It’s been a rough day. One of the kids is sick and has been moaning and needing attention all day. Meanwhile, another child is struggling with the assignment you gave him and desperately needs your help. Your toddler feels neglected because you’ve spent most of the day helping the other two, and decides to get your attention by making a huge mess. Your school day has been interrupted by a dozen phone calls, and your head’s starting to throb. It’s 3:00 and all you can think of is: “I can’t wait ’till my husband gets home. Then he can help me! Then I can have a break!”
It’s been a rough day. That billboard he passes on his way to work is always a bit distracting. It makes him think of one thing: sex. How many days has it been? His boss has been demanding that they get their project done by today, and he knows it’s going to be late. His co-worker has been driving him crazy all day – he’s such a bear to work with. Meanwhile, people have been calling, wanting his help with the most ridiculous, petty situations. It’s 3:00 and he can’t help but think: “I can’t wait to get home, have a little peace, have a nice big dinner, and have some intimacy with my wife.”
Two difficult worlds. Two different people. Two different sets of expectations. No wonder things don’t go smoothly when he gets home!
So…… Whose plan for the evening should take priority?
Why? Because God created us to be his help-mate. He did not create him to be ours. (1 Corinthians 11:8-9 “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”)
As Christians, God often asks us to do things that don’t make logical sense: tithing, loving our enemies, fasting, etc. The needs of our husbands certainly don’t seem to be as pressing or as important as our children’s or our own. (Especially when he turns on the TV as soon as he walks in the house!) And yet, because God has called us to be helpmates for our husbands, when we put his needs first, we are not only serving him, but serving Christ.
So….. Is it wrong to ask for his help? No. But asking him for his help should come after we’ve done what we can to help him – to make his evening all he hopes it will be. Here are some other parameters I’ve found to be helpful:
Pray: Ask God to help you speak to your husband – to give you wisdom on what to say, and how and when to say it. (Nehemiah 1:11 “O Lord …. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”)
Be Respectful & Kind: Don’t tell him you NEED his help NOW. (When we do that, we’re being bossy.) Tell him you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, etc., and ask him if he’d be willing to help you? (Philippians 2:3-4 “… in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”)
Be Specific: Don’t walk into the room with 3 crying kids and ask him for help. It’s obvious to us as women what type of help we need. For a man, it’s not so obvious. Ask him if he’d be willing to read junior a story, or help your daughter with her math, or play a game with your toddler. When we make specific requests, our husbands will be able to see which needs are the greatest. (1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment ….. Instead, it should be the that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”)
Give Him a Choice: Many homeschool moms would like their husbands’ help with the actual homeschooling. (I know I do!) Don’t tell him he NEEDS to do math with the kids because it’s too hard for you. Let him know that you would love his help with homeschooling, and ask him if he’d be able to help with the math, or the science, or take the kids out for field trips, etc. Your husband will take greater ownership of the subject or activity he’s leading if he enjoys it himself. He will also be far more likely to follow through with his commitment. (Ecclesiastes 5:19b “… to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.”) Once he chooses, accept his choice. That may mean that you will still have the responsibility to teach a subject that’s difficult for you! (See Next Paragraph.)
Graciously Accept a “No”: Your husband may feel, for whatever reason(s), he is not able to help you. If he tells you that, accept and trust that God will provide for you in your weakness. Arguing, complaining, and demanding will only bring about bad feelings, and be a poor example to our children. (Philippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe ….”)
Being a helpmate to my husband can be so challenging sometimes! God works in wonderful ways though. When I follow the Lord’s commands, and put my husband’s needs first, when he feels he’s being treated with respect, I’ve found he’s much more willing to be a help to me in return. He also gives me the loving attention I long for from him. I may not get the break I want. My plans for the evening may not turn out the way I hoped, but the long-term blessing of a happy home and marriage is accomplished.
Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Copyright January 31, 2012 by Gwen Fredette
All Scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)