What does Genesis 3:16 mean when it says your desire will be for your husband?

Pastor Chris,

I was reading in genesis about the fall of man. I came across a verse I never noticed before and do not quite understand. I was wondering if you could offer some insight into the meaning of this verse. In genesis3:16, the bible says, “and god said to the woman, ‘your desire will be for you husband but he shall rule over you.'”

I Am very confused as to what this verse is saying about e husbanD/wife relationship.

~ Leanna 





You have asked a significant question. I commend you for searching the Scriptures thoughtfully, prayerfully, and diligently.


God has perfect relationships within the Trinity. There is perfect communion between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When God put Adam and Eve in the garden they had perfect relationships, too. They had perfect communion with each other and with God.


Genesis 3:16 comes after Adam and Eve sinned. When they sinned they broke fellowship with God and with each other. Relationships were fractured.


Sin carries consequences. Genesis 3:16 speaks to some of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin.


It is interesting to read how different versions of the Bible translate this verse.


And you will desire to control your husband,

but he will rule over you. NLT


You’ll want to please your husband,

but he’ll lord it over you. THE MESSAGE


Your desire will be for your husband,

yet he will dominate you. HCSB


you shall welcome your husband’s affections,

and he shall be your master. TLB


Your desire will be for your husband,

and he will rule over you.” NIV


When a husband is acting out of his flesh (sin nature) he can become unreasonable and demanding. When a wife is acting out of her flesh she can become controlling (NLT) and can put her husband before God (your desire will be for your husband).


In all of life the first priority is God Himself. When that priority is in place we live better, we treat each other better, and we know God’s perfect peace. The Bible says, “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature”

(Galatians 5:16, NIV).


Some good books on the roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives in marriage from a biblical perspective are:


Strike the Original Match by Charles R. Swindoll


Different by Design by John MacArthur, Jr.


Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs


His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.


The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman


God bless you!

~ Pastor Chris