Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Gen 3:16 (KJV)
As a conservative Christian, I believe that the Bible means what it says. In this case, I believe that all women are cursed. I believe that all women will have pain in childbirth. But, my focus today is on the latter part of that curse.
What does it mean for a woman's "desire to be for her husband?" We have all heard so many explanations on that verse. But, I believe that the best way to understand anything in the Bible is to let the Bible interpret itself. Immediate context - this is a curse, something bad. So, it does not mean that a woman will simply desire to be around her man.
In a larger context, as we continue to read through Genesis we see a story that may help us. In Genesis chapter four we see Cain and his brother offering their gifts to God.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Gen 4:4-8 (KJV)
Did you notice verse seven? Sin's desire is for Cain, to rule over him. Likewise, woman's desire is for her husband - to rule over him. I think this is a very strong case to show that God did indeed mean that a wife would want to rule her man! But, this is a curse! Ladies, we have to submit to our husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24; I Peter 3:1-6).
Another important lesson to learn from Cain - verses 6-7 mention that Cain's countenance has fallen... he has a bad attitude. The text indicates that (humanly speaking) this whole situation could have been different if he checked his attitude when God first sent conviction. But, Cain did not fix his countenance by doing well... instead he fell into great sin.
1- I must submit to Paul.
2-I must guard my attitude, lest I run into some terrible sin!