The book is called Created To Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious by Debi Pearl. I bought it for my Kindle, but you can get it in paper form, as well. One of the many blogs I follow, Baby Chaser, posted at the beginning of this year about how she enjoys mentoring other couples in their marriages. In her post, she talked about how she mentored a friend and gave her this book to read. This blogger is always going on about her "Beloved" (her husband) and how she's always bending over backwards (it seems to me) to please him. I really enjoy her blog and have always thought she had some great ideas. But all this "Beloved" talk was so strange to me. Even though I thought her ideas towards marriage were old-fashioned/impractical/what-have-you, something about that one post called to me. I firmly believe that God speaks to us in all sorts of manners, and I do believe that He uses technology these days! My point is, I felt like God was pointing me to that particular post, which talked about this particular book. Like He was telling me to read this book.
I'll admit, I was very skeptical at first. I'm human; I'm hesitant to really open myself up to Him and let Him in. Sometimes He has to almost hit me over the head with something and make me listen. I downloaded a free sample to my Kindle and didn't touch it for several days. Okay, God, its on my Kindle, I'll get to it eventually. See? I did it. But that wasn't good enough for Him. He kept putting his on my heart and on my mind, so finally I gave in and started reading. I was hooked from the Table of Contents. Seriously. I could tell just by glancing at chapter titles that this was a book HE wanted me to read, and read NOW.
Here's a sample of chapter titles: "So He Isn't Mr. Right;" "The Queen of His Heart;" "Make Love Fun;" "God's Blueprint for Marriage;" "Practice Makes 'Awful' Perfectly Awful;" "Three Kinds of Men;" "God Made Them That Way;" "Marriage Made in Heaven;" "Eve Has Many Sisters;" "How To Be A Good Wife Today;" "I'm About To Have A Nervous Breakdown;" "Raising Cows or Kids;" "The Wife Does Make a Difference;" "Is There Hope Yet?" Get the idea? This book covers a lot of topics and issues. As I was reading, I kept coming up with questions, and Mrs. Pearl answered all my questions before the book was over.
Before I go any further, let me just say that I have been praying for a really long time for God to work in my marriage. I love my dear husband with all my heart, but I knew our marriage was not where it needed to be. I prayed and prayed for God to change it, to change me. I didn't know exactly what I was praying for, I just knew things needed to be different. I knew that somehow, God wanted more for us. (My marriage is still not there yet, and I know that it will be a constant work-in-progress, just like anything worth having in life. But it is better by leaps and bounds, I will tell you!)
I will also say that my husband is a good man. He does not abuse me, he would never cheat on me, he does not watch pornography or do anything else that is morally wrong. He loves me and he loves our daughter, and I know he'd lay down his life for either of us. He's a good man, plain and simple. So its not like I started reading this book hoping for help with dealing with an abusive mate or needing to know how to love him even though he loves porn. I feel for women out there who are dealing with situations like that. My marriage is just a typical marriage, we have typical, normal problems, but nothing that is a "deal breaker."
We love each other, but for a few years now I've felt like I wasn't doing quite enough in my role as wife. There was something out there that was just beyond my reach. I didn't even know what it was, I just knew it was out there. I know now that was God talking to me. He has been (and still is) patiently guiding me to where I need to be. (I'm sure now He's like whew! Finally! She's on the right track! haha)
Before DH and I got married, we were required to attend some premarital counseling with both our preachers (they both married us). I remember we went to those sessions thinking what a waste of time it was. Obviously, we knew each other pretty well, or we wouldn't be getting married! We each knew where the other stood on the important issues, and even most of the unimportant ones. I wish now we had really taken that opportunity to learn more about what it really means to be married. Our counseling sessions didn't turn up anything that was alarming to either of us. The preachers did try to make sure we knew what we were getting into, but we just nodded and smiled and thought that nothing would ever happen to us, we loved each other and that was enough. I'm sure lots of couples go into marriage thinking that.
