My Wife is My Helper: 5 Astonishing Ways to Treat Your Wife
My Wife is My Helper, Really?
Yes, really. I believe that my wife is my helper. But really, husbands, what does it really mean for our wives to be our helper? As I study the Bible, I begin to rethink about this word about helper. Hence, I hope to examine the word “helper” in the Bible in this post and propose 7 ways which we treat our wives from there.
My Wife is My Helper – Examining the Old Testament
The word that was translated as “helper” in Gen 2:18 is the Hebrew word “‘ezer.” Again, using my Logos software and concordance, I found that this word occurs a total of 21 times in the Old Testament. There are two observations about this word that says a lot about our wives being our helpers.
God is also our “Helper
Firstly, the Old Testament describes God as the “helper” of Israel for at least sixteen out of twenty-one times. For example, in Psalm 33:20, the Psalmist described Yahweh as Israel’s “help” and shield. This same description is made of God three times in Psalm 115:9-11. Similarly, in other books such as Deuteronomy, God is called the “help” against Judah’s adversaries (Deut 33:7) and the shield of Israel’s “help” who saved Israel (Deut 33:29). As such, in these cases, God provided help as His divine assistance and protection.
The Side That is Stronger is the One that Helps
Secondly, the word denotes military assistance. For example, in Isaiah 30:5, the Israelites were called as a people useless to Egypt who brought neither “help” nor advantage. Similarly, in Daniel 11:34, “help” was used in the context of military confrontation.
These two observations showed that the helped one is often the party who is inadequate in strength. One can also conclude that the “helper” is often the stronger party. It follows that the word does not imply that the helper has a subordinate relationship to the helped one.
This means that God created our wives because the man was inadequate by himself. She is not a lesser partner. Her role was to add strength and provide mutual assistance to the tasks he has to perform in the context of a marriage. It is therefore not biblical for the man to just sit around, thinking that the wife is there to do everything for him. Rather, it is more biblical to say that the wife is there to work together with the man to fulfil God’s will in the marriage relationship.
5 Implications for Husbands
1. Recognise that We Need Our Wives’ Help
The first implication in response to this is that we should need our wives’ help. In fact, we should recognise that men are not as perfect and strong as we thought ourselves to be. This is one reason why God saw that Adam alone was not good.
In the context of family and ministry, this means that the husbands cannot afford to be lone ranger. Because God created women to fill in the gaps, husbands and wives ought to discuss how they can really complement one another in the family and ministry.
To do this, I believe that this will take men a lot of humility to realise that they can’t do it alone. It even requires us to ask for a renewed heart from God.
2. Acknowledge that God Created Our Wives as Our Equals
While doing the research for this piece, I was tasked to answer a similar question. In the question, the man told people that he refused to help his wife because his wife is the one who is supposed to help him. Implicit in that, I believe, is a disrespect for the wife as God’s creation. Even less implicit is the denial of equality between man and woman.
In fact, in modern day Singapore, I reckon that we view helper at home as the foreign domestic helper we employ to help with our housework. This makes us view “helper” as our inferior, since most of those who hire the helpers are affluent enough. We read news on how employers abuse their helpers and this reflects how we view them sometime.
But if we take a step back, acknowledging that “my wife is my helper” should cause us to be in awe of God’s grace. God created our wives as our helpers to fill in our weaknesses and to be our equal to do His work. This merits us to respect all people around but more specifically, our wives at home. In particular, I think we need to respect their intelligence and therefore contribution to the family and ministry, which brings me to my next point.
3. Respect Their Contributions to The Family and Ministry
I have heard of husbands who would not hesitate to scold their wives and call them stupid. I have also heard of those who would comment at everything that their wives do, as if they can do it better.
But if we agree that God created our wives to be our helper and to fill in that gap, then we need to recognise that they play and contribute a big part to our family and ministry.
This point is especially important for me as I realised that my wife is my helper in ministry. Before I married my wife, my ministry tends to be more impersonal and one dimensional. However, along the way, I saw how much she adds to my family and ministry. In fact, some of my posts here in this blog are “vetted” by her before I can even publish them.
And I think this merits us to really respect their contributions. It can come in various forms, such as celebrating small wins together or even just buying the food she loves to reward her.
4. Glorify God Alongside with Our Wives
This point needs not much elaboration. God created our wives as our helpers. You can think of this fact that “my wife is my helper.” But consider what God created Eve to do – to help Adam manage Eden. This means that there is a particular mission for the woman to help her companion to glorify God by fulfilling the mission God has given to the man.
In practical sense, God created our wives to complement our weaknesses and hence augment our strengths. It means that husbands should really sit down with their wives and consider how best they can both complement one another and serve God in order to glorify Him.
And a cheat code here – if your worldview entirely hinges on bringing up your children properly, then you might want to re-consider how you and your wife can really glorify God. For myself and Angelina, we chose to give our time to serve God as leaders in church, despite the fact that we have a newborn. We commit to give our time to pastor the people around us and while this takes a lot of effort, this is my way of recognising that my wife is my helper, not only at home but also in ministry.
5. Do Not Leave Our Wives Alone to Do Everything
One trap of us not understanding fully of the word “helper” is that we end up leaving our wives alone to do everything. This ranges from housework to taking care of the child. But understanding that God created our wives as our helpers also means that there are areas which they may need help too.
Therefore, as husbands, we can lead by example in the family and ministry. Just as our wives is our helpers, we can reciprocate and help back our wives, so that we can empower them to help us back. In my own situation, I do ensure that I am around to take care of the baby if my wife needs to talk to people in her pastoral capacity. She in turns also let me out to be involved in ministry when I need to be out.
In short this is not a one-way traffic. As we serve each other, we meet each other’s need and empower one another to go further for God.
So what other implications you can think of? Do you agree with the points I made? Do share them in the comments below. I would love to interact with them.
Also, if you are thinking of reading up more what this means in our family and ministry, there is an excellent book by Tim Keller on the meaning of marriage. This is a great resource to start thinking about how we can treat one another in the context of marriage.