One of the reasons many wives struggle in their marriages is because they refuse to embrace the role God has given them as helper to their husband. The word “helper” ruffles their feather and their pride demands a higher position, a more noble title. But such desires sabotage marriage and prevent us from fulfilling our calling.
“To act his part well, according to the will of God, in the lofty drama of human life, should be the ambition, solitude, and prayer of each of us. It is the first lesson of wisdom, to know our place; the second, to keep it.”
– John A. James
But, let’s start at the beginning to see what it means to be a helper and how it works itself out.
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him.”
God chose to make man different than anything else he had already created. He made man in his image (Gen. 1:27) but also made him to be in intimate fellowship with another. It was not good for man to be alone and so God created woman. She was not an afterthought, but a part of his perfect plan of revealing his love for the church through the bonds of marriage. And the woman he made for the man is called a “helper.”
So let’s get a little technical. The Hebrew word for “helper” used in the verse above is the word “ezer”. It is a combination of two roots, meaning “to rescue, to save”, and “strength/power.” This word is used to describe the woman twice, but it is used to describe God 16 times. So we could translate the verse more properly by saying “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a strength (or power) suitable for him.” (Hard Sayings of the Bible, Walter C. Kaiser)
So think of yourself as his “ideal partner”, his equal and his strength. How do we use this role to help our husbands? Here are 4 ways.
1. For Holiness
You are not called to make him sandwiches or refill his drinks, though that is a nice thing to do. Your calling is be such a strength and power in the life of your husband that your conduct, your words, and your actions point him to Christ and make him want to be a more godly person.
Paul said that the reason we talk about Christ, the reason we teach and admonish others is that so that they will become mature Christians (Col. 1:28). We do this, not through lectures, nagging, or manipulation, but through Christ shining in our lives. To be this kind of wife you must know the Lord and his word. Share what you are learning with your spouse and in doing so you are helping him become the man God wants him to be.
2. For Companionship
Gen 3 tells us that it was not good for man to be alone. He was, in a sense, incomplete and lonely. He needed a companion, a friend. Your husband needs to know that you will walk with him, hand in hand, through illnesses and job losses, through failure and disappointment. But on the flip side you must also work at having fun within your marriage; to laugh a lot and to show interest in the things your spouse enjoys (Prov. 17:17), to be silly, to remember the fun you had when you first started dating or at various times in your marriage. Your place is to be his friend. His best friend.
But companionship doesn’t ends there. A part of being a good friend is being able to keep a confidant. Does your husband trust your discretion? Can he share his heart without the fear of you running to your girlfriend and sharing what he has told you? As a helper, you are your husbands closest ally.
3. For Encouragement
Everyone feels discouraged from time to time, and we all know lectures and nagging isn’t exactly an inspiration. What we need are words of encouragement, gracious words that cheer us and breathe life back into our tired hearts and give strength to our disintegrated motivation (Prov. 16:24).
When your husband feels discouraged and frustrated you are to be the strength he needs to see the beauty of Christ, the blessings found in his life, and the love he has in his wife. He needs to be reminded of Christ’s crazy love and sacrifice on his behalf. We all need this reminder, and your place is to remind your husband.
4. For Correction
Everyone who sins is in need of correction. As a wife you hold a special position that allows you to speak into your husbands life in a way that no other can. You live with him day in and day out. You see things that others don’t see and therefore you are best qualified to speak words of correction. But we must tread carefully here. No one likes to be corrected in a callous and cold-hearted way. We must make sure that wisdom is exercised as to when and how the correction takes place and that you always point him to God’s word and Christ’s example.
We are not called to help our men become the perfect specimen of a husband. We are called to help him become the man God has called him to be. Namely holy and mature in Christ. You are your husband’s helper. This is not a demeaning position, but a high calling–the calling to be a strength and power your husband needs. It is a position God himself holds as our helper, our power and our strength (Ps. 54:4), so we should be honored in knowing our place in this world and in our marriages.
Jen Thorn and her husband, Joe, live in IL with their 4 children. She loves studying theology, reading the Puritans, and has a passion for horchata and all things chocolate. Jen blogs at JenThorn.com as well as Love God Greatly. Follow her on Twitter @jenlthorn and Facebook.