by Kristen Rosser ~ aka:KR Wordgazer
I have done my best to be a submissive and supportive ‘helpmeet’ to my husband in every way possible, but though I hardly want to admit it, it doesn’t seem to be working the way I thought it would. Sometimes I feel torn between being a good wife and protecting my children from potential damage from a lack of Christian character in their father. You are saying Quiverfull teachings could be making matters worse. How, and why? And what can I do to help make things better?
If you have read the FAQ entitled “The Bible and the Nature of Woman,” you may remember that the words translated as “help meet” in the KJV are the two Hebrew words “ezer,” meaning “strong aid or rescuer” (which is most often used of God as the “help of Israel“); and “kenedgo,” which means “facing him” (or as we might put it today, “face to face”). God intended the woman to be her husband’s “face-to-face strong aid,” not his subordinate assistant. This is what a man needs. After the Fall, according to Genesis 3:16, the man began to rule over the woman; but in so doing, he was cutting himself off from what he needed most.
Christ came to bring a new kingdom, or a new Creation, spiritual rather than fleshly, in which the damaged relationships of the Fall are being healed. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “Wherefore henceforth we know no man after the flesh,” and why Galatians 3:28 says, “there is neither. . . male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” What a husband needs is for his wife to become that face-to-face strong aid that God originally designed her to be. This means seeing yourself as his co-leader, stepping up to shoulder with him the responsibilities of leading the home and children, side by side.
This may surprise him at first, but many men, once they experience it, will gratefully welcome the co-leader relationship. Sometimes a man, feeling the burden of being the sole leader in the family, fears failure and feels alone, because as they say, “it’s lonely at the top.” He shrinks back or slacks off, coasting on his wife’s subordinate service and submission as she desperately tries to do all the work while still making him feel like “king of the home.“ The result can be a man who secretly despises himself and resents his wife. The combination of taking care of him and treating him like royalty (or a spoiled child) can be extremely unproductive– for both of you.
At other times a husband might become a micro-manager, feeling that the sole responsibility for everyone’s spiritual well-being is on his shoulders. Letting all the responsibility rest on him may seem right, but you’re not doing him any favors. He needs an “ezer kenedgo.” He needs the two of you to be adults together, facing the adult responsibilities together. And he needs to let the spiritual well-being of the family rest where it belongs– squarely on the shoulders of Christ Himself. A mere human man cannot be anyone’s savior or sanctifier. He must let God be God in the lives of his loved ones. Your husband needs to be allowed to be merely human, but also be held accountable to be a responsible adult.