The “Eve” Syndrome or How to Ruin My Marriage Concentrating on What I Don’t Have

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  • August 26, 2015

The “Eve” syndrome. How often I see this destroyer of gratefulness manifesting itself in my life.   What IS the “Eve” syndrome in my marriage and how do I get rid of it?

  1. Eve failed to appreciate not only all the trees in the garden she had access to, but even the garden itself!

Eve was in the midst of a garden whose translation means fruitful, well-watered, pleasure. She had access to “all kinds of trees” which were “pleasing to the eye and good for food.” But her appreciation was eclipsed by what she could not have… Because of that focus, all the other trees meant nothing to her.

There was one tree she could not have access to. That’s the tree she decided she wanted, enough to destroy the access she had to all the others.

I don’t want to be “Eve”!

My husband is MANY MANY things to me. There are so many things I love about him: his love for the Lord and his family, his drive, his generosity, his purposeful living, his planning, his organization. As often as possible, he even cleans my car and puts gas in it! He takes care of the things around the house as best he can, and he regulates where our money goes.

There are some things my husband is not. Things that were never part of his persona, things that are beyond his capacity of thinking or feeling. Because of his drive, sometimes he isn’t “soft, warm and fuzzy,” in fact, he can come off somewhat harsh and unyielding (making him very successful at business, but maybe not so much at understanding my emotions. He is a “man’s man” which I LOVE, but I don’t always love that he enjoys sports or times with the guys so much!

Am I going to concentrate on my “made up man” – the man who is successful at work, takes care of my every need, never falls short of helping around the house and with all the children’s needs, and falls short in nothing? Definitely the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” that makes you “like God” is the epiphany of all trees! Should I concentrate on the epiphany of all men that may be out there, instead of appreciating my own and all his qualities? After all, appreciating all my husband is can equal the “pleasure, fruitful and well watered” life God wants to give me in my marriage.

  1. Eve wasn’t grateful for all she had.

Eve became so fixed on the things she couldn’t have that she was not grateful or appreciative for what she did have.

I don’t want to be “Eve”!

There is no way you can be grateful for what you have when your eyes are fixed on what you don’t have. I find this out regularly.

Too often, I will notice a shortcoming in my husband. Then, I start to look at all the ways he exemplifies that shortcoming. I will keep a mental notebook going of all the ways he is “this” or “that” or isn’t “this” or “that.” All of a sudden, I find that it is all I am focused on. On top of it, I find a LOT of ways he falls short when I am looking for them!

Soon I realize the problem is not with him; it is with me. He is so many things. He does so many amazing things. He is so many amazing things. If I stop looking for those things, I miss them, my vision eclipsed by something unreal and unattainable. I would hate it if he ever did that to me.

As soon as I purpose to find things to be grateful for, I am overcome with gratitude. My biggest complaints of my husband are so miniscule compared to everything he is.

Men have a drive unknown to most women. I often wondered why the Bible accounts show so many of God’s men having over a thousand wives and concubines, when you don’t see such things with women. I have come to the conclusion that men have a drive and a testosterone-driven ambition that women can’t even imagine. Most women I know would never want to deal with more than one husband!

I have supported my husband to express his driven ambition by working long hours, traveling, immersing himself with sports and challenging activities. I encourage him to do all he wants to do, happy that his drive is directed towards those kinds of things and that I am not in Old Testament times! I know he adores me and I don’t want to take anything away from the man he is. In turn, he takes care of all the things I want to do, he loves time with me, and he makes sure I don’t suffer any lack because of his activities.

Be grateful for your man! Look, be wise, and consider all he does for you, and all the things he is to you. Encourage him to express his testosterone-driven ambition with the things that drive most women crazy: fishing, golfing, sports activities, guys’ time, hunting, or relaxing at the cabin. It has been scientifically proven that “guy time” keeps men healthy and happy, lowers their stress levels, and encourages stability. I always encouraged myself with this quote: “I would rather have 10% of a 100% man than 100% of a 10% man.”

And interestingly enough, most of the marriage I know that made it past 40 and even 50 years were ones where the the couple either encouraged or even tolerated their spouse in doing things even if it was inconvenient to them…  The ones that “put their foot down” usually stomped the marriage out in the process!

  1. Eve lost what she had because she thought she could have it all.

          Because Eve simply would not choose to be grateful for all the trees in the garden that she had, and she focused on the one tree she could not have, she lost access to the entire garden. Everything that was fruitful, well-watered, and pleasurable she forfeited for the illusion of something that seemed like the ultimate tree.

I don’t want to be “Eve”!

In counseling, I have seen multitudes of marriages that were lost when the “Eve syndrome” convinced one or the other spouse that something forbidden would be the ultimate answer to their needs. They will sacrifice their marriage for this “illusion” only to find out that the grass is greener on the other side until they discover that it needs to be cut, watered and taken care of over there too! Often the problems are even worse because the expectation was so high.

If they would only have spent the efforts they expend on creating a new relationship into maintaining and caring for their marriage, they could have great results. Instead, they bring their baggage and expectations to the next relationship, only to find that if they thought the former relationship was difficult (in the Garden of Eden), one where you have been barred from the Garden where you are working the land and living by the sweat of your brow is even more difficult!

I don’t want to be like the kid who gets to grab a handful of jelly beans, puts her hand in the jar, and because she is grasping to get more than she can even hold, loses most of the jelly beans when she goes to pull her hand out of the jar and they all fall out of her hand!

By learning to love a man with all his ups and downs, with his strengths and weaknesses, you learn to love your children the same way, and others the same way. Rather than controlling and manipulating others to be what you think they should be, you learn to appreciate and love people for everything they are and in spite of everything they are not. In the process, you allow others to love you too: by not choking, killing, or demanding love.

Challenge: Have you exhibited the “Eve syndrome” in looking at a few things you don’t have, and eclipsing all the things you do have? If so, start focusing on all the things you are grateful for in your spouse, and leave the “tree” you “don’t have” alone! You will find yourself back in the “Garden of Eden” in no time!