The turning point in a marriage is often so
small and unheralded you can almost miss it.
there it was. The suitcase. Standing at the top of the basement
stairs. The very sight of it made her angry. Her husband had just
returned from a business trip and had left the suitcase there, assuring
her that very soon he would take it downstairs and put it away.
A week later the suitcase was still there. Since the washing
machine was in the basement, she was forced to step over it time
and time again as she did the laundry. Before long, the way she
treated her husband was directly related to the number of times she
stepped over the suitcase. It was the middle of January, and outside
the temperatures were dropping rapidly. Inside they were plummeting
One day she decided to move the suitcase. No, she didn't take
it downstairs and put it away. Helping was the last thing on her
mind. Instead, she carried it into their bedroom and put it down in
the middle of the floor where her husband walked, effectively
blocking his path to the bed. Now he would see firsthand how irritating
it was to arrange one's life around a misplaced suitcase.
She returned to the kitchen expecting to feel a certain amount
of satisfaction and relief. She felt neither. Nor did she feel the least
bit smug. What she felt was an overwhelming sense of sadness and
grief. She knew her husband had not intentionally left the suitcase
out; he had simply forgotten about it. Yet even knowing that, she
clung to her "right" to feel offended and hostile.
She stood in the kitchen and thought about the suitcase. Had
it belonged to guests, she would have happily taken it from their
hands and insisted on putting it away herself. So why, she wondered,
was she unwilling to help her husband in the same way?
Why was it so much easier to serve others than it was to serve her
husband? She took a good long look at herself and didn't like what
she saw. No wonder she felt grieved. Something needed to change,
all right, and it had nothing at all to do with a suitcase.
A Wife's Calling Is from God
If someone asked you what the most satisfying aspect of your life
is, what would you answer? Is it being a:
Grandparent? Where would being a wife fit? Would it make the top five, or
would it fall miserably towards the bottom?
For many years, our marriage relationships were the least fulfilling,
least satisfying, and least successful relationships that either
of us experienced. Though we didn't know each other at the time,
our lives were amazingly similar in this regard. We got along well
with everyone else in our lives-our families, friends, neighbors,
the postman, the bank tellers, the store clerks. Everyone-except
our husbands. This was troublesome and discouraging, but at some
point along the way, we let ourselves off the hook deciding that
this surely must be "their problem."
But it wasn't; it was ours. We had no idea what God's job
description was for us as wives, and so we weren't doing what we
could to be the kind of wives God wanted us to be. It was only
when we discovered what this job description was and began
applying biblical principles to our marriages that we began to find
satisfaction and happiness as wives and as women.
God never intended for us to be frustrated or confused. He was
clear and exact about our role when He stood in His freshly formed
garden. And He hasn't changed His mind. Popular opinion would
have us believe that as the world progresses, so should our thinking.
But that is simply not true in regard to God's Word. It remains
the one steady thing in a constantly changing world.
God Knows Our Differences
In testing the market for this book, we went into a large, nationally
known bookstore and asked the manager what books were available
on a wife's job description.
"After scanning five hundred entries, all I can find on `wife' is
listed under `fiction,'" she said.
We told her of our plans to write such a book, and a doubtful
expression quickly crossed her face. As we left the store, she called
out, "Be careful!"
We asked her what she meant.
"Every woman is so different, how can you possibly write one
job description that would fit all women?" she responded.
Of course God knew just how different we are when He specifically
spelled out His own expectations, promises, and blessings for
a woman who would take on the role of wife as He created it. Just
as His Word does not change in a changing world, it does not vacillate
according to our differences.
There are three main points that will be discussed in this
The Role: Helper
The Reason: Man's Aloneness
The Relationship: Marriage
As we look at these aspects of our job description, we will see
that they are perfectly designed for us God.
The Role: Helper
God's plan for us was revealed as He put the finishing touches on His
creation. It's found in Genesis 2 and is simple and straightforward:
"It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should
be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. (Genesis 2:18, AMP, emphasis
There it is, God's perfect plan for a wife! To be a helper. God's role
for a wife in the Garden of Eden is the same one for a wife today. Why
would God create and bless all He had brought into being, from the
skies and seas to the plants and trees, comment that "It is good," and
then deliberately shortchange women? He would not, and He did not.
We were called God to a role that only we could fulfill. In God's
eyes, creation was not complete without woman.