|Photo from our wedding day. EL Photography|
So let's get back to the book. Mrs. Pearl reminds us of what the Bible says in Genesis 2:18, 21-22:
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him... And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam... and he took one of his ribs... And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
Right there, God tells us women that we are to be help meets for our husbands. Exactly what that phrase means is the question, and we'll get to that. I love how God tells us that he made woman from Adam's rib - a part of his body that is at his side. Woman wasn't made from something on Adam's back, so she would stand behind him, or something from his front, so she would stand ahead of him. Woman was created to walk by man's side, to be his equal. God didn't want Adam to be alone, he wanted him to have a partner to walk this earth with, someone to help him. Proverbs 18:22 says, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."
All these great verses in scripture have been right there for me my whole life, but no one has ever put them all together and explained them to me in a way that it clicked with me.
"For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (1 Corinthians 11:8-9) God wants a wife to be a helper for her husband, plain and simple. Not the other way around. I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing: so I'm supposed to bow down to my husband and let him reign over me??! Nope, we'll get to that in a minute. God also made sure to tell husbands how they should treat their wives. And while we're talking about our husbands, I bet you're also thinking "does my husband deserve for me to treat him like a King?! No, he probably doesn't. Christ died for our sins; did any of us deserve for him to do that for us??! NO! We don't deserve anything He has given to us, not a thing. My husband is a sinner, just like me. It doesn't matter that he doesn't deserve for me to treat him with respect or be submissive to him, because its my calling to do so. This is what I was created for: to be my husband's helper (just as he was created to be a helper for the Lord).
I don't know about you, but to me this was pretty mind-blowing.
As my preacher says, but let's look further! ( :
God has given us a blueprint for marriage, as Mrs. Pearl says in the book. Check out these verses:
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24).
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18)
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3)
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church. ...each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 25, 28, 29, 33)
So yes, we as wives are called to submit to our husbands, but husbands are also to love their wives just as Christ loves the church. That's a pretty amazing love. Think of what Christ did for His church. He gave us everything. Husbands are supposed to love their wives with that kind of love. Not because we deserve to be loved like that (because we don't), but because that's what God meant for husbands to do. Just like he meant for us wives to submit to our husbands. See what I mean about marriage being a give and take? You can't just expect your husband to "give himself up for you" if you're not also submitting to him. Its a two-way street.
Mrs. Pearl does a much better job of explaining all this in her book, so I would encourage everyone to go buy it and read it. I am not affiliated with her ministry in any way, and I get nothing if you purchase her book. But it has had such an impact on me that I can't help but tell others about it.
Here's another point that Mrs. Pearl made that really impacted me: when we honor our husbands and submit to them (and basically just be the woman and wife that God made us to be), we are honoring God as well. I have never thought about it like that. Conversely, if we are not honoring our husbands and not being submissive, we are dishonoring God. Woah. That is not what I want at all! I want to honor God in all that I do.
So for me, even though it goes against everything I've heard my entire life, even if its incredibly hard for me to be submissive and respectful, I will strive to be that woman, just so I can honor God. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman (see Proverbs 31:10-31). And I know that I may not ever be rewarded for my efforts in this life. That's okay, because I know God will reward me in Heaven, and that's all that matters. I was put on this life for a purpose, and my purpose is to bring honor to my God (that's everyone's purpose!). Being my husband's help meet brings honor to God, so I have to strive to be that.
I have tons more to say on this topic, but I am going to close this post now so that it doesn't get too long. I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this topic of being a help meet to your husband! Is your initial reaction just like mine was? Is this idea nothing new to you? Are you going to read the book, and if you have read it, was it as life-changing for you as it was for me? I think I'll turn this into a series of sort on my blog, since it is something I could go on and on about. So stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll get more into exactly what being a help meet means. This is gonna turn into a full-fledged study of Mrs. Pearl's book! ( :