By Keren Kanyago, Crosswalk.com
I have hired a flurry of babysitters for my kids. Sadly, most of them seemed to have been doing their job half-heartedly, hanging their boots at the first sight of toddler tantrums. Then I hired Emma. A shy, quiet young lady with a heartwarming smile. My babysitter problems ground to a halt the day she set foot in my house. She adored my kids and would anticipate their needs. She was patient with them, never once raising her voice at them.
After the mounds of disappointment I had waddled through, Emma seemed surreal. I had finally found a “suitable helper,'' where tending to my kids was concerned, and I was pleased to bits. This experience made me evaluate myself as a wife. I wondered if I had been a suitable helper to my husband. Did his heart swell up with pride and gratitude when he thought about me? Did I make his life easier, or did I burden him more? But what does it mean to be your husband’s helper?
Who is a Helper?
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18, NIV)
To be a helper to someone is to assist or offer them support in a bid to make their life more bearable. Many wives frown at the title “helper,” opining that it alludes to an inferior role, a sharp contrast to the man who is portrayed as the leader. A little scrutiny into the origin of the word helper will help put things into perspective.
The original Hebrew word translated to “suitable helper” is the word "Ezer." Ezer is used multiple times while referring to God as a helper to mankind. It connotes power and strength and is not a subservient role. It speaks of the ability to protect, rescue, save, and help. So chin up, ladies, your role as a helper is not a measly, feeble role. It will fan into flame the strength and grace endowed in you.
Here is what it means to be your husband's suitable helper:
1. It's Sprinkling Goodness into His Life
“She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:12)
During creation, God looked upon all that He had made and declared that it was good. But when He looked at man, something was amiss. Man's relational status was the only aspect in creation that God deemed as “not good.” Enter you, the suitable helper. It seems that one of your chief roles as a wife is to inject “goodness” into your husband’s life. The Proverbs 31 woman does her husband good and not evil all her days.
"Which good things?" you may ask. This majorly involves meeting your husband's needs and learning his love language. The best way to get started in seeking to fulfill his needs is to ask him. But here's a little help. In his book, His Needs, Her Needs, Willard F. Harley Jr. outlines the top 5 needs of a man: sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, a physically attractive wife, domestic support, and admiration. We will discuss some of these needs further as we move along. But the bottom line is to ensure that your presence in your husband's life adds great value.
2. It's Praying for Him
No one is better placed to pray for a married man than their wife. As a wife, you know his innermost fears and aspirations. You are privy to his goals and dreams. You are well acquainted with the fears that keep him awake at night. Pray that God will perfect that which concerns him (Psalm 138:8). Pray for his day, work, health, protection, peace of mind, future, spiritual walk, and fulfillment in life. Pray that he will keep things in perspective by seeking the kingdom of God first and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
3. It's Encouraging and Listening to Him
Men are often hounded by paralyzing fears that they can only divulge to someone they completely trust. Guess what? That's you, their wife. Give your husband a listening ear when he needs to get things off his chest. Do not rush him or judge him; empathize with him and let him know that you will always be in his corner. Show him your support and encourage him when his plans go belly up. Let him know that you are praying for him and that there will be brighter days ahead.
4. It's Helping Him—Literally
Imagine trotting down to the kitchen after a busy day at work, gearing up to fix dinner, only to find that someone already whipped up a delectable meal for you! Don't we all love a helping hand? Every so often, seek to offload some responsibilities on your husband's to-do list. You could offer to run some errands, help with some of his projects, or merely give your suggestions. Let him know that he can count on your help.
5. It's Providing a Clean and Organized Home
Research shows that most men fancy retiring to a clean and well-organized home. A cluttered and unkempt home ticks men off. Paul encouraged the young women to be discreet, chaste, and homemakers so that the Word of God would not be blasphemed (Titus 2:4-5). Granted, sometimes this desire for a spik-and-span home can be an illusion. This is especially when both spouses work outside the home with young tots to boot. However, wives should realize that this is a deep-seated need in many men, and they should do everything in their power to enthuse them. Husbands, too, should not leave the role of ensuring a kempt home to their wives. They need to take up some of the tasks and chores to ensure the smooth running of the home.
6. It's Guiding Him Respectfully
Many men will admit that heeding their wives’ advice has often saved them from making many mistakes. As part of being a suitable helper, God has endowed wives with great intuition. That's why many wives can smell trouble miles away while their husbands remain unsuspecting. Do not hesitate to offer advice to your husband whenever you sense that he is headed in the wrong direction.
But don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean you should control him or ridicule his ideas. Ensure you share your perspective with him respectfully. Consider Queen Esther who did not approach the king haphazardly, even though she was the queen. She even called upon her people to pray and fast before presenting her request. Douse your advice in respect.
7. It's Being a Hard Worker
“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night. She provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it, out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously, her arms are strong for her tasks.” (Proverbs 31:13-17, NKJV).
Men love to see their wives flourish and achieve various strides in life. Your husband will swell with pride to see you bag that promotion at work, start a business, publish a book, or further your studies among other feats. This will of course depend on the season you are in. Moms with young kids can only do so much where self-improvement and raking in the dough is concerned.
But when the season is right, do not hold back. Do not leave your husband to bear the entire financial burden of your home. Work hard and provide for your household as well. Remember a virtuous woman does not eat the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31:27). Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
8. It's Meeting His Sexual Needs
Whether you admit it or not, sexual intimacy is a big deal to your husband. It helps him feel masculine, stokes his ego, reduces stress, lifts his mood, and adds a spring to his step. Relationship experts opine that sex is the number one need among married men. For most wives, however, their need for sexual intimacy largely depends on the emotional connection they feel toward their husbands.
Men tend to have a higher sex drive than the average woman. As a suitable helper, do not gloss over your husband's sexual needs. If you feel disconnected from him, have a conversation with him and iron out the issues that threaten to snuff out the emotional and sexual health of your marriage.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/dragana991
Keren Kanyago is a freelance writer and blogger at Parenting Spring. As a wife and mom, she uses her blog to weigh in on pertinent issues around parenting, marriage, and the Christian Faith. She holds a degree in mass communication with a specialty in print media. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram and/or shoot her an email at [email protected]