Being His Help Meet

Have you ever heard it said that a woman should be a help meet (or helpmate) to her husband? How did that make you feel? Today, my guest Elle E. Kay shares her perspective on what, exactly, being your spouse’s help meet actually means. But first, a caveat–Elle is not saying a wife must be a doormat, or that she should completely lose who God uniquely created her to be. Instead, she is expressing how she adapts her behaviors so that they have the greatest impact in conveying love and support. Hopefully, her husband is doing the same, but she has no control over that. All she can do is love her husband and love him well.

-Do all things without murmurings or disputings.-Philippians 2-14, KJV

Being His Help Meet
by Elle E. Kay

Some may think that there is something degrading about being a man’s help meet. If you explore it from a biblical perspective, you realize that it is an honor. God made man. He then set out to get man a help meet (Gen 2:18-20). In the process of choosing a help meet, Adam was shown that there were no creatures suitable for his needs. God made Eve from Adam’s own rib bone (Gen 2:21). She was a precious gift. A woman who was “meet” (suitable, proper, fitting) to satisfy his needs.

wedding-559422_1920 PIXABAYWhen I think about it, I realize that in agreeing to wed my spouse, I agreed to be the woman who would meet his needs. To be a suitable mate in every way. If I set out to do that in our daily lives, we are both happy.

Every man is different and has different needs. My husband is a strong independent male. He wouldn’t be happy with me fussing over him all the time. There are some men who want just that and there are some women who are happy to provide that. My husband wants a partner who will handle the things he doesn’t like to do and who will depend on him to do “manly” things. He’s a carpenter. He likes to build things. It made him happy to make me a pool shed, a barn, and a chicken coop. He’s also a gentleman and enjoys opening doors for me. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need or want my help. He does. He may never vocalize his needs, but if I pay attention, I’ll know them. He doesn’t like to put away laundry. I do that. He enjoys a good meal, I enjoy cooking for him.

The point is, I fill in where he needs me. I don’t try to fit some ideal of a perfect wife. I simply do what makes him happy. My house is rarely perfectly clean and dust free, but the things that need to be done are done. The things that drive him crazy like a sink full of dirty dishes are avoided (most of the time). In turn, I get the satisfied feeling of knowing I’ve met his needs. We’ve all heard the expression “happy wife, happy life.” It works just as well in reverse. If we spouses rise up to the challenge and do the hands-1022212_640things that make our husband’s lives easier, they will be happier. If they are happy, we are happy.

I didn’t say anything about a proper help meet staying home cooking and cleaning. A proper help meet can only be defined by the needs of her spouse. Barring that I would look to Proverbs 31. A Proverbs 31 woman does a lot more than dust and vacuum her home.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one other small thing. The things I do for my spouse, I must do without complaint. It wouldn’t make anyone happy if I walked around the house mumbling and grumbling as I went about my business.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14, KJV).

We are designed to help our husbands, but that doesn’t mean we must agree on every matter. How much help would we be if we simply nod our ascent as our husbands drive our families off the edge of a cliff? Sometimes we need to speak up. Help comes in many forms and may not always be easy. God designed us to be up for the challenge.

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Abandoned by her dearest friend, Stella is running-scared. Life and rsz_stella3death decisions force her to re-examine her faith, as well as her priorities. The handsome, Jason, only exacerbates her anxiety. Should she trust him? Something is amiss in the quiet town of Edinsville. How will Stella fare as her world gets turned upside down?

 

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ElleEKayElle E. Kay lives on a farmette in the Back Mountain region of Pennsylvania. An introvert, she surrounds herself with farm animals rather than people most of the time. But once you break down her initial walls, she can be quite talkative.

Connect with Elle on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and her website.

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livingbygracepic-jpLet’s talk about this: So often, society puts a negative connotation on something God creates to be beautiful. Have you experienced this? How do you strive to be a help meet to your spouse? How has that blessed you and your marriage? Share your thoughts in the comments below or over on Living by Grace. I’d love to hear them!

You Gotta Fight

Photo by Exsodus found on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Exsodus found on freedigitalphotos.net

Love, deep, growing, intimate love doesn’t just happen. You’ve gotta fight for it with everything you’ve got. Every day. Because every day, there are countless things pulling you and your spouse apart: busyness, job stress, the chaos of raising a family… the selfishness we’re all consumed with.

