The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d get married. Partially because I just wasn’t raised thinking about marriage and partially because I was the product of a marriage based on very little respect for each other. For many years, God allowed me to live my life in sexual sin. I went from one man to another, sometimes only passing through in the night. But God always has a plan for each and every one of us. For me, that plan included being given the gift of a wonderful husband.
In our early years, my husband and I weren’t faithful followers of Jesus. But he, at least, had a Christian background from which to draw. When I look back over our first 10 years of marriage I can see where I am grateful for that tension of knowing some of what God expected from us as a couple. I say “tension” because whenever we live outside of God’s narrow path we can either 1) live like we don’t have a clue that what we are doing is ungodly or 2) have some concept of ungodliness which can then pull us into learning more. We will be judged in the end so I’d rather not be oblivious to my sins and take the opportunity to work on them!
In our marriage we struggled for control. Control of who would be the head of our household. Control of our finances. Control over long term decisions for our family. Over discipline of our kids. Over our time management. Looking back, I was only doing what I had learned in my family home. A weak father figure gives way to a power vacuum. On the other hand, my husband came from a strong, godly father-led family. And so the back and forth went on and on.
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Genesis 3:2-3
There’s a lot of talk in feminist circles and the media about the “patriarchy” and how men shouldn’t “keep women down.” But from the beginning God had a very clear plan for women and men. Women were to be the “helpers,” assisting their Adams to be the best men they could be. Like a good golf caddy, this is no job to take lightly. Yet we arrive at Genesis 3 and Eve immediately forgoes her heavenly role. Instead of seeking wisdom from her husband she is drawn to the words of the serpent. The fleshly desires pull her farther and farther away from God’s plan.
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12
And the result? As you can read above the entire plan is turned upside down. Eve takes the lead and Adam falls into a weak position of blame. Eve is punished by God for her role in the Great Fall with painful childbirth and the knowledge that men will rule over her. But when you read the punishment of Adam, he receives a harsh future that effects every area of his life.
I have to be honest and say that every marriage I have been around that was in serious trouble was a direct result of this upside down relationship. That’s not to say there aren’t men who disobey God’s command to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25). But so often in our modern world and as a result of the feminist movement which started in the 70s, women have jostled or demanded control in their relationships. Like all actions that go against God’s holy plan we see the results with weak husbands and overbearing wives. And wives who underneath it all desire a man to stand up for them, to take charge, to love them to the point of sacrifice.
Women of God, the idea of submitting to our husbands or future husbands does not mean we are second class citizens. You’ll notice in Genesis 3:16 Eve’s punishment was to have men rule over her. Therefore, it wasn’t God’s plan for men to “rule” over her in the first place. Thankfully Jesus came to give us a new covenant, reminding us that although there is still a hierarchy of responsibility, every person is of equal value. A helper doesn’t mean you are less than the one being helped. It’s taken me awhile to truly understand this. What it means is we trust God’s plan. And if we have chosen wisely, we trust our husbands who also trust God. We trust them to take care of the family business. We trust they will have our best interest in mind. We trust they love us so much they want us to be content.
If our husbands are not trustworthy in those areas or men of faith, who are we to blame?
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 1 Kings 11:3
King Solomon was considered one of the wisest men of all time. Yet it was his wives that managed to turn him away from God, to lead him astray. Our role as our husband’s life caddy is so important that we can’t let what the world says about feminism and submission sway us from following God’s plan. A good and godly wife holds so much sway over her husband. And the world laughs at us thinking a bigger paycheck or fancy job title is what’s most important. Our work in helping our husbands will take us a lifetime — much of the time simply modeling godly behavior, control over our emotions, showing love, showing faith in the Almighty and our men.
Eve’s veering from God’s plan, leading her husband to a great sin, can make me so angry at times. But then I think about the times I placed myself above my husband and ask for mercy. It took a lot of intentional work on my part to step back and encourage and teach my husband how to place himself at the head of our family. He didn’t think I needed him, ever.
Friends, whether you are a husband, wife, or not yet married we must stand resolutely against how the world wants to define marriage. We can’t let the world define what “submission” looks like in God’s world. His great plan for man and woman, joined together in harmony is just the example for what is the final plan. The ultimate marriage between Jesus and His bride will be full of love, joy, beauty and compassion. Let’s start today with making those fruits part of our earthly marriages.