A Call for All Young Women
A lot has happened since the books Created to Be His Help Meet and Preparing to Be a Help Meet were published. Created has been translated into eight or ten languages and there have been thousands of Created and Preparing classes all over the world. We have received many letters from ladies and girls sharing what they have learned. Our most active blog is PreparingToBeAHelpMeet.com with girls and married ladies sharing what God has taught them. Through the letters and the blogs I have learned much that has helped me in addressing your needs. Here are a few examples.
Men were created in God’s image. God breathed the breath of life straight into Adam. It is mind-boggling to think that mere man is in God’s own image. In effect, man is in the likeness of God. God feels, he thinks, and he loves just as does his creation. Just as Eve was created to meet a need in Adam, so we meet a need in God. That is strange to me. We all know that God is three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We learned in Created to Be His Help Meet that, as men were created in God’s image, so each man predominantly expresses one of the three aspects of God’s image.
As Adam was created in God’s image, Eve was created in Adam’s image. God could have shaped two clay figures and breathed life into both, but he chose to take the woman from the man’s own flesh and bone. I have come to see that tiered process as very significant, making it consistent with nature that the woman should be the helper in the chain of command.
God did not create women as he did men, strongly fixed in one type or another. Being created in the image of man, we are more muted and flexible in our types. If a woman were a strong Command type married to Mr. Steady, that would cause terrible conflict in the marital relationship.
If we were to attach colors to the three types, Command men would be red, the Steady man would be blue, and the Visionary would be yellow. Few men are a 100% pure type/color. Most men are one type with just a touch of another type to mellow him out. But this article is not about men, but rather about us girls and our adaptability of color.
The woman was called to be her man’s helper, to fashion herself to be what he needs her to be. It is quite a calling. In order to do this a woman needs to be a kaleidoscope, a full array of color. One woman might be strong in red, but she also has all the other colors so that she can blend her life into that of her man. God provides us with all that we need to fulfill our calling. For example, at this time in my life as a Help Meet I am required to be a writer, office director, web planner, wife, grandmother and, last, but certainly not least, a country woman. If I had to give myself a color or type at this time in my life it would be a bright orange: half red, half yellow. I have been put into a role that requires leadership and creativity. As I was growing up my color was blue (servant) so I have had to adapt quite a bit. If I had married a different man I would likely not be a writer, an office director, web planner or a country woman. How different my life would have been!
I might have married a factory worker who lived in the city. I could have lived my whole life in a rented apartment, worked as a domestic for extra income, and had just two children. I would have still loved the Lord because that is who I am, a lover of God. Most everything else in my life would have been different; what I learned, how I dressed, what I enjoyed, and where I went. I think that I would have grown potted plants full of herbs and salads on my balcony. My color would have been green, mostly blue but some yellow so that I might raise children strong in spirit.
It would have been easy for me to have married a committed Southern Baptist minister. My color would have been purple, part blue to serve but part red to lead. It is a queenly color, as Baptists like their pastors’ wives to have dignity. I would have worn simple conservative suits, stockings, and slight heels, kept my hair done prim and proper, and my nails clean and painted. I would have been a Sunday School teacher, planned Vacation Bible Schools, and promoted my husband in his calling. I would have been a lover of God, because I love him. But I would have been a different lady, certainly not the country woman I am today.
But then, I might have married an Amish-type-man, living plain, dressing plain, and speaking German. I would have never touched a computer, but spent my life having 12 children and working the land. You would never know me as me, but I would still be me, only I would be meshing into the man to whom I was a helper. I would still be a lover of God, because I love him, and in loving him I would have put forth an effort to honor God by honoring and reverencing my husband, as God has written in Ephesians 5:33, “…and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1).
When a girl marries a man she becomes a new person. She becomes his bride, his woman, his helper. It is God’s will that her life be fashioned to help him. If a girl comes into marriage knowing that she is equipped and appointed to be this one new person, then she can adapt and find fulfillment in her new self-expression.
