I’ve read Lisa’s ideas about parenting…I’ve read her thoughts on friendship…but I’ve never read her insights on marriage. And so I asked…
I’m currently writing a series on my blog encouraging wives in their journey as a help meet to their husbands. What is something practical you’ve done to help your husband be a better father, husband, man of God?
Well, can I share something with you that I wish I would have done better and understood earlier?
It’s about balance. I’d read all the books about being a great help meet and I implemented all the right things. But somehow as I was offering all that I thought a good wife should be…I stopped offering myself.
If we change ourselves too much to be their help meet, we can make it too easy for our husbands and they can’t grow. We have to be honest – that’s what being a good help meet is.
Laura’s follow-up thoughts:
Eek, my notes as I scrawled frantically during my interview with Lisa were beginning to look rather scary at this point. I was trying so hard to listen well and write at the same time, but your guess is as good as mine about what I meant when I wrote, “use uhs as a good opp”. Huh? If you recall, this entire interview took place in fifteen minutes time. There was not time for neat penmanship.
Anyway, what I THINK Lisa was wisely saying to us is that being a good help meet doesn’t mean that we’re to just completely give up on what we need and desire in our marriage, just to make our husbands happy. We have to be honest and tell our husbands what we need, otherwise they can’t grow into the husband God desires them to be.
I think that there are wonderful “be a better help meet” books out there, but I do often feel overwhelmed and inadequate after reading them. That’s part of the reason I started writing my own series about becoming a better help meet…to try to be real and practical…hopefully, sort of.
So yes, being a good wife doesn’t mean that I should give up on who I am so that my husband’s world will happily and smoothly go around. It does mean that I sometimes give up what I want. It does mean that I put his needs before my own. It does mean that I love him with all my heart and work very hard to meet his needs.
But meeting his needs may mean that I challenge him to improve his life and to work to better meet my needs. I’m only truly being his help meet if I am helping him become a better man of God.
I think this help meet thing calls for a lot of prayers for wisdom.
What do you think?
Kris Mays says
I think you both hit the nail on the head. Just the last few years I went on a “submissive wife” kick. I thought that was the way to go as a better helpmeet for my husband. So many of the books and discussion groups centered on “do everything for your husband.” Dress nicely for him, bring him his slippers in the evening, be there for him “on call” in the bedroom (but dont ask him to go on your needs in that matter). One even said it was wrong for the woman to pay the bills in the household because that was taking away from the man’s position. Let him handle it, he’ll step up to the plate. On and on. Now, if that works in your marriage and you’re both happy, great. But I know in my family that handing over the checkbook can be pretty scary stuff. Ironically he has taken that over for the most part.
But the thing is, some of the things I found myself doing were not me. I somehow got lost in there. God wants us to be equal partners in marriage. My husband told me once, I can’t do what I’m supposed to and make you happy in this if you dont tell me what you need.
Jenn @ Beautiful Calling says
“I’m only truly being his help meet if I am helping him become a better man of God.”
Wow. This really spoke to my heart today. Thank you!
Veronica D says
I agree that it takes alot of prayer. I think we can read every book out there but without wisdom from God we will never know how to implement it into our lives.
I am struggling with that right now as God has brought to my attention that I make my husband feel like he can not do anything. That has never been my intention, I was only trying to “help” but I think the important thing is knowing when to speak up and when to keep quiet.
Assuring my husband that even if he makes a mistake I still love him and allowing him to take steps that I might not be so sure of. Standing back and letting God direct my husband instead of trying to do it myself based on my own feelings.
Veronica, I think many wives struggle in this same area. I know I did/do. It’s hard to learn to let them make mistakes. Hard to let go and trust. But I’ve seen that it makes such a huge difference in my husband when I let go and stop telling him where he’s about to make a mistake and instead just buckle-up and hang on for the ride, wherever he takes us. It sure does take a lot of prayer!
How wonderfully said!!! That is something I didn’t begin to learn until close to 20 years of marriage! A very wise thought from Lisa and very well spoken by you!! I hope some younger wives will learn this at a much younger age! It is very difficult to begin to change relationship dynamics after 20 years and it is so wise to learn those things early! God bless and thanks for sharing!
Hmmm… these are interesting thoughts. I struggle with this area myself. Although I’m not the best at implementing it, I’ve come to a conclusion.
This comment “If we change ourselves too much to be their help meet, we can make it too easy for our husbands and they can’t grow. We have to be honest – that’s what being a good help meet is.” sort of … bothers me. Is it up to us to make sure our husbands grow? Are we suppose to challenge him enough so that he has a chance to grow? Or should we, maybe, submit ourselves to him, be as Godly a wife as we can be, and leave the “growing” up to God? WE are not in control of how much he grows no matter what we think. I strive to change myself to be a more Godly woman, KNOWING that is what is best for him. After that change has started, I may not seem like “me” at all. That would be a good thing, don’t you think? Now only if I was better at following my own conclusions.
