8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c]of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[e] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for[f] your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your 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;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.[g] 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live for ever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Blaming Your Spouse
It often starts with dating. In my twenties I would blame my girlfriend for how I felt. I was never quite happy. Alone I felt awful, but with a girlfriend the sense of inadequacy subsided. I got into a pattern of casting myself as the hero – the victim in many cases. Life just happened to me and I was cast a bad lot. I often felt unloved or misunderstood and I blamed my girlfriends for being immature or lacking intelligence. In talking to twentysomethings I find that this story is often repeated. I am aghast sometimes at how I am told by people the flaws that drive them crazy in their girlfriends because I see the same flaws in the one who is telling me. There are many reasons for this. A cousin of denial is projection. To deal with our own stuff we often project our flaws on someone who is close to us. In doing that we can tell the flaw in ourselves what we really think of it because we don’t own it any more. A second reason for blame is the consequences that we hide from. What do we believe the consequences of failure or inadequacy are? Our families may have trained us very well in thinking that flaws are reasons for rejection and so we reject others whose flaws we see while hiding from the flaws that we have. Finally, a reason that we blame others is ‘locus of control’. If you believe that you have no control because control is outside of yourself, nothing is really ever your fault. You have no sense of real responsibility.
In the passage the blame game runs quickly down the line. Man blames God and woman. Woman blames serpent. Serpent is stuck. However, God dishes out the punishment by going back up the line. Serpent. Woman. Man. Rather than no-one being responsible, everyone is. That is more frequently the case in marriage. When we are focusing on our spouse’s garbage we are hiding from our own. We can’t stand the emotional pain of our own shortcomings so we pass it on. However, if we could tolerate the pain of our own depravity we might be able to address it better. When our emotions, especially fear and anger, start raging, rather than go on the warpath it is better to ask a question: What is this really about? How have I felt this way before? Is this a pattern?
We can’t change our spouse. We can only learn to accept them with their flaws. Some spouses are truly abusive and we need to hand them over to God and leave the abuse. In most cases of domestic conflict there is a fight for power and control. One spouse must win the game, so we think. The winner will triumph by proving themselves righteous – by assigning blame. They may win the battle of the moment, but they are losing the war for their marriage.
May we not pass blame on down the line. May we accept what is ours. When we feel bad, let us see more clearly what has caused the hurt. If it is a pattern of our own making, let us be mature enough to address that.
- What was the immediate consequence of sin?
- Who blamed whom?
- How would you describe the change in relationship?
- Do you blame others? When?
- How do you stop the blame game from taking hold?