Yesterday morning I shared our battle story at an Art of Marriage conference. My husband thought it would help and encourage others if I shared it here, so he video taped me. The lighting’s not the best, and I sound a bit… winey and perhaps a little… writerly. 😉 But hopefully you can look past all the technical issues and glean from the message.

Forced to Choose

sorrow-and-worry-692910-mIt’s a choice I never wanted to make. It tore me up, tore my daughter up, and I’m pretty sure, it tore my husband up as well. But when a situation arose where I had to choose between my husband and my child, I knew there was really only one choice I could make. For if I followed my mother’s heart, the one that longs to buffer my child from every pain and surround her with nothing but abundant blessings, I honestly believe I would’ve robbed her of that which blesses her most–parents with a healthy, united marriage.

It was 2012, and my daughter and I were content. Happy. We lived in a great cul-de-sac filled with involved parents and great kids. The kind of neighborhood where parents kidsplayingfelt safe allowing their kids to play outside on late summer nights. We were involved in a growing church, had our hands in meaningful ministries. Our evenings were filled with family dinners, lots of hugs, and plenty of laughter.

Only my husband wasn’t happy. Not fully. Long story short, things outside our home had become toxic, and he was ready for a change. For peace. When his boss offered him a transfer to the corporate offices in Omaha, he saw his chance.

But this chance came at a price. We’d have to sell the home we loved, one we’d spent a great deal of time and money-making our “own”. We’d have to leave our church and the connections we’d made. Worse, we’d have to uproot our high school daughter. Surviving high school is hard enough. Her trying to navigate the inherently awkward halls as a newbie? The thought made me ill.

I’ve seen her weather enough broken friendships, unexpected rejections, and cliques to know this was going to be tough. Painfully tough. I worried about lonely lunches and even lonelier weekends as she waited, and waited, and waited to establish safe, lasting friendships. In fact, I worried myself sick, and prayed for a solution. One that could provide a much-deserved blessing for my precious husband while allowing our daughter to finish high school in Kansas City.

I knew if I complained or fought against it, my husband would stay. Because that’s how he is, always putting others first. But I also knew how much he needed this move, how much he deserved it. And I trusted if I put my husband first, God would bless our daughter for it.

So we went, and I’m pretty sure the summer that followed was the toughest our daughter had ever faced.

And I wondered why? Why did what was good for one have to come at the cost of another?

It didn’t. It just took time for us to catch sight of God’s blessing. Which is what this move has been–a blessing. For all of us. On New Year’s Eve, as I listened to giggles rising from a basement of teens, I thought back to our move and all God has done since078. God has returned to us all we lost in Kansas City triplefold. And our daughter? She didn’t really lose anything. Her truest friends held on, and they remain close to this day. But now she has many more friends to add to her circle. Great friends. Christ-centered friends.

In short, this move turned out to be exactly what our daughter needed.

Because when we do things God’s way, everyone wins.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this.

But… before we do, I want to invite you to pop on over to a new blog I joined with some of my sweet writer friends, Faith-filled Friends. We started this blog so we’d have a place to talk about our books, our characters, our fun research outings, and all the other things that make us smile. This month, we’re hosting a launch give-away. Join the conversation and get entered into the drawing for some great books and precious jewelry. 🙂 And make sure to subscribe, because you never know when there’ll be other gift baskets to win.

Then, join the conversation at Living by Grace as we chat about making difficult choices. Can you relate? Have you ever felt as if God were asking you to choose between a child and your spouse? If so, what did you do, and what was the result? Why do you believe it’s imperative, not just for us, but for our children as well, to put our marriage first?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below or on Facebook at Living by Grace.

Cherishing Your Spouse

Today’s reading: Proverbs 5:15-23; Song of Songs 5:9-16

Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 5:18 Be happy with the wife you married when you were young. She gives you joy, as your fountain gives you water.