This past week the local Preparing class invited two older mothers to share their experiences in marriage. It was quite sobering, and some of the girls came away from class unnerved by the burdens of marriage. What the mothers wanted to convey to the girls was, “Learn now while you are young to honor your husbands. Learn patience to continue in your role as a Help Meet, and commit yourself to God now while you are young so you can avoid some of our trials and errors as we struggle to find our way.”
Today’s culture, our own selfishness, and our lack of knowing God’s Word all play a part in making marriages miserable. What you learn as a young unmarried woman can change your life more completely than you can imagine. If you are wise you will learn to become a many-colored girl. Don’t say to yourself, “I am a Go-to Girl and not a Servant.” Rather say, “I am learning to be anything I need to be. I want to be a servant, I need to learn to lead and teach, and I will learn to be creative because my husband may need me to be all of these.” Practice being flexible in your likes and dislikes, how you feel about things, and what you hope to accomplish. Start striving to shape your life to help others, and hide God’s Words in your heart concerning becoming a wife. Lastly, make a written commitment to honor the man God provides for you. Choose a life’s verse that you write down on the cover of your Bible, one that goes along with your commitment. All these things will shape you for your coming marriage, enabling you to avoid the many pitfalls that entangle so many. Making yourself ready for any eventuality in your future marriage demands much practice if you want a glorious marriage.
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Wonderful concept, painted out so beautifully with the different stories of what you would have become married to a different man. Thanks!!
Great article. The takeaway for me is the last part-- Don
Thank you for this article. I love your book, "Created to be his Helpmeet". Reading the three types of men made me understand my husband and actually love him much more and in a more complete way. I have taught a Preparing class to a small group of young women. I feel that reading "Preparing to be a Helpmeet" is essential for young women.
In this article, I can see myself happy in any of the women that you described. It is interesting that God made us changeable to meet the needs of our husbands.
Again, thank you for the article, it had helped me to see my role as a wife to my husband, but also to my God, clearer.
Thank you for such an insightful article!..I have read the Created To Be A Help Meet book and I plan on buying the preparing one for my daughters. I have quite a few testimonies of how receiving the wrong "women's lib" messages as a young girl and being raised in a family of strong-minded, liberal, divorced or separated women have created many,many trials in my own marriage. I believe if I had been taught who I was a young girl who loved God and taught the preparing priciples, my married life would've been quite different. But, I do believe all things happen for a reason and I am purposed to teach my three daughters much differently. Thanks so much for the added resources Debbi, you are truly a much needed and appreciated example that young girls and women have been looking for!..May God continue to bless and keep your ministry and your marriage..Thanks again..
Very true and wise wisdom for young ladies and also those who are working towards a heavenly marriage.
Been married a long time. Had to learn to adapt to my visionary husband's ways. Wasn't always easy but I learned the quicker I grew and adapted, the easier it was for all of us. Your message in staying flexible has to endure all through the years. We are older now and my husband is not always well enough to help so that leaves me to tend to the chores. I don't mind. He's taught me well! I knew nothing about farm life when we married.
Most of this article is really great, and contains the kind of truth that young women (and older wives!) need to know.
However, the claim that woman was made in the image of man is wrong. It is not true and it is not Biblical.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find, "Woman was made in the image of man." It is true, the Bible does not explicitly say, "Woman was made in the image of God." But it does include "woman" in the broad category of "man" and "Adam" in Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 5:1-2.
Genesis 1 (KJV)
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 5 (KJV)
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
This article add to the Bible in a dangerous way. If God wanted us to think that woman was created in the image of man, He would have told us that. You are putting man in God's place here.
Thank you for saying this, Elizabeth.
