I have been married twelve years now. I am still learning so much about marriage and my role as a wife.
My primary desire in life is to bring God glory in all I am and in all I do. With that foundation at the core of my theology, my heart is continually made aware of how often I fail!
I have discovered that the greatest area of failure is in marriage…true. Honestly, I think it is because I do not perceive marriage as the God given ministry that He ordained it to be. In particular, I fail to see my role in marriage as the ministry it has been created to be. My husband’s ministry in marriage is a little more clear to me than my own…especially when he fails in his ministry of marriage…sad right?
I have read book after book on the biblical purpose of marriage and in particular of being a wife. I have learned much from such resources, but like everything, what we know in our heads is useless, if that knowledge is not applied practically in our lives.
As Genesis 2 states, a woman was created FOR the man to be HIS HELPER.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen 2:18
That verse says so much in a few words. As I have pondered it, I collected a few insights from that verse. Many more are to be had, and still more as that verse can be paired with so many other passages in Scripture. But for starters, here are a few thoughts…
1) Adam was is in need of very specific help. God, the creator, would not have created such a complex creature (woman) to fill a need that could have been filled by a simpler creation. I would even venture to guess that woman is God’s most the most complex creation. LOL.
2) Adam wasn’t necessarily aware he had a need. He also wasn’t aware of how he needed help. God is the one who saw Adam’s need and knew exactly what kind of creature (woman) would be a perfect fit for Adam. God knows His creation better than the created knows itself!
3) Eve, the wife, was created…tailor made by God… to be exactly what Adam needed. She was created FOR Adam, not Adam for her. Adam, already existed. Eve was created to fill his need.
4) The need Eve was created to help Adam with was companionship. Adam was ALONE…God did not see that as good. Adam needed a partner, someone with whom to enjoy and share life.
5) God is brought glory as the Creator, when His creation strives to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. What a beautiful couple Adam and Eve must have been together before the entrance of sin into the world and the curse sin brought! Talk about the perfect marriage!
Thinking on those concepts from Scripture, my heart is truly enlightened as I contemplate my modern marriage.
It is hard to have a Biblical marriage without ideas from the sinful world tainting it! Even among church people I have found misconceptions of biblical marriage.
As I said earlier, knowledge of truth alone is irrelevant if it is not lived out.
So how do I seek to live out what I learn about biblical marriage? Honestly, this is an ongoing process for me. I am still learning. And expect I always will be…at least I hope so!
1) Focus on being a companion helper. I was not created to change my husband. I was not created to be my husband’s housekeeper. I was not created for the purpose of being a mate and procreation. I was not created to disciple my husband…I will leave that to other men in the church. I was created simply to be the perfect friend, companion, earthly hand-holder for my husband. So completely simple, yet marred by the complexities of my sinful nature. And so I fail in my purpose time and time again.
How do I focus on being a companion helper? Honestly, I could use more tips in this arena of thinking, because for me, I find it easy to think I am accomplishing my purpose by helping my husband in almost every other way, except being there. I help him by caring for his home, cooking wholesome food, supporting his callings and interests in life, submitting to him, washing and pressing his clothes, doing jobs and errands for him…yes, I truly enjoy ministering to my husband by meeting his material and physical needs. But I greatly err if I think that is the purpose I was created by God to fulfill for my husband! Those tasks can actually cause me to check the “helper” box off without actually fulfilling the one glorious need of my husband that I was created to fill. My husband needs my companionship, far more than my service!
So, going back to the drawing board…what makes a true friend? What defines a faithful companion?
An endearing creature like the Golden Retriever provides a descent illustration of companion helper.
That sweet old dog is simply there…there waiting with expectation at the window for his human friend to return. That dog leaps, and wags in circles of excitement when his human walks in the door. When the dog’s friend invites him along, that pooch leaps into the truck and tag along with his friend, it makes no difference where they are headed, he is just glad to be with his human friend. At home, that dog, lays around watching his human friend rake autumn leaves outdoors and then follows him from room to room around the house. That dog is always there. He doesn’t care if his friend is a drunk, a murderer or a prince. That dog doesn’t care what his friend does for a living…rich or poor. That dog will stick close to his human friend until death. And the dog will look longingly down the road for hours when his human companion packs up for a journey without him. Much more could be and has been said concerning the faithful friendship of a dog. But my point has been made. I have much to learn about companionship from God’s creation.
