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Home Improvement: What Eve Should Have Learned About Adam

Genesis 3:1-13, Proverbs 12:4

Today is time for equal time. Week before last, I preached about what Adam should have learned about Eve. A sequel is in order. Today, then, we’re going to talk about what Eve should have learned about Adam.

To set the stage, let me share with you some children’s insights into the whole Adam and Eve story. These children’s quotes are taken from a book entitled Just Build the Ark and the Animals Will Come by David Heller. Listen to the children’s comments as to why and how God created Adam first, and then Eve:

  • Janice, age 9 says: “God had to wait for Eve because He hadn’t invented make-up yet.”
  • Grant, age 8 said: “God was more sure of how the man would look, but ladies were still a mystery to Him.”
  • Diana, age 12 said: “It is because God is a she and she wanted to get Adam out of her hair already. He was a nuisance in heaven.”
  • Lacey, age 9 said: “God was experimenting to begin with and then God got it right when He made women.”
  • Tyrone, age 10 said: “God took Adam’s rib and made Eve from it, but that probably left Adam wondering if some other part of him was next.”
  • Anita, age 9 said: “Eve got made from a bone. Do you know what her first words were? She said, ‘Where’s that lame-brain husband of mine?'”
  • Damon, age 9 said: “After Adam, if God had just created another man, Adam and the other guy would have just thrown a football around all day and they would have gotten nothing done.”

Well, God did create Eve, and the world has been blessed because of it. Two weeks ago, in that sermon, I shared with you a little piece entitled, “The Ideal Wife—What Every Man Expects and What He Gets.” Well, just as there is a sequel to that sermon, so there is a sequel to that little piece. It is entitled: “The Ideal Husband—What Every Woman Expects—And What She Gets”. First, what every woman expects:

  • He will be a brilliant conversationalist; a very sensitive man, kind and understanding and truly loving
  • A hard-working man; a man who helps around the house by washing dishes, vacuuming floors and taking care of the yard
  • Someone who helps his wife raise the children
  • A man of emotional and physical strength
  • A man who is as smart as Einstein but looks like Robert Redford

What she gets:

  • He always takes her to the best restaurants. Someday he may even take her inside.
  • He doesn’t have any ulcers, but he gives them
  • He is a well-known miracle worker; it’s a miracle when he works
  • He supports his wife in the manner to which she is accustomed; he is letting her keep her job
  • He has occasional flashes of silence that make his conversation brilliant

But seriously, though, I believe that just as men tend to be incredibly naive about the needs of women, the same is true in reverse. We are the most informed society in all the world, and yet there is still great ignorance about the unique needs which men have in this life, and that is precisely what I want to address with you today. I think, once again, the clue is found in the book of Genesis. We’re told in Genesis that God goes looking for Adam and he asks: “Where are you?” And Adam replies: “I hid myself”. There it is. I think Adam’s three words comprise the most succinct description of the male of the human species as has ever been written down. “I hid myself”, he said. The great problem that we have as males is that we hide the things that really matter. Eve needed to learn that, and all of you modern-day Eves need to learn that as well. So let’s look together now at some of the things that Eve should have learned about Adam.

First, Eve should have learned that Adam would cry with everything but his tears.

He would hide his hurt. That’s what we as men do. We hide our hurt. You know what we say: “Real men don’t each quiche”, right? And “real men don’t cry”. The commercial says: “Don’t let ’em see you sweat”. The commercial might just as well say: “Don’t let ’em see you hurt.” We hide our fears and our hurts. We’re macho. We don’t cry with our tears. And yet, you know that God gave men tear ducts, and I think that if He gave them to us, He meant for us to use them.

Jesus used them. John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. It may also be the most beautiful. It says: “Jesus wept.” Think about it. Jesus was the strongest man who ever lived. I am talking here about one who possessed the taut sinews and the rippling muscles of a carpenter. I am talking here of One whose mental and emotional strength has never ever been equalled. I am talking here about one who could do battle with the devil between the desert and the deep blue sea and win. I am talking here about one who could walk into the midst of a hostile crowd, never blinking an eye nor mincing a word. I am talking here about one who could stand in the bow of a pitching boat in the middle of a storm and command the wind to be still. I am talking here about one who, armed with nothing more than a blazing tongue and a cracking whip could drive the money-changers out of the temple, overturning their tables and sending them scattering like a covey of flushed quail. Jesus was the strongest man who ever lived and the Bible says “Jesus wept.” Why have we been victimized into believing that tears are a sign of weakness? God gave us tear ducts. He meant for us to use them.