Additionally, the doctrine of the atonement is compromised if you say that men and women aren't both made in God's image. The Council of Nicea came up with the theological saying "What is not assumed is not redeemed," which means that in order to fully redeem human nature, Jesus must possess a fully human nature (while still retaining a fully divine nature.) The early Christian theologian Athanasius wrote that Jesus' human nature was there in the beginning (John 1:1-3,) and was the "image" after which humanity was created (Colossians 1:15.) So if we say that woman was created in man's image, instead of God's, then Jesus' death and resurrection did not redeem women, since Jesus came as a man.
Also, I am confused... what about a man's nature is firm and unadaptable? How can a husband fulfill his sacrificial role spelled out in 1 Corinthians 7 if he does not imitate Christ's own adaptiveness? Isn't taking on human flesh the greatest act of adaptation ever?
I think this is my favorite article written by Debi. I love the different pictures of what kind of life each husband would have given her.
I think in saying women are "in the image of man" she merely means that God did not form her the way he formed Adam. He formed her from Adam's already created image/person. Pretty clear to me.
And what about the woman? Does she actually get to have a personality and interests of her own, or is her sole destiny to be her husband's minion? Not for me, thanks.
God bless you for taking the time to write this amazing article. God blesses us with rich lives though being a help meet to our husbands. Since no man is the same, his wife will be a different blend to his uniqueness. A wise woman will gladly desire to learn all she can to be the best help meet to him. When she does this, relying on God to help in areas where she needs, her life will be fulfilling and blessing will abound. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing. That is what you are, and have been to my family and I for years, a blessing.
What part of being pliable to the interests and personality of the a girl has chosen to live the rest of her life with equals brainless minion?? Two people have to get along forever if they plan on staying married. If you are not willing to bend to match up with your husband you future marriage will be a short one. This being giving of yourself as a woman does not let the man off the hook in his bending himself to fit with you either. But if two do not bend, I have seen it, you will be supremely miserable. Besides I'm more my husbands side-kick than his minion anyway. 🙂 Blissfully married for 14 years, self thinking and quite able to chase my own interests.
I am at a place where I am doing things now that I thought were ungodly (wearing makeup and working outside the home, among other things). God has really humbled me- I used to carry my home-centered life around like a badge that said, "Look how godly I am!" But now that my circumstances have changed (out of school now) my colors are starting to adapt. I don't intend to be a 'career woman' by any means, but the extra income is needed and I feel like God is really using these experiences to round me out as a person. I've always been blue, through HS my yellow side was dominant, and with my job I'm forced to be more of a red person. Hopefully by the time I marry I'll be a nice brown color. 🙂
While a lot of your thoughts on adapting your life to your husband's are true. I know from personal experience my husband doesn't want me just to mold to his way of thinking just because he is the man. He wants me to be an independent thinker and have my own opinions and thoughts. Not just go along with what he wants because I think it is honoring him. He feels more honored when I take the time to discuss,pray and really think a matter through then just to put all the decision making on him. I don't know many a man that wants to marry a puppet...
This sounds so weird to me. I don't understand about all the colors but I feel that God made me a certain way for a reason. All adults (including men) change to fit the circumstances that they find themselves in but I sincerely believe that God would never ask me to be someone I am not. If I had married a pastor, I would still not be a Sunday School teacher or wear suits or act different than I do. God gave me my gifts and talents to be used regardless of what my husband is. My husband married me for me... not for how I can change to fit into his world. I already fit, that is why he married me and that is why I married him. That is what the dating time is for. And now we have three children and both he and I have changed what we do in certain situations because of them.
Genesis 1:27 says, "And God created man in his own image. In the image of God created He him. Male and female created He them." This would indicate that both male and female are created
Most of what you said was quite helpful, but the woman was not created in the image of man. The Bible says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Man meaning "mankind" as in "humans" and just so we don't misunderstand who was created in God's image it tacks on "male and female he created them." For those people who might be reading this.. just be advised to study the scripture on your own in this area and not just accept what someone tells you. Find out for yourself.
Having been married for 31 yrs. to a visionary, I can wholeheartedly agree to this article. (And we might not be made in the image of man, but we are the glory of the man.)
