Wednesday we talked about men being the head of the household so today we are taking a look at the role of women in marriage. I think this one is going to be a little bit harder to write because the biblical concept of “helpmeet” is vastly misunderstood. It isn’t demeaning and it doesn’t make women inferior. God made the genders uniquely with different strengths and weaknesses and each are valuable and essential to God’s design. I want to make that clear here and now. In no way will I ever say that one gender is more important or better than the other. Each is wonderful and beautiful in its own way and I think both male and female scream the image of God. It is actually quite amazing how God has portrayed His image in such different genders which is why I will always call for us to appreciate the opposite sex more. With that said, let’s look at the awesome role God has given women: the role of being the helpmeet.
In Genesis 2:18 God declares, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” So God created animals and brought them before Adam. Adam then gave them each a name but he did not find a helper suitable for him. So God put Adam in a deep sleep and used one of his ribs to form woman. When God presented the woman to Adam he said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” After this we find the infamous verse 24 that reads, “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” How romantic! They are of the same bone and flesh and they unite as one – marriage. And women play an important role in this union called marriage. If you read Genesis 2 & 3 you will notice that God doesn’t create anymore. The woman was the last thing He created. She was the pinnacle of His creation! It’s like God said, “There, now everything is good, as it should be. It’s complete.” Man and woman were together, united as one, to rule over creation and worship God their Maker. All was well.
But then something terrible happened. Sin crept in. The woman was deceived and her husband, failing to protect his wife, fell into sin as well and they ushered in a fallenness that would forever attack their union, seeking to destroy it. They were cursed and the roles that God had given them became hard. In Genesis 3:16 we find the woman’s curse: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” That desire is to be the leader, not the helper that she was created to be, and to rule over her husband.
What this means for women today is that we have this role to be the helpmeet but a desire to be the leader and that tension causes problems within marriage. I think this is one of the biggest issues in male/female roles. It is evident everywhere but it is most troubling in a marriage. Because in marriage you have a man who is suppose to be the head of his household and you have a woman who is suppose to be his helpmeet but she is wanting to reverse the roles. She wants to be the head and have him follow her because she knows what is best, not him. She is better and smarter at everything and he’s just a big goofball that couldn’t survive without her. This way of thinking has saturated our society but it isn’t fair nor is it true.
Men need women, yes, but women need men too. God created us to need each other, to complete each other. God made men to be the picture of strength, courage, logic, and headship. God created women to be the picture of gentleness, relationship, nurture, and emotion. It’s not that men can’t experience or possess gentleness or that women can’t experience or possess strength but we experience and possess differently. And we need that difference to function as God wants us to.
Wives are their husband’s helpmeet in the way that they use their womanly characteristics and skills to help their husbands live, work, and enjoy life. That is an awesome role. Wives, you have what it takes to support your husband, to help him make decisions, to help him enjoy a quality of life only you can give him. God made Adam a helper fit for him. That helper that is fit for your husband, that helper that is suitable and right, is you. Your husband cannot lead as he should without your help; not because he is inferior but because he is incomplete without you. It is not good for him to be alone so God gave him you. Don’t dishonor that by trying to take on a position or an authority that is not meant for you.
Wives, you have a special and important role and it is one that only you can fill. You and your husband are one. Live as one, work together as one, and fulfill your role of being helpmeet, God’s image of femininity.