This article was originally posted in January of 2009, as part of a study of Proverbs 31. As we begin looking at chapter 2 of Juggling Life’s Responsibilities, “Fulfilling Your God-Given Roles,” I thought this would be an excellent reminder of the first role God gave to women, being a “suitable helper” to their husbands.
Today’s verses are:
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
- Husbands need to succeed.
When God created Adam, the first man, He gave Adam dominion “over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26, KJV). In that first command, I think we see why our husbands have such a drive to succeed. God put within their hearts a longing to rule over this earth.
- Husbands need a helper in order to fulfill their life’s purpose.
However, we find in Genesis 2 that our husbands need a helper to assist them in their life’s purpose. God demonstrated to Adam that only a certain helper would do by parading all the animals in front of him. As special (and even magnificent) as the animals were, “for Adam no suitable helper was found” (Genesis 2:20, NIV).
That’s when God tenderly put Adam to sleep and crafted a beautiful woman out of his own flesh. The reason for His creation of a woman is stated very specifically in verse 18: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (NIV).
Dear woman, whether you’ve realized it or not doesn’t change the truth of your life’s purpose. You exist to be a helper to a man. That’s why God created you. Yes, you can also be a mother. You can be a friend, a daughter, a musician, a painter, a writer, a teacher, etc. But all of these just show your abilities, not your purpose. Your purpose is to be a helper to your husband.
- Wives have a history of doing evil for their husbands rather than good.
Genesis 3 tells the story of the first marriage in which the husband and wife mixed up their roles. Eve desired dominion (over the truth of the knowledge of good and evil, or maybe we could even say she desired to have dominion over God himself!). She asked Adam to join her in her desire. Do you see how mixed up this was? Why wasn’t she with her husband? Why wasn’t she asking him what he wanted and then seeking to help him with that task?
Ever since, we wives have had a sour history of helping our husbands do evil rather than good, or asking our husbands to be our “suitable helpers” rather than aspiring to be theirs.
- A virtuous wife helps her husband succeed, not wants her husband to help her succeed.
Now we can see what a treasure the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 really is! She has a long history of being a “suitable helper,” doing him good and not evil, day after day, consistently, repeatedly. She isn’t out to please herself or attain great things for herself. Rather she’s thinking about him and how she can fulfill her God-given purpose for her life, that of simply helping him.
Because she does this day after day (“all the days of her life,” verse 12), his heart has relaxed around her. He safely and securely puts his trust in her, and he’s not afraid of having everything that is precious to him destroyed by her evil, selfish ambitions.
Note how his helper has made him a success:
“Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land” (verse 23, NIV).
This lesson is very convicting to me, because my mind is constantly buzzing with ideas of things I can do with this one life of mine. I’m driven to succeed and I’m driven to accomplish. Yes, this is the personality God gave me, but I’ve only found true peace and joy (in my marriage or otherwise) when I channel this passion for success toward my husband. I’ve found that when I work to make him succeed, I find joy. When he is happy, so am I! Funny it should work this way, huh? It’s just the way God made us women!
I can’t wait to read your comments….
Jane Bailey says
Anne, thank you and God for this timely albeit painful reminder. I’m homeschooling 3 boys, and 99.99999% of my time, focus, passion, and energy goes there. My hubby just got some hours/$ cuts on his job, and I know I haven’t been the overtly supportive and encouraging friend that he needs me to be. God is busting me on the fruitlessness of my selfishness, and I thank you for yet another reminder of who and what I’m supposed to be!!
tami lewis says
great post! i especially love the part about channeling your drive into your husband’s success not yours- a big problem for me! i want to do so much!! but that isn’t why i was created. i need to do more for him. praise God my hubby respects my talents and is thankful for them , as he sees how i am trying to use them to help him..
Ingrid Freeborn says
I did a bible study with Crystal Garrison years ago on Proverb 31. The study was called; “A Woman More Precious Than Jewels”. It is a great study, but the only thing I can remember is that it is a wife’s job to make her husbands happy, only God can make him good. I asked God what kind of wife I must be in order to make my husband happy. He told me and pointed out some things that in my ignorance I had done wrong. I am still working on it, but I have experienced great happiness in my marrriage ever since I became the wife my husband needs.
What a wonderful reminder of the plans of YHWH for us!