IF a woman wants to glorify God and have peace in her life, she will do her best to do all that it takes to conform to her husband. It brings peace to the home, the children, and herself. Is it always easy? NO! Is dying easy? Of course not.
Now that I am toward the other end of training my children, my husband is freeing me up to do those things that I am drawn/called to: teaching literacy, focusing on my art skills, etc.
Never forget that the most influential person in a person's life is the one they trust in & get counsel from. The wife's sphere of influence has more power to guide/sway/encourage in greatness than any other human in his life! It is a high calling & we should do all we can to listen first to the Holy Spirit in order to influence him rightly & not in the flesh.
Thank you, Debi, for all the good God has wrought in my life because of your wisdom, insight, and calling me out of selfishness & into God's place of radiance. 🙂
Hi, And many thanks for the great books, Helpmeet and preparing to helpmet, Great work. Just one thought in your colors article above, what is wrong with the 12 children you mentioned for the Amish woman? 12 is not so bad or too many. Children are the fruit of the womb and God's reward. Far too many scriptures to quote on that one. Maybe a little more revelation into children being a blessing is needed here. Not to sure about conception being part of the curse you mentioned in your books. The curse is when people are not renewed in their minds to knowing children are a BLESSING!!!
Otherwise, keep up the good work at no greater joy.
This is so true.... It puts into words the deep self searching I went through for the first 6 months to a year of my marriage. I found very quickly, that to be a true "help meet" to my husband, changed a lot of things about me, and for months, it scared me, unnerved me, and made me feel like I was loosing my identity. I was very independent and reserved before I was married, but after marrying a super social and outgoing man, I discovered that to keep up with him, I had to change somethings about myslef. It was a journey for me, with a long list of questions and searchings on my own, before I began to realize that it's ok to change. It's ok to loose some of your old identity and to find a new one! It's thrilling even. And it doesn't mean that you are weak or loosing touch with your true self. It is part of the wonderful exciting journey of being a help meet, and I wish I had known that before I got married to save me all those months of drama and self doubt. 🙂 Thank you for the article. I learned that lesson on my own a few years ago, and it was exciting to see someone else put it into words like this. 🙂
I think that Debi's message about women is helpful to many women because it convicts them of pride in their marriage - and God can always go to work when you come to a point of humility. However, I think the teaching about being created in man's image is unbiblical (no matter how you attempt to explain it away) and dangerous. Ditto for teaching submission as virtually synonymous with obedience.
Unfortunately, Gen 2:21-23 says nothing about woman being made in man's image; it only reaffirms the fact that she was created out of Adam's rib, and they are one as a united couple. Are you trying to suggest that God was wrong or unclear when Scripture tells us that man AND woman are made in the image and likeness of God? Are you asserting that your own misguided interpretation is true over God's word? That is a very dangerous road to walk.
@Imelda - Your claim that
.......this is a very interesting topic and can be misused when miss-interpreted. If a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for her, then we don't need to fear this approach at all.....but the scriptures -Genesis 1:27 is very clear, the word "man" does mean mankind. God created man/woman as "one" being. They were complete and needed nothing added or removed in order to do everything God commanded in verse 28 + 29. Woman was already "in" man but Adam noticed that he had no mate when he saw all the animals with a mate.... so the Lord put him to sleep and took woman out of him -from his rib to be beside him not behind him or under him. When God created man first, He said it was "very" good -which means perfect so creating the man/woman creature was perfect only Adam didn't think so and being the loving Father our God is, He gave Adam what he wanted. To think God took woman out of Adam for any other reason is to imply that God was wrong when He writes in Genesis 1:31 ....everything that He had made was "very" good. In verse 10, 12, 18, 21, and 25 referring to all the other things He created He only says it was "good" but when He adds the creation of man/woman in His own image then He calls it "very" good.