This week’s memory verse: Proverbs 6:16-17 There are six things the LORD hates–no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent. (To keep this verse manageable, I cut it off at 17. If you want to memorize all six things God hates, you can find it here: Proverbs 6:16-19

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Have you also heard, “The grass is greener where there’s more water?” Or, in other words, if your neighbor’s lawn looks more vibrant than yours, chances are he’s spent a bit more time with the upkeep. 😉

photo-1 copyIn today’s devotion, author and social-media-guru, Edie Melson, encourages us to cherish our spouse for who they are and not who we wish they’d be.

Cherish Your Spouse

Be happy with the wife you married when you were young.
    She gives you joy, as your fountain gives you water. Proverbs 5:18

 

Early on in our marriage, I decided it was my job to help my husband improve himself. I thought I was just acting like any good wife, but you men have another word for it—nagging. I never thought what I was doing qualified as nagging; after all, I was just trying to help!

What I was actually doing was getting ahead of God. He knows, so much better than anyone else, what each of us needs to become more Christ-like. But He knows something else—the order in which those changes need to be made. And my attempts to help were actually hindering my husband’s growth.

When I was looking for ways to help my husband grow, I wasn’t cherishing the ways he’d already grown as a husband and as a man. And it was driving a wedge between us as a couple.

There was another problem with my focus, it kept me from concentrating on my own growth. It’s amazing how easy it is to see someone else’s faults and not your own.

This attempt to help God doesn’t just apply to married couples. Nagging can enter into any relationship. Once I started waiting on God and concentrating on the things He wanted to accomplish in me, the rocky road of a new relationship began to smooth out.

I could see the long way God had yet to go with me, and the long way He’d come with my husband. I once again found joy in the man I’d chosen to share my life with.

Challenge: Who are you trying to help God with? I invite you to join me, and give the responsibility of change over to God and let Him work.

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Her new book, Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers will be released on February 1, 2013. She’s also the social media columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and social media coach for My Book Therapy. Connect with her through Twitter and Facebook.

DSC_5705 - Version 2Connections:

Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers:

“So how much time do I really have to spend on social networking?”

It’s the question that plagues every armchair marketer. What is Social Media? How much time do I need to spend on Facebook and Twitter? Do I need Pinterest? What about my blog—who is going to follow it?

Social Networking can be overwhelming—yet it’s essential for a successful writer. With the right techniques, it can be streamlined and maximized to produce exactly the results you need to further your writing career.

Edie Melson puts this crazy world of social media into perspective and gives writers the tools needed to succeed and still find time to write.

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Let’s talk about this. Pause for a moment to consider how you view your spouse. More often than not, are you seeking out and appreciating his/her positive qualities, or do you tend to zero in on their weaknesses? I think we all have times when we’re a bit more negative than others, but that doesn’t mean we need to stay in negativity. I’ve often said, if you look for the negative, you’ll find it every time. But the converse is also true. If you look for the positive, I suspect, you’ll find it’s been there all along.

Today, I encourage you to write your spouse a letter, listing the five things you most appreciate about them.

What is one thing you can and will do to show your spouse you love and appreciate them today?

Few things wrench my heart like listening to one spouse speak negatively about the other. I’ve often wondered how I would feel to know Steve were talking negatively about me. Honestly, it’d break my heart. I’m blessed that he doesn’t do that, and I hope you can say the same.

Pause to prayerfully consider your marriage–your heart–in light of the words in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

What are some situations that challenge your patience? How can you show more patience in that situation? And more importantly, will you choose to?

What is an area your spouse has shown you patience? (I must admit, my list would be quite long here! Which is a great reminder to me to offer my husband the same grace!)

How does pride increase quarrels?

When I consider verse five, I’m reminded of Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Quite honestly, I tend to honor myself above everyone else, including my spouse. But marital intimacy and growth demands the opposite–that I die to myself and think of my spouse first.

But if I’m truly honoring my spouse, I will refuse to make cutting or negative remarks. I will find ways to bless him, even when it is inconvenient or I am tired. I will not demand my own way but will instead, seek out what’s in his best interest and the best interest of my family. I will find ways to build him up throughout the day.

What about you? How has today’s devotion challenged you, or, what are some changes you’ve made personally that have blessed your marriage? Join the conversation in the comments below or by joining our Yahoo Proverbs study group.


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