I think prayer for wisdom is a great idea, and I will continue. Thank you for your blog, I really appreciate everything you have posted so far and will continue to read it regularly.
“But somehow as I was offering all that I thought I good wife should be…I stopped offering myself.”
Wow. That stopped me in my tracks. What it means to me is this: I can get caught up in doing things that I know are what a good helpmeet does. I can become good at serving him in these ways, but in the process I sometimes give him lots of ‘service’ and fall short of giving him my heart. I’m so busy focusing on getting all the tasks right that I’m too preoccupied, too tired, to just open myself up to him, flaws and all. We do this in our relationship with the Lord sometimes… focus so much on serving, on ‘being good’, without really giving Him our heart and affections. While I want to be all that God designed me to be as a good helpmeet to my husband, I have to remember that there was something about ME that my husband admired, that first drew him to me, and I don’t want to hold that back.
Kathy Shaner says
This idea of not offering myself– to my husband OR to God– has really been on my heart lately. What an eye-opener it has been to me, to see that the best I can do for God, and my husband, is to open myself up completely to a deep, living relationship. And that’s not about doing ‘things,’ although serving is a key part of loving. It seems there’s a fine line in there somewhere.
Very thought provoking!
I like what she said. As much as I love reading blogs, I find there is a danger in that I sometimes think I need to be doing things a certain way. Like another commenter, I went on a submissive kick a while ago and DH did not like it. I have realized that he does not care at all about the house being tidy or dinner being done, but he does like and appreciate me joining him in his activities. If he’s running out to do something, very often he wants me come along, even if means grabbing 49-cent burgers from McD’s for dinner and coming home to a messy house. It turns out that’s how I was when we met and what he liked in me. It drives me crazy but I need to make the effort to do this. My house very often cannot be photographed lol nor would I regularly post my food budget (good weeks and bad weeks) but that is not what makes my dh happy anyway. Great info.
Rebecca K says
This is so key, and i never new how to put it into words but i think Lisa hit the nail on the head. The thing is, God didn’t create us all to be one way. there isn’t some ideal way of behaving that we should all strive to, because we were created for each other, not for everyone in the world. its our unique little quirks that make us special to our spouses. There are certain things which are important, like not belittling your spouse, etc, but its not a once size fits all thing.
Kathy Shaner says
You hear it all the time, Laura, but thank you– this is a great reminder for me today. I’m feeling kind of low because I’m not keeping up with all the chores and plans and projects. Just today I’ve found myself wondering, ‘why bother?’ because I’m not finishing a lot of things. BUT– that’s not what my husband loves about me. He loves it when, even in the midst of daily demands, I take time to enjoy a good book, or drawing or painting something new. He really wants me to take care of myself, which is easy for me to lose sight of. That thing about balance is crucial and I’m glad for the reminder today.
This makes perfect sense–I’ve been discovering the wide world of blogs lately, as well (like may of the other commenters). What I’ve noticed is simply this: when I focus on a check-list of things I make based on how other people are living their convictions, my motives are entirely WRONG. This leads to all the wrong things, and basically makes me into a Pharisee, whitewashed on the outside, and full of dead bones inside. However, many times I’ve come across some suggestions that rub me the wrong way, because I think they don’t really apply to our situation or they’re just not “me”. I’m learning to submit myself very honestly to the Lord in these areas, and He is unfailing in showing me how I need to change. Often, I’m lead to repent of pride as the Lord shows me I’d be doing those things just for the sake of “doing” them. In other areas, I have to face some VERY unattractive things about myself that are leading me to think, “Oh, that particular wifely duty/act of submission/act of servanthood just isn’t ‘me’.” We must remember that as Christians, the ONLY WAY for us to achieve the balance our Heavenly Father desires for us is through the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Nancy M. says
Dear Laura, I have been a member of your site for a while now and every time your posting about being your husbands help meet; I wonder why you call it being a help meet instead of help mate? I was under the impression according to the bible that we are to be our husband’s help mates…am I wrong? Would you please explain why you use help meet instead?
I look forward to all your web-postings and your opinion and recipes as well as photos were the deciding factor to purchase my Bosch Universal. I do not use a grain mill as I live in NY state and have no close outlet for grain that makes it cheaper than buying pre-ground, but I do use great sources for my flour, some organic, but all unbleached and unbromated.
Again, thank you for the uplifting and sometimes comical newsletter!
Sincerely, Nancy Michel
Well, that is such a great question! I have no idea why I say that except for that was the term I always heard growing up. I also heard the term “help mate”, so to me they were/are interchangeable. There is certainly nothing wrong with calling yourself your husbands help mate. As long as you are being a godly helper to your wife, I don’t think it matters what you call yourself! :)