Thursday, February 25, 2010

Marriage Challenge Day 11: Partner

Partner: "a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate; a person associated with another in a joint venture, usually sharing its risks and benefits; a player on the same side or team as another."

Companion: "a person who is frequently in the company of another; a person employed to accompany, assist, or live with another in the capacity of a helpful friend; a mate or match for something."

Helper: "a person or thing that helps or gives assistance, support, etc.; aid, assistant; supporter, backer, auxiliary, ally."

The day we profess our commitment to our husbands on our wedding day, is the day we become his partner, helper, and companion in Gods eyes. The definitions above exemplify what God calls a wife to be - but sometimes filling these shoes is much easier said, than done.

In Genesis 2:20b-22 says, "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 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."

God created Eve so that she could be Adams companion, helper and partner in life. But considering the fact that we live in an entirely different world than Adam and Eve lived in, with an entirely different set of issues and problems to face and overcome - and considering the womens liberation movement of todays society - does God still call us to be our mans helper?

In fact, is it even still relevant for us to consider ourselves a "helper" to our husbands, in the 21st century, when women are considered equal to men?

You may not want to hear this answer - but absolutely! Gods Word Was, and Is, and Is to come.

If He proclaimed it then, it still matters now. His Word never changes in meaning, implications or applications for our lives, regardless of how much time passes, or how much society would like us to believe that His Word is irrelevant.

But lets make it crystal clear that being a mans helper does not mean being subservient, less than, or controlled. It does not mean surrendering or accepting any type of abuse, or considering yourself inferior to your husband as a child of God.

In my opinion, being a helper means giving your husband your very best and making him a priority in every area of your life, so that your marriage can thrive.

Yesterday in my bible study reading, I was reading the passages in Leviticus about the many sacrifices and holy practices that the Israelites were required to do in order to stay in Gods favor.

These Old Testament passages can be very hard to get through, due to all the information about bloody sacrifices and exhausting details about everything.

I also think they are hard for us to understand today since we no longer have to engage in those practices due to the sacrifice of Jesus.

But in Leviticus 23:9, the Lord said to Moses, "..... When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest."

This particular verse stuck out in my mind when I was reading it, but it wasnt until after visiting my friend Wendys blog, where she discusses her interpretation of the daily readings, that I understood why. Wendys discussion of the "first fruits" made it clear why God had highlighted this passage in my heart.

The reason that God asked for the "first" fruits of the harvest, is because He wants the best, not the leftovers. We are called to put God first in all that we do, in our faith, our marriages, and our commitments to our husbands.

Wendy encouraged us through her vlog to consider whether or not we bring the Lord our first fruits - our very best. Unfortunately, I would have to honestly answer no to that question. There are days when I give Him my very best and my full attention, but there are plenty of days when I do not do that.

Her second question posed for us to think about, was whether or not we give our first fruits to our family? Once again, I would have to honestly answer no, not always.

I read a story in my friend Melanie Chitwoods book "What A Husband Needs From His Wife", that went like this:

"What are we having for dinner?" When I said that we were having macaroni and cheese with hot dogs (again!), I was sharply convicted of my wrong priorities. I had put someone else... ahead of my own family. I had gone many extra miles to make the meal I was taking to someone I had never met, but I was throwing together something quick and easy for my own husband and children. In short, I was giving something to someone else that I had not first given to the people closest to me!" (this is a great book on improving marriages - click on the book title above if you want to purchase it!)

I can only speak for myself, but I could certainly relate to this story. I have put others needs above those of my own family at times. I have given my sweetest attitude to others outside of my family, while exhibiting a lack of patience and tolerance to my own husband and family. I have been willing to go out of my way to help someone else before, but then felt resentful when I had to go out of my way to help my husband do something.

As a helper, companion and partner to our husbands, I think God calls us to give our first fruits to Him first, but then also to give our first fruits to our husbands.

God calls us to put helping our husbands at the top of our priority lists; to be someone he can share life with and enjoy the blessings that come from that togetherness; to be a helpful friend; to be their mate; to be someone who gives assistance, support and acts as their ally.

I am the first to say that life, attitudes, hurts, resentment, frustrations, pulls for my attention, busyness and so on - often prevent me from being the partner/helper/companion that God calls me to be for my husband. To be the type of helper that helps him achieve his emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs.

But todays bible verse has helped me remember the importance of Gods command when he says that we must put Him first, and then our husband second.

The challenge today is to consider whether or not you are you giving God your "first fruits", and secondly, are you giving your husband your "first fruits". Are you giving God your very best, and are you giving your husband your very best, despite emotions, feelings, circumstances and things that have happened in the past?

Is there anything in your heart that is preventing you from being able to offer those first fruits? Have you ever given any thought lately to the importance of being your husbands helper, companion and partner - the roles that only a wife can fill.

Sometimes it is hard to give selflessly, especially if that help/companionship/partnership is not being given in return. But I do believe that if someone takes the first step, other steps will follow by both people involved.

Pray about taking a first step today if needed, and ask God to help you remember to give Him, and your husband, your very best.

Marriage Challenge Day 11: PartnerSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Tracie-
What a great word and reminder of our role to our husbands this morning!! THANK YOU for the treasure box scriptures from yesterday!! I inserted my name, printed them off, and have them with me to remind me of GOD'S promises to ME!!!
You are such a blessing-
thank you,

Olivia said...

I really enjoyed this post and think the need to give our families our first fruits is very important to remember- I know I can definitely use that reminder. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

Today I needed to read this! Thank you for reminding me that despite events from the past, I need to be in the present and give God and my husband the best I have!

Rachel B said...

I like this quote from Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free:

"We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others. (John 13:5)"

Still appreciating this challenge, Tracie.