Of course it is good to have a leader in the family and it is much more effective for the children's sake when it is the man, but what are single moms to do? What if your husband refuses to lead? It is not fair or even Christ-like to blame the wife if her husband refuses to lead. She may be doing everything right. As a single mom I was miss-judged by Godly Christians.
I am now a widow but my husband refused to let me conform myself to please him -he wanted me to be me , exactly who God made me to be.
My likes and interests might not be the same as my husband's and that's okay -we can respect one another's uniqueness
and help "each other" at opportune times because we love each other.
I experienced love in a marriage the way God meant it to be because we choose to love each other with all our differences. Where ever it mattered the most we had no differences because Christ was first in our married lives.
As a woman we are better at certain things than a man and a man is better at certain things than we are but we are not 3rd in line or 2nd choice to God...... we are just as important to Him as any man. Be careful when molding yourself to your husband that you don't kill something within you that God meant to grow.
Love to all....
Thank you so much for this article! It helped me to gain a much clearer understanding of my God-ordained role as help-meet, wherever I am.
It is 2012! I would be appalled if my young daughter grew up in a world with such low expectations of her!!! Be yourself. Chart your path. Hopefully you may meet someone who wants the same things and you can walk that path together but if not, that's fine.
My daughter is far more intelligent than the boys I know. Maybe they could be her 'help meet'.
Okay, for all the ladies who say, "My husband doesn't WANT me to change who I am to suit him!" - then don't! Debi is not saying, "You need to become such-and-such whether he likes it or not!" That is the opposite of submission. If your husband wants you to develop talents and interests other than him, then do it (just make sure to keep him front and center of your life and the head of your home)! If he wants ALL of your attention and wants his interests and dreams to consume your life, then CHOOSE to make those interests and dreams YOURS (and yes, it is more than possible to choose your own interests and dreams)!!
Or else, why did you marry if not to become a helpmeet to your husband? Did you have a Biblical motivation to say, "I do"? Or a worldly one? Either way, you tied the knot. You entered into a covenant with you and your spouse on the one side and God Almighty on the other. Just because you did not do the research to see what the implications and expectations were doesn't mean that you are not obligated to operate under those conditions.
Ignorance of the terms of something as trivial as a simple contract with man does not excuse you from abiding by it, let alone a covenant with Almighty God. A young man may not have a clue as to how checks work. He may think he is more or less writing out money every time he signs his name. But there will come a point when there is not the promised money in the bank to cover the check and there will be consequences. He may claim he didn't understand what was expected of him when he signed his name, but that makes no difference. He's still responsible to uphold his end of the deal.
So let's see what the terms of marriage are that we actually agreed to when we walked the aisle and compare them to the common worldly motives for marriage.
Biblical - 1) To produce Godly seed. 2) To become ONE with our man and share in whatever journey God has for him. 3) To use our talents and gifts to perfectly complete another human being (our husband) and be more together than we could ever be apart. 4) And most importantly, to be a living, breathing, fleshed-out, working-scale model of the gospel in front of the world.
Worldly - 1) Because I want to. 2) Because he makes me so happy. 3) Because we are so in love. 4) Because we've been dating for a few years and are ready to go to the 'next level'. 5) That's what you do. If you've been dating a while and things are going okay, then you move on to marriage and try that. 6) Besides, I'm 27 and all my friends are married and I want the beautiful dress, hours of expensive pictures, the fancy cake, the wild reception and the romantic honeymoon. It's my turn to be the princess!
So, did you realize what you committed to? Well, you do now. It can be VERY sobering to wake up and realize that you never meant to agree to all of this. You thought this was going to be a 'happily ever after' and don't know just where things went wrong. Been there, done that! That's why I left my first marriage after only 3 1/2 years and why I was headed down the same road after only 4 or 5 years in my second marriage. But, through Debi's book and a few others, God taught me what I had gotten myself into and, by His grace, He has changed me. Not overnight. It's been more than 10 years, but OH the peace, joy, and contentment!!!
