Most of us are familiar with the hit tune, Stand By Your Man. It’s a great virtue really, to be willing to stand up for, beside and with your man through all the ins and outs of married life. But it isn’t easy. Especially when they do things we don’t like or don’t understand.
As a Christian wife I know I’m called by God to be his helper. But to be a helper sounds so demeaning, like helping him do something he should be able to do himself. Or as Elyse Fitzpatrick puts it:
…when I heard the term, I tended to think of little toddlers struggling to put their toys away and trying, however inanely, to be “good little helpers.” But the concept of being a helper is much richer and far more challenging than I had ever imagined. (Helper By Design, pg. 38)
If you are tracking with me so far, I ask that you stay with me through this series.
There is no issue in regard to marriage that is more misunderstood and more maligned by our culture than the idea of the Christian wife’s role in submitting to and helping her husband. That word makes many women cringe, like hearing fingernails running down a chalkboard. It’s unpleasant and undesirable to most.
But have you ever considered that God is our Helper? The Holy Spirit was willing to come after Christ’s ascension to be our Helper, to help us become what we couldn’t become on our own. He lives in us and empowers us to do far more than we ever imagined was possible.
Does this elevate the idea in your mind of what it means to be a helper to your husband? Elyse continues on this idea saying,
“When I place the term helper as a descriptor of God’s activity and character, it takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? I understand that as I grow in my ability to truly help my husband, I’m not regressing into some sort of infantile servitude; I’m becoming more like God: being a helper is one very specific way that women can mirror and glorify the Lord.” (Helper By Design, pg. 38)
Now this type of attitude is never appealing to one who is seeking their own interests. This is why in 1 Corinthians 13 the Bible tells us that love doesn’t insist on its own way. One who loves is seeking the best for their spouse and to do whatever is needed to help them.
Is being a helper is starting to sound more intriguing, more curious? If it is, then you’re beginning to understand God’s intention in our helper design. Elyse references several Bible passages in the following description of God’s helping nature in order to help us identify further what this looks like for us as wives.
A wife who is reflecting God’s helping character desires to sustain or uphold her husband; she strengthens, comforts, and seeks to protect him. Because of her love for the Lord and for her husband, she endeavors to dispel his fears by being trustworthy and gracious. She leans for strength upon her Lord so that she might share that strength with her husband. In her heart he finds shelter and protection from the world; he finds a companion who offers him what he really needs: help in his God-given calling. (Helper By Design, pg. 39)
Psalm 54:4; Psalm 86:16-17; Isaiah 41:10;Psalm 37:40;Psalm 28:7
The foundation of our marriage is built on Christ alone. He is the One who undergirds our covenant to love and cherish until death parts us. It is a privilege to discover year after year what it looks like to develop this covenant in a way which mirrors God by the way we love and treat our husband. If you still find the idea of being a helper to your husband distasteful, please stick around. There is much more to be said about this high-calling for us as women.
For further study, I recommend the following MP3 download titled, Watch Your Man. There is also an outline available for your convenience. Both are FREE.