There seems to be a common theme of reference in this series ‘The WORK of Marriage’ to childbirth.  And why not?  They don’t call it labor for nothing!  And when you think about it, there really are several genuine comparisons between childbirth and marriage.  Once you start the journey, there’s no going back.  Not only will it bring great pain, but also great joy.  At times it seems that your body is not your own.  And you often moan “How did I ever get myself into this mess?”

I’m not the first to link marriage and childbirth in the same theme.  Genesis 3:16 says:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains [itstsabown:  pain, labor, hardship, sorrow, toil] in childbearing [herown: conception and pregnancy]; with pain [etseb: pain, offense, hurt, toil] you will give birth [birth; travail] to children.  Your desire[teshuwqah:  affection; craving; longing; stretching out after] will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

The same Hebrew word, etseb, used to describe a harsh answer that stirs up anger in Proverbs 15:1  (Read more about this in ‘The Beauty of a Gentle and Quiet Spirit Part 3″), is the same word to describe the harsh pains of childbirth in Genesis 3:16.

And the same word, itstsabown to describe the hard and toilsome labor that a farmer must employ to get the ground to produce food for his hungry family, is the same word to describe the hard and toilsome labor the wife must endure, both in her relationship with her husband and in the process of conceiving and birthing children.

Childbirth is pretty harsh, or at least laborious.  You can’t escape the pain.  The power of birthing overtakes your whole body.  You can fight and struggle and strive to maintain control, but in the end, you must submit to the process.  In doing so, you learn the wonder of the miraculous transformation of an entity that goes from being a water breathing womb-dweller to a precious babe with a face and a personality, and fingers and toes and a scent – oh, the fragrance of a baby!

At the end of the hard work of labor is the pleasure of holding a baby in your arms — a babe that you have worked and fought for, and the wages for your labor is the right to be a mother.   In exchange for the pain you endure, as you struggle to give that baby a chance to breathe and live, comes a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that you have earned the right to be the mother of that child.

Through the process of childbirth, I learned that no matter what, I had the skills to be a parent to this child, because I had endured tremendous work and labor to bring it to life.  I knew that I  would continue to work for this child, because the child was of more value to me than anything in the world.  I have also earned an opportunity to speak with knowledge on the subject of marriage because of the experience I’ve gained thus far through successfully enduring the laborious effort of working on my marriage.

Some of you might think the themes I speak about are strange and foreign.  They might contradict what you have been taught in this modern world.  You might raise your eyes in surprise or disapproval or shock, but all I can say is that I have been there, and know of what I speak.  Just like I have earned the right to be the mother of my children, I also fought and labored and endured great pain to win success in my marriage.

Do you have the confidence to trust someone who has walked the path before you?  When the moment of birth arrives, even the most intelligent, powerful, beautiful, strong and independent woman humbles herself to seek the help of others.  You don’t have to struggle through this process alone.  You don’t have to make all of the mistakes yourself!

Marriage is hard work.  There is pain and distress and moments when you want to give up and just escape the process.  There are times when you don’t think you have the strength and fortitude to keep going.  It seems like the force of the pressure will destroy you, but if you persevere, there is great joy waiting at the end of this mighty labor – and oh, the fragrance of a sweet marriage!


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Won Without Words by Shari Popejoy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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