Editor’s Note: This article is part of our second annual “Impressed” series. Check out the series here!
To all of the wives who are ready to enroll in “Awesome Wife Boot Camp” where you will learn to sharpen your wifey skills, be challenged, convicted, and simultaneously fill your husband with joy, please sign on the dotted line and purchase the book, Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl.
I know what you’re thinking. What’s a “help meet?” I had the same response. The author notes that “help meet” appears twice in the King James Bible (Genesis 2:18 and 2:20), in reference to God describing the creation of Eve. The English Standard Version simply uses the term “helper” here: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” Pearl explains that our role as wives is to be a helper to our husbands.
The book is essentially wife boot camp. It presses hard against our culture’s view of what a wife should be, and brings us back to what the Bible says a wife should be.
Pearl expounds on some culturally taboo verses pertaining to women, “…urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5). Is this verse saying that I’m actually maligning or damaging or slandering the word of God if I’m not loving my husband and kids, self-controlled, busy at home, kind, and subject to my husband?! What a sobering idea and definite call to check myself.
Marriage was designed to be an earthly representation of Christ’s relationship with the church.
Perhaps the most important takeaway of this book is the reminder that marriage was designed to be an earthly representation of Christ’s relationship with the church. As believers, we have the opportunity, through our marriages, to testify to the grace and love that God lavishes on us. Do you show this kind of love and grace to your husband in your own marriage? How can you do this better? Pearl explicitly tells you where you are probably lacking, citing scripture that even many 21st century Christians in our post-modern world would prefer to ignore. She breaks down the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31, applying the text to today’s most common snares.
A girlfriend of mine asked me how I was feeling the other day (I am six months pregnant with my fourth child in 5 years). I told her I had no major complaints. Then she smiled and said something that shocked me, “You never complain!” Um, say what? I complain ALL. THE. TIME. I was pleasantly surprised to be considered low maintenance for a moment. But then it hit me – she thinks I’m not a complainer because I don’t complain to my friends. I save every last complaint for my husband. Have I been reserving the bright sunshine and smiles for my friends while poor husband gets the grumpiest version of me?
As Pearl puts it, “When he first fell in love with you, you were a sweet little thing, full of laughter and fun. From the very bottom of your soul you were thrilled with him. Every day you woke up planning some activity that involved you both. Is he still married to the same sweet little thing, or have you become a long-faced, sickly complainer?”
She thinks I’m not a complainer because I don’t complain to my friends. I save every last complaint for my husband.
My husband and I have been married nine years. I remember when I first fell in love with him. I wanted to be with him every second. I’d carefully plan my outfits and tried desperately to appear precious and not to snort while I laughed uncontrollably at his hilarious jokes. I spent hours thinking about how to make his day better. I asked his opinion on every current event, shared with him all my opinions, dreams and thoughts on life. Nine years later, I still want to spend every moment together, but how am I filling those moments? If I’m being honest, these days I’m wearing a lot more sweatpants, a lot less makeup, and a significantly higher percentage of our conversations are centered around me complaining about something.
Pearl admonishes the complaining wife to pursue joy and thankfulness in marriage. “Thankfulness is how you think; joy is the abundance it produces.” Of course I’m going to have rough days and plenty of complaints to lodge (please see fourth pregnancy in five years), but the average person has 40,000 thoughts in a day, should not most of mine be borne of gratitude? After all, we’ve been blessed with four precious babies in five years! If “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34) and if we are to “hold every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5) then goodness gracious I have some work to do.
Gratitude, joy, being interesting and precious – these are all qualities we can generally agree are desirable for wives to possess. But Pearl presses us harder. “You serve Christ by serving your husband, whether your husband deserves it or not.” Our marriages are a perfect place to show the kind of undeserved love that Jesus shows us. What an opportunity to share Jesus with our spouses and to the people close to us when our marriage is a continuous demonstration of undeserved grace and forgiveness. This one can be harder to put into practice, but is no less required of us.
You serve Christ by serving your husband, whether your husband deserves it or not.
In the interest of full disclosure, my book club friends almost unanimously disliked this book. A few women thought it contained too much harsh admonition and too little acknowledgement of the difficulty and heartache that ensues when only the wife is pursuing obedience. While I agree that Pearl sometimes comes across as a caricature of a 1950s housewife, a lot of her points are valid. When you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, keep reading. As with any book by a Christian or non-Christian author, “test everything, only hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) After all, you can still glean some fabulous tips from Pinterest even if you come across a few ridiculous ideas for repurposing a mason jar. (Please search “sandwich in a mason jar” sometime. Just, why?)
Despite a few needle-scraping-the-record assertions, the book as a whole offers some incredible truths and wakeup calls for making your marriage wonderful. So if you’re willing and able, pack your bags ladies, and get ready for a life changing boot camp. Who’s in?
Interested in purchasing Created To Be His Help Meet? Check it out here!
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Image Credit: Dan Tomas, Creative Commons