The help meet formula: 10 tips for wives

If you’re like me, you might have thought a formula exists. Man marries a woman, who is automatically designed to be that perfect little help meet. This concept is found in two verses in the Bible, Genesis 2:18 and 20b: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.… but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

We all know what “help” means. The difficulty is with the word “meet.” It has been translated as “suitable” and “compatible.”

So, what was Eve, after all?

She was Adam’s suitable companion, “a helper like himself.”* They were commanded to do the same things together, like tending the garden and taking care of it. But, Adam was the one that God addressed with His rules. Adam was responsible for Eve and the head of the family. (Genesis 3:9 God calls Adam’s name and asks for his explanation of their sin, then He questions Eve, verse 13.) They were in it together. Adam and Eve walked in the Garden together and communed with God. Later, they sinned together, hid together, made excuses together, and were punished together. God made fur clothing for both of them.

What does this teach us today?

How is a wife a help meet?

I am not sure there is a formula at all except for the idea that, in marriage, we’re in it together—and wives are supposed to be helpful.

Isn’t that profound?

Well, maybe it’s not the earthshaking “how to be a great wife” you wanted, but it’s what God tells us we’re created to be: suitable helpers.

Let’s make it practical.

How can I help my husband? I can:

  1. Speak kind words. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).
  2. Keep the home. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31:27).
  3. Be industrious. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates (Proverbs 31:31).
  4. Look nice. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple (Proverbs 31:22).
  5. Honor and respect my husband. The wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33b). She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:12).
  6. Recognize him as the head of our home. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body (Ephesians 5:23).
  7. Love him. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).
  8. Understand my role in church services. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1 Timothy 2:12).
  9. Love  and respect God. A woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30b).
  10. Spread joy. And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation (Psalm 35:9).

Let’s be suitable helpers for our husbands todayheirs together of the grace of life (from 1 Peter 3:7).

*from etymonline.com

My life, your life: whatever happened to our life?

In marriage, it is extremely easy to find both partners going in different directions, floating apart, and doing their own independent things. I call it my life, your life.

Whatever happened to our life?

It can happen subtly. Both partners work. Both are physically in different places throughout the day, and before you know it, one is living his life and the other lives hers. She works, shuttles children here and there. They grab fast food on the run, and to compensate for no one being at home, he works longer hours.

Before you know it, you have two totally separate lives. You’re married, but you have little in common. Not meal times, not time together, not the activities you once enjoyed. You are living my life, your life.

If you can identify with this—and many can—I might be able to help you recover the life together you secretly crave. Here are seven suggestions:

  1. Schedule a half hour with your spouse. During that planning session, decide together on one time each week—preferably at least a three-hour period—that the whole family does something special together. It can be a picnic, a hike, a bike ride, playing board games, or whatever you all enjoy together. If you have little ones, maybe just going to a kiddie park will do. Each week, this time is family time.
  2. At the end of the day, when you are both tired and only want your pillows, share your days to each other. This doesn’t have to be a long process, just sharing.
  3. Drop something. Do less. Some ideas: children’s activities, your after-hours sports dates (bowling, etc.), anything that doesn’t have to be done.
  4. Plan family meals. Ideally, families should eat together—everyone at the table—at least once a day. This may take some juggling, but it can be done. I suggest supper, but breakfast can work, too.
  5. Communicate throughout the day. A friendly text goes a long way towards keeping you on the same page—and feeling like a couple. Communicate freely when you’re together, too.
  6. Put up boundaries to protect your marriage. I’ve written on this subject before. You can access it here. It’s important to protect your relationship, especially so when both partners work full time.
  7. Plan get-aways for just the two of you. Use your time off to strengthen your marriage. My husband and I like to get-away for 24-36 hours. It helps us enjoy different scenery, and it doesn’t break the bank or take us away from our responsibilities for a long time.

Many Christian marriages are breaking up, and a lot of people have no clue what happened. It has nothing to do with their love, marrying a jerk, or anything like that. It’s only that they began to float away from each other. One makes his life and the other lives hers.

It’s interesting that the word for love—the only time it’s used in the Bible for wives loving husbands*—is the word for friendship love (as opposed to God’s love or physical love). Our husband is to be our friend. We need to think about how to make him our friend and keep him our friend. As with any friendship, this part of marriage comes with the investment of time, energy, and communication.

Please share any tip you might have for keeping your marriage “our marriage.” Feel free to comment with your tried-and-true suggestions for success.

* Titus 2:4

Ask your husband.

Even in Christian circles, women constantly ask other women what they think. While that’s not wrong, and it’s extremely helpful to brainstorm certain subjects with other women, we’ve lost an important custom that dates back to biblical times—and the wisdom behind it.

Ask your husband.

Let me explain. In Numbers 30, we read that a husband may nulify a vow made by his wife. This protected her. The Bible teaches that the husband is the head of his home, and in that position, he has God-given authority. This concept carries on throughout Scripture.

When a woman goes to church and she has a question about what she’s heard, the Bible says she should ask her husband at home instead of speaking out in the service (1 Corinthians 14:35). This also protects her, and if her husband doesn’t know the answer, he can find out for her.

When a lady asks her group of Christian friends what they think, some will reference Scripture, but most give off-the-cuff personal opinions. She probably should also ask her husband. He has a different perspective and will help guide her. An added benefit to asking her husband is that he’s encouraged because he sees that she values his views.

Respecting one’s husband basically means that a wife seeks and considers his opinions.

Many women forget to ask their husbands at all.

In my own marriage, it has been an eye-opener to ask my husband his thoughts on hundreds of topics. Many times, it’s a totally different perspective. When I ask him what his priorities are for the day, a lot of times I am surprised by his answers. This is freeing. I understand what’s important to him—and that’s important to me.

In 1 Corinthians 7:34, we read that there is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

How does she know how to please her husband?

She asks.

Try it today!