And God Created Woman
God had created the heavens and the earth and all things which
existed therein and declared them to be not only good, but very
good. Then God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed
life into his nostrils, and Adam became a living being. God gave
Adam the responsibility of rulership and cultivating the Garden. He
was given the freedom to eat from any tree but one. God warned
him that if he did eat from the forbidden tree, he would die
(Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7-8, 16-17).
Then God said that it was not good for man to be alone
(Genesis 2:18). Adam's aloneness was deemed to be "not good" a
perfect God. Have you ever thought about that? This was the first
time He said that something about His creation wasn't good.
He had Adam uncover his own need first directing him to
give names to all of the animals. In doing so, Adam discovered that
there was no one suitable for him (Genesis 2:19-20).Woman was
then created: "I will make him a helper," God said (Genesis 2:18).
It is a surprise to many to learn that this role was given while the
world was still in its perfect state-before sin entered it.
The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and as
he slept, God took a rib from him and fashioned Eve. God then
brought Eve to Adam. When Adam saw her he said, "She is bone
of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:21-23). In effect he
was saying, "I am complete when I am with her."
A High and Holy Title
How does it make you feel to know that you are called to be a helper
to your husband? Do you like it? Or do you wish it were different?
We seem to love the idea of God tossing out the stars and calling
each of them name (Psalm 147:4). We are speechless at the
very thought of Him, God Almighty, knitting us together in our
mothers' wombs and ordaining all of our days (Psalm 139: 13-16).
We are awed when we read that He measured the waters in the
hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens His hand's
breadth (Isaiah 40:12). These things only confirm to us what we
already know-He is God. Awesome, almighty, and perfect. Yet we
tend to balk at our role as helper.
In fact, this role is a reflection of who God is.
A Precious Name
Helper is a title God uses of Himself over and over again in Scripture.
The term helper is a precious word. There is nothing inferior,
demeaning, or second-rate about it.
So do not fear, for I am with
you; do not be dismayed, for
I am your God. I will
strengthen you and help
you. (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
God is reassuring His people,
telling them not to worry or fear
because He, the God of the universe,
will be their helper.
A friend told us, "Never once have I thought about being a
helper in this way. I thought of it as one of the many things I do.
But now I see it as who I am. I no longer see it as doing something.
I see it as being someone. I realize that I've never given it the priority
that it was meant to have because I was never taught to do so.
If Jesus considers being a helper a worthy calling (Hebrews 13:1),
then I want to aspire to that calling as well."
This woman had grabbed hold of what being a helper is all
about. It's not something you do after you've done everything else.
It's not about what you do at all. It's about who you are.
Helper: One who gives assistance or support to another,
making life more pleasant or bearable.
Would your husband say that because of you, his life is more
pleasant and bearable? Would he say he can depend on you for
assistance? For support? Or does he shy away from making even
the most simple request, fearing your reaction? Mine (Connie's)
A Stubborn Heart
When I (Connie) first heard this teaching, I thought to myself, You
must be kidding. Are you sure about this? God's will for me in my marriage
is to be a helper to my husband? And that's all? Simply a helper.
Only a helper?
The verse had a familiar ring to it, yet there was little doubt in
my mind that the words, "helper to her husband," weren't meant to
stand alone. There must be another phrase qualifying those words.
There had to be more to that verse than just that verse!
When I got home I looked at this verse in other versions of the
Bible. They all said the same thing. I was thinking, Why has no one
brought this to my attention before? And why now?
Little did I realize that I was rapidly approaching the turning
point in my marriage.
I was less than excited about the idea at the time, however. If
being a helper was what it was all about, I'd far sooner have a helper
than be one. What a compromise, I thought, and what a misuse of the
abilities God has given me. I didn't understand what there was to be
excited about. If all of the titles in the world were listed on a sheet
of paper, and we could choose just one, I frankly didn't see that
there would be a mad scramble for the title of helper.
In the early years of my marriage, however, I actually had been
a devoted helper to my husband. Not because I was focused on
God's Word, but because of my deep love for my husband. I
delighted in making him happy, and I looked for opportunities to
lighten his load. Somewhere along the way, though, I got tired of
helping. My enthusiasm faded, and I no longer enjoyed doing this.
My delight was no longer found in making him happy, and soon I
began to keep score.
Surely, I thought, it is time for my husband to do his part. I've done
my share, now he can do his.
