And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 NKJV
Such a beautiful beginning for a beautiful relationship that God has designed for man and woman. Adam was alone. God saw that it was not good. God created Eve to be a helper to Adam.
This very first human relationship is so simple, so pure, so perfect. Eve filled the void in Adam’s life. They were the only humans on earth for a time. They had no one else to interfere, give advice, or in anyway complicate their relationship. That changed as children were born and the earth became more and more populated but for a time it was just Adam and Eve. They worked together. Adam working the ground to provide food, Eve helping him. They depended on each other for their very survival.
Fast forward a few thousand years. It would seem that things have changed. Many, if not most, marriages do not resemble that beautiful, simple, complete, perfect marriage. It would seem that the relationship between a husband and a wife has changed from the woman being the helper to the man being the helper.
I often hear women complain that their husband does not help at home. While husbands should not be lazy and expect to be waited on all the time, they were not created to be their wife’s helper. It’s the other way around. Instead of asking why my husband is not helping me (whether it’s house work, or dealing with the children, or just doing things for me), those of us who are trying to be the kind of wife God expects us to be should be asking, “What can I do to help my husband?”
In this day and age of equality for women, it’s surprising how helpless many women seem to be. History tells us that women of earlier generations were generally very strong, hard working women whose purpose was to help their husband succeed by “keeping the home fires burning”. They had no electricity, no refrigerators, dish washers, washing machines, air conditioners, indoor plumbing. They worked hard to just be able to put food on the table. Not just putting food on the table but planting and tending a garden, raising the chickens, milking the cow. That’s not all. They were giving birth to babies…usually lots of them. By doing all these things, their husband was able to succeed in his work without worrying about whether his family was being fed or being educated or being clothed. His wife’s hard work enabled him to do his work.
As I think about families in the past and compare them to what I see of families today, there is a stark contrast. Our daily work has been reduced drastically with the harnessing of electricity and inventions that use it. All the appliances that were unheard of years and centuries ago, are now considered necessities. These appliances have reduced the wife’s work tremendously. This sounds like a good thing. Since there is not such a necessity for a garden, a cow, a chicken or two and since the stores are full of reasonably priced clothing so that there is no need to make our own clothing, this should free the wife up to do more things that can help her husband be more successful.
There seems to be three paths that women generally follow.
The first is the wife who appears to be helpless. Since she has never had to do any hard work, she cannot seem to figure out how to do anything without the help of her husband. She depends on him to help do the very things that God placed her here to do to ease her husband’s burden. She can’t seem to get the laundry done (in her washer/dryer that has a “brain” of its own). She does not seem to be willing to keep her house clean unless her husband is willing to do half of the work. Taking care of the children is not an easy task so she needs help with even the most routine aspects of it. She doesn’t have the organizational skills to maintain the every day activities needed to keep a happy home…the very thing that will help her husband be successful in what he does.
All I can say to this is, “Grow up!” “Stand up!” “Get busy!” God didn’t give man a helper that was helpless. If we can’t take care of even the most simple tasks or organize the basic home, we need to get busy and learn how to do it. Don’t give into the easy way out. Don’t think that it is someone else’s responsibility to see to it we have an easy life. God has given us a job to do. We need to get it done. Yes, it can be difficult. Yes, it can be lonely. But, it is our responsibility to do what we can to help our husband succeed. Rise up to the occasion and don’t let our insecurities or lack of desire to work drag us down.
The second is the wife who lives a parallel life with her husband. This relationship is very popular. The man and woman fall in love. Both have life dreams they want to fulfill. They decide to marry but have determined that they will each live their own lives. The woman isn’t necessarily a helper to her husband. She is doing her thing. He is doing his. They create a home based on doing things 50/50. Since the wife is busy with her own dreams, she needs her husband to help her with those every day activities that she should be doing. While she may be helping her husband to succeed through moral support she can not be a true helper to him because she’s busy with her own life.
There are those who will say that she IS helping her husband because she is reducing the amount of work he needs to do to provide their home with all the things they want. While that may sound good, it doesn’t reflect the design God had for the home to begin with. The problem, while it is aggravated by the desire for more things, is really the self-centered ambitions of the wife. It’s not really her fault. She was taught this from the time she was young. When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, she was praised for saying things like, be a teacher, be a nurse, be a doctor, be a lawyer… If she dared to say that she wanted to be a helper for her husband, the eyebrows would rise and the heads would wag at what a sad life this little girl aspires to and her lack of a passion to do something with her life.
So, instead of a family where the husband works at “tilling the ground” and the wife helps him, the couple is living side by side. There are other people helping the husband. There are other people who the wife is helping. The largest part of their day is spent apart working on different things. This arrangement brings in more money that can then be spent on more things but what it leaves out can be devastating to a family. When two people live side by side, they do not depend on each other as totally as they would otherwise. When they do not depend on each other, they may (and many do) find that they do not need each other. Either one or both may find that they would do better without the other or even with someone else. The beautiful, simple, complete relationship that God designed breaks down and comes to an end.
The third is the wife who truly helps her husband. This woman is smart, hard-working and capable of doing many things but has chosen to give up what dreams she may have had when she decided to marry. She knew that the relationship between her and her husband would be based on God’s plan for marriage. She decided that she would be happy and content by helping her husband succeed. She would do what he and the family needed. She would create a calm, pleasant home that her husband and her children would thrive in. Depending on what her husband’s life work is would determine which of her many talents would be used. Did he run a business? She would help him…possibly working in the business with him. Was he a farmer? She would help him…maybe keeping the business end in order. Was he a business man? She would help him…if she couldn’t be with him at work, she would make sure that the home was a haven of rest when he came home. Was he a preacher? She would go wherever he chose to spread God’s word. She would learn that as Paul said, “Whatever state I am, to be content.”
What I do to help my husband may not be exactly the same as what you do to help your husband but we both will keep focused on our goal. Our goal is not to be like all the other women in the world. Our goal is not to be successful according to the world’s definition. Our goal is to be successful according to God’s plan. We will work hard to fill the void God saw that man needed. We will be strong. We will be smart. We will be a helper to our husband.