Today we conclude our two-month Proverbs study with an insightful post by devotional writer, Cheri Salwall. I like to think of the Christian marriage in terms of it’s missional purpose. We are our spouse’s helpmate not merely to make their life easier or to help them find intimacy, as important as those things are, but instead, God pairs us with our spouse so that we, combined, can fulfill a portion of His eternal plan.
In today’s post, Cheri speaks specifically to us wives, reminding us to encourage and uplift our husband’s daily, but I believe the overall principal–seeking to bring out the best in our spouses–applies to both husbands and wives.
The Happy Helpmate
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31: 11-12).
I love marriage and family and all things related. When I was in second grade, I wrote an essay entitled, “When I grow up, I want to be a housewife.” I wanted to have a small farm and while my husband went off to work somewhere I would grow our vegetables, feed the animals, take care of our children, and keep the house clean. In my seven-year-old mind, that was the perfect job.
Thirty-three years later, I am living my dream. My husband grows a vegetable garden that I help maintain and eventually we will raise chickens for fresh eggs. I’m privileged to work from home and take care of the kids while my husband goes off to work. In our family, the children are very well aware their dad is the head of the household and their mom is his helpmate.
The Free Dictionary by Farlex describes a helpmate as “a companion and helper, especially a wife.” Proverbs 31: 10-31 gives great guidelines of how to achieve the role of helpmate God placed inside the heart of women to fulfill. Strong women are condemned at times in today’s society for emasculating their men, but I think it takes a strong woman to be the helpmate God designed us to be. Being a helpmate doesn’t mean never expressing an opinion; it means trusting your husband to make the final decision after you both have had a chance to discuss the issue together. It means you use the resources God has given you, your strengths and talents, to come alongside your husband and help him be the best protector and provider he can be. It means that you work together to help your family succeed.
Being his helpmate means that you intentionally seek to bring out the best in your spouse. Being his helpmate means being his number one cheerleader, even if he makes a bad decision or two. If the roles were reversed and you were in charge of leading, do you think you choose correctly every time? When you blow it, what kind of a response is more likely to help you get up and try again – nagging and “I told you so” or the kind, gentle reminder that “I believe in you.”?
A helpmate is someone who will actively look to see what she can do to make the life easier for the one on the frontlines. That could mean offering to pick up his clothes from the laundromat even if it’s out of your way, keeping the house “company ready” if his job is one that has people dropping by unexpectedly, or volunteering to balance the checkbook, keep the family calendar organized, and make the list of phone calls that keep a family running smoothly.
I have one friend in particular who willingly and lovingly steps into this role with her husband on a regular basis. She casually mentioned one Sunday that she woke up early to fix her husband a hot breakfast before he left to perform on the worship team. She supports his role in ministry and wanted him to have extra confidence by doing what she could to help him perform at his optimum instead of being jittery from too much coffee and no real sustenance. Even though she is not actively participating on the team, in essence she is performing an act of service to God as well.
When I think of the Proverbs 31 wife, that is my mental picture. She wakes up early, when necessary, to perform the duties she can in order to assist her husband in providing for their family – whether financially, spiritually, emotionally, or physically. She sometimes goes out to work and earn money for extra expenses, without complaining, and makes sure that she wisely uses the income her husband provides to teach the next generation the importance of a budget and also to show her husband how grateful she is for his hard work. She takes care of herself spiritually, physically, and emotionally so that she can perform at her optimal best, encouraging her husband to take time to do the same.
The last and most important part of being a helpmate is to have the right attitude. When we lovingly doing our part to take over some responsibilities in order to lessen the load our husbands carry, we’re making his job easier. Not just physically but emotionally. When they knows we have come alongside them and truly want to help, they can then leave confidently, knowing they will be welcomed home and appreciated for their contributions to our families. I think we would all agree that we perform at our best when we’re supported by those we love.
I want to encourage all of us to strive to be loving helpmates to our husbands. When we all work together to please God in our actions and attitudes, everyone wins.
Cheri Swalwell is a wife, mother, and avid reader, but first and foremost she is a Christ follower. She has a degree in Psychology and has been blessed to be a guest on a variety of blogs including Christiandevotions.us, Circle of Friends, and Crosswalk.com/family. She is a regular contributor to book fun magazine. If you want to hear more about the heart she has for marriage, parenting, and relationships from a Christian perspective, feel free to visit her website at http://www.cheriswalwell.com where you can connect to her blog or “like” her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/cheri-Swalwell. She loves to interact with her readers, so feel free to connect with her at clSwalwell99@gmail.com. In addition, she has written two devotionals, A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Because They Need You and A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level:
Do you ever feel like life is out of control and you just need a chance to stop and catch your breath? If you wrestle with questions such as fear versus faith or how to find balance in such a fast paced society, then A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level is a great solution. Get ready to relax with a series of 40 devotionals taken from the author’s blogs where she just talks to you, friend to friend, about life’s challenges with a spiritual perspective. It’s small enough to fit in your purse or briefcase, great to give to a friend who needs some encouragement, and reasonably priced so you can pick one up for yourself at the same time. Available at amazon.com.
A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Because They Need You:
A set of 40 devotionals taken from the author’s blogs where she enjoys talking to you, friend to friend, about the joys and trials of raising children. It’s small enough to fit in your purse or briefcase, great to buy for a friend who needs a little pick me up, and reasonably priced so you can buy one for yourself as well. Get ready to be encouraged and challenged in a lighthearted way while taking a deeper look at the heart the author has for her own children and those she loves. Sit down, grab your favorite beverage, and get ready to be uplifted while journeying together as parents. Available at amazon.com.
What is one way you can show your spouse you’re their cheerleader today? In a typical day, do you tend to speak more words of encouragement or condemnation? If the latter, what are some ways you can actively guard your words?