The First Sin after Adam and Eve Sinned
This article is part 4 of 6 in the “What’s Really Going on Here?” Series. Over the span of six articles, I want us to take a look at twelve different stories and begin to ask ourselves, what is really going on in this story? Is the husband overlooking his wife’s need for love? Is the wife overlooking her husband’s need for respect? How can they ever get off of the Crazy Cycle?
The Word: The first sin Adam and Eve committed after they sinned was blame placing.
We read in Genesis 3:12, “The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’" In one sentence, Adam blamed God and the woman. Without getting into heavy theology, assuming Adam could not have been perfect, he could have been less imperfect after he sinned. Instead, he placed blame.
Then the next verse says, “Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’" Assuming Eve could not have been perfect, she could have been less imperfect after she sinned. Instead, she placed blame.
Garret gets angry at Gail. His toolbox isn’t in the garage. “When you cleaned the garage, where did you put my tools? You always move things,” he yelled. She yelled back, “I didn’t move your stupid tool box,” and threw a rag at him. Later, he remembered that he put the toolbox in his trunk the week before. Instead of apologizing he said to himself, “She gets so wild on me for the smallest of things. I can’t stand her disrespect. There’s no way on God’s green earth I’m telling her I’m sorry.”
Point: There are no perfect husbands, and Garret is no exception. That he forgot that he put the toolbox in the trunk is an honest mistake. His recovery, however, makes things worse.
First, before knowing the facts, he assumes Gail did something with it rather than respond with a neutral attitude. Even if she were guilty, it is not honorable to assume a person is guilty before the facts are known. Wise people seek to maintain a neutral attitude.
Second, after the facts come out against Garret, he now rationalizes his earlier misjudgment by claiming her negative reaction to that misjudgment is grounds for him not apologizing! That’s like slapping someone in the face and then they slap you in the face, and you refuse to say you’re sorry because they slapped you in the face! People get incensed when individuals deny any initial wrongdoing. They go through the roof when a person blames their wrongdoing on another’s subsequent reaction to that wrongdoing! This is “why . . . the Crazy Cycle happens!” We go from bad to worse. What we do in the first place is bad enough, but our boggled recoveries are even more offensive.
Helga has PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) in a big way. She screams and curses at Harry. But she refuses to get in tune with the rhythms and prepare for it. The issue to her is Harry. She is hyper critical of him. Her feelings don’t lie. He never picks up his socks, he doesn’t talk, he is too disengaged from her daughter, he interrupts too much, he doesn’t vacuum, and he is too preoccupied with work. He needs to change.
She doesn’t need to be more tolerant or focus on his good attributes. She is the loving one. If he were more loving, most of their problems would disappear. Once a month they have this big blow-up, and she calls him everything she can to make him hurt and to get him to change. It isn’t working, but maybe next time. She feels ashamed afterward for her despising words, but if he were more loving they’d have a good marriage.
Point. This is why things get crazy. Helga is disrespectful but blames it on Harry’s lack of love. But which came first, the chicken or the egg? There are wives who are disrespectful and offensive, but they don’t believe it because they fixate on their husbands’ wrongdoing, not their own.
They believe he started it and is responsible. Helga holds Harry accountable and overlooks her tirades. A person can focus on another’s negatives and latch on to one’s own good traits.
Further, one can ignore another’s fine qualities and rationalize one’s own negative features. This is what Helga is doing. Not only is she imperfect, she recovers imperfectly by continuing to blame Harry. This is “why . . . the Crazy Cycle happens!”
Don’t Miss These Other Parts in the Series:
As a husband, have you ever been unloving but blamed it on your wife’s supposed disrespect? What does God think of this blame placing? Why do some husbands keep doing this? What might motivate a husband to stop this?
How could Garret have begun the conversation so as to not put Gail on the defensive from the beginning and start up the Crazy Cycle?
As a wife, have you ever been disrespectful but blamed it on your husband’s supposed lack of love? What does God think of this blame placing? Why do some wives keep doing this? What might motivate a wife to stop this?
In the example above, Helga feels unloved and therefore consistently acts disrespectful toward Harry. Not forgetting her feelings of feeling unloved, how should she respond differently so as to avoid starting up the Crazy Cycle?