My plan was quite simple. I would just slip my heart into neutral
until my husband caught on. He didn't catch on very quickly.This could take longer than I expected, I said to myself. I dug my heels
in a little further, determined to wait him out.
And so began the long siege of waiting for my husband to
change. My heart no longer felt like it was in neutral. It was definitely
in reverse, and the engine was cold. The young wife who had taken
pleasure in tending to her husband's needs was a distant memory.
Over time, my heart grew hard. And harder. And harder still.
Things were not working out the way I had envisioned. I
shouldn't have been surprised. I was trying to rewrite God's job
description to benefit myself. I discovered that neither our hearts
nor our wills are able to slip into neutral. They go one way or the
other. We are either obeying God, or we are disobeying. At best,
using the word neutral was an attempt to cloak my disobedience.
When I learned more about God's job description for me as a
wife, my heart was stirred. I believe it was the Holy Spirit convicting
me of my need to change. It was a humbling time as I considered
stepping back into being a wife God's way. I found myself
taking small steps, even half steps. I was still uncertain, perhaps
because of my lack of knowledge, lack of trust, or not wanting to
be the one to change. Probably it was a blend of all three. But my
way obviously wasn't working. So I confessed:
and my scorekeeping.
I told God that, shaky and unsure as I was, I was willing to do
things His way. With a prayer in my heart, I began to reclaim the
calling that God had given me. I set out, wobbly legs and all, to be
a helper to my husband. Once I chose to do that, I began to feel a
joy and a peace that I had not felt for a very long time. I began to
experience a deeper relationship with my husband and with my
Lord as well.
How About You?
If you have been resisting God's Word, what is your reason? Could
it be pride? Or bitterness? Or an unforgiving spirit towards your
husband? In my case (Nancy), it was ignorance.
I feel that I've had two lives in my marriage. For the first twenty-three
years I was busy being a wife in whatever manner suited me for
the day. I let my emotions rule my behavior. I didn't know God as He
reveals Himself in Scripture-I didn't own a Bible until I was forty-one.
I certainly had no idea that He had a plan for me as a wife. For
the past seventeen years, however, after discovering what God's Word
has to say about marriage, I began to practice the principles in this
book in my marriage, and with His help, I have changed.
The Reason: Man's Aloneness
It was when the Lord God looked upon the aloneness of Adam that
He created Eve.
"It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should bealone. I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary)
for him." (Genesis 2:18, AMP, emphasis added)
In researching this book, we asked a male friend to ask his
Bible study group this question: "If there is one thing I miss in my
marriage it is ____________________." One of the most frequent
answers was companionship. Men desire companionship with their
mates. They long for someone with whom they can share life's
experiences. The men's personality traits, income level, and education
had nothing to do with their answers. Companionship was
listed almost every man in the group.
As our friend told us later, "I believe that men are lonelier today
than they have ever been. With all of the electronics, video games,
reading material, sports programs, and endless list of things you
can do to fill up your time, most men have never felt so alone."
Men are lonely today, just as Adam was in the Garden of Eden.
Because of this aloneness, woman was created. Could it be that man's
loneliness today may be due in part because women have abandoned
their God-given roles and are busy doing their own thing and going their
own way? Has this contributed to man regressing back to the lonely
state he knew in the Garden? The question, "Would your husband
say he feels less alone because you are his wife?" haunted me
(Connie). I remember physically cringing as I contemplated this
thought. Maybe it's not as bad as I think, I told myself. So I asked my
husband about it.
He replied, "I've felt alone many times in our marriage. I
remember a point when I felt more alone when I was with you than
I did when I was actually myself. I have never felt more alone
than I did at those times."
This was not the reassuring answer I had hoped to hear, yet it
came as no surprise. There was a time in our marriage when we
both felt that way. There was no talking, no touching, no shared
glances, and no laughter.
It is a testimony to God's faithfulness and love that this has
changed. This occurred when I began to work on my marriage and
apply biblical principles. My heart began to soften, and I saw my
husband in a completely different light.
Putting Words into Action
What can a woman do to make sure her husband isn't lonely?
Simply being there for your husband is a wonderful way to begin!
One way to be there for him is to show how important he is to you
your attentiveness. How others respond to us shapes the way we
see ourselves. Men thrive on positive responses-from their bosses,
their coworkers, their customers, but especially from their wives. Is
your husband thriving, or is he barely eking out an existence in