Blame Shifting in the Beginning


In a recent episode of our podcast, Real Marriage, my wife Grace and I were talking about spiritual warfare and Genesis 3 when the topic of responsibility and blame came up. It’s worth exploring in the context of marriage.

Adam and Eve are perfect beings in a perfect environment and with a perfect relationship with God. But everything still goes south. Satan shows up and gets both Adam and Eve to sin. The Bible says Eve ate the fruit and then gave some to Adam “who was with her” (Genesis 3:6). 

When God confronted them about it, Adam cast the blame on Eve, saying, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Then God asked Eve. She blamed the devil. “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:13).

Both are pointing fingers at someone else. They are blame-shifting. They are refusing to accept responsibility. What can we learn from these two responses?

Eve: “The devil made me do it.”

Over the years, a lot of guys have enjoyed pointing out that Eve sinned first, so they can score points against women. But Adam was clearly right there with her when it happened. Grace mentioned to me that Eve could have blamed Adam in that moment: “Why were you just standing there,” she could have said. “Why weren’t you leading me?”

Women sometimes fear confronting their husband. Or, following Eve’s example, they try to defend him when the husband is not loving the Lord or taking responsibility. We hear these stories all the time. Men and women are created equal, but a wife might feel like her husband isn’t treating her with value or loving her well.

But how can she address that issue without becoming a domineering wife? How can she ask her husband to lead better without demanding it? It’s a tricky situation, especially when we know God created this order, giving Adam and Eve equal value but asking Adam to lead his family.

It’s worth noting here that Eve wasn’t being malicious. She wasn’t intentionally sabotaging the marriage. She had good intentions—but the consequences were bad.

That’s why men and women need to work together. That’s why it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. If a husband and wife are working together, both have gifts, abilities, strengths and weaknesses to contribute to the relationship. When a man and woman work together, they become one. It’s beautiful. That’s how God created marriage to thrive.

Adam: “She started it.”

Adam’s response might even be worse than Eve’s. He reminds God that the woman—“whom you gave to be with me”—is the one to blame for the sin. So in a way, Adam is even accusing God of causing the mess, because God created Eve! That’s bold.

Genesis 3 is about spiritual warfare and one of the first lies Adam believes is that he ended up with the wrong woman. This is a common lie the enemy tells men. “You know what?” Satan says. “The woman is really the problem. If you were married to someone else, you’d have a different marriage. Things would be easier and better.”

So Adam begins to see himself as a victim. Today, that’s the lie that launches emotional affairs. That’s the lie that causes a man to covet another’s wife or become addicted to pornography. Underneath that deeply rooted, demonic lie is spiritual warfare. I’ve experienced it. There were times when Grace and I were going through trials that I wondered if I’d married the right woman.

Meanwhile, Grace was being told another lie: That she wasn’t good enough for me. Neither of us saw that the constant battle we were facing wasn’t between us, but the enemy warring against us as a couple.

A Cataclysmic Strategy

Satan attacked Eve saying, “You need to do this to be like God.” He went after her identity, which created insecurity within her.

Satan attacked Adam saying, “You married the wrong woman.” This compelled him to blame-shift and decide Eve was the problem.

Put those two demonic attacks together—“I’m not the right person” and “I married the wrong woman”—and it’s cataclysmic to a relationship. That’s how marriages get destroyed. A lie doesn’t need to be true to become powerful. It just has to be believed.

When things get stressful in your marriage, when you’re going through trials, the devil will start to tell you lies—about yourself and about your spouse. You’ll be tempted to place blame somewhere else instead of accepting your own responsibility.

Don’t listen to these lies. They are designed to destroy your marriage, and Satan has been using these tools since the very beginning.

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