A marriage is so like a beautiful dance between a man and a woman. There can only be one lead if the dance is to be a beautiful sight to behold (and the world IS watching us). Some men want to have the lead completely (Mr. Command). If his dance partner resists and tries to go her own way, it will just be a tug of war. He is likely to either FORCE her to follow him because he is bigger than her or just walk off and find a more willing partner. If she learns to yield and shows that she clearly enjoys doing it, he will eventually attune to what makes her smile and dip her and spin her from time to time. She will learn how to let him know that she'd like to go a certain direction just with her eyes and he will thrill to do that because he knows that she is totally yielded to him. But if it is to be a fluid and smooth dance it will ALWAYS be because she follows him.
Some men seem to do the same moves in the same spot to the same tempo over and over (Mr. Steady). He's not 'doing nothing' - it's really something to him. He sees so clearly in his head just how good this repetitive dance is and longs for her to enjoy it's simplicity with him. But he really does enjoy standing back and watching her from time to time. He loves the way she spins and twirls. He thrills to see her eyes watching him knowing that she is dancing FOR HIM - not going off on the dance floor to get attention from others. Once in a while, he'll jump up and grab her hand and do his routine dance with her - it's all he knows and all he's good at, but he so enjoys holding her in his arms feeling like THE MAN! The more he sees her joy, the more he's likely to get excited as well. But if she resists him or goes off without him, he will try his best to keep up with her so as not to be humiliated, but he will always be awkward and somewhat pathetic.
Then there is the fella who is a little outlandish on the dance floor (Mr. Visionary). Sometimes it doesn't even seem like he needs or wants a partner, because he doesn't. He's not usually good at 'leading'. He knows what he has in his head, but not quite sure how to make others see. But he ALWAYS needs an audience. And his partner's eyes are the ones he's always checking to make sure she's watching. If she's smiling and clapping as he goes, the whole world could be laughing at him and he wouldn't care. The wise dance partner would not wait to be led on the dance floor. She would watch him and get a feel for what he's doing and where he's going and jump in. But, when it seems he's getting too wild and about to knock people and furniture over, he needs her to gently and sweetly say, "Whew! I need a rest! Let's go outside and get some fresh air!" Since she is his most adoring fan and she doesn't put water on his fire all the time, he will leave the dance floor and sit with her on the veranda. He loves excitement, but he loves her more.
Ladies, I find it interesting that some of you keep saying...."My husband wants me to be an independent thinker and have my own opinions and thoughts".. so are you not in fact being what HE wants in you as his wife? Seems like to me it is the same thing...molding to what your husbands are wanting in you his wife. I have found that most men that want a independent woman, are living a double life and your independence is keeping you so occupied that you are not realizing his real agenda. A man that truly loves his wife will respect her!!!
If you ladies can say you are truly happy and fulfilled in your marriages then keep doing what you're doing.
But why on earth would you want to submit to your husband and conform to him? My relationship seems very different than what is described here and from what I've read, the way my relationship works is "wrong". This makes no sense. We are both happy and in love. I did not give up my interests or take on all of his. Granted we do compromise and do things we wouldn't normally do (I agreed to go skydiving with him because it was something he wanted and I figured it might be fun) and he hates cycling but will go with me once a week (though I never demand it) just has he never demands anything of me. We both work, cook, clean, and care for one another. There are always going to be compromises in a relationship, but that's life. You're not married to serve and submit and sacrifice your own dreams and goals. And any man who asks that of you can't truly have your best interest at heart. Yes you can love your husband and dote on him and cook meals and move across the country when he gets a promotion. But he should never take these things for granted and he should strive to make you happy in the same way. I hope anyone reading this, married or in married, know that you are a priceless human being. There is nothing wrong with wanting a career and interests. There is also nothing wrong with wanting to be a good wife and stay at home mom. You can even be both that's ok. Just stay true to yourself and your beliefs and never let anyone treat you with disrespect.