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.
I love this! God is a helper also. It’s not just some degrading way to put women down. And I hate when people make it seem that way. I love thinking of being like God because I am willing to do what God tells me to do in helping and submitting to my husband.
From the Altar,
Isn’t it much easier to realize the high calling God has given us as women, when we realize it is mirroring God’s image to our husband. I agree with you in hating the disregard many wives give to this important aspect of a biblical marriage. It’s like our pastor has said many times, “If you choose to not do something God has called you to do, you’ll never know what good you’ve missed.”
Thanks so much for sharing.
Thanks for the encouragement to be a better helper. Our tendency, I think, is to slide into some level of self-centeredness, so your words and the quote from Helper by Design are great reminders of where our hearts and minds need to be focused.
You’re so right, Kim. “Our tendency, I think, is to slide into some level of self-centeredness.” It’s true. Unless we’re fighting this tendency then it will be mastering over us. Thanks for your encouragement too.
I think one of the greatest honors bestowed upon me this lifetime is that of being a helpmeet to my husband. We make the best team and he’s able to go out and tackle the world because he knows he has my support 100-percent.
There is nothing better than walking together united in one goal–to glorify God in the place where He has us. You’re right–we’re a team and realizing this brings such peace and harmony in the home, no matter the trouble we may face.
Thanks for sharing,