Eve, take a note. You need to give your Adam permission, when he feels like it, to cry. I remember once driving home from church one Sunday. Trisha was in the front seat—all the kids were in the back. The kids were having a wonderful time. I was feeling very badly at the moment. I wheeled around on them, snapped at them and immediately one of them said: “Momma, what’s wrong with Daddy?” And Trisha said: “Well, he just preached a sermon he’s not happy about, and we’re going to catch hell the rest of the day.” Well, I have to tell you, it would have been so much better if I could have just turned away and cried a little bit instead of biting the people who were closest to me. Please understand me. I’m not saying that men ought to go around weeping and blubbering all the time. Not at all. But I am saying to all of you Eves that you can encourage your Adams to be tender. A wonderful little verse I love goes like this:

“O ye years, O ye tears
I am thankful that ye run
Though ye trickle in the darkness
Ye shall glisten in the sun.
You cannot have a rainbow
If the rain refuse to fall
And the eyes that cannot cry
Are the saddest eyes of all”

Yes, Eve needed to learn that Adam would cry with everything but his tears.

Second thing Eve should have learned about Adam is that he would apologize with everything but his words.

Trisha, I’m sure, would be happy to tell you that the sentence I have the hardest time saying is “I’m sorry”. It’s built into us as men, and it’s as old as Eden. In Genesis, God said to Adam: “Why did you eat the fruit?” And Adam responded: “She gave it to me.” Just like a man. We can’t say “I’m sorry”. We won’t acknowledge our own “Adam” short-comings. We hide our guilt. We make excuses. We put the blame somewhere else. “The woman made me do it.”

Eve, take a note. Create an atmosphere where your Adam feels comfortable sharing the deep thoughts of his heart and soul. Be a voice of affirmation and a source of encouragement. Women long to hear the phrase “I love you”, but the phrase men long to hear is “I respect you”. Therefore, Eve, let me warn against two things: Don’t be a sniper. You know what a sniper is; someone who is watching you when you don’t know you’re being watched, and the moment you step into a vulnerable place, the trigger is pulled. Don’t be a sniper. Don’t be one who says: “You dropped your socks again, you slug.” Or “Why don’t you get up off the couch and do something?” Or “I wish I had someone like my dad here.” That’s sniping with your words. Let me show you some other words. I did not make them up—they came right out of the Bible. Proverbs 12:4: “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is a rottenness in his bones.” Eve, do you want to destroy your Adam? Then publicly embarrass him in front of his friends—point out his weaknesses. Proverbs 21:9: “It’s better to live in the corner of an attic than with a crabby woman in a lovely home.” I didn’t say that. God did. Proverbs 19:13: “A nagging wife annoys like dripping water.” Proverbs 21:19: “Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome and complaining woman.” So Eve, don’t be a sniper with your words, and don’t be historical. It’s all right occasionally to be hysterical. That’s simply letting off emotional steam. But don’t become historical. Don’t hold onto things that happen. Don’t chalk them up and sock them away, saying: “Boy, I’ll be able to use that some day.” And don’t rehash all of the times, places or circumstances where you said to him: “I told you you shouldn’t have done that.” It’s ok sometimes to be hysterical; it’s never ok to be historical.

Affirm the behavior you want repeated. Don’t criticize the behavior you don’t see. That’s good advice for any and all human relationships, but especially when dealing with the male of the species.

Gary Smalley is a best-selling author and popular speaker on human relationships. Sometimes in his seminars, he will pull out an old violin, obviously an antique, obviously in need of repair. In fact, it looks like junk. He asks the audience to guess the price, and then he says that the violin is actually worth almost a million dollars. The audience gasps. He then tells them to look through the opening in the face of the violin to see carved into the wood an important word: Stradivarius. No matter if it looks like junk, it is a Stradivarius. I want you to go home and write on the forehead of your mate the word: “Stradivarius.” Write it on the foreheads of your children: “Stradivarius.” Write it on the foreheads of your friends and your co-workers: “Stradivarius”. They’re infinitely more valuable than any violin. So Eve, that’s the great principle for you to use in creating an atmosphere of affirmation and encouragement for your Adam.

