Complex, indeed, Paul.
I agree, we are still living under the curse—you make the point well. The relational conflict or tension indicated in Genesis 3:16 hasn’t gone away, even in Christ—to the extent that Paul sought not to overthrow patriarchy but rather to modify it, and quite radically modify it, by demanding a self-giving attitude on the part of the man. But two things…
First, we are “new creation”, and it seems rather perverse to me, when society has more or less overthrown patriarchy, to insist that men and women should continue to operate under the old sinful régime.
Secondly, even given the constraints of our sinful nature, I think it is right to argue, as Daniel Kirk does, that the church should be a sign of a new creation to come—a sign now of the not yet. I regard healing as a sign of the making new of all things, a final healing of humanity. Healing doesn’t always happen because we are still stuck in the old world, but when it does happen, it is because the eschaton has broken in on the present, it is because new creation (not the kingdom of God, in my view) has come upon us. Likewise, if men and women in Christ are able to transcend the injustice of patriarchy, it is because the eschaton has (partially—I’m not conflating the now and not yet) broken in on the present, it is because new creation has come upon us.
What I like about this line of thought is that it allows us to maintain the tension between the problematic—the curse—of male-female relationships and practically to reach beyond that problematic to transformation, to realize the not yet in the now.
I didn’t, by the way, overlook the bit about the woman’s desire for her husband:
Part of the judgment pronounced against the woman, however, is that “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). The important parallel with Genesis 4:7 makes it clear that this “desire” is a bad thing—a negative and destructive disposition towards the man—and that conflict is foreseen between them.
The statement may suggest psychological dependency, though the parallel with Genesis 4:7 may point in a different direction. But I don’t see that this affects my basic contention, which is that if we have the possibility to be concretely, practically, experientially redeemed from corruption of the male-female relationship, we should take it. The “now” but “not yet” does not mean that we cannot have the “not yet” in the “now”. It means precisely the opposite. We can have new creation now, albeit within the limitations of our fallen state.