Have you struggled as a wife looking at that proverbial glass’s vacant half without disdain? It’s a flaw I carried into my marriage and—whoa—did it clash with my husband’s chipper view. He’d be blessed wading in the half he chose to see while I tried to show him all that was missing.
Despite his rightful command, I rarely ventured to gaze with him at what God had graciously given us. That darn empty space took precedence!
But by adhering to my sacred viewpoint, by insisting my husband conform to my way of thinking, I wasn’t being the wife he needed. I wasn’t being my husband’s “help meet,” the helpmeet God made specifically for him. And I wondered why my marriage wasn’t peaceful.
But I desperately wanted peace, so I asked God to fill me with His Spirit, repeatedly, thoroughly, and wholly. I wanted God’s peace to rule my heart instead of my distorted view of what should make me full.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15
There was no overnight transformation. But God is faithful: He’s held me through the tantrums and the tears. Thanks be to God, if you are willing, He’ll give you new eyes. Your husband will be your hero again, your house will be enough, your possessions better than none at all, and your life a gift from above (because it already is).
Christian Wife 101
“Be ye thankful,” dear wife. It will make all the difference in what you choose to see.
Welcome to Christian Wife 101
This series is meant for all wives, newly married and decades married, living the oft-times difficult journey of marriage who want to rediscover the blueprint for joy and peace that God made possible and laid out in His word.
I’m in no way an expert on godly marriage nor am I a perfect wife—far from it. But thanks be to God’s merciful Spirit, He has taken my past mistakes and opened my eyes to how I was sabotaging my desires for a peaceful life. When we try to rewrite God’s design, we will fail every time. But, oh, that illuminating moment when we finally get it: only God’s way works!
Christian Wife 101 is about getting back to the basics of what God says marriage is. Getting back to what God says a “help meet” is. Christian Wife 101 is a study for wives who want to thrive (not merely survive) in their role as a Christian wife.
What is a Help Meet?
There’s nothing more fulfilling (nor exhausting) than being a proper “help meet” for your husband. When we think of the words help meet from the Bible, our first thought might be, like mine was, that both words combine to make a noun. But the reality is that help is a noun (it’s what you are) AND a verb (it’s what you do) and meet is an adjective describing how and in what way you are a help to your husband.
The Strong’s Concordance definition of help meet in the Old Testament is #H5828—aid, taken from #H5826—to surround, help, succour (aid or relieve, to be an assistant).
In the New Testament, Strong’s definition of meet is #G514—deserving, comparable, suitable; #G2173—useful, profitable; #G2111—well-placed, appropriate; #G2570—beautiful, valuable, virtuous; #G1163—necessary as binding; and #G1342—just and holy.
We are told in 2 Timothy 2:21 that we are vessels “meet” for the Master’s use if we depart from iniquity and do good works. To God, we are suitable for our calling, valuable in His eyes, well-placed in His family, useful for encouraging our fellow brethren, and just and holy as long as we stay in His hands.
The definition of “help meet” as pertains to husbands could be a useful aid, a beautiful assistant, a necessary helper, a just and holy, well-placed companion who surrounds, relieves, and supports her man. When you are a help meet, you are a help suitable for the man God gave you.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:23
This divinely inspired role will chaff you raw at times, but it will bless you ten-fold when you yield to God’s design. Being a wife who yields takes you to places you don’t want to go, brings you to people and situations you’d rather not deal with, and requires you to give up your perfectly thought-out plans (and even some dreams) for another’s over and over again.
Being a helpmeet means siding with your husband’s annoyingly positive outlook when pointing out the obvious is so much more carnally satisfying.
But these unselfish acts are what make you stronger. They push you beyond the safe and cozy bubble of girlhood and grow you spiritually like nothing else can. Your willingness to yield re-forms you into a magnificent woman whom God delights in—because your obedience says you delight in Him and His perfect ways.
Letting Go of Your Perfect Ways
As wives, we love making plans, don’t we? We work hard to make sure things happen for the good of our children, our husbands, and ourselves. We’re planners, arrangers, schedulers. It’s our superpower. This is how we “help.” These plans are laid out in our heads, like an intricate puzzle, and each pretty piece fits perfectly where we think it should go. We can’t imagine them fitting any other way.
We think our ways are best.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
Then a whirlwind of circumstance—job loss, miscarriage, weather disasters, illness—comes through the open window of our lives scattering all our hard work everywhere and we’re left feeling angry and rather sorry for ourselves. And sometimes the whirlwind is a husband with ideas completely contrary to what we had in mind.