The third thing Eve needed to learn about Adam is that he needed to be lifted, not lectured.

Males hide their hurts, their guilt, and their insecurities, and its Eve who best of all can enable us to rise above those insecurities.

Dr. E.V. Hill is one of America’s greatest African-American preachers. He’s the pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in South Central Los Angeles. His wife was named Jane. She died about three years ago. E.V. Hill preached at her funeral. It’s one of the most magnificent sermons I’ve ever heard. In the sermon, he talked about how Jane, his “classy lady”, he called her, always lifted him in life. He told of the time early in his marriage when they were hard-pressed financially, and so he took the family nest egg and bought a service station to supplement their income. Jane knew that he wasn’t going to have enough time to run a business like that. Sure enough, she was right. The gas station went bust and they lost everything they had. That evening when he returned home, he fully expected her to butcher him. Instead, she was sitting at the kitchen table with a pad and a pencil. She said: “I’ve been doing figuring. You don’t smoke and you don’t drink. If you smoked and you drank, we probably already would have lost as much as we lost on that gas station, so we’re going to be all right.” And he knew she was right. He told of another time when they were struggling. He came home one night, and candles were burning on the dining room table. With his characteristic humor he said: “My dear, what meaneth thou this?” And she said: “I thought we’d have a candlelight dinner tonight.” So he went to the bathroom to wash his hands. He flicked the switch, and no lights. He felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. When he came out, he was sure that he was going to encounter Jane saying: “I’ve never had to deal with this kind of thing before. I grew up in Dr. Carother’s home and we never had the lights cut off there.” But that’s not what he heard from Jane. Instead, she said: “Try as I might, I couldn’t find enough money to pay the light bill this month, so let’s just enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner and I’ll work on the light problem tomorrow.”

He told of the time years later when he had risen to the pulpit of the Mt. Zion Church, and he had become both a powerful and controversial figure. He received a number of death threats. One of them indicated that he would be killed the next day. He went to bed that night, nervous as a cat, not sure what would happen. The next morning he awakened and saw that Jane was not in bed. He went through the house calling her name—no response. He looked down the driveway and the car was gone. Panic began to set in. He walked outside. Suddenly, the car pulled into the driveway. Jane hopped out. She was in her bathrobe. He said: “What in the world are you doing?” She replied: “I got to thinking that somebody might have put a bomb in the car to blow you up, so I went out and took it for a drive and it’s all right.”

Dear friends, I could never say it any better than the way Jane Hill said it in the way she lived, but one of the things that Eve needed to learn about Adam was that he needed to be lifted, not lectured. So Eve, here is some advice. Surprise! Three points!

  1. Let your life and your arms be your husband’s hiding place.
    He longs, way down deep to feel safe and secure with you. Let him.
  2. Kiss his uglies. He’s got them. He knows it and you know it.
    It won’t turn that toad into a prince, but it will make him a better toad. So kiss his uglies.
  3. Give him to God. Let your every day begin with a prayer: “God, I give to you this man I love.” You see, I believe that somehow, for some reason, God hears the prayers of women better than the prayers of men.

I want to finish with this. G. Campbell Morgan of England was one of the great preachers of this century. He fell in love with a magnificent woman. He wanted to propose marriage to her, however, he was just beginning his ministry, and he recognized that those early years were going to be tough. He was committed to preaching the Gospel and he knew that sometimes that creates a hateful and hurtful response. He knew that there would be financial struggles and other obstacles as well. And so to this woman of his dreams he said: “Listen, I love you. In five or six years, once I’ve gotten on my feet, and established myself, well then at that point—if you will have me—I would like for you to be my wife.” She looked at him and said: “Cam, if I can’t climb the mountain with you, I’d be ashamed to meet you at the top.” All you Adams and all you Eves—no matter who you are—no matter your age or your circumstance, you’ve got great mountains ahead of you. Climb them together.

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