Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet: Part 4

As we did for the last several Tuesdays (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3),
Molly at My Three Pennies
Jenna at Proletarian
Karen at Roses and Tea
Sal at Stand up and Walk and I are reflecting on Debi Pearl's new book, Created to Be His Help Meet (which you can order here).

Chapter Seven: Wisdom While There Is Yet Hope

This chapter is, I believe, meant to jolt young wives into recognizing that
A) many women take their husbands for granted, henpeck them, belittle them, and generally make them feel like failures for not living up to an arbitrary standard
B) many of those women wind up alone, largely victims of their own tongues and emotional distance from their husbands.

Debi publishes a letter and a testimony in this short chapter. The letter is from "Susan," who wrote a derisive missive to Debi about her husband. She laments that her husband allows the children to watch TV and admits that she has "expressed her concern" to her husband and has "nagged." She writes, "This has led to my being resentful and angry at him to the point where I feel no respect or love toward him." (emphasis mine)

One Scripture leaps to mind:

Prov 14:1
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Perhaps some would see Debi's response (below) as a radical scare tactic, but I'd have to disagree. She immediately informs Susan of the possible consequence of allowing her "righteous" attitude about the TV to sow such bitter seeds in her heart.

"Just imagine what it would be like if your husband just disappeared one day--no more bad commercials, no more questionable TV, no warm beds, just lots of long, lonely nights and days of toil at a job away from the children....If you continue to dishonor your husband, the above scenario will likely become your own personal nightmare--soon! You describe yourself as resentful and angry. Your soul is slowly being molded into a bitter person....The truth is, you ran him off because he watched commercials you declared unrighteous. You left his heart. And he has left you emotionally--all because of your 'playing the Holy Spirit.'"

It is a fact that divorce happens. Quite a lot, actually. And I bet neither party ever thought it would happen to them. Something changes between the time of vows and beaming faces and the anguish of divorce. Sometimes it's the fault of one party, but many times, both are culpable and could have acted differently in order to honor their vows and save their marriage--perhaps forging a joyful one in the process.

Debi also includes a testimony, a plea from a divorced woman to young wives not to make the same mistakes she did. Time grants distance and, often, wisdom, and Carolyn wants to warn us:

"It never crossed my mind that my husband would ever leave me....Today, I see and hear young wives [taking] for granted that [their husbands] would never leave them and file for divorce. This sense of security seems to give them the feeling that they have the liberty to take their stand, in myriad ways, against the wrongs, failures, and inadequacies of their husbands."

Carolyn goes on to make a heartbreaking list of the things she did wrong and what she'd do differently if she had it to do again. After listing them, she writes, "The marriage strangled to death from the load of mistakes, sin, and selfishness on the part of both of us. One day, to my shock and surprise, he just left....He no longer felt the natural desire to protect and support his family."

Debi asks us at the end of the chapter, "What did you practice today?....He practices his faults, and you practice your bitterness. You are both practicing divorce."

Chapter Eight: Wisdom to Understand Your Man

This is especially interesting in light of Marla's recent TypeBlogs foray.

Although I am just as curious about myself and others as the next blogger, I generally don't put TONS of credence into the little personality tests and categorizations. They can only tell you so much and often don't take God's transforming power into account--but they can be useful where accurate.

I find the categorizations Debi and her daughter Rebekah have formulated here, though, to be quite useful. According to their analysis, men are combinations of three types (with each man, obviously, being more of one category than another):

1) Command Men--quite dominant, born leaders, "known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot," do more than is required of them, courageous, see the big picture. According to Debi, who is married to one, a woman married to this kind of man must "earn her place in his heart by proving that she will stand by her man, faithful, loyal, and obedient. When she has won his confidence, he will treasure her to an extreme."

2) Visionary Men--"Shakers, changers, and dreamers," call people to task for their inconsistencies, hate the status quo, consumed with a need to communicate his views. "Every Visionary needs a good, wise, prudent, stable wife who has a positive outlook on life...the Visionary needs his woman's support....Learn to enjoy the trip....Be flexible."

3) Mr. Steady--caring, providing, faithful, protective, avoids controversy, content with the wife of his youth. doesn't put "undue pressure on your to perform miracles....You rarely feel hurried, pushed, pressured or forced." Debi warns women married to these sweet men, "When you are married to a man who is steady and cautious, and you have a bit of the impatient romantic in you, you may not see his worth and readily honor him."

I believe I am married to a combination of the Command and Visionary man--probably mostly Visionary. I am pretty good at being flexible, but because of pride and stubbornness have often chafed at the whole, well, submission thing. Never the idea of submission, mind you, just the pesky working out of it.

Regardless of our opinions about Debi's categorizations of men, we can probably agree that to have a godly marriage, we need to understand our husbands and seek to be the helper they need, not the helper we designed in our own minds. I pray the Lord will shape us into useful vessels for Him and for the men we are to help.

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