Whether our plans are as noble as a longed-for pregnancy, as grand as a new house, or as ordinary as a weekly shopping trip and a day at the park, when things don’t work out, repeatedly, it causes us great distress. But God sees the end from the beginning and from ancient times through times yet to be. He knows our spiritual future and the best way for us to get there from here. And He loves us with an everlasting love (Oh, how we doubt this when our dreams and desires fail. But it still remains true, nonetheless).
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9
There is nothing wrong with making plans. God expects you to use your intellectual and organizational gifts as long as you include the caveat “if God wills” (James 4:15) and your husband is in agreement. Ultimately, it is God who orders your steps, but He often does this directly through your husband.
But any time our day-to-day efforts go against God’s will and the direction our husbands want to go, we’ve abandoned our divine helpmeet role—and there will be no rest.
When you keep this in mind, you will find peace in trusting God’s loving, all-knowing re-directions. Trusting God for the outcome of our plans gives us rest. Especially spiritual rest that only God can give.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Exodus 33:14
We need to stop overworking ourselves in God’s presence. He sees all, He hears all. He judges righteously, and nothing is beyond His reach to polish and repair. Trusting God to guide our husband and marriage better than our exhausting efforts could, is what a helpmeet does. She takes hold of the gift of rest He’s holding out to her, His beloved.
As wives, we need rest that halts the demands we place upon ourselves to fix things out of our control. Rest from our self-defensive posture and fear of not being heard. Rest from forcing our reality into the fantastical version of marriage we’ve dragged around with us for too long.
God’s purpose for you is to refine and deepen your faith and your holiness, though the disappointing parts of your spouse’s personality.
The truth behind this quote doesn’t sink in until long after the euphoric echoes of “I Do” are spoken. Because we wives aren’t thinking about our deepening faith when the first pains of disillusion come, are we? We’re not thinking about the beauty of our refinement or the strength of our spiritual growth when dealing with our new husband’s unkind words or selfish acts. We aren’t thinking about being his helpmeet. No, far from it.
We focus on our broken, worldly dreams before we consider that our brokenness draws us closer to our heavenly Father.
We focus on our husband’s failings against us before we ever consider how much we fail him. Thanks be to God, He put the two of us together. There’s no better way for us to grow spiritually and learn to be humble and forgiving. There’s no better way to discover your true self than by uncomfortable moments with a frustrating man whom you love dearly.
Being a wife is an extraordinary adventure. An academy of learning filled with numerous opportunities to be a loving, giving, servant of Christ as you love and serve your husband. As a new bride, you couldn’t wait for the adventure to begin, right? But you also had a certain expectation that the man you married would stay the same (or would think like you). And when he didn’t, you were left feeling out of sorts, bamboozled even.
Whether it’s physical/health changes, daily habits, career choices, or as simple as his meal preferences, you got used to one thing and then, after years or overnight, you’re faced with something entirely different. What to do?
This is where you dig out your God-given ability to adapt, dear wife. That’s what “help meet” means. You are meant to be pliable as a warm piece of clay to conform to whatever shape God, through your husband’s leadership, requires of you. God made you capable of wrapping yourself around any change of life direction your husband makes. He made you flexible to bend to fresh circumstances you wouldn’t normally choose.
No matter how much has changed since you walked down the aisle, your marriage will thrive despite the surprises your husband hands you—“You want to move where?” “You want to spend how much on what?”—if you’re willing to adjust to the flow like bubbling water in a stone-covered stream bed. This is what makes you a useful aid, a beautiful assistant, a virtuous and valuable mate. This is what makes you a godly wife—your husband’s one and only help meet. This is what makes your marriage a successful and lasting adventure.
Christian Wife 101
A wife is strongest when she flows like water,
over around and through the unexpected changes in your life.
Relax into your helpmeet role in faith and trust, dear wife, and God will bring you the marital peace and happiness that has eluded you from the beginning.
When you live as your husband’s helpmeet, you:
- surround all aspects of his life with your love
- protect his varied interests (which are yours, as well)
- aid him with an extra set of hands
- provide your feminine touch and womanly mind that he needs to accomplish great things
- relieve him of the burden of life (as he does, you)
- bring joy to his world-weary soul and a smile to his lips
As you trade your once stubborn, independent heart for the unselfish one of a helpmeet, you find joy in knowing God is in the midst of your marriage. That peace is yours for the taking, and that your husband, who’s willing to lay down his life for you, will cherish you exponentially.
What beauty there is in God’s design!
Abiding in the Vine,
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