One day recently, I was joking with my husband about an instance where I had followed through on something he'd forgotten to do. I commented, "Honey, God knew you'd need me. That's why I'm your wife." He laughed and I laughed. Then, I got to thinking about what I had just said and realized that, not only was it true, but I hadn't stated it completely. God did not merely know my husband would need me, he fashioned ME and foreordained ME to be my husband's helpmeet.
This may sound trite and obvious, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that during those very times when I am upset with things my husband "is" or "isn't," my complaint really isn't with him, but with God. You see, part and parcel of who I am and what talents I possess has everything to do with the reality that I was fashioned to HELP my husband—my specific husband. What's more, in stating that it isn't good for man to be alone, God was outlining for me, and wives in general, the high calling that we've being given. In a very real sense, we were designed to fill the holes, smooth over the rough spots of the husbands God gave us.
I know some might fear that this will become an excuse for husbands to take their wives for granted or to reduce them to status of slave or servant. Steve Schlissel in his excellent sermon, "Husbands, Love Your Wives" (available from Messiah's Congregation, 2662 East 24th Street, Brooklyn NY 11235-2610, 718-332-4444, [email protected]) gives a wonderful description of the common traps married couples can fall into. I make it a point to give it as a wedding gift with a recommendation that the couples listen to it one year after they're married and once every year after that. In more than one case, husbands who have listened to the tape have come to their wives and apologized and asked for forgiveness for taking them for granted and abusing their position as husband.
I am not unaware of tendencies in some Christian circles to belittle women. In an effort to ensure that women don't assume roles in church government not properly theirs, some men assume they don't have any place in discussion or decisions. It's as though their wives' thoughts and opinions don't matter—they are merely extensions of their husbands. Women in this position will find their comfort in fulfilling their God-ordained role in realizing they were fashioned to help their particular man, whether or not they are appreciated at the moment.
Marriage is a perfect institution comprised of imperfect people. Failure to put our whole effort into glorifying God through our marriages leaves us open for most of the ills our society inflicts. Marriage and the family are the basis of society; if we want to build a culture, we must start with ourselves. Both wives and husbands need regularly to evaluate their faithfulness to the high calling given them by God.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].