There are a few habits that are part of my life that are also helpful in keeping me mindful of my purpose to my husband.
1) Greet my husband in the morning, see him off to work with kisses, and welcome him home with excitement and more kisses. Unless I am sick or have a newborn that always happens. My husband never leaves the house without a kiss.
2) Colliding in the day with affection. Weekends my husband is usually home. We both often have household tasks to get done, but as we pass in the hall, or when I take him tea while he works, or such we interact with affection for a moment and in essence join our diverse days.
3) Listening time. When my husband returns home from work, I like to hear about his day. I like to know how he is doing since I haven’t had any or very little contact with him all day. I want to know his conversations and his take on the day he had. It makes me feel connected to him, although we haven’t shared the same experiences in the day. In turn, I connect him to mine and we talk about what we both did. I sometimes find this end of the day connection is easy to disregard as children clamber for attention, dinner is being cooked, or my current emotional state blocks my freedom to communication. I usually like him to share his day first, but there are days I need to clear the air with my thoughts so I can emotionally connect with him. Thankfully, I am married to a very understanding man. It can sometimes take a lot of effort to have a daily conversation about the day!
4) Spend alone time together…every day. We began the habit of putting our children to bed early from their birth…7pm in fact. We are pretty faithful with that time. It gives me and my husband a couple hours of time alone before we too go to bed. Unless we are in the midst of an unusual season, we don’t go our separate ways and do our separate things. Whatever we do, it is done together…read, watch a show, decorate and wrap gifts, work on a house project. Yes! There have been many an evening my husband has a project like a plugged drain, faucet replacement, painting, or light fixture installation to do in the evening. I do not let him work alone. I do not have the knowledge or ability to do some of those things, so like the king retriever, I pull up a chair and keep him company those evening he has work to do. I do not sit there on my phone either…I chat with him, ask dumb questions about what he is doing, and simply enjoy being there with him. It is simple. My husband does travel for work. Those days we cannot be together we spend time talking on the phone…and always text a “good-morning” and “goodnight.” That is what a dear friend would do right?
5. Make his life mine. This is still an ongoing process. I feel that even though we have been married twelve years, we both are changing and growing in the Lord. I strive to have interest in what interests my husband. I might not gave the enthusiasm for NASCAR that he has, but I do not brush it off has “his thing.” It is “our thing.” He has taught me a lot about the ins and outs of the sport. And I seek to know what is going on and will go to races, watch them with him, and support his interest. NASCAR is part of who I am married to, and therefore, important to me. The same with my husband’s job, past, family, dreams, goals… what is important to him and a part of him is also important to me because I love him, I want to be a part of every aspect of his life.
6. Work together. If my husband has a lot to do, I seek to be there and help him get it done. If he needs quiet to write a school paper, I take the children out to a park. If he has enormous yard work and there is something I am able to do, I scrap my plans and join in his. As a couple we minister together. What ministries he chooses to embrace, I fully support, either by joining in too, or by tending to the children and other responsibilities at home so he is free to serve. I have no complaints on that subject. We are in God’s work together and any way we can bring God glory by loving others is a win win in my opinion.
7. Walk through life…holding hands. This may seem like sweet sentiment to some, but in reality the symbolism is powerful. We don’t let go of each other’s hands in a metaphorical context. There is no division of “his life” and “her life”, of “his goals” and “her goals,” “his problems” and “her problems…” It is OUR life, Our goals, and OUR problems… When times are hard we tighten our grip and pull each other up (emotionally) as needed. We are there for each other. Being close to someone involves a constant mental connection. We have that with the Lord as Christians. I believe it is also possible to have that as a married couple. It is trashing the individual mindset and focusing on the mindset of a coupled team. I strive to let my husband never feel alone. I am WITH him in heart, body, mind, and soul.