This past weekend my wife spent some time in the great state of Georgia, helping some of our friends get packed up for a big move. While she was there, the couple she was helping went out to dinner with friends, and one of the ladies at the dinner table was a very vocal Deist. My pal engaged her in a conversation about Christ, and his wife said later that she spent the entire evening biting her tongue instead of joining into the conversation. Her father praised her to the highest heavens for being such a “good, submissive wife”.
In seems like in certain segments of the confessional Presbyterian and Reformed sub-culture there is an over emphasis on the “submission” aspect of our marriages, and a real lack of emphasis on the “helper” aspect of our marriages. Too many “Reformed” men are frothing at the mouth over having wives that are adequately submissive, instead of asking how their wife can fulfill the role of helper.
וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹא־ט֛וֹב הֱי֥וֹת הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְבַדּ֑וֹ אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־לּ֥וֹ עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper who corresponds to him. – Genesis 2:18, author’s translation.
While the translation of עֵ֖זֶר (ezer) is somewhat disputed, what isn’t disputed is this: Eve is created by God to be an indispensable companion to Adam. That is the role our wives are to fill in our lives. You shouldn’t be able to ‘get along’ with out your wife – her input and her godly advice should be indispensable to us.
The reality is that ‘helper’ is actually part of the woman’s identity, as she is created by God; in this she is unique from the man. I find it interesting that, in all of our conversations about submission and headship, God’s command that “wives submit to their own husbands as to the Lord” doesn’t get grounded in her created identity, which is where it belongs. The woman’s essence, at the moment of creation, is to be a helper to her man.
It is out of this essence that the commands to submission and respect flow; I also find it interesting that nobody seems to mention that these imperatives are placed on us in areas we are weak in. Men don’t have a problem respecting the jerk they work for. But women do struggle with respect in relation to men. Women don’t have a problem expressing love for their spouse. But men do. This should point us to the reality that submission is going to be quite difficult.
Perhaps, if we were to focus on the nature of ‘helping’, and let the command to submit to [your] husbands flow out of that, the concept of submission would be less odious.
Any thoughts, ladies?
- Sleep-deprived wives can impact on marriage, says study (time4sleep.co.uk)
- “Husbands, Love Your Wives… (breakawaybylintrollins.wordpress.com)
- I Want to Hear from some Husbands about another Topic (peacefulwife.com)
- “The Beautiful Wife” by Sandy Ralya (My Review) (onedesertrose.wordpress.com)
- To the Husbands Who Are Feeling Disrespected (peacefulwife.com)
- Headship and Submission – Bryan Chapell’s Book “Each to the Other” (reformedreader.wordpress.com)