The Helping Role in Marriage


Marriage has been probably one of the biggest challenges, and greatest adventures I have yet to be on. The way my relationship with Christ has deepened because of it, and the way I've had to die to self- learn what living sacrificially means (and I bet I don't even know the half of it!) has been something that has left me feeling incredibly grateful and humbled. 

There was a realization yesterday that even having babies will be  just a season of our marriage. And when I estimated on the high end a 80 year life, having baby-babies (small things) will only be about 5-10 % of our life. This has allowed a lot of the stresses over things like fear of not accomplishing some of the goals I have, curiosity about being lonely as a stay-at-home mom, or wondering if I'll be able to find my worth from Christ and not from how my children behave, to  be put into perspective. It's has allowed me to get excited about this upcoming 10% and the rest of it too... 

I think of the almost 2 years I've been with my husband and I look at who I am, and who he is-and it's crazy to me. Learning who that (gorgeous, breath-takingly good looking) man is and what he's passionate about, and re-evaluating what God's design was with this whole marriage business has brought a lot of joy, peace and I think a lot of rest for both Ben and me.

Part of examining our marriage has left me examining my role as Ben's wife.  I had a whole list of what I thought marriage was going to be-and what my role as a wife was- prior to being married. Being Ben's helper was not on that list. Maybe I thought it was, but only as long as helping him was obviously beneficial for me. Yet biblically, when we first get a glimpse as to what marriage is, thats exactly what Eve gets to be. Adams Helper. Now there's a gazillion devotionals on the meaning of being a helper biblically and what not, and I definitely recommend reading them. However, what I've been noticing is how interesting it is when she chooses to eat the fruit and offer it to her husband. She's the one leading and in control of the situation and she is definitely NOT helping him. 

In those early months (and I still catch myself) I think my view of our marriage looked a lot more like Eve running the show than I would like to have admit. I would think that Ben wasn't built to lead in some area of our marriage so I would take it on myself to 'help' him. This looked like me making suggestions (aka preaching/manipulating) on how things should be. I second guessed him, and when proven right-I used it as ammunition. If you examined my heart, I could tell you now I was not interested in truly helping him-but demanding my own way.  Ben is a man who will not force his leadership. He can lead perfectly well (better than most male-leaders I've seen) yet does not force his way and isn't a manipulator. Its honorable of him and has caused me to have a lot of respect for that man. It took me a long time for me to realize just how often I would spit in the face of God's design and usurp the leadership that was given to Ben by refusing to actually think his judgement was quality. Or by taking advantage of his refusal to be a dictator. Good thing God is faithful (and both God & my husband are gracious and forgiving.) I started realizing just how unsatisfying our marriage would become if I continued to do this in my heart. This left me asking, what should I do?

First, God asked me to be willing to lay down my list of everything I thought we should accomplish in this marriage, and letting Ben define what we would do. I'm pretty sure when I first asked him about 'dreams' and whatnot he didn't have much to say. (Probably because he was so used to listening to me talk about what we were going to do. (oy vey)) But as time progressed, I've found I liked the adventure Ben's leading us on. He doesn't lead half-hazardously (which I tend to do) but leads with intention and well-thought through decisions. He's a man of adventure and really has some awesome places and things he'd like to accomplish. Ben hasn't chosen to ignore the desires of my heart-and in his awesome leadership has worked hard to encourage some of the things I had hoped for. Yet, I've found a lot of the things I hoped for come out naturally in what God's called him to (Surprise, surprise!)

I began to look to him to figure out what He wanted in a wife, rather than assuming I knew what he needed and started looking to him to help me define what it means to be a helper to him. I found yet another  happy surprise. The things he desired of me were things  I can do pretty well. Yet, were a challenge enough to me. As my perspective of who I needed be changed, so did my perspective of who he was. 

I began to see him as priority rather than just seeing him as a friend / meeter of my needs. I can't express how different that perspective has changed my attitude and heart towards him. I'm blessed with a man who takes his role as a husband seriously. But even if he didn't, I'm becoming more convinced that God would still require me to do the same. Allow him to lead, and be a helper to him. God started challenging me when I would challenge Ben's leadership. Are you being a good follower? Are you encouraging him in his leadership? Are you being the kind of spouse you know he needs? I find when I focus on those questions between me and God rather than on whether or not he's been encouraging me well, leading me well, or being the spouse I want, our relationship changes. Mostly I begin to see the ways he IS good at leading. And the ways he does know me well. I find myself more content over time.

I could keep going and I would say that this heart changing has been a process of these two years. For a very long while I didn't feel inclined to love Ben and respect him the way I knew I was being called to. But action changes hearts. When we choose to act in love and respect, we find ourselves finding legitimate reasons to be in love and full of respect. It's a cool trick. Catching my husband doing things that call those things (admiration, thankfulness, respect) out of me is a pretty pleasant past time. Try it with yours today!  

I hope all you lovely wives that have committed to marriage recognize what an awesome gift your husband is (even if it doesn't seem that way at this time.)  What would it look like for us to be helpers to our husbands? to do GOOD for them on a daily basis? Not because they've done right by us, but because its what God's called us to do. How do you think that would influence our relationships with our spouses and with God? 

Just something I've been thinking about.

Over and out,

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