This article is part of a limited series called Be A Man. These articles are taken from a Bible study I conducted for several months. The purpose of these blogs is to examine and discuss what it means to be a man, a husband and a father according to the Bible, and how we are to live that out in our modern world. While the Bible study was originally for men, not all topics are gender specific, meaning that women, wives, and mothers can still learn and be encouraged from these articles.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18.22 NKJV

Have you ever made a list of what you are looking for in a spouse? Maybe you feel that you want a guy that drives a pick-up truck, or you want a girl that can play the piano – or vice-versa. Maybe having a spouse that is taller than you is something you feel is important. Or perhaps you want to be the tall one. The list of things that you could possibly desire in a significant other is endless. But have you ever actually written that list down? I have, obviously not recently, but I did when I was a teenager.

I was a part of an in-school bible study, and we were talking about dating and courting, and what a healthy relationship looks like. There was a discussion about being responsible and setting physical boundaries. Then we were asked to write down what we were looking for in a boyfriend or girlfriend. Later we started praying for our “ideal” spouse, but what I put on the list still sticks with me. Because what I wrote down in school is nothing like my wife. I recall wanting a girlfriend or wife that was shorter than me. She needed to be blonde with blue eyes. It would be great if she played piano and she could cook. Beyond that, I don’t remember much else I wrote down.

My wife is not shorter than me. Some days it feels like she is taller, especially when she wears heels. I got the blue eyes that junior high school me wanted, but my wife has light brown hair. She’d call it dirty blonde, but that is just splitting hairs. Playing the piano and an amazing cook were other things that I got as well. But to say that is all my wife is to me would be a lie. It would be belittling the astonishing woman that she is. And as much as I could start listing the great qualities and characteristics that make up my wife, I’ll point out one that I didn’t think of until recently.

There is one characteristic or quality about women that most men never think of. Not because we are misogynistic pigs. I think it happens because it isn’t something that is preached about or taught to men as they are young. It isn’t a trait that is highlighted like it should be. This one quality, this one characteristic that I was guilty of forgetting for so long is so important, so valuable, that it was the first thing that God said about women.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” – Genesis 2.15-22 NIV

A woman is a helper to a man. Did you realize that?

The Lord God made the woman to be a compatible helper to man. Before her, there was no help for man. We were on our own, and it wasn’t good.

I don’t know how this hasn’t been talked about more. I don’t know how a helper is not the default answer for every married Christian man when asked the question,”What is your wife like?” Often we say things like “My wife is my best friend” or “She is the mother of my children“. We may say more about what she does; like finishes the laundry or cleans the dishes. She is the one that gets the kids ready for school, or she is the one running the little ones back and forth to practice. Men may even say that she helps or that she is a helper, but we seem to miss the point.

Yes, women can and do help out around the house. They help out with a lot more than most men may realize. But the woman wasn’t created so that we could spread our workload over two people. The woman wasn’t created so that more could be accomplished. The woman was created to help us.

Because men were lonely. Because men were incomplete. Because men were in need. Because men were lacking and God said that it wasn’t good that that was the case.

Men, do you realize this? Your wife, your girlfriend, your fiancée, she is first and foremost a helper for you. Not a helper for your work. Not a helper for your laundry or meals. But a helper for your life.

She is the one that is there to help you. When you are feeling emotionally exhausted, she is there with an encouraging word. She is the one there to assist you when you are weary from financial burdens. She is there cutting coupons and corners, even having a job to bring in more income. She is the one there to give aid when you are in a spiritual slump. She is the one speaking God’s truth into your heart and ears.

These are just examples from my personal life, things that my wife has done that have helped. I know that if you men looked at your lives, and if you examined what your wife, girlfriend or fiancée has done, you would be blown away by how she is helping you.

I was discussing this forgotten idea of our wives being first and foremost a helper to the guys in our Bible study. They were struck by this idea. They hadn’t been told or taught this either. After a time of silent reflecting, one guy wisely said this.

Yes, my wife is my helper…but she is so much more.

He was right, so right in fact. The idea that women are a helper to men is important. This is the first thing that is said about women, their first job as it were. They serve as the counterpart to men. They are there to aid and assist us in our lacking and help. But that is not all that women are.

To think that is what God implied when He saw Adam was alone is to ignore the rest of the Scriptures and what it has to say about women. To think that is what I am in some way stating is to misunderstand me and my deep respect and appreciation for women.

Women are helpers, yes, but they are so much more. They are capable and able to do so many more things. Take this portion of Scripture for example.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31.24-31

Often this Proverb seems like a to-do list for Christian women. This is what they are supposed to be doing, and if they don’t then they are not a virtuous woman. That is nothing short of a lie. Proverbs 31 is not a to do list, but an example of what a woman is capable of doing. Within her lies the awesome potential to do all these things. Is a woman a helper to a man? Yes, but that is not the limit to what she can do or who she is. To think that way is to neglect and reject what God’s Word declares to be true.

What does this have to do with men? What does this have to do with being a man, a man that is trying to be all that God has created him to be?

You need to be humble.

Humble because you are broken. You are in need of assistance. You are incapable of doing what you need to do, of making it through the day without help. Just like our father Adam was in need of Eve, we need our wives to help us.

It isn’t easy to admit that we can’t do things all by ourselves. We have to tear down the notion that we are capable of anything and everything, single-handedly. We need to remove our bravado, the false pride that says “I am all that.” Because we aren’t. We need help.

You need to be thankful.

For those of us that have found a wife, we are blessed. Not that we did anything to deserve this blessing, but having someone beside us does make us blessed. Having a support system, having a hand to help you when you are weak and weary is a blessing. To have that support and hand be the person that you know most intimately and knows you most intimately encourages the body and soul. You are not alone. You are better equipped with someone by your side to help you. And that is given to us by God alone.  My wife, your wife, is a blessing. For this blessing, we should be so thankful.

That is what it means to be a man.

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