My book, Created To NEED A Help Meet, was written for men to cut through the clutter and mixed messages of our culture and explain what it means to be a man, husband or father. In the first half of the book I have a list of ways we men need a woman to help us be better, wiser and kinder people. Here is a short excerpt from that section of the coming book.
Headstrong, independent men sometimes forget that in the “multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 24:6). “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7).
Mister, you need counsel. Having done many stupid things, I don’t trust Michael Pearl like I did when I was young and knew everything. I have gotten dumber with the years. I am known to say “I don’t know” more often than I did just after graduating from college.
But I will admit that early in our marriage I didn’t want my wife’s advice. At the time I felt that she was minimizing me in her criticism, so it angered Boss Hog when she “got out of her place” and took the lead. At least, that is the way I interpreted her suggestions. I will tell you the truth, I don’t know what happened first; maybe she gained wisdom in the way she offered input or maybe I became less sensitive to suggestions. But the end result is that we grew and matured to the point where I trust her judgments and she trusts mine, and we both know we can be wrong and therefore are open to considering other possibilities. We can challenge one another without feeling put down. It is a fact of human nature that all of us listen with concern and introspection to those whom we respect, and we dismiss with derision those whom we think are unworthy to challenge us. Poor wives.
The bottom line is that insecurity and fear make us angry at perceived criticism. The smallest man has the biggest anger.
Wives can irritate us more than anyone else because it is so important to a man to look good in his wife’s eyes. We are still like kids trying to impress that one girl, and it is disturbing if she thinks we are less than perfect. We all want to be praised and approved, and we get so little of it from work or friends, so we expect the little wife to provide all the positive affirmation necessary to keep up our self-image. (I hope my wife doesn’t read all this. I feel vulnerable being this honest.)
Now don’t expect me to hold hands, say I am sorry, and sing kum-bah-ya. A man still has his dignity, you know. I don’t mind making changes, but I am not going to admit that I was wrong until five years have passed. It is much easier to say “I WAS wrong” than to say “I AM wrong.” My suggestion is that you hurry and make some changes before you have to admit that you ARE an immature, selfish, and insecure jerk. It worked for me. Then when you get old, you can be humble, too.
I will set you on the road to recovery with one good suggestion. Ask your wife for advice and counsel. Welcome her judgments even if you feel she is attacking you. Pretend to be humble and thoughtful. Be patient and ask her to expound further on her concerns. Pause and look enlightened. Nod in appreciation for her wisdom and then modify your actions in some measure based on her suggestion.
If unfolding events prove her wrong, be kind and gentle, not gloating or mentioning what is obvious. On the other hand, if her counsel and judgment prove to be right, praise her for it and thank her for saving you from error. You will make a new woman out of her. She will get ten years younger and smile like a kid opening birthday presents. But I warn you, she will get addicted to being happy. She will want to have sex more often and will initiate contact. If you are not up to it, you might want to continue with your “know it all” attitude so she can maintain her coldness as she continues to be your unhappy critic.
When I write an article or book I submit it to my wife for editing. If she thinks something is not appropriate or could be said a different way, or that a point needs a little different slant, I discuss it with her until I see her point of view. There are times that she catches a skewed perspective or bad attitude coming through my writings. (For my reader I would like to soften that “bad attitude” thing, for it might lead you to a lower estimation of me, but today I will admit to it just to make a point. Consider it rhetorical.) I have come to trust her goodwill toward me and to accept the fact that she likes me even when I am bad—sort of like a mother. She doesn’t expect me to be perfect. She does like to see me honest and open to her wisdom. I would be stupid not to take advantage of her sanctified perspective.
Think about it. One day, maybe soon, I am going to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be rewarded or to lose reward according to the things done in this body, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Matthew 10:42). At that day I am sure I will wish I could go back and have a do-over on many things. Right now, before I stand before Christ embarrassed, my wife is enabling me to have that do-over, to correct ignorance or insensitivity to the Holy Spirit. She is sanctified in some areas that I am not and can see things I cannot see. She is not just editing my writings; she is editing my life so that the end product is better than me. I was created to need her counsel and judgment.
In my defense, it works both ways. I edit her writings and her life as well. Like any woman, she can get her feathers up and claw the blood out of a timid soul that still needs a little understanding. You should have seen her book, Created to Be a Help Meet, before I softened the edges. She has an occasional blind spot. Because I trust her judgments and censorship, she trusts mine, and we are heirs together of the grace of life, sanctifying one another so as to reduce our embarrassment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. My favorite dying song is “I want to walk over heaven with you some sweet day.” Heaven will be much sweeter with my best friend by my side.
Every man has a vision, and visions are tenuous by nature. A man with a vision hopes to surmount difficult circumstance and do what others think impossible. A vision will waver like a mirage, sometimes promising cool water and other times looking like shifting sand. Most men lose hope of fulfilling their dreams and settle for a TV series. If you have a vision you need a helper suited to that vision. It is not necessary for her to believe in it as you do, but she must believe in you. A man can keep his own vision alive if his wife runs his supply line and praises his endeavors. A help meet that supports his vision will make life a journey worth the effort, and he will be remembered for his humanity if not his accomplishments.
If your wife denigrates your vision it indicates she is not being fulfilled as a person. Tend to her needs and she will get so contented she will tell you that you sing well, you are smarter than everyone else, and you should be promoted to work at the cash register instead of cooking the fries.
You need your woman to support your vision. If you have no vision I suspect you are not in good standing with your help meet. An encouraging woman makes a man think he is taller, stronger, and smarter than he is. And coupled with her wisdom he will be smarter. You cannot leave her sitting at the kitchen table griping and be successful at life without her. You may be manager at work but that has nothing to do with life more abundant. If you will devote your energies to building her as a person, you will have more time and energy to pursue your dreams.
Since we are “heirs together of the grace of life” it is essential that “husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
Life requires a lot of grace from God, but a particular grace, one unique kind of grace for one unique purpose, comes with two keys. The wife gets one and the husband gets the other. They must go into heaven’s bank together and insert the two keys at the same time if either of them is going to access the grace of life. If, according to the passage, a husband fails to “give honour” unto his wife, “the weaker vessel,” then their prayers are hindered. A husband who is ignorant of his wife’s needs and fails to relate to her as the weaker vessel, not dwelling “with them according to knowledge”, will fail to “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Mister, this may be the most important warning in this book. By not relating to your wife with knowledge of her status as the weaker vessel—the vessel being her body—your prayer line to heaven is cut, as is hers. That means the person closest to you in the world will not be able to pray for you, and as such you will not be a recipient of the grace you will need to deal with the issues of life.
“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8).
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” (Colossians 1:9).