done that, walked away from it and saved my sanity. I meet potential friends, but after a few get togethers and starting to chat about deeper issues and I start to internalize too much of their stuff. I can see in bright red paint that they are unhappy, that they are filling the void with STUFF and that I can’t do a thing to reach them unless they are already in a place to take the extended hand – resulting in a sort of depressed funk for me and I walk away resentful and more hesitant to go through the process the next time. Hopefully with my youngest starting school next fall we’ll find some more real people just by increasing the number of people we see. I’m